Skincare

Why you should be using SPF on your lips

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Hanna Ibraheem
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Even if you’re diligent with applying SPF to your face, you might still be missing one key area that needs protection against the sun.

If you frequently read our beauty articles, you’ll know by now just how important SPF is.

When it comes to picking the right sunscreen, experts recommend wearing a minimum of SPF 30 and thankfully, innovations in sunscreen mean you no longer have to slather on thick, white and greasy formulas.

Then, there’s how often you should wear sunscreen. SPF is something you should wear every day and all-year round (yes, even when it’s cloudy and even if you’re sitting indoors). It should also be the last step in your morning skincare routine – and no, the SPF in your foundation or moisturiser doesn’t give you enough sun protection.

But when we apply SPF to our faces, there’s one area that’s easy to forget: our lips.

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“People forget to protect their lips from the sun, which they really shouldn’t,” says Dr Hiba Injibar, consultant dermatologist and founder of Dermasurge on Harley Street. “Your lips only produce a small quantity of melanin, making them more sensitive to UV rays.”

“The lips are made up of skin that is far thinner and more sensitive than the skin on your body because it’s meant to help your mouth absorb food,” Dr Injibar explains. “Skin on your face can be up to 16 cell layers thick, while the skin on your lips is only three to five layers thick. This means your blood vessels are more apparent, giving your lips their pink or red colour.

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“They also, unlike other areas of the skin, have no oil glands which protect the skin and keep it hydrated. For these reasons, they are particularly susceptible to environmental factors like wind, cold and sun.

“Skin cancer in this area is also particularly dangerous so make sure you’re applying a lip balm with an SPF and reapplying it frequently.”

Here, we round up some of our favourite lip balms with SPF.

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Best SPFs for your lips

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