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6 Products to Protect Your Lips

Pucker up for some much-needed SPF

spinner image A man applying lip balm to his lips
PeopleImages/Getty Images

If daily SPF is a staple in your skin care routine, go ahead and pat yourself on the back. But are you overlooking your precious pucker?

Sunscreen is your skin’s saving grace — rain or shine, 365 days a year. But while you’re slathering it on all the obvious areas, you’re probably skipping the one spot that could be even more susceptible to harmful UV rays — the lips.

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“They’re often a forgotten part of the sun protection routine, so over time they might be more vulnerable to sun damage,” says Rhonda Klein, dermatologist and cofounder of Modern Dermatology in Westport, Connecticut. “[Plus], the skin on the lips is thinner than the rest of our face, and it lacks melanocytes, which produce pigment, a natural response for sun protection.”

Need more convincing? The dreadful combination of excessive sun exposure and natural collagen loss from aging can wreak havoc on your lips. “[They can] start to lose volume, become more wrinkled and develop hyperpigmentation from sun damage,” says Jeanine Downie, dermatologist and founder of Image Dermatology in Montclair, New Jersey, who adds that consistently wearing sunscreen with an SPF 30 or higher — and frequently reapplying it — can make for a better outcome. “I wear sunscreen on my lips in the summer, but if I don’t reapply, I’ll get sunburn,” says Therese Dillon, 51, from Wayne, Michigan.

Unlike the rest of your skin, the lips lack sebaceous glands — a major source of moisture. “The sebaceous glands help to protect the skin, so without them, the skin on the lips can start to show signs of aging sooner than elsewhere on the face,” Klein says. Throw sun damage in the mix, and you’ve got a chapped mess. “As I’ve gotten older, I notice that my lips tend to dry out more,” Dillon says.

From SPF lip balms to treatments to sunscreen moisturizers, protecting your lips has never been easier. Consider adding these dermatologist-approved products to your skin care arsenal.

spinner image EltaMD UV Lip Balm Broad-Spectrum SPF 36; Supergoop! Play Lip Balm SPF 30 with Acai; Dr. Dan’s Cortibalm Lip Balm; Blistex Five Star SPF 30 Water Resistant Lip Balm; ISDIN Eryfotona Actinica; SkinMedica Total Defense + Repair Broad Spectrum SPF 34
(Left to right) EltaMD UV Lip Balm Broad-Spectrum SPF 36; Supergoop! Play Lip Balm SPF 30 with Acai; Dr. Dan’s Cortibalm Lip Balm; Blistex Five Star SPF 30 Water Resistant Lip Balm; ISDIN Eryfotona Actinica; SkinMedica Total Defense + Repair Broad Spectrum SPF 34
EltaMD; Supergoop!; Dr. Dan's; Target; ISDIN; SkinMedica

1. EltaMD UV Lip Balm Broad-Spectrum SPF 36 ($14,  

Not only does this lip balm offer UV protection, it also provides long-term moisture — ideal for a day in the sun when your lips are especially prone to drying and cracking. Made with zinc oxide to reflect both UVA and UVB rays, it’s also packed with antioxidants to help reduce free radicals and slow the signs of aging.

2. Supergoop! Play Lip Balm SPF 30 with Acai ($12,

If you love the moisture that shea butter provides, consider giving this one a try. Protective yet nourishing, this lip balm contains acai extract, a powerful source of antioxidants that can help repair UV damage.

Pro tip: If wearing lipstick or lip gloss, be sure to apply sunscreen first.

3. Dr. Dan’s Cortibalm Lip Balm ($8,

This hypoallergenic lip treatment is one of Klein’s go-to products after a day outdoors. If you’ve been soaking up the sun all day and develop chapped lips as a result, consider using this for some relief. Designed to calm inflammation — thanks to the hydrocortisone — this blend boasts beeswax, petroleum jelly and mineral oil for ultra-moisture.

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4. Blistex Five Star SPF 30 Water Resistant Lip Balm ($4,  

Paraben-free and uniquely formulated, this lip balm claims to go beyond daily sun protection. With ingredients such as panthenol to retain moisture in dry air, calendula oil to soothe chapped lips and wheat germ oil to keep your lips hydrated in the summer heat, this sunscreen could be the ultimate multitasker. It also contains candelilla, which acts as a barrier to prevent moisture loss.

Pro tip: Always load up on a separate sunscreen from the SPF included in your makeup, as cosmetics alone aren’t enough to protect your skin for extended periods of time.

5. ISDIN Eryfotona Actinica ($60,

Although not a lip balm, this lightweight mineral sunscreen offers plenty of sun protection — SPF 50+ to be exact. Specifically formulated to repair sun damage, this product is one of Downie’s favorites. And yes, you can use it on your lips as well as other sun-exposed areas after too much UV exposure.

6. SkinMedica Total Defense + Repair Broad Spectrum SPF 34 ($70,

This innovative sunscreen claims to act as more of a “superscreen.”

Known for its rejuvenating benefits, this oil-free formula contains a dynamic blend of antioxidants to shield your skin from UVA, UVB and IR-A rays, including your lips. Additionally, it may help minimize lines and wrinkles and improve your skin’s overall appearance.

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