You probably do your best to avoid getting sunburned by protecting your face, back and shoulders. But have you thought about the possibility of getting a sunburn on your lips?
The lips, especially the lower lip, are just as vulnerable as other parts of the body. Lip sunburns are painful, and they can increase your chances of developing lip cancer.
Symptoms of Sunburned Lips
You will know your lips are sunburned if they are redder than usual, swollen, blistered or tender to touch after sun exposure. Your lip may also feel fat and you may find it difficult to open your mouth, talk, eat or drink.
Treating Sunburned Lips
In the majority of cases, you can treat your lips with home remedies including cooling ointments. However, severe cases in which your lips are severely swollen, your tongue is swollen, or you have a rash, you should seek immediate medical attention.
Here are some remedies for minor cases of sunburned lips:
Try wetting a washcloth with cold water or ice and resting it on your lips to help cool them down. Milk can also be used to help to reduce inflammation. Do not place ice directly on your lip since this can lead to additional damage to already sensitive tissues. You can also place other cold items on your lips like potato slices or chamomile teabags soaked in cold water.
These paper or cloth masks are all the rage in the beauty industry these days. Many sheet masks draw out impurities from the skin or brighten and revitalize your complexion. If you have sunburned lips, look for those with moisturizing ingredients like aloe, shea butter or grapeseed oil. You will be getting a mini facial while healing your lips.
Aloe vera is very soothing. If you have a plant at home or you know a friend who does, make use of one of the stalks. Cut it off from the main plant, slice it in half and scoop out the gel. Apply a small amount directly to your lips to experience the pain-relieving effect. If you don’t have access to a plant, pay a visit to the drug store and ask for an after-sun gel made from 100 percent aloe vera.
Anti-inflammatory medications can help to relieve the pain and redness associated with a sunburn. If topical treatments aren’t working quickly enough or the pain is just too much, pop a couple painkillers like ibuprofen (Advil) or acetaminophen (Tylenol).
Oils and moisturizers
Products like Aquaphor can help to heal a sunburned lip since it includes moisturizing ingredients like beeswax, castor oil and shea butter. You can also use vitamin E oil, coconut oil or almond oil.
Hydrocortisone cream is recommended for many skin conditions since it reduces redness, swelling and discomfort. However, you’ll have to decide whether you really want to try this option for sunburned lips. Some medical professionals say you should avoid it altogether while others say it’s fine to apply to the outer edges of the lips once you don’t ingest it. If you give hydrocortisone a shot, avoid licking your lips.
Preventing Sunburned Lips
One of the remedies or a combination of them should work to relieve your discomfort. Now you need to prevent future sunburns. Opt for a lip balm with an SPF of at least 30 and remember to reapply it frequently since eating and drinking will cause it to wear off quickly.
It can be tempting not to wear sunscreen if it’s not particularly hot outside but your lips are exposed to the sun once it’s daytime. Protect your lips all year round if you truly want to avoid the possibility of sunburned lips.