Hydrated Lips: Don’t Forget Lip Balm on the Beach!

Lip balm is much more than just a fruity-scented, lip plumper – this moisturizing balm should be used year round, ESPECIALLY if you are planning to lay out in the sun or go to the beach this year! This month’s blog post is dedicated to the importance of protecting your lips through the use of lip balm!

Why We Care About Lips:

Lips are important for eating, talking, kissing, protecting your teeth and soft tissue, and more. Lips are actually just a continuation of your skin – they are slightly different than other parts of skin in that they don’t have hair follicles or sebaceous glands, the glands that secrete oils to keep your skin hydrated. Since lips don’t have a way of regulating oil, saliva is the only fluid moisturizing your lips - this is why they get dry and chapped easily. Lips also don’t produce much melanin, or the component in your skin that allows it to tan in the sunlight. Melanin protects your skin from UV rays so without it our lips are extremely susceptible to damage from the sun, which is why they are so important to protect!

Damaging Your Lips:

Sun can be very damaging to your lips due to the lack of melanin. Sun will cause unprotected lips to become dry and flaky, which can lead to cracked and bleeding lips or even infected sores that can spread to other parts of your mouth and soft tissue. If you suffer from cold sores, the sun makes it more likely that a cold sore will pop up. Another hazard that comes from not wearing protective lip balm is the potential for cancer of the lips. Since the skin on lips is extremely thin and there is not much protection from sun damage, lip cancer is not uncommon. Do yourself a favor and wear lip balm (with SPF) to protect yourself from the dangers of sun-damaged lips!

Lip Balm Requirements

Most commonly the ingredient that does all the moisturizing in lip balm is Vitamin E, but there are various other ingredients that can do the trick. There are also many different kinds of lip balms – ones that are made with natural ingredients, beeswax, honey, mint scented ones and fruity ones, ones that tingle, ones that plump, and ones that are tinted a certain color – but the most important thing to look for in your lip balm is that it contains SPF to protect your lips from harmful UV rays. Other than containing SPF, most of the other lip balm ingredients and unique features are purely preference! 

At Dental Blu, Dr. Depp and Dr. Arlinghaus do an oral cancer visual screening at each Recare appointment and exam.  Make sure to protect your lips this summer, and be sure to make your dentist aware of any suspicious areas on your lips or in your mouth.   

Call our office to make an appointment – 859-442-8200