Lip Sunscreens Are the SPF Beauty Staple You’re Forgetting About

Summer is my favorite season for a reason — the unending parade of warm-weather activities, the long days, and of course, the sun. There is no better feeling than shaking off my seasonal depression and stepping out into warm weather and sunny days.

But, as eager as I am to bask in the benevolent sun rays while I can, too many people still brave the outdoors without sunscreen. Rookie mistake.

According to Health Canal’s recent survey on UV protection habits (exposing unhealthy beliefs) of Americans, it turns out only 16% of people always wear sunscreen in the summer. Just 16%! Scary!

Apparently, most people think that cloudy days mean you can take a break from SPF — but this is a myth. You should be wearing sunscreen everyday, even indoors since UV rays can penetrate windows. I call this “Sneaky Sun Time.”

I get it, we all crave that good Vitamin D and even want to tan. But research shows there’s no way to get a safe tan — except for sunless tanner. And yes, sometimes we all forget to reapply sunscreen, but doing our best to wear adequate SPF everyday is important for healthy skin.

If the stats won’t move you, the age filter on TikTok might. Want to avoid premature aging? Get that sunscreen on!

My key to motivating myself to put on sunscreen is choosing a sunscreen that doesn’t interfere with my routine. I use SPF body oils after the shower to get smooth, protected skin. I use SPF serums and sprays for my face. I even have the viral SPF Classic Whip from Vacation — the one that looks like a can of whipped cream — to make the application and reapplication fun.

But one area you shouldn’t forego? Your lips.

According to Scottsdale-based SkinSpirit Aesthetician and skin cancer survivor Kaylee Esplin, forgetting to apply SPF to your lips is no small thing.

“Don’t forget to protect your lips! Unfortunately I made poor choices as a teenager when it came to sun exposure, and have had skin cancer three times already (and I’m only 37 years old) - which is what led to my career as an aesthetician and fuels my passion for this topic,” says Kaylee.

“My first diagnosis was in 2016, a Basal Cell Carcinoma located on the cupid's bow portion of my upper lip - an area that most people forget to protect. It’s important to remember that even our lips are susceptible to sun damage and cancer!”

Luckily, more and more SPFs are catering to this need. Lip SPFs are popping up on the beauty shelves of all my favorite boutiques. I’ve snagged quite a few and have racked up some favorites.

To give you some guidance on what you should look for, Kaylee says to seek out:

  • Physical blockers: Look for sunscreens that contain zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, as they provide effective mineral protection and are generally well-tolerated by most skin types.
  • Broad-spectrum protection: You want a sunscreen that provides protection against both UVA and UVB rays (this is typically indicated on the label).
  • SPF value: Choose a sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30 or higher to ensure sufficient protection.

Armed with SPF expertise, there’s no excuse to skip your sunscreen this summer. To make it easier for myself, I pretty much keep an SPF lip screen and face spray everywhere I go — my bags, my car, my pockets.

Here are my favorite lip sunscreens:

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