The Skincare Essential You’re Probably Not Using (But Should)

It’s no secret that our beauty routine changes during the warmer months. When the sun starts to beat down, we adjust the way we protect our skin, hair and eyes. But there’s one extremely important body part we often forget to defend: our lips.

According to Seattle-based dermatologist, Dr. Sonja Krejci MD, the omission of sun protection in lip care is one of the biggest beauty mistakes she sees on the job. She says, “The lips are very susceptible to sunburn and when this occurs repeatedly there may eventually be visual changes of sun damage or skin cancer.” She goes on to explain the effects of UV rays on our lips when left unprotected. “The appearance of the lips is affected by becoming freckled, thinner—due to loss of collagen— and there are also more fine and coarse lines/wrinkles around the lips,” she continues. “Precancerous changes or actinic cheilitis may appear as chronic areas of roughness and dryness.” She adds that, often, this specific kind of damage to our lips causes skin cancer that behaves more aggressively and is extraordinarily hard to treat.

So how can we stop the problem in its tracks or, better, before it starts? Well, Dr. Krejci has a few recommendations. She says, “While many pigmented lip products (i.e. lipsticks with color that are opaque on the lips) provide some protection against ultraviolet damage, most glosses or more transparent products do not unless they specifically have protective ingredients added.” But, no need to fret: “Fortunately the importance of shielding the lips from sun exposure and sunburn is increasingly recognized and there are many excellent lipsticks with SPF and sun protection,” she says. She suggests searching for a lipstick with a minimum SPF of 15, but preferably search for SPF 30. If you’re not looking for color, swap out your usual lip balm for an SPF-infused formula. Read on for Dr. Krejci’s favorite products to shade your lips from the summer sun.


Lip Shade

Sometimes simple is best. This no-frills lip balm works double duty by hydrating dry lips while protecting them from the sun. It's chalk-full of nourishing ingredients like zinc and vitamins C and E.

This formula was practically created for your summer adventures. It uses olive oil to leave your lips feeling silky smooth. Plus, it's water-resistant!

This lip balm provides broad-spectrum sun protection against those UVA rays (hello, SPF 50!) without any fragrance or flavor.

Not only does this product soothe and shield your lips, it's also hypoallergenic and cruelty-free. Coola blends raspberry and avocado butter to hydrate even the driest lips.

You'll want to keep this multi-purpose wonder in your beach bag all summer long. Use it to add a natural-looking pop of color to your lips or blend it on to your cheeks for that gorgeous sunny day flush (without the risk of a sunburn).

Need a little shimmer in your life? We do, too. This tinted lip treatment comes in a variety of colors, but we can't help but love this versatile nude hue.

Wait a second...it's a sunscreen and a lip gloss? Yes, please. This product aims to create fuller-looking lips, while protecting them from sun damage that can cause premature aging. We're into it.

Although it's formulated with broad-spectrum sun protection, you're going to want this lipstick in your makeup collection all year long. This rosey shade will keep your summer glow at its best, even when the season has passed.