Lip care is as essential as skin care and body — maybe even more! The skin on your lips is delicate and often ignored. Especially when it comes to prioritising sun protection, your lips suffer maximum damage — sunscreen for lips just hasn’t taken off as an idea yet. And no, just your collection of fruity lip balms are not going to cut it. In the long term, continuous sun exposure on lips can contribute to early signs of ageing and in some cases, even permanently misshapen lips (caused by lack of fresh blood flow).
Your lips can get sun damaged too and feel swollen and painful when they are burned. They can also turn red, feel sensitive on touch and develop small white blisters, which you should avoid popping at all costs. They are your body’s way of tying protect sun-damaged lips from external bacteria and give them time to heal.
Another indicator of a lip sunburn is that your bottom lip will feel much more sensitive than the top. Which is not the case when you're gorging on paani-puris and both lips feel like they’re on fire. Fortunately, even if you haven’t made a habit of using SPF for your lips or struggle dealing with sunburns, there are ways to fix that.
If you find yourself caught with a sunburned lip, there are simple solutions to it. First, protect your lips from direct sunlight for 3-5 days while it heals. As for relieving the inflammation and blistering, refrigerated fresh aloe is the best cure. You can also use yoghurt and a washcloth dipped in low fat cow’s milk as a makeshift lip mask.
It is necessary to take precaution while the sunburned lips are still in the active phase of damage, which means avoid any heat-trapping products to avoid further damage. Steer clear of your usual oil or petroleum-based balms during this time. Other irritants to be cautious of are the chemical exfoliators like retinol and AHAs. The rule of thumb being aloe, milk and yoghurt the only things to touch them during the active phase. Be careful about licking your lips too often; it can irritate the already sensitive patch of new skin.
Once the blisters are dry, keep moisturising your lips to add strength to the new skin barrier that is forming on them. Also, don’t pick at dry patches of skin, they will shed on their own.
How to prevent sunburned lips in the first place
Use an SPF-infused lip balm, like the Lakme Lip Love Chapstick in your beauty routine and avoid direct sun exposure as much as you can. It provides s 22-hour moisturisation and comes with an SPF of 15, taking care of all your lip protection needs. Also, make sure to use SPF-infused lips balm all year round and covering your lips up (with face scarves and hats) on super sunny days.