The alarming answer to the question of whether lip gloss could increase your chances of developing cancer seems to be “yes.” This is important news for gloss addicts everywhere, especially in light of the public’s increased awareness of skin cancer and the necessary precautions that must be taken in order to avoid it. Basically, if you’re not wearing a balm with sun protection underneath your lip gloss, you’re not just being negligent – you could actually be attracting harmful ultraviolet rays to your lips.
According to dermatologist Dr. Christine Brown, cited in the Washington Post, “What most people don’t realize is they’re actually increasing light penetration through the lip surface by applying something clear and shiny to them.” Whether or not densely pigmented glosses in darker shades are safer than clear or sheer glosses is debatable, but when it comes to your health, it’s best not to take any chances; stay safe and wear an SPF on your lips! Dr. Brown recommends a lip protectant with an SPF of 30 or higher if you’re planning to be exposed to the sun for more than 20 minutes. Be aware that many popular balms and glosses that contain sun protection have SPF’s of 20 or lower – a good start, perhaps, but not enough to provide the necessary protection. It can be a bit challenging to find lip care with an SPF of 30 or above, but there are options available if you look carefully, ranging from high-end department store products to far less expensive balms available at any drugstore.
Remember, the key to sun safety is to wear lip protection with an SPF of at least 30 on your lips at all times when you leave the house. With any luck, savvy companies will start developing pretty glosses with higher levels of sun protection, but until then, take care to slap on a coat of balm underneath your lip color and reapply frequently throughout the day.
You should also adopt the habit of regularly checking your lips for possible cancer warning signs, just as you monitor your moles and the rest of your skin. Warning signs of lip cancer may include changes to the color of your lips, persistent peeling or flaking of a particular spot on your lip, a sore on the lip that refuses to heal, and any sort of unexplained bleeding, pain or numbness on your lips or mouth. Protect yourself and pay attention to your body! It could save your life.