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Your lips need sun protection, too — dermatologists tell us why

Pucker up for these protective SPF lip balms.
TODAY Illustration / Supergoop / Pharmaca
/ Source: TODAY

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If you've ever had a sunburn in a strange place, like the part in your hair or the tops of your toes, you know all too well how hard it can be to remember to apply sunscreen everywhere it needs to go.

Even once you think you've covered all of your sunscreen bases, it's important to give your lips some special attention as well by coating your kisser thoroughly with a lip balm with SPF.

Why do you need SPF for your lips?

"Lips are often left without sunscreen," Dr. Paul Jarrod Frank, a cosmetic dermatologist and author of "The Pro-Aging Playbook," told Shop TODAY. "We are seeing an increase of skin cancer and precancerous conditions that happen with excessive sun exposure and typically show up around the corners of the mouth."

Frank warns skin cancer on or around the lip can be tough to treat because there isn't a lot of excess tissue to play with in the area, making it essential to use that SPF lip balm to protect your skin.

"Using sunscreen on your lips is so important for preventing surgical procedures that could leave you with a scar," he added.

What type of sunscreen do I need for my lips?

"I typically recommend a sunscreen that is specific for the lips, which has zinc and an SPF of 30," Frank said. "Like all sunscreens, you need to reapply every two to three hours, and if you exercise or are drinking, you may need to reapply a little more frequently."

According to board-certified dermatologist Dr. Peter Young, your lips need SPF under your lip color, too.

"It may be more convenient to use lipstick containing SPF, which is readily available at most department stores and pharmacies," he suggested.

What's the best way to treat lip sunburn?

If you develop a sunburn around the corners of your lips, Young recommends applying "cool water to your lips followed by petroleum jelly a few times daily to lock the moisture in your lips. Drinking plenty of water will also help to rehydrate your lips."

While the lips can recover quickly from a sunburn, usually within three to five days, Young advised in avoiding leisure time outdoors during your healing period.

"You can apply over-the-counter hydrocortisone ointment or cream two to three times daily to help relieve some of the discomforts," he suggested. "Aspirin or NSAIDs (i.e., Ibuprofen, Aleve) may help reduce the redness, swelling, and discomfort."

To keep your lips safe and pain-free, we've rounded up several effective SPF lip balms to pick up before your next pool day or beach vacation under the sun.

SPF lip balms to shop

Neutrogena Revitalizing Lip Balm

Add a hint of color while protecting your lips with this reliable lip balm. Neutrogena's formula adds a healthier-looking shine to your smile with six moisturizing shades.

EltaMD UV Lip Balm BroadSpectrum SPF 36

This UV lip balm from EltaMD contains SPF 36 protection with water-resistant properties to keep your lips ultra-hydrated. The combination of zinc oxide, antioxidants and vitamins C and E offer conditioning and long-lasting moisture.

Aquaphor Lip Repair Lip Balm with Sunscreen

Chapped lips and dry mouth? Hydrate your kisser with this lip balm containing shea butter, vitamin E and castor seed oil. The sunscreen is great for swimmers that need to keep their skin safe under the sun.

"It does not feel greasy on the lips and did a great job of moistening," added one verified buyer.

Zealios LipGuard SPF 28

This inexpensive lip balm will make your lips super soft thanks to the added shea butter, coconut and jojoba oils. The SPF balm has a lip applicator that's easy to use and the best part is that the formula is reef-safe.

Jack Black Intense Therapy Lip Balm SPF 25

Heal any lip discomfort with this lip balm from Jack Black formulated with shea butter and avocado oil. Your skin might feel irritated due to sun exposure, but this balm will refresh your smile with its green tea extract, vitamin E and ginger combo.

Kiehl's Butterstick Lip Treatment SPF 30

Get a taste of the tropics with this lip treatment from Kiehl's. The small product is nourishing enough for those days when you need a pop of color with protection. The formula provides 12-hour protection and SPF 30 in different tint shades.

Burt's Bees 100% Natural All-Weather SPF 15

No matter if it's winter or summer, Burt's Bees formula is 100 percent effective against ultraviolet harm. This lip balm will care for your pucker and revitalize your lips.

"Not only does this chapstick protect against sunburn and windburn, but it’s worked great for little kids that suck their bottom lip," added one Amazon shopper.

Skin Authority SkinSuit Lip

This sheer, hydrating SPF 30 lip balm contains natural botanicals said to hydrate and minimize lip lines. It'll also shield your pucker from pollutants, blue light and activity-induced heat.

Supergoop Play Lip Balm with Acai

Made with moisturizing shea butter, this SPF 30 balm locks in hydration and protects lips from the sun. Other natural ingredients like honey and sunflower seed oil also shields from outlying environmental damage.

Supergoop Play Lip Shield Trio

One for your purse, one for your beach bag and one to take poolside! Another winner from Supergoop, this three-pack of moisturizing SPF 30 lip balm is made with coconut, avocado and grape seed oil. It's also water- and sweat-resistant for up to 80 minutes of activity.

Sun Bum Lip Balm

Loaded with moisturizing ingredients like aloe and vitamin E, this inexpensive sunscreen balm provides lasting protection that heals and nourishes lips while you wear it.

Supergoop Lipscreen

Swap out your normal lip gloss for this SPF lip balm during the summer! Designed to slide over any lip color or bare lips, this 100 percent invisible, gloss-style Supergoop balm packs SPF 40.

Banana Boat Sport Ultra Sunscreen Lip Balm

Recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation, this Banana Boat balm offers broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection and moisturization for up to 12 hours. With a two-pack of this SPF 40 balm, you'll be covered at the beach and the pool!

Coola Mineral Liplux Balm

Choose from five shades of this tinted SPF 30 lip balm, which contains organic cupuaçu butter and mongongo oil to keep lips smooth and help prevent signs of aging.

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