Why lip sunscreen is so important!
This is great. I’ve seen at least 4 patients in the last two weeks with problems on the lips with precancerous spots and skin cancers. This is a frequent problem. And it is PREVENTABLE!! Both lower lips and upper lips (which go all the way up to the nose) can develop skin cancers and pre-cancers (actinic keratoses), which is why you should use lip sunscreen.
How to spot problems on your lips?
- Spots on the lips or just above or below that persistently are red, pink or a little scaly? These can be tiny, even just a couple of millimeters.
- Areas, especially on the lower lips, where you’ve have “chapped lips” for longer than a month or two?
- Do you have spots that come and go but always come back in the same spot?
- Do you have spots that bleed easily, itch or just otherwise feel a little sensitive for longer than a month or two ?
If any of the above apply, please have your dermatologist check, or at least your primary care provider. If your doctor isn’t concerned and the spot persists, please seek a second opinion.
What NOT to do:
- If you are a lip licker (your friends and family can tell you :)), please stop, use a moisturizing lip product with sunscreen, and give them a month to heal. If they don’t heal, please see your doctor.
- Please don’t pull off scaly skin or pick!! It just keeps the area from healing properly.
- Please don’t procrastinate. A certain type of skin cancer on the lips – squamous cell carcinoma – can sometimes be fatal if left to grow.
- If you have “cold sores” and one lasts longer than a month, please get this checked by your doctor.
Good sunscreen products for the lips. There are several in the shop here:
- Put the sunscreen you put on your face every morning all the way over and on your lips too.
- The Jack Black is great for indoors and indoor work days.
- A more matte lipstick gives you a little protection but put a lip sunscreen over it.
- For high altitude sports like climbing, mountaineering, skiing… get the white climbers zinc at REI or another outdoor shop.
- We will be adding the new Colorscience lip product with zinc to the shop in July.
Hope this helps,