What to Do For a Lip Sunburn - Holladay Family Dental
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What to Do For a Lip Sunburn

What to Do For a Lip Sunburn

Have you ever spent the day slathering on sunscreen as you enjoyed one of the great outdoor activities northern Utah has to offer. Perhaps while you hiked, swam, or went boating? Have you ever returned home, relieved that your efforts paid off, that you don’t have a sunburn, only to find that your lips feel tender, dry, and red? When preventing sunburns, it’s easy to focus on our noses, arms, and legs, and to completely forget about our lips.

 It’s important to focus on preventing burns on our lips just like on any other part of our body. Our lips can burn and can show signs of premature aging like wrinkles from them. We can also get cancer on our lips. Ouch! 
How do we prevent sunburns?

It’s simple, really. We just need to keep sunscreen on our lips when we are outside. Many chapsticks and other lip products have some sun protection built in. Most chapsticks are SPF 15. If you look for it, you can find some brands with SPF up to 30. 
Putting on chapstick with sunscreen is a healthy habit that is easy to do but can really pay off. This simple, daily habit can keep your smile looking great. 
What are the symptoms of a lip sunburn? 
  •  Redder than usual 
  • Swollen 
  • Tender to the touch 
  • Small white blisters 

How long does a sunburn last?

A mild sunburn usually lasts 3-5 days. 
How do I treat a lip sunburn? 
You don’t need emergency dental care when you get a bad sunburn on your lips. There are several simple things you can do at home to relieve your symptoms. 
  •  Put a cold compress on your lips.
     Get a washcloth and rinse it in cold water or milk and put it on your lips. You can sook the cloth again and reapply if you are still feeling heat. The milk can actually help with inflammation. Avoid putting ice directly on your lips. You could also try putting chilled potato slices or lettuce to cool and soothe your lips. 
  •  Aloe Vera can soothe and heal lips just like it can for the rest of the body.
    Use aloe vera directly from the plant or use an after-sun aloe vera gel that is 100% aloe vera. You can even store aloe vera gel in the refrigerator to increase its cooling, soothing effect. 
  • Take anti-inflammatories such as Ibuprophen (Advil, Motrin) which can reduce swelling and pain. 
  • Use moisturizers
    Moisturizers on your skin when the heat is gone.
    Adding moisture can help skin to heal. Aquaphor is a good moisturizer as is coconut oil, almond oil, and vitamin E. It’s important to wait until you don’t feel any heat in your lips to put on the moisturizer, so heat isn’t trapped in your skin.

Treatments to Avoid

  • Avoid any products with lidocaine in them. Lidocaine is a numbing agent that shouldn’t be ingested.
  •  If you have blisters, avoid popping them. This can slow down the healing process and make you more susceptible to infection. 
  • Avoid any products with Vaseline or petroleum jelly. These types of products can trap heat in your skin and make your skin take longer to heal.