During the dog days of summer and moving into fall, it’s easy to fall short on safe sun practices—even when you know better. But the reality is that no body part is safe from the sun’s wrath, and one of the most important and overlooked areas for protection from harmful UV rays is the lips. Yes, even under a mask. That’s why a lip balm with SPF is a must-have for any makeup bag, says New York dermatologist Dr. Dennis Gross.
“Lips have no ability to produce a protective suntan, unlike other skin areas, so they’re prone to burning,” he explains, adding that oily balms and glosses attract more sun to the skin and increase radiation to boot. Over time, exposure can lead to a loss in volume, discoloration, the formation of fine lines—and worse. “Skin cancers on the lower lip are particularly dangerous because they can spread internally into the chest via the lymphatics vessels,” says Dr. Gross.
To safeguard your mouth during the sun-drenched months and beyond, there are a crop of shielding lip treatments that are impressively lightweight, free of chalky white residue, and don’t taste, well, icky. Tried-and-true favorites include Context’s soothing Lip Repair SPF, which nourishes thanks to ingredients such as aloe vera and rosemary extract, and Shiseido’s Sun Protection Lip Treatment, which contains 5% titanium dioxide sunscreen, yet smooths on easily and injects the lips with hydration. And whether you’re looking for a popsicle-stain-like wash, or something a little bolder, you don’t have to sacrifice color. Tinted formulas like Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Lip Protectant Stick or Fresh’s Sugar Lip Treatment deposit rich pigment along with a slew of moisturizing butters and antioxidant-packed oils. From the beach to your daily sanity walk, refresh your UV defense with a lip balm with SPF below.
Supergoop! Lip Shield Trio SPF 30
Housed in a trio of mini tubes perfect for stashing wherever it’s most convenient, this water-proof SPF 30 lip formula is laced with antioxidant-rich coconut, avocado, and grape seed oil.
Buy on Amazon
Clé de Peau UV Protective Lip Treatment SPF 30
As it provides broad-spectrum SPF 30 protection, this luxe treatment moisturizers and restores the mouth with smoothing mango extract, energizing Asian ginseng extract, and soothing scutellaria baicalensis root.
Buy at Saks Fifth Avenue
Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Lip Protectant Stick SPF 15
For a juicy dose of color, Elizabeth Arden’s sheer bullet comes in a slew of warm shades and features UV filters as well as emollient lanolin, healing beeswax, and free radical-fighting vitamin E.
Buy at SkinStore
Solid & Striped Shell Lip Balm SPF 45
With its silky gel wax texture, Solid & Stripe’s natural SPF 45 lip balm glides on smooth with plumping peptides, hydrating cactus flower, and anti-aging ginseng.
Buy on Revolve
Context Lip Repair SPF 30
Context’s water-friendly SPF 30 lip elixir moisturizes and riches with a laundry list of nourishing oils and antioxidant-packed vitamins A, B, and D.
Buy on Revolve
Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment Sunscreen SPF 15
Fresh’s cult SPF 15 lip balm boasts moisture-retaining sugar, meadow foam seed oil, and grapeseed oil, and is offered in a wide range of berry hues.
Buy at Sephora
Shiseido Sun Protection Lip Treatment SPF 35
Shielding the sun’s UV rays without any trace of white residue, Shiseido’s supercharged SPF 35 balm, which has the EWG seal of approval, enhances softness and luminosity with a boost of antioxidants.
Buy at Nordstrom