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Some spots of our body are more likely to burn by the sun like shoulders, forehead, lips, and hands though women are now more careful about their hands. We don’t forget to cover our face with sunscreen but most of the time we neglect SPF for lips.

But, lips have no oil glands, skin of the lips are very subtle, and they are also very dry-prone due to a slight change. And lower lip probably gets damaged easily than upper one.

If you continuously experience sun exposure, then you should take preventive measures. Otherwise, chronic sun damaged lips may experience pain and even skin cancer may be developed on untreated lips. Lower lips are also 12 times [S] more likely to pose skin cancer.

Anyway, there are many methods to treat, hydrate, and soothe sunburned lips while also preventing them from the future sun exposure.

Symptoms of sunburned lips

Normally mild sunburnt lips go away within 3-5 days. Some common signs of sunburned lips are:

  • Swollen lips
  • Blisters on the lips
  • Redder lips than normal
  • Feeling very tender lips

Use sunscreen for beautiful lips

Lip’s skin is very thinner. Besides, it is exposed to the sun rays all the time though you use sunscreen for your face. Applying a lip balm with SPF can protect your lips from sunburns in the future.

We eat, kiss, drink, or talk through our lips. Moreover, licking lips can also cause chapped lips. Reapplication of a chapstick is a nice habit to protect the lips from drying out. You need to reapply sunscreen frequently to your lips than other parts of the body to prevent sun damages to the lips.

There are now lots of SPF-rich lip balms, lip glosses or lipsticks that you can order online. Choose natural or organic ones, at least SPF 30 will effectively defend your lips from further suntan, spots, or burn.

Avoid these things if your lips are already sunburnt

When you experience swelling or blisters on the sunburned lips, don’t pop them. Petroleum based products steal heat from the sun to the skin that harms the lips further. Don’t use petroleum on your lips.

Some ingredients like benzocaine, lidocaine, or caine [S] may cause irritation, itchy skin, or allergic reactions to the skin. These ingredients are also not ingested. Read product label carefully to know about these components. And if you find them, then just avoid.

And don’t forget to talk to your doctor before taking any remedies.

Remedies to soothe sunburnt lips at home

Most of the time healing ointments work better to treat sunburned lips. Home remedies that you use for sunburn of the body may not be useful for lips as the things you put on lips may be ingested. Try these remedies for your sunburnt lips:

Moisturizing creams: Using some topical moisturizers (like Vanicream or CeraVe cream) to the damaged areas can soothe and protect your sunburnt lips while they are also being healed.

Anti-inflammatories: Some anti-inflammatory medications [S] can be taken to reduce pain, swelling, and redness of the sunburns. Such as – ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) can lessen pain from inside if you take them just after the sunburns.

Aloe vera: Aloe vera extract is anti-inflammatory, anti-aging, and anti-bacterial that helps mitigate pain, redness, and dryness associated with a sunburn. Apply some pure aloe gel to your lips from your garden and you will get a relief soon. If not, then buy an after-sun aloe vera bottle and store it in the refrigerator for more cooling effects. Buy those gels that are made with 100% aloe extracts.

Hydrocortisone 1% cream: If other treatment is not working then you can apply this cream. But don’t lick your lips as hydrocortisone will not be ingested.

Cold compress: Dip your washcloth in ice water and cover your lips with it for an immediate healing. Or rinse a soft washcloth in cold water and put it on the lips to remove hot temperature from the lips leaving them calm. But, don’t use ice directly on the sunburns.

Sunburns VS cold sores

Symptoms of cold sores (oral herpes) are not the same as the symptoms of lip blisters from the sunburns.

When you notice the sunburned or unprotected areas of the body from the sun exposure, you will see some small, white, fluid-filled bumps that are known as the sunburned blisters. More signs are:

  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Pain
  • Blisters caused from severe sunburn

Cold sores may also be occurred from the sunburns and they can be also triggered by other factors like cold or stress. Cold sores are little blisters filled with pus. And cold blisters are often feeling like itch, burn, or tingle. Treating cold sores may cause ulcer-like lesions.

When you need go to a doctor

In general, sunburned lips go away by using home remedies. But, if you experience some serious cases like rashes, swollen tongue, or severely swollen lips then you should look for a doctor for an emergency treatment.

These symptoms are something serious like allergic reactions that actually need a medical attention.

If you are not sure whether your lips are swollen up, then look at your one or both lips to see larger than normal. Or you may notice fat or painful lips. You may also feel difficulty in doing things like eating, drinking, talking, kissing or opening your mouth.


  • https://www.aad.org/public/everyday-care/injured-skin/burns/treat-sunburn
  • https://www.skincancer.org/blog/ask-the-expert-what-will-help-me-feel-less-nervous-about-my-lip-cancer/
  • https://www.healthline.com/health/pain-relief/otc-anti-inflammatories
  • https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sunburn/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20355928
  • https://www.skincancer.org/risk-factors/sunburn/

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