Lip gloss fiends, it’s time to tweak your habit. Habitually slathering on the stuff multiple times a day, without any SPF protection, can significantly increase your risk of developing lip cancer.
Lips are already vulnerable because of regular, direct exposure to sunrays, and the lacquered lip trend only magnifies the hazard, says dermatologist Jeanine M. Downie, M.D., who says she has seen an uptick in skin cancer of the lip among women in her Montclair, N.J., practice.
Dr. Downie recommends wearing a lip balm containing sunscreen underneath lip color, or choosing a shade with a built-in SPF. Steer clear of lip products that offer single digit sun protection (it isn’t sufficient!), and opt instead for an SPF 15 or higher and make sure to reapply adequately and often to get the full benefit.
Another reason to skip the glassy glean: A number of experts contend that loading up on lip gloss can actually intensify potential cancer-causing radiation. “The shiny reflective finish of lip gloss creates a mirror-like prism that strengthens sunrays like a magnifying glass,” explains Downie.
The Skin Cancer Foundation reports that 81 percent of lip cancers appear on the lower lip and one’s risk escalates with cumulative exposure. Bottom line: Find a lip balm or lipstick with SPF 15+ and apply liberally whenever you’re outside this summer (and all year round!).