Sunburned lips can occur if exposed to the sun for extended periods, especially the lower lip.
What are the indications?
The signs of sunburned lips generally include:
- Swollen lips
- Reddened appearance of the lips
- Blisters on the lips
- Skin feels tender to the touch
A mild case of sunburn typically lasts for 3-5 days.
When to consult a doctor
In most cases, sunburned lips can be managed at home. On the other hand, it is vital to see a doctor if symptoms such as the following are present:
- Significantly swollen lips
- Swollen tongue
Remember that these symptoms might be an indication of an allergic reaction to the sun.
Management of sunburned lips
Sunburned lips can be managed with cooling and healing ointments. Some of the conventional remedies for sunburn on the body are not suitable for the lips. The reason for this is that the individual might ingest whatever is applied on the lips.
For sunburned lips, these remedies are useful:
- Cold compress – a soft washcloth must be rinsed with cold water and applied on the lips to relieve some of the warmth on the lips. Another alternative is to immerse the washcloth in ice water or milk. Take note that milk lowers the inflammatory response of the body.
- Aloe vera – this provides a soothing effect on the sunburned lips. If a plant is available, simply break off a stalk and squeeze the gel out and apply on the lips. There are also commercial variants available but make sure that a gel made of 100% aloe is applied on the lips.
- Sheet masks – paper and cloth sheet masks can also be used to soothe sunburned lips especially those that contain grape seed oil, shea butter, aloe or other natural oils
- Anti-inflammatories – an anti-inflammatory drug can be given to relieve the pain and redness linked with a sunburn.
- Moisturizers – adding moisture to the affected skin can help calm and allow healing of the skin damage.
- Hydrocortisone – it should only be applied on the outer borders of the lips. If used, the individual should take care not to lick his/her lips.
Sunburned lips can be prevented with proper protection by applying a lip balm or lipstick with SPF of at least 30. It must be reapplied frequently, usually every hour.
Quick Note / Disclaimer
The material posted on this page on sunburned lips is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn how it is managed, register for a first aid and CPR course with Vancouver First Aid.