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Thinking About Sun Protection? Don’t Forget Your Lips

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, studies show that .6 percent of all cancers in the U.S. occur on the lips, and men are especially at risk. The lower lip, which receives greater sun exposure, is especially vulnerable to squamous cell carcinoma, the second most common form of skin cancer. Protect your lips from sun damage with a lip balm, stick or gloss that has a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 15 or higher.

Many people remain unaware of how important consistent lip protection is. In a recent small study of 299 beachgoers, 94 percent demonstrated a high awareness of the risks of UV damage to the skin in general, but only 69 percent demonstrated a high awareness of risk factors specifically for lip cancer. Seventy percent used no lip protection, and even among those who otherwise properly applied sunscreen, only 37 percent used any lip protection.

Also, most people don’t apply lip protection properly. The actual SPF provided by lip blocks is almost always lower than the number on the package because the blocks are not applied thickly or frequently enough. So apply often — and generously.

Source: Skin Cancer Foundation

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