A slick of gloss my make your lips look kissable but experts say lip laquer makes UV rays hit harder, increasing the risk of skin cancer.
Not so glossy
Some dermatologists say that slathering on shiny lip gloss may increase your risk of developing skin cancer. Of course, any lip product that does not contain an SPF doesn't do anything to shield the thin skin on the lips from the damaging effects of the sun. However, it's the shininess of lip gloss that has experts suggesting it may be even more inviting to powerful UV rays.
"Lip glosses [without an SPF] can make more of the light rays penetrate directly through the skin instead of getting reflected off the skin's surface," says Dr Christine Brown, a dermatologist from Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas.
According to New York dermatologist Dr Bruce Robinson, the moisture in lip gloss also plays a part. Lips have a protective outer layer, but Dr Robinson says that hydrating lip glosses "kind of smoosh that down". And once that outer later is lessened, it's easier for UV rays to penetrate deep into the skin.
Sun damage can lead to potentially fatal forms of skin cancer, but that's not all the majority of cases of skin cancer on the lips are squamous cell carcinoma, which can also cause disfigurement if left untreated. In very few cases, it can even spread to other organs and become deadly.
Other side effects
Skin cancer and disfigurement aside (as if they're not bad enough!), experts also say there's a host of other nasties that can take up residency on your lips.
Actinic keratosis is a small, scaly patch of skin that if left untreated, can morph into a wart-like bump. Want more? Sun exposure can also cause small brown spots and while they're non-cancerous, they're still unsightly.
Add to this premature ageing and possible rips and tears and suddenly your luscious lips aren't looking quite so good. UV light also zaps skin's elasticity and this can sometimes prevent the upper and lower lips from lining up properly, which can cause saliva to collect in the corners of the mouth.
Our advice? When treating yourself to a new lippie, opt for one with SPF protection!