Protect Your Lips from the Sun

Summertime is here! It’s time to get out there and enjoy some of your favorite “fun in-the-sun” activities, but remember to use sunscreen to protect your skin from those harmful rays. However, one commonly forgotten body part that also needs UV protection is our lips. The skin on the lips is thinner and more vulnerable than the rest of our bodies. Sun exposure destroys collagen, so it thins the lips even more over time.

Use Lip Balm to Protect Your Lips

Just the same as applying regular sunscreen prevents future sagging and aging of the skin on your face and body, sunscreen should be applied to the lips as well. Use a good lip balm with a broad-spectrum sunscreen to help protect your lips from the sun’s damaging rays.

Choose a lip balm with an SPF of at least 15 (preferably 30+) and apply it about 30 minutes before you go out in the sun. Keep it on hand and reapply every 2 to three hours, or even more frequently when swimming. Keep in mind that shiny lip-gloss attracts light, which increases exposure and increases the chance of developing skin cancer.

Sunburned Lip Care

If you do happen to get sunburned on your lips, apply petroleum jelly to keep them moist and keep sun exposure to a minimum until your lips are completely healed. It only takes a few simple steps to ensure protection and care for your skin and lips. By doing so, you will still be able to enjoy some of your favorite outdoor activities through the summer months without worrying about any negative effects.

As always, stay on top of your dental exams and cleanings. Palm Harbor Premier Dental provides complete exams, which includes oral cancer screening. Give us a call for your next dental visit at (813) 289 – 0560. We look forward to hearing from you!


Signs and Symptoms

Oral cancer can occur on the inside or outside of the mouth. It can be on the lips, inside the mouth, tonsils, salivary glands or the back of the throat. Oral cancer may require surgery, radiation therapy, or chemotherapy treatment. If it is not detected early, it can also be fatal. Recognizing early symptoms is the key to successful treatment.

See your dentist if you notice any of the following symptoms:

  • A sore on your lips or inside the mouth that bleeds easily and doesn’t heal
  • An unexplained pain inside your mouth or ear
  • A lump on your cheek that you can feel with your tongue
  • A lump on your neck
  • A white or red patch on the gums, tongue, tonsil, or inside cheeks
  • A persistent sore throat or feeling that something is caught in the throat
  • Difficulty chewing or swallowing food
  • Numbness of the tongue or mouth
  • Changes in voice or slurred speech


Oral Cancer Risk Factors

Tobacco and alcohol use have been linked to oral cancer. Heavy alcohol use along with cigarette smoking together poses a much greater risk of developing oral cancer than either substance used alone. The sexually transmitted disease human papillomavirus, or HPV, has been linked to certain oral cancers. Age is another factor. Your risk of oral cancer increases with age, mostly affecting those over 40. Sun exposure can play a role, such as cancers of the lip. A diet low in fruits and vegetables may be a contributor as well. Eating a healthy diet, not smoking tobacco, and limiting alcohol consumption will significantly lower your risk of developing oral cancer.

Regular Dental & Medical Checkups

You will not always be able to spot the earliest warning signs of oral cancer, which is why regular check-ups with both your dentist and doctor are so important. Your dentist is trained to detect early warning signs of oral cancer so keeping up with your routine dental checkups is imperative. If you don’t have a regular dentist, we would like to invite you to come visit Palm Harbor Premier Dental for your dental exam and cleaning. Call us at (813) 289 – 0560.






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