A recent article suggested that there might be a downside to lip gloss's shiny benefits: Much like a magnifying glass, those goopy glosses can actually focus more of the sun's rays on lips. So is there any truth to the claim? Yes, there is -- but this story also serves as a great reminder of how easy it is to prevent this kind of damage.
Lips do not have sebum glands so they don't naturally produce oil like skin does -- the result is that lips can quickly become dry. Even more importantly, though, lips don't benefit from any of the natural protection of sebum, which makes them more susceptible to sun damage. The result? The degeneration of collagen and elastin -- which leads to a loss of lip fullness and increased lines -- and an increased risk of skin cancer.
The trouble is, many people only treat lips' dryness without considering the issue of sun damage. And what the article above has underscored is that shiny lip glosses can actually intensify the sun's rays -- slather it on without also considering SPF, and you're doing your pout a great disservice. For that matter, leave your lips entirely bare in the sun, and you're not much better off
But there is an easy solution: Use a lip gloss that includes SPF! Devoted to a particular sunscreen-free brand? Then pick up any number of inexpensive lip balms with sunscreen and reapply often. That way, you can use whatever lipstick or gloss you love and still protect your lips. Bonus points if you use a balm, gloss, or lipstick that also includes vitamin E, which is both a rich moisturizer and a powerful antioxidant that can fight whatever sun damage you do incur.