Thursday, May 01, 2008

ChapNews Volume 15: Gloss Increases Cancer Risk

One of the reasons we always mention if a tube has SPF is because it's incredibly important to protect your lips when you're out in the sun, and there's not better way than SPF. Well, until they invent lip hats, that is.

It's no secret that shirking sunscreen will leave your skin vulnerable to UV rays, which could potentially cause skin cancer. Your lips have even less protection than the rest of your skin does- they lack the pigment, hair and thickness of body skin, making them especially susceptible to damage. Turns out that using lip gloss, or anything that increases lip shine, can increase the risk of cancer. This MSNBC article states:

Some dermatologists say that slathering on shiny lip glosses can actually increase your risk of developing skin cancer. Of course, wearing any lip product without SPF doesn’t exactly shield the thin skin from sun damage. But the slick, shiny nature of the gloss could be making the sun’s UV rays hit harder, some experts say.

“These lip glosses can make more of the light rays penetrate directly through the skin instead of getting reflected off of the skin’s surface,” says Dr. Christine Brown, a dermatologist at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas. (You're covered, however, if you wear lip gloss with SPF.)

At worst, say some dermatologists, the resulting sun damage can lead to potentially fatal forms of skin cancer. An estimated 3,500 new cases of skin cancer of the lips are diagnosed each year, and 90 percent of those cancers are squamous cell carcinoma. While that form of cancer isn't usually particularly serious, it can be more aggressive on the lips than on other parts of the skin. If left untreated, it can cause disfigurement, and in very few cases, it can spread to other organs and become deadly.

So if you use lip balm or gloss, make sure it has SPF, or that you apply a layer of something with SPF underneath. Read the whole article to find out what can happen if you don't.


Blogger Keith said...

ya i heard about this the other day..i told my gf about it so that she would know..definitely makes since to me

5:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's terrible. The SPF in lip balms irritate my lips so I try to avoid spf. (They cause cold sores to flare up). I wonder if there are different spf ingredients and I'm only sensitive to one kind hopefully.

8:46 PM  

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