What can you do for swollen sunburned lips? In short, to alleviate the swelling and discomfort of sunburned lips, one should apply lip balm with SPF, take over-the-counter pain medication, and keep the area hydrated by drinking water.
Swollen Sunburned Lips: What to Do
Sunburned lips can be a painful and unsightly condition, characterized by red, swollen, and tender lips. The skin on the lips is thin and delicate, making them more susceptible to sun damage than other areas of the body.
In this article, we will discuss the causes of sunburned lips, the symptoms to look out for, and the best treatment options to help you get relief.
Causes of Sunburned Lips
The primary cause of sunburned lips is exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun. The sun produces two types of UV rays: UVA and UVB. Both types can cause sunburn, but UVB rays are more likely to cause sunburned lips.
There are several factors that can increase your risk of sunburned lips, including:
- Not wearing sun protection: Sunscreen and lip balm with SPF can help protect your lips from the sun’s rays, but many people forget to apply these products or do not apply them enough.
- Outdoor activities: Spending time outdoors, especially during peak sun hours (from 10 am to 4 pm), increases your risk of sunburned lips.
- Reflective surfaces: Water, sand, and snow can all reflect the sun’s rays, increasing your risk of sunburned lips.
- Medications: Certain medications, such as antibiotics and blood pressure medications, can increase your sensitivity to the sun and make you more susceptible to sunburned lips.
Symptoms of Sunburned Lips
The symptoms of sunburned lips can vary depending on the severity of the burn. Common symptoms include:
- Red, swollen, and tender lips
- Pain or a burning sensation
- Peeling or flaking of the skin on the lips
- Blisters or sores on the lips
- Increased sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures
Treatment of Sunburned Lips
Treatment for sunburned lips focuses on relieving pain and inflammation and preventing infection. Here are a few treatment options to consider:
Home Remedies for Swollen Sunburned Lips
Using a cold compress or ice pack: Applying a cold compress or ice pack to sunburned lips can help to reduce inflammation and soothe the burn.
To make a cold compress, simply wrap a few ice cubes in a clean cloth or use a store-bought ice pack. Hold the compress on the affected area for 10-15 minutes at a time, and repeat as needed.
Applying Aloe Vera: Gel Aloe vera gel is known for its soothing and healing properties and can be effective in treating sunburned lips. The gel can be found in many drugstores or can be extracted directly from the aloe vera plant.
Apply a small amount of aloe vera gel to the sunburned lips several times a day to help reduce inflammation and promote healing.
Using Lip Balm with SPF: Applying a lip balm with SPF can help to protect your lips from further sun damage. Look for a lip balm with at least SPF 15 and apply it to your lips before going outside. It is important to reapply the lip balm every 2 hours and after eating or drinking.
Drinking Plenty of Water: Staying hydrated is important for healing sunburned lips. Sunburn can cause the skin to dry out, so it’s important to drink plenty of water to help keep the skin hydrated.
Aim for at least 8-10 glasses of water a day to help the healing process. Additionally, you can also drink fruit juices and eat fruits that are high in water content like watermelon, cucumber, etc.
Over-the-Counter Medications for Swollen Sunburned Lips
Anti-inflammatory Pain Relievers: Taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or naproxen, can help to reduce pain and inflammation associated with sunburned lips. It’s important to follow the dosage instructions on the packaging and not exceed the recommended amount.
Hydrocortisone Cream: Hydrocortisone cream is a mild steroid that can be applied to sunburned lips to help reduce inflammation and itching. It’s best to use a small amount and apply it gently to the affected area, avoiding the inside of the mouth.
Lip Moisturizer or Lip Balm with a Numbing Agent: Lip moisturizers or lip balms that contain a numbing agent, such as lidocaine, can be used to provide temporary relief from the pain and discomfort associated with sunburned lips.
These products can be found over the counter at most drugstores. It’s important to follow the instructions on the packaging and not exceed the recommended amount.
Prescription Treatments for Swollen Sunburned Lips
Taking prescribed oral medication to reduce inflammation and pain: In cases of severe sunburn, a healthcare provider may prescribe an oral medication such as ibuprofen or naproxen to help reduce pain and inflammation.
These medications are known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and work by blocking the production of certain chemicals in the body that contribute to pain and inflammation.
Applying a prescribed topical cream or ointment for severe sunburn: For severe sunburn, a healthcare provider may also prescribe a topical cream or ointment to help reduce pain and inflammation.
These medications may contain ingredients such as hydrocortisone, which is a steroid that helps to reduce inflammation, or other ingredients such as lidocaine, which is a numbing agent.
Consult a dermatologist for more severe cases of sunburn: In cases where sunburn is severe or is accompanied by complications such as blisters or infection, it’s important to seek medical attention from a dermatologist. A dermatologist can provide treatment for severe sunburn, as well as provide advice on how to prevent future sunburns.
They can also help to identify any underlying skin conditions that may have contributed to the sunburn and provide the appropriate treatment for those conditions.
Overall, swollen, sunburned lips can be a real pain, but with the right care and precautions, you can speed up the healing process and keep your lips healthy and protected in the future.