The hidden dangers of lip gloss

Filed under: Just For Moms, Health & Safety: Babies, In The News

My 7-year-old is crazy for the lip gloss. She can be convinced to wear lip balm, but prefers the shiny wet look that can only be achieved through the liberal application of gooey, flavored lip gloss. If it has sparkles in it, even better. The resulting shimmery pout is inappropriate enough on a little girl, but there's an even better reason to toss all that stuff in the trash: lip gloss can be hazardous to your health.

Some dermatologists say that not only does lip gloss not protect your lips from the harmful UV rays of the sun, it can actually make those rays even more damaging. If your gloss has SPF, then you needn't worry. But many of them - even those pricey brands - do not. Dermatologist Bruce Robinson says the shine of the gloss acts like a magnifying glass between the sun and your lips and the moisture in the gloss "kind of smooshes" down the natural protective outer layer, allowing those UV rays to penetrate even deeper into the skin.

"Instead of having to travel through that thicker layer, it's more condensed," Robinson says. "So the UV rays are reaching deeper layers of epidermis and dermis because you don't have this forcefield."

And while skin cancer is a very real concern when you're talking UV rays and skin, it isn't the only one. Too much exposure can result in non-cancerous disfigurement of your lips, including actinic keratosis (a small, scaly patch that can turn into a wart-like bump) and lip freckling. Nothing sparkly and pretty about that.

Not all dermatologists agree there is a connection between lip gloss and skin cancer but I am a firm believer in erring on the side of caution. They do make lip gloss with SPF protection, so why not use it?

Lip Gloss with SPF(click thumbnails to view gallery)

e.l.f. Super Glossy Lip Shine SPF 15, GoddessDew Grape Seed Age Protecting Lip Gloss SPF 15Energizing Pomegranate Lip Protector SPF 15Revlon Super Lustrous Lip GlossSummer Fever SPF 6 Lip Balm

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.