What to Look For in Lip Balms to Avoid Sunburn (and heal it!)

You may already know that sunscreen is a vital part of your skincare routine, but most of us tend to ignore our lips.

All parts of your body are vulnerable to sunburn and UV damage, but your lips are especially so because (1) their skin is only about 3 - 5 cells thick and (2) they are most exposed. On scale of 1 to paper cut, sunburned lips are "paper cut" on the pain and discomfort spectrum. The swollen, dehydrated, chapped lips make it uncomfortable to talk, eat, or even smile. Aside from causing painful swelling, the unprotected exposure to UV rays can raise your risk of skin cancer.

Since lips - and any exposed skin - can get sunburned at any time of the year, it's important to make lip balms for sunburned lips part of your daily routine. To ensure that they are doing their job in protecting and healing your lips, you will want to look for the following ingredients in you lip balms:

Zinc Oxide

Unlike chemical sunscreens that enter your skin barrier, Zinc Oxide is a mineral or physical sunblock that stays on top of your skin and scatters the sun's rays.

Benefits of Zinc Oxide

  • Zinc oxide is a broad-spectrum sunscreen ingredient that offers both UVA and UVB spectrum. It also offers moderate protection from blue light (HEV) that is emitted by screens. If you are always in front of a screen, consider getting a lip balm with zinc oxide and blueberry seed oil, which offers natural blue light protection.
  • Zinc oxide sunscreens sit on top of the skin, unlike chemical sunscreens that get absorbed into the skin. In addition to studies that link chemical sunscreens to hormone disruption and proliferation of cancer cells, chemical sunscreens can clog pores and increase acne breakouts.

  • Sunscreens containing zinc oxide are preferable for anyone suffering from melasma. This condition is triggered by the heat of the sun’s rays. Chemical sunscreens are absorbed into the skin, converting UV rays to heat and releasing sweat from the body, which can aggravate this skin condition.
  • Zinc oxide is generally tolerated by all skin types and tones.

Manuka Honey

  • Aside from being used in your tea, Manuka Honey is a potent ingredient for your skin. For centuries, it has been used for quickening wound healing due to its antimicrobial properties.
Sunburned lips often get chapped with micro-cuts in the sensitive skin, making them more prone to infections. Unlike alcohol-based antimicrobials (which you should absolutely avoid if you have sunburned lips), Manuka Honey protects your lips without further compromising the integrity of your skin or reducing it of moisture.

In fact, Manuka Honey helps hydrate your lips as it is a natural humectant. Humectants like hyaluronic acid, draw moisture into the tissue, keeping your skin hydrated and plump. Where there is water, tissue healing also quickens.

Natural Antioxidants + Anti-inflammatories

Sunburned lips exhibit painful inflammation due to sustaining UV damage. The best lip balm for sunburned lips will contain ingredients with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties such as:


As a potent anti-inflammatory, lavender is studied to reduce the healing time of wounds, including burns. Lip balms that contain therapeutic-grade lavender oil, like the one used in MOOD's CALM balm, can help you heal your sunburned lips faster.

CALM balm is also used by cosmetic injectors to decrease inflammation and bruising, as well as speed up healing after lip filler injections on their patients.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is a nourishing antioxidant that also helps the rest of the ingredients perform at their best. Antioxidants like Vitamin E, Coffee and Blueberry Seed oil are important to limit and heal UV damage to your cells.


CBD and its mother cannabinoid, CBG, are potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant ingredients used in lip balms aimed to reduce inflammation.

As an antioxidant, CBD captures free radicals and transforms them into inactive forms. Free radicals are atoms or molecules with unpaired valence electrons making them highly reactive. They cause oxidative stress, which triggers cell damage and is an underlying cause of cancer.
CBD neutralizes oxidative stress in the body preventing damage to body cells.

CBD also has anti-inflammatory properties. It helps relieve both chronic and acute inflammation of the lips.
If you want to heal your lips and prevent sun damage, use the best lip balms for sunburned lips that feature the ingredients above. All MOOD lip balms contain the ingredients above, as well as offer treatment-specific options like MOOD's #1 selling lip whitening balm.


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