The next time you apply sunscreen before heading out for some fun in the sun, don’t forget about another crucial part of your skin: your lips.

It’s true: Even your lips need protection when soaking up the sun, which is why it’s crucial that you frequently apply lip balm that offers SPF protection. Why? Because your lips are made up of a very thin layer of skin, which contains little melanin1 – the pigment that helps protect skin against the sun – making them just as prone to skin cancer as the rest of your body. Additionally, the vermillion – the red part of the lips – is typically always exposed to the sun.2

Can I really get skin cancer on my lips?

Your lips can be home to two of the most common forms of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma.2 For this reason, it’s extremely important that you protect your lips the same way you do the rest of your skin.

Ways to help protect your lips from harmful damage caused by the sun3-4

  • Use lip balm with SPF 15, or higher, every day
  • Apply SPF lip balm frequently throughout the day
  • Avoid shiny lip glosses & baby oil – these may attract the sun
  • Keep your lips moisturized


1 – Whitmore, E. (no date). How are lips different than other skin areas? [How Stuff Works – Health web log post]. Retrieved August 15, 2015 from

2 – Stebbins, W., Hanke, C. W.  (no date). Lip Cancer: Not uncommon, often overlooked [Skin Cancer Foundation web post]. Retrieved August 15, 2015 from

3 – Salisbury, M. (no date). Is SPF important in lip products? [How Stuff Works – Health web log post]. Retrieved August 15, 2015 from

4 – Goldman, A. (June 14, 2013). The best way to soothe sunburned lips [Women’s Health web log post]. Retrieved August 15, 2015 from


Sitavig should not be used in patients with known hypersensitivity to acyclovir, milk protein concentrate, or other components of the product.

Sitavig has not been studied in pregnant women or in immunocompromised patients and no interaction studies have been performed. Sitavig’s safety and efficacy have not been established in pediatric patients.

Sitavig is a Pregnancy Category B product; therefore it should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit outweighs the potential risk to the fetus. It is not known if Sitavig is excreted in breast milk; however, systemic absorption is minimal.

In a controlled clinical trial Sitavig’s most common side effects (greater than or equal to 1%) were: headache (3%), dizziness (1%), lethargy (1%), gingival pain (1%), aphthous stomatitis (1%), application site pain (1%), application site irritation (1%), erythema (1%) and rash (1%). In the same trial these side effects ranged from 0%-3% for placebo.

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