Can UV Rays Cause Chapped Lips? The Best and Worst Vegan-Cruelty Free Lip Balms

Upon dehydration, dry weather, sun damage, or vitamin deficiencies - chapped lips, also known as cheilitis, can become a common problem. Chapped lips feel like stinging, burning, or dryness of the lips. Chapped lips can cause great discomfort as lip skin is made from stratified squamous epithelium which is much thinner and more delicate. When our skin’s lips are exposed to the elements, including the sun, they can crack, flake, and peel. While the lips lack oil glands and are likewise, are more prone to dryness, moisturizers are helpful. While lip skin is indeed similar to other structures on the face, it’s not very helpful to use lotion because you need something that is a moisturizing emollient but also leaves a water-tight occlusive layer preferably with SPF.

Your lips can indeed burn, but sun damage can occur without sunburn, and therefore, so can lip dryness. Prolonged exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays can cause harsh damage to the lips and lead to dryness and cracking. As UV ray intensity tends to be the highest during summer months, lips can actually become, swollen, dry, and chapped in this situation too. 

Thus, the sun can produce premature fine lines and wrinkles as well on your lips. You’ve probably seen those lip lines, especially in smokers. But, not only can UV rays cause sunburning and dryness, they can cause lip cancer as well. If your lips are crusty or fissured, be sure to go to a dermatologist, and get it checked out to make sure that it is not a form of cancer. We want to stay safe,  so we’re sharing some of our favorite vegan and cruelty-free lip products with SPF. These are some lip SPFs that Cassandra has tried. 

Elta MD Lip Balm Broad Spectrum SPF 31 - $11.50


When it comes to protection, this one is great. It has octinoxate (a UV filter), zinc oxide, and a blend of those chemicals organic, mineral, and inorganic filters. However, as you slather it on your lips, the taste is slightly strange. Moreover, it leaves a bit of a pasty, purplish tent. The tent isn’t terrible, and some sunscreens do that, but Cassandra says she feels the need to conceal the tent and make it look prettier. So, if you have more melanated lips, this is not going to be for you. But, if you have lips that are naturally pale or perhaps have a purplish, bluish undertone, this might be good for you. This one is the best in price-point, but the lowest and performance.

Jane Iridale Lipdrink Lip Balm SPF 15 - $17


This lip SPF offers more of a buttery application similar to chapstick. It comes in various shades, but the translucent one doesn’t leave the lips looking pasty. It can give off of pinkish/purplish SPF color, but it’s still sheer and definitely not overwhelming. Although this has the smoothest texture, it’s only an SPF 15. So, you do have to reapply, but when you do, it doesn’t make your lips feel even drier or peel. As mentioned before, they have lip balms that are in color, but the tintless one is Cassandra’s go-to. It’s lip-perfecting, and the ingredients have carrot, avocado, and green tea. So, the balm offers a lot of antioxidants  that help fight off free radicals from UV rays as well. All in all, this balm is potent and deeply conditions the lips in addition to making them feel hydrated, moisturized, and soothed. 

Colorescience Sunforgettable Total Protection Color Balm SPF 50 in Berry -  $30

Cassandra absolutely loves this one. It’s an SPF 50, but surprisingly, it doesn’t leave a weird pasty look on the lips. This is because it’s tinted. Cassandra’s choice is the color “berry,” and like one of those SPF sun sticks, you can actually use this on your eyes as an eyeshadow or on your cheeks as SPF makeup. Cassandra just uses this balm on her lips. It’s very potent, and out of all three, it gives the highest amount of coverage. It’s a beautiful color, but it doesn’t go on as buttery as the jane Iredale balm. However, it’s not as greasy as the Elta MD one either. It just gives the feeling of having nice, hydrated lips. Although a wonderful and beautifully-colored product, it’s not a matte touch or all-day wear. Despite how the balm transfers onto surfaces, it still offers the best protection and contains nourishing ingredients like jojoba oil, squalane, vegan waxes, and a few of those silicone ingredients. So, the balm sits very nicely on the lip, and it doesn’t feel overly sticky.

In addition to trying out some of these products, please stay hydrated beautiful butterflies!