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When applying sunscreen, there’s one important area of the face that requires some special attention: the lips.

According to Kiehl’s global consulting dermatologist Dr. Meghan O’Brien, there are several reasons why the lips are vulnerable to UV damage. O’Brien explains that the lips’ epidermis, the outermost layer of the skin, is thinner than other areas of the body, offering less protection and fewer pigment-producing cells that help protect skin from DNA damage. Plus, they’re subject to chronic sun exposure. “Even in the winter months, we’re still getting that UV exposure,” O’Brien says. “Similar to how we can get skin cancer on normal skin, this special area is also very prone to sun damage, which leads to DNA damage, which leads to skin cancer.”

How to choose a sunscreen that’s best for your health and the environment

To protect lips from sun damage with a lip product containing SPF, O’Brien recommends reapplying regularly and after eating, drinking, swimming or sweating and before heading outdoors. She also stresses the importance of applying enough of your sun protection. “We know from studies of sunscreen use in general that the amount of product that you use does matter,” she says. “Make sure that you like the product you’re using so you’re willing to layer it on.”

Kiehl’s Butterstick Lip Treatment SPF 25, $26 at select Kiehl’s stores and through kiehls.ca.

Need some advice about your skin and hair care routines? Send your questions to ritual@globeandmail.com