by Cassie Monroe, Daily Vidette Staff Writer
Dermatologists say shiny lip glosses may cause some types of skin cancer.
Although this is still a theory, research has proven why this might occur. The sun’s UV rays are attracted to reflective surfaces, so the sheen in lip gloss causes them to strike harder.
However, some dermatologists disagree with this theory.
“It’s a theory and that’s about all there is to it. You can’t get anymore UV penetration in an area with gloss on it, it won’t increase radiation, but something like a magnifying glass would,” Dr. Kent Taulbee, a dermatologist in Bloomington, said.
Exposing the lips to too many UV rays can cause Actinic Keratosis, also known as “farmer’s lip,” “sailor’s lip,” or “sun spots.” AKs are a small, scaly patch of skin. AKs are known as the earliest stage of skin cancer, and if left untreated will develop into a wart-like bump, and eventually skin cancer known as Squamous Cell Carcinoma.
In 2008 a study estimated there were 3,500 new cases of skin cancer every year. Ninety percent of those cases were Squamous Cell Carcinoma.
This is not a particularly serious type of cancer, but when found on the lips it is especially aggressive to treat. If left untreated it can cause disfigurement, or in some cases can spread to other organs and cause death.
In an article from MSNBC, a dermatologist from Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, Dr. Christine Brown claims lip gloss can attract light rays and make them penetrate directly through skin and not just bounce off.
People who wear lip gloss are encouraged to buy a product that has some sort of SPF associated with it. Unfortunately, very few brands come with an adequate amount of protection to be beneficial.
“No, I wouldn’t keep using [lip gloss]. It wouldn’t make sense to me to use something that could have such bad effects,” Liz Nelligan, junior journalism major, said.
In addition to skin cancer, sun damage can also cause premature aging. Lips have a small, thin layer of skin that once damaged can rip and tear very easily. UV rays also cause skin to lose its elasticity, resulting in sagging and wrinkles. This loss of elasticity can cause the lips to not line up properly.
The additional moisture in the lip gloss is also to blame for making the lips vulnerable to UV rays. The thick wet gloss weighs down on the lips’ natural protective layers. Once these layers have been weighted down, it’s easier for the sun to penetrate and cause damage.
Some dermatologists recommend people use lip protection of at least SPF 30. Of the lip glosses that have SPF, the highest is usually only 15.
If people choose to wear lip gloss, dermatologists recommend them to wear SPF under the lip gloss to ensure protection.