Recently, one of my long time readers asked this question:
Christine, I'm having trouble finding a lip balm (preferrably a twist-up tube, with a glossy finish) that provides sun protection across the whole UVB, UVAII, and UVA1 spectrum. The UVAII protection is often lacking. What are you using?
I thought this was a great question, especially because I'm on the lookout for one myself! My usual SPF lip balm is down to a nub, and since I need some more, I thought this was a great answer to share with everyone.
Yes, there are a lot of lip balms out there with sun protection. But when you look at the list of active ingredients, you'll usually find that they haven't covered the entire UV spectrum. Given how thin lip epithelium is, I like to have a lot of protection on there.
I searched the lip products that offer sun protection at Drugstore.com, ULTA and Sephora. I looked at every lip product and quite a few of the stick sunscreens, though note that I went for sticks that mentioned lips, not just every stick sunscreen. After searching all 3 stores, I came up with this list of 7 products that offer full UV spectrum coverage. I haven't tried most of these, though the Coppertone is the one I usually use. (Note, most sunscreen companies slightly update their formulas year to year, at least according to all of the press releases I get each spring. I'm using last year's Coppertone lippie still and I do like it, it isn't too "sunscreen" but isn't glossy.)
1. Coppertone Sport Lip Balm, SPF 30
Avobenzone 3%, Octisalate 3%, Octocrylene 9.09%, Oxybenzone 5%
2. Margaritaville Parrot Head "Floridays" Moisturizing Lip Balm, SPF 50
Avobenzone 2%, Octisalate 4%, Octocrylene 10%, Oxybenzone 6%
3. Ocean Potion Suncare Moisturizing Lip Potion, SPF 45
Octinoxate, Octocrylene, Octisalate, Oxybenzone, Avobenzone
4. Hawaiian Tropic Moisturizing Lip Balm Sunscreen, SPF 45
Avobenzone 1%, Octocrylene 10%, Oxybenzone 6%
5. Solar Sense Clear Zinc Stick for Face & Lips, SPF 50, Green Tea & Aloe
Avobenzone (3%), Octinoxate (7.5%), Zinc Oxide (8%), Octocrylene (9%)
6. Burt's Bees Baby Bee Face & Body Sunscreen Stick, SPF 30
Titanium Dioxide 11.4%, Zinc Oxide 4.9%
7. ColorScience Sunforgettable Lip Shine SPF 35
5% Micronized Zinc Oxide
Have I missed your favorite SPF balm? Let me know what you use, I need a great one!