Sunburnt Lips: Swollen, Healing Time, How to Get Rid, Pictures, vs Cold Sore

Cold sore or sunburnt lips? Get insights on sunburn lips, swollen, healing time, how to get rid and treatment.

Sunburnt Lips Meaning

Lips can also be damaged by the ultraviolet rays from the sun just like the rest of the face. Many people forget protecting their lips while going outdoors for a long time; hence they end up having burnt lips. You need to protect your lips by applying a sunscreen that has enough SPF. Sunscreen does not only protect you from the damage of UVA and UVB rays, but also protect your skin from premature aging signs such as wrinkles caused by sun damage.
When going outdoors for a long time, carry some to re-apply on your lips and other exposed parts of the body after every two hours. Children are the most affected by the symptoms of sunburn on lips as their skin are not fully developed to protect itself from the sun. Fare skin is at higher risk than dark skin since it produces low melanin.

Sunburnt Lips Symptoms

You should never underestimate the power of the sun’s rays. In just a few hours the UV rays can leave you with second or even third-degree burns on exposed lips and skin. Sun burnt lips are visible and can easily be noticed. You will experience some of the symptoms below a short time after basking on the sun:

  • Inflammation or a burning sensation of the lips.
  • The lips may turn to a pink or red shade.
  • Extreme sensitive to touch-feel warm when touched.
  • Dryness due to excessive dehydration and too much heat.
  • Cracking or splitting
  • Bleeding from the splits.
  • It may form scabs as a result of bleeding
  • Itchy feeling.
  • Peeling occurs later as a repairmen process.
  • Swollen lips
  • Severely sunburned lips will also blister and could become infected if germs get into the wound.
  • Sunburn on your body can activate the herpes virus and cause cold sores on your to appear. This can make the discomfort of having sunburnt lips even greater.

Sunburned Lips Swollen

Swelling is one of the common symptoms lips that have been burned by the sun. These kinds of swollen lips often can be relieved by use of cold compresses, moisturizing, and hydrocortisone 1% creams.
If your lips that are swollen from sunburn do not improve 7-10 days after exposure to excessive sun – you should seek medical advice from your dermatologist. This is because you may be handling a more complicated issue.
If you realize that in addition to swollen lips you have swollen tongue that makes the situation even more badly hence running to the doctor will be the best option. Sunburn can affect any exposed part of your body and just like the face; your lips are part of the main targets. However, just as with regular sunburn, the symptoms of sunburned lips may not show up until a few hours after sun exposure.
Because we need our lips for speaking, eating, and drinking, swollen sunburnt lips can cause a lot of discomfort and even make day-to-day activities difficult. Therefore, seeking medical treatment for sunburned lips is very paramount.

Sunburned Lips Healing Time

The length of time sunburned lips take to heal depends on the damage the sun has done to your lips. According to the National Health Service, and I quote, “mild to moderate sunburn on lips should fully heal within a week. However, if your lips are severely sunburned with blisters, they may take longer time to heal.”
After your lips have been burned by the sun, you may get sun blisters. The sun blisters on the lips are caused by the exposure of the sun and not by infectious agents. If for your case no infectious agent is involved in the appearance of the blisters, they are not considered contagious hence healing time won’t take more than one week under treatment.
However, if the blisters break for any reason and a secondary infection occurs be it bacterial or viral, then they might become contagious when touched and they won’t go away fast. It is for the best that you avoid breaking them or, if it happens that they break, that you protect the area from dirt. Treat secondary infections with antibiotics or antiviral medication, to be sure that no infection would take advantage.

How long does it take for sunburnt lips to heal

As we have discussed above, the healing period depends on how severe the sunburn has been in the first place. In this case, the skin starts to regenerate and heal in a couple of days. If the sunburn was more severe, then the blisters will subside and the skin will heal in a couple of weeks. During the healing period, it is recommended that you maintain best of the hygiene and avoid touching the lips.
If this is not taken into consideration, then you will only manage to prolong the healing period. To add on that, be sure to refrain from applying lipstick or heavy lip balms, as these will prolong the healing period and make the condition worse. Try to keep your lips free of any products until they are all better. After you are sure that your lips have been healed from the sunburns, you can go back to your normal lipstick or lip balm.

Sunburned Lips Pictures

As many people usually say, a picture speaks a thousand words about something. We are true believers in it in as far as the value of pictures is concerned by a lot of people. On that note, we have included a couple photos and images to inspire your imagination when it comes to lips that have been burned by sun rays.

How to Get Rid of Sunburnt Lips

The lip skin is very thin without the protection of hair or the lubrication of oil glands. As a result, it is particularly prone to damage from sun exposure, as the American Academy of Dermatologists advises. They further go ahead to recommend using lip balm with an SPF of 15 or higher during sun exposure. Meanwhile, if you have sunburned lips, you can find comfort in readily available materials at your home or if the situation is much worse, your doctor may advise on the best way to get rid of the problem.
Sunburned Lips Treatment
Once you start feeling the inflammation or a burning sensation on your lips, you are supposed get out of the sun and move to a shade or place away from the sun. This will helps to prevent further damage to your lips. While indoors, you may perform some of the following treatments.

  • The dry lips are a result of excessive dehydration of your body. Drink plenty of water for the first three days after the burn as this will helps to hydrate the body as well as getting rid of excessive heat.
  • Do not expose yourself to the sun until the burn heals or you may prevent further damage by applying lip gloss or balm containing sunscreen of at least 15 to 30 SPF.
  • A petroleum jelly that has vitamin E also gives maximum moisture to the drying lips.
  • Take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medicines such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen. They relieve the itching and inflammations of the burn. Take the medication as directed by the doctor or pharmacist.
  • Do not peel the dried parts. It may cause bleeding or delay the healing process.
  • Avoid licking the lips; it causes excessive dryness by drawing out all the moisture.
  • You may also visit your dermatologist if the damage is severe or if the symptoms persevere for a long time.

Home Remedies for Sunburnt Lips

When going out in the sun, even if it is just on your daily activities, you should remember to always protect your lips from UVA and UVB rays. If, however you forget and your lips get sunburned, here are natural ways to heal them.

  1. Cold compress

When you apply a cold compress o your burned lips, it will instantly take the heat out of them and help prevent swelling. Even just cold tap water running over your lips is enough to reduce inflammation and help ease the pain of burned lips. Doctors at the Mayo Clinic recommend putting something that is cool on the burned area to treat the minor burns.
Note that, you should never put ice directly onto sunburned lips because it can damage the burn wound even more and hinder the healing process.

  1. Aloe vera

This is one of the best natural ingredients for getting rid of sunburn on your lips. Even many doctors recommend aloe vera to treat sunburned skin. Aloe vera is a great natural healing treatment for sunburn because it contains beneficial enzymes and vitamins to boost skin health. It also has a cooling effect on the skin, especially if you keep the aloe vera gel in the refrigerator.
In clinical studies, the anti-inflammatory properties of aloe vera have proven to be just as beneficial as hydrocortisone creams in treating burns and skin wounds. Hydrocortisone creams are sometimes recommended to reduce swelling and sunburn pain. Just apply pure aloe vera gel directly to your sunburned lips to ease the sunburn pain. Repeat the process 2-3 times a day to promote healing.

  1. Honey

Raw honey can help to heal sunburned lips quicker and prevent blisters from getting infections. Honey is anti-inflammatory and has a soothing effect when used on damaged or irritated skin. One of the best types of honey to use for sunburn is Manuka honey which is known to have medicinal properties.
As per the study published in the journal Foods found that Manuka honey helps to soothe open wounds. It has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties which make it a great natural healer. Also, the study also mentioned the effectiveness of Manuka honey on sunburn.
Take a small amount of Manuka honey and dab on your sunburned lips. Leave on for 10 minutes and reapply frequently throughout the day. Continue using Manuka honey for sunburned lips until your lips are completely healed.

  1. Coconut oil

One of the many uses of virgin coconut oil home remedy is to help sunburned lips heal quicker. Coconut oil is a great general moisturizer for sunburned lips. The anti-inflammatory properties and antimicrobial properties in virgin coconut oil cause wounds to heal quicker.
A study into the burn wound healing properties of coconut oil reported that it is an effective natural treatment. Coconut oil helps accelerate wound healing and has an antibacterial activity which prevents infection.

  • Apply some virgin coconut oil onto your lips that have symptoms of burning.
  • Use 2-3 times a day to keep your lips moisturized and help speed up the healing process.
  • Continue using until your sunburn is healed.
  • You can also try my coconut oil and aloe Vera gel remedy for treating burns.
  1. Lavender essential oil

Lavender oil has many beneficial properties for sunburned lips and can help treat burn wounds. Many studies into the healing effect of using lavender oil topically have found that its antimicrobial properties have the ability to reduce inflammation as well as having an overall positive effect on burns.
How to use:
To help sunburned lips heal quicker with lavender oil, it should be mixed with carry oil like coconut oil. This is what you should do:

  • Make a healing salve by mixing 2-3 drops of food grade lavender oil with 1 tablespoon coconut oil.
  • Apply the lavender remedy to your sunburned lips.
  • Use 2-3 times a day to promote wound healing and get rid of the effects of sunburn on your lips for good.
  1. Chamomile

Another soothing essential oil with healing properties is chamomile. Extracts from chamomile have been used for centuries to help calm the mind. However, applying chamomile to sunburned lips can help to reduce inflammation, pain, and help the sunburn to heal quicker.
Various studies into the medicinal use of chamomile have shown that it is an effective anti-inflammatory agent with pain-relief properties. The journal Natural Product Research reported that the antioxidant and inflammation-reducing properties of chamomile make it an effective treatment for burns. In fact, the researchers concluded that “chamomile oil had a good potential for acceleration of burn wound healing.
How to use:
To help speed up the healing process of sunburned lips, this is how you can make a chamomile extract salve.

  • Mix 2-3 drops of chamomile oil with either a tablespoon of coconut oil or aloe vera.
  • Apply the chamomile remedy 2-3 times a day to your sore lips.
  • Repeat every day to help speed up healing time and get relief from your sunburn.
  • Alternatively, you can make a cool, soothing chamomile compress to heal sunburned lips. This method involves using your old tea bags for healing.
  • Put a chamomile tea bag in a cup of boiling water and leave for 10 minutes.
  • Remove the tea bag and leave to cool (best place is in the refrigerator).
  • Place the cool chamomile tea bag onto your sunburned lips and leave for 10-15 minutes.
  • Repeat 2-3 times a day until you no longer have signs of sunburn on your lips.
  1. Oatmeal compress

An oatmeal compress is a very quick and cheap way to get rid of the effects of sunburn. Oatmeal is also used in many skin preparations for its anti-inflammatory activity and to help to quickly soothe itchiness on the skin.
The Journal of Drugs in Dermatology in 2015 reported on the clinical properties of oatmeal. Among the benefits of oatmeal for your skin are; it act as a cleanser, moisturizer, skin protector, and soothing agent. The study revealed that oatmeal is used to heal burns, eczema, skin rashes and reduce swelling.
How to use:
You can quickly make an oatmeal healing compress at home for its dermatological benefits and speed up the healing process of your sunburned lips.

  • In a blender, grind 1/2 cup of plain oats
  • Mix the ground oats with a few tablespoons of raw honey and a little milk. The paste should have a thick consistency.
  • Spread the mixture over your lips, lie back and let the oatmeal remedy soothe your burned lips for 10-15 minutes.
  • Rinse off with cool water and repeat 2-3 times a day.
  1. Potatoes

Potatoes are a surprising home remedy for healing sunburned lips and burn wounds. Raw potatoes contain many medicinal properties that help to take the heat out of burns.
The benefits of using potatoes on minor burns were reported in the Journal of Medicinal Plants Studies. Researchers reported that raw potato is an effective natural remedy for first-degree burns. The potato helps to reduce pain and inflammation from areas of the skin exposed to excessive heat.

  • Thoroughly wash a potato and cut into thin slices (you don’t need to peel the potato).
  • Apply the slices to the sore areas of your lips that have sunburn.
  • Leave on for 15 minutes, remove for 5 minutes, then replace with a fresh slice of raw potato for 15 more minutes.
  • Do this daily until you no longer feel the effects of sunburn on your lips.
  1. Cucumber

Cucumber is another food that has medicinal and soothing properties to accelerate wound healing. Just as with using potatoes to heal wounds, cucumber slices are a quick and effective home remedy for sunburned lips. Because cucumbers have high moisture content, they can also help to soothe and moisturize sore lips.
Although taking a slice of cucumber from the refrigerator and placing on sunburn has an instant cooling effect, cucumber also has healing properties. A study from 2013 found that the flesh from cucumber has a soothing effect on skin irritations and reduces swelling. Cucumber also alleviates sunburn pain.
How to use:
To use a few slices of cucumber to quickly get rid of pain from sunburned lips, this is what you should do:

  • Take a cucumber from the refrigerator and cut into thin slices.
  • Lay the slices on your sunburned lips until they become warm.
  • Replace with fresh cucumber slices to help take the heat out of the burned lips.
  • Repeat 2-3 times a day or use whenever you need instant relief from discomfort caused by sunburned lips.
  1. Turmeric

Turmeric is a very versatile herb that has many medicinal properties to reduce inflammation and swelling. A turmeric paste can also help to alleviate sunburn pain and speed up the healing process.
Clinical trials have shown that turmeric has great potential in burn wound healing. The Journal of Molecular Histology reported that a turmeric paste on burn wounds helps to heal damaged and burned skin quicker. Curcumin, which is the main component of turmeric, quickly reduced inflammation, boosted collagen production, and caused accelerated wound healing.
How to use:
Make a simple and easy paste with turmeric and aloe vera or coconut oil to apply to your sunburned lips by doing the following:

  • Mix together equal amounts of turmeric powder and aloe vera gel (or coconut oil).
  • Apply to the blisters and sunburned areas of your lips and leave for 30 minutes.
  • Rinse off with cool water.
  • Apply the turmeric remedy 2 times a day to your lips to get rid of itchiness, swelling, and other symptoms of sunburn.

Alternatively, you can use honey instead of the aloe vera/coconut oil to improve the taste of the turmeric sunburn remedy.

How to Prevent Sunburned Lips

You can save yourself a lot of pain and discomfort by preventing sunburn on your lips. This also helps you avoid premature aging in your lips and the area around your mouth. The principles of avoiding sunburned skin also apply to sunburned lips. To prevent sunburned lips, please do the following:

  • Use a high SPF lip balm on your lips and apply frequently throughout the day.
  • Keep your face in the shade by wearing a wide-brim hat.
  • If possible, avoid exposing your lips to direct sunlight during 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. when the sun’s rays are at their strongest.

More references

  1. Sunburned lips:
  2. Amazing tips for curing sunburn:
  3. Sun blisters on lips:
  4. Home remedies for sun blisters on the lips:
  5. Health and natural world: