Don’t Blister in the Sun!

I heard Al Roker mention that 65% of the country has above average temperatures today. I believe it. Nearly 100 degrees two days in a row is two days too many for this chic. Not a fan of the heat… my GOD the heat! It’s one of the few things I disliked about living in Arizona, at least in the summer. But as I was applying sunscreen to my pale-force body this morning, then grabbed my SPF 30 lip-balm, it occurred to me… how many people know just how awful a sunburn on the lips can be?

I’m sure you can guess where I’m going with this, huh? Scary-story time!
The summer between my sophomore & junior year of high school, one of my friends had a sailboat. Ok, so her folks had a sailboat, but I’m sure you understood that, right? I grew up in Bay City, Michigan, so if you didn’t own a boat, you knew someone who did. My family wasn’t rolling in dough, so I knew that this was something I should soak up every minute I was invited onto that boat! I loved sailing so much, and I always felt so free on a sailboat, only hearing the wind & the water, instead of my mother telling me I was doing this, that or the other thing wrong. If you’ve never sailed before, find a friend with a sailboat, or charter one with a captain, sailing isn’t something you can just do without training and you will understand just how breath-taking sailing can be. I’ve been in motor & sail boats… in my humble opinion, sailboats rule!

One blistering hot summer day, my friend called to see if I wanted to spend the day out on the bay. Of course I did! But I forgot sunscreen… and didn’t apply any until we got out on the sparkly, sun-reflecting water. I almost always have lip-balm in my pocket, but I didn’t think about the fact that the balm I had that day didn’t have any SPF in it, and we were out on the water all day. Think about what lip-balm is. My lips basically cooked over the course of the afternoon. In a matter of an hour or so after I returned home, my lips really hurt. And by morning, they were blistered, and not just one little fever blister, like 20, on my bottom lip alone. My mother wondered what did you do?! How could you do this to yourself? Of course, it was my fault, it was always my fault. I was barely 16, knew everything yeah right about sun protection, and I already felt like the biggest loser ever, so she pretty much threw oil on that fire. My mother took me into the doctor despite me begging not to be dragged out in public, and he diagnosed me with sun poisoning. My body, thankfully, wasn’t too burnt, but my lips were swollen to oh, about 5 times their normal size. Oh yeah. I was one hot mess. It took about 10 days for them to get back to some level of normal. Of course, I had my Junior orientation about 5 days after the incident, where school pictures were taken (I did do retakes, BELIEVE ME!) and I got the joy of seeing all of my old friends a couple weeks before school started in all of my blistered-lip glory. I was the coolest girl in the entire Junior class.

Like many lessons I’ve learned over the years, this one sucked to live through, but it was a lesson that absolutely stuck. You will rarely find me without SPF enhanced lip-balm in my pocket… so I’d like to pass this lesson onto you… consider it to be a public service announcement, if you will. Learn from my teenage absent-mindedness. If you’ll be spending some time in the sun this summer, apply the sunscreen everywhere, including your lips. Trust Momma on this one. Your lips will thank you!

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  1. Posted June 9, 2011 at 4:37 am | Permalink

    I don’t think the SPF in lip balm was something I ever factored in. Thanks for the PSA, Liam loves lip balm so I’ll get him in the habit now.

  2. Posted June 9, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    Lip sunburn bites a big one!

    I was in marching band and every year we’d go off to camp in the mountains. Every year I’d go home with split, bleeding, discolored lips because of the sun exposure (and that whole flute thing).

    It’s seriously no joke.

  3. Posted June 9, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    Oh my GOD!! The worst I ever did was fall asleep on the beach in Florida. I was pretty burned, but not my lips. I can’t even imagine!!! OWWW!

  4. Posted June 9, 2011 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

    Ouchie! I’ve never had my lips burned that bad before– good reminder to wear sunscreen, even on your lips!

  5. Posted June 9, 2011 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    Wow. I can’t imagine!

  6. Posted June 10, 2011 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for all the feedback, friends. Yes, it was awful. I’m kind of annoying about allowing my kids in the sun for long periods of time without slathering them with spf 50+ everywhere… I’m sure they have “eaten” some of it, but I try to go with the organic lip-balm when I can. Happy I was able to spread word about this little-known factoid.

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    Kelli Williams

    Kelli Williams

    Keeping up with 2 little girls, writing assignments, music gigs, the house, laundry, ETC, backwards, wearing ass kicking boots and a smile, without spilling my beer. Ok, ok, so I spill my beer, but my floors have never been more germ-free since I started putting a little alcohol on them. Who needs ammonia...

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