Lip sun protection factor of a lipstick sunscreen

Dermatology. 2001;203(3):244-7. doi: 10.1159/000051758.


Background and objective: There is a well-documented need for effective human UVA and UVB photoprotection. Since there are important anatomical variations, the sun protection factor (SPF) of a lipstick sunscreen was measured on the anatomical site intended for use.

Methods: The SPF tests were performed according to Federal US and European COLIPA guidelines. Prior to performing a test on the lip, the minimal erythemal dose (MED) of the unprotected back skin was determined. Subsequently, the sunscreen SPF was measured on the anatomical target site (lip). The evaluator was blinded with respect to scoring the SPF of each sunscreen treatment. Individual test sites were assigned to one of the following treatment conditions: (1) no treatment (MED of unprotected skin); (2) test formulation; (3) reference standard.

Results: The MED on unprotected back skin was found to be 25% lower than on unprotected lip skin. The SPF of the lipstick sunscreen was measured 2 units lower than the SPF determined in the classical way on the back skin.

Conclusion: It was hypothesized that the higher MED of the lower lip compared with back skin was due to the adaptation of this tissue to the continuous exposure to UV radiation.

MeSH terms

  • Cosmetics / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Lip / drug effects*
  • Lip / radiation effects*
  • Sunlight*
  • Sunscreening Agents / pharmacology*


  • Cosmetics
  • Sunscreening Agents