You know what to do when it comes to shielding your skin from the sun’s harmful rays, but many of us don’t consider a vital asset—our lips.

Properly caring for your skin means proactively arming it, and that includes wearing a daily sunscreen with SPF—no matter how fair or rich your complexion, says board-certified dermatologist Carlos A. Charles, founder of Derma di Colore in New York City. If you don’t, you’ll leave your body’s largest organ open to various life-threatening conditions. “SPF—sun protection factor—shields the skin from ultraviolet light: UVA and UVB. Both can contribute to various forms of skin cancer,” he adds.

A sunscreen with SPF essentially blocks damaging rays while helping you stay outside longer without getting sunburned. While most people remember to slather on their favorite sunscreen each day, “we shouldn’t [forget] the skin on the lips,” Charles says. “Because lips don’t have as much melanin, they’re a little bit more susceptible to [harm from] ultraviolet [light].” An exposed kisser can become swollen or inflamed. The good thing is, guarding it doesn’t have to be boring.

Brands like Elizabeth Arden and Perricone MD offer gorgeous vibrant lipsticks and glosses that provide a perfect barrier. For a rave-worthy look, swipe on berry, nude or even a bold red. Although Charles suggests using an SPF of 30 or higher for the body, when it comes to the lips, he says, “It’s not as important [to] go up [as high], since [SPFs in that range] can be harder to find. [You’re good] just as long as you’re applying something there.” Reapply SPFs like the ones above throughout the day just as you would any other lippy, and voilà: maximum protection.

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