Understanding Lip Pigmentation: Causes, Treatments, and Prevention

Lip Pigmentation

Lip pigmentation is a situation wherein the colour of the lips changes and turns into blue, brown or slightly pink. Sometimes, the lips become shaded, darker from the boundary and lighter the rest.

The skin on our body is composed of numerous layers. On the contrary, our lips are just 3-5 layers of cells and that’s the cause of their pink to brown shade. This colour is because of the blood vessels under them. Moreover, it also depends on one’s skin colour. The person with light skin colour has pale lips and blood vessels are closely visible.

Understanding Lip Pigmentation

Lip pigmentation is nothing but darkening of lips, you can either see patches or double-shaded lips. There can be various causes of lip pigmentation, the actual cause will be found by checking its anatomical structure.

As aforementioned, there are a mere 3 to 5 cellular layers due to which the colour of blood vessels under the lips is shown as the lip colour. There is nothing on the lips to shield them like hair follicles or sweat glands. Hence, it is utmost to protect and moisturise the lips regularly.

Let’s have a look at various reasons for changes in lip colour.

  • Blue

Lips become blue mainly because of a lack of oxygen. It can also be caused by certain medical conditions related to heart, lungs and blood circulation.

  • White

It happens due to a low count of RBC (anaemia). This can further be caused by gastrointestinal bleeding and lack of folate, iron and Vitamin B12.

  • Dark purple

Lips turning dark purple can be caused by smoking, trauma, accident or Addison’s disease.

  • Discoloured lips

Discoloration of lips can be an indication of certain conditions like hemochromatosis, Laugier-Hunziker syndrome, Peutz-Jeghers syndrome, Carney complex disorder or even cancer.

Causes of Lip Pigmentation

Lip pigmentation can be caused by numerous factors, major ones are mentioned below.

  • Cyanosis

Change in blood colour happens due to the level of oxygen in it. This condition called cyanosis majorly occurs in a body when the oxygen saturation levels fall below 85%.

It also happens due to abnormal haemoglobin, pneumonia, blood clots, staying at freezing temperatures or high altitudes etc. This eventually changes the lip colour as well.

  • Deficiency or excess of iron

Iron deficiency (anaemia) makes a person’s skin and lips pale whereas excess of iron (hemochromatosis) results in hyperpigmentation and lip pigmentation at times.

  • Oral thrush 

It’s a kind of fungus developed in the mouth that can cause certain patches on the face and mouth, including lips. These patches may lead to lip pigmentation that needs treatment.

  • Sun exposure

Our skin is highly sensitive and our lips are even more. Hence, the exposure to UVA and UVB rays harms the skin and lips and boosts melanin production, eventually leading to lip pigmentation.

  • Laugier-Hunziker Syndrome

It’s a gentle skin condition wherein dark spots occur on the lips and the boundary lining of the mouth. This isn’t harmful and doesn’t require treatment.

  • Bleach or traditional hair removal methods

As we know our skin and lips are highly sensitive, and hair removal methods like bleaching, razor and waxing harm the skin and make it pigmented.

  • Skin disorders

Certain skin concerns like eczema, melasma and atopic dermatitis also lead to lip pigmentation. In such cases, dark lips treatment is necessary by an expert dermatologist.

  • Smoking

This is one of the most common reasons for pigmented lips. Regular smoking deposits tar and nicotine on the lips and the nearby areas. Hence, it causes lip pigmentation that can’t be cured without the help of an experienced dermatologist.

Treatment Options for Lip Pigmentation

There are a few treatment options for dark lips treatment.

1. Topical Creams

There are various topical creams available in the market that contain ingredients like hydroquinone and kojic acid that are perfect for skin whitening. Topical creams should be used only when prescribed by your dermatologist.

2. Chemical Peels

Chemical peels exfoliate the skin, remove dead skin and also reduce melanin production. A single or a combination of chemical peels can be used by your dermatologist for dark lips treatment.

3. Permanent Makeup

Permanent makeup gives the most instant solution to the pigmented lips. You can understand it in a way that certain pigmented granules are inserted below the skin’s topmost layer that covers the pigmentation.

4. Laser Treatment

Laser treatment is the most advanced, safest, painless and non-invasive treatment for dark lips. The laser goes well, penetrates the skin deeply and boosts skin cell production.

Before and after results of lip pigmentation treatment at Sakhiya Skin Clinic

Our dark lips treatment worked miraculously on the patients. They are extremely happy with their pink and bright lips. Have a look at the below ‘before’ and ‘after’ images of people treated with lip pigmentation.

lip pigmentation before and after lip pigmentation before and after

Prevention Tips

There are certain tips that need to be followed to prevent lip pigmentation, most of which are mentioned below.

  • Don’t forget to apply a dermatologically approved lip sunscreen to protect them from harmful UV rays.
  • Take a proper diet and ensure the inclusion of all the necessary nutrients.
  • Avoid biting, picking or licking your lips.
  • Stay hydrated. Remember, hydration is always the key to preventing lip pigmentation.
  • Sometimes, it happens due to an allergic reaction to some food or cosmetics. So you should do nothing but wait for the reaction to subside.
  • Don’t over-exfoliate. Over-exfoliation of lips also damages them, so be kind to your lips. Always do gentle exfoliation of lips and skin.
  • Smoking injures the whole body, including the lips. So if you smoke, stop it right away.
  • Don’t try any random home remedies that don’t suit you or irritate your skin/lips.

Remedies for treating lip pigmentation

There are numerous market-based products and DIY remedies that target lip pigmentation.

  • Berry extracts

Berries are full of antioxidants and Vitamin C. Vitamin C prevents the production of melanin, and hence, the products with berry-based ingredients reduce lip pigmentation.

  • Arbutin

Arbutin prevents the production of an enzyme, tyrosinase, responsible for the production of melanin. This way, Arbutin is effective for dark lips treatment and makes them lighter. Hence, lip cleansers with a specific percentage of Arbutin work well for lip pigmentation.

  • Licorice root extract

Licorice extract breaks down the patches of existing melanin that lightens the colour of lips and brightens their appearance.

  • Lemon

Lemon is yet another amazing source of vitamin C and that is anti-melanin. Applying lemon juice with honey and glycerin gently can lighten your darker lips naturally.

  • Beetroot extract

Beetroot is known for the reddening of lips. Blending the beetroot, making it into a paste and mixing it with petroleum jelly would give a natural lip balm, which is perfect for your lips.

  • Pomegranate

It has been proved in various studies that pomegranate lightens pigmentation. Applying a paste of pomegranate seeds, rosewater and dairy cream on the lips, gently massaging it and then rinsing it with cold water would help you to a great extent.

Lips are an important part of our face that amplifies our beauty if well taken care of. As aforementioned, there are home remedies as well as cosmetic treatments for treating lip pigmentation. Even if you have dry and cracked lips, you can get smoother and brighter lips and get rid of your darker lips naturally and cosmetically.

You should always consult your dermatologist before choosing any home remedy. If that doesn’t work, cosmetic treatments are always there to remove lip pigmentation. The staff and all the doctors at Sakhiya Skin Clinic are well-trained and experienced in this field.

We have several branches in Gujarat, covering major cities like Ahmedabad, Anand, Ankleshwar, Bardoli, Bharuch, Navsari, Rajkot, Surat, Vadodara, Valsad and Vapi. In Maharashtra, we have our clinics in Pune, Mumbai and Nandurbar. Delhi and Raipur people also get our services which are soon to begin at Jaipur. So book your appointment at your nearest clinic to remove lip pigmentation.