How do I get rid of dark lips?

Lip balm can help protect your lips from the environment and lighten dark lips.

How a person treats dark lips largely depends on the cause of the discoloration, but simple techniques that often work are using a lip balm with SPF, stopping or changing lipsticks and similar products, staying more hydrated, and exfoliating dull, dead skin. Visiting medical professionals can also help because they can diagnose and treat the underlying causes. Lifestyle and diet changes, natural or commercial bleaching products, medical cosmetics and permanent makeup are additional solutions.

common causes

Lemon juice is a natural exfoliant.

While some people have naturally dark lips due to genetics, other factors can also contribute to the color deepening over time. One of the most common is getting too much sun — ultraviolet radiation activates cells called melanocytes to produce more melanin, or pigment. Some cosmetics are problematic because they contain dyes and other chemicals that can cause dryness, irritation, or mild contact dermatitis. Excessive dryness, which can occur because of environmental factors, not drinking enough water, or habits like breathing through your mouth is another problem related to darkening because it causes dead skin cells to build up and hide the real, lighter pink tone. under.

Coriander can be used to make a natural highlighter.

Certain medical problems, such as anemia, nutritional deficiencies, and hormonal imbalances, can also influence pigment production and the availability of hemoglobin, the compound that gives blood its red color and transports oxygen throughout the body. Lifestyle choices can also produce unwanted coloring. Smoking, for example, can cause a condition known as smoker’s melanosis, because nicotine stimulates melanocytes in the tissue lining the mouth. Using products like coffee or tea in large amounts is also a problem because they contain caffeine, which restricts blood flow. Drugs, including prescription drugs, can be another cause of darkening.

Use of lip balm

Pomegranate can help brighten your lips.

Since sun exposure is one of the main reasons for darkening, in some cases the simplest solution is to start using a basic lip balm that offers a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15. In general, a minimalist product with few ingredients is better. Shea butter and coconut oil are two examples of natural substances with some ability to block ultraviolet radiation.

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cosmetic changes

Coffee and other caffeinated substances can cause dark lips.

Lipsticks and similar items are often problematic when they are from less-than-reputable companies or when their age allows for some breakdown of their ingredients. It’s not necessary to stop these products entirely, but it’s a good idea for a person to throw out the old ones and look for versions with ingredients that match their skin type. It is also beneficial to remove them when they are not really needed, such as when relaxing at home.


Kale contains vitamin C, which can reduce melanin production.

The discoloration that occurs because of dryness has several solutions, the first being removing or adjusting environmental factors such as air conditioning. From there, the next step is to get more fluids, preferably plain water. Not everything comes from drinks, because many foods, such as watermelon and lettuce, contain a high percentage of water. Some foods, drinks, and medications can have a diuretic effect, so you may need to drink more fluids when using these items. Intake should also increase as a person does more exercise, because moisture is lost when a person sweats, helping with cooling through evaporation.

Cosmetic tattooing can be a permanent way to get rid of dark lips.

Another tip is to apply a lip balm or natural oil. These products form a protective barrier against the environment, sealing in moisture. Many also penetrate the top layers of the skin, smoothing them and preventing the irritation and cracking that can sometimes cause discoloration.


The buildup of dead skin cells can cause lips to look dull and slightly darker, so regular, gentle exfoliation sometimes can yield improvements in appearance. Moisturizing first makes it much easier to remove the cells, and it makes irritation less likely. One of the best times to exfoliate is while in the shower, using a clean, soft washcloth or even the fingertips. Some people like to make a naturally antibacterial scrub from honey, sugar and olive oil. The newly exposed layers of skin are usually sensitive, so it’s important to protect them afterward by putting on some SPF lip balm or other moisturizer.

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Medical Treatment and Consultation

Quitting smoking may reduce a person’s chances of developing dark lips.

Sometimes the only solution for dark lips is to visit a medical professional. He or she can perform a basic examination or run specific tests to determine whether the cause is biological or from a current treatment. Once the cause is identified, making a progressive health plan becomes possible. Getting better might include starting a medication, changing diet or stopping additional procedures.

Lifestyle Changes

When the habits cause of lip darkening is because of like smoking or caffeine use, quitting the behaviors sometimes can prevent the problem from getting worse or allow some degree of reversal. Often, this is a matter of willpower and consciously changing what a person does, such as purposely selecting water over coffee. Physical addiction sometimes is involved, however, which complicates the issue. Symptoms of withdrawal such as headaches and shakiness might occur, and in some cases, it is necessary to seek rehabilitation treatment. Many medical experts recommend slowly weaning off products when dependence is present, because quitting all at once or going “cold turkey” can be extremely hard on the body.

Dietary Changes

What a person eats ties directly to physical processes, so making dietary changes can correct the nutritional deficiencies or imbalances that sometimes directly or indirectly connect to lip color. A variety diet that includes fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains and lean meats such as fish and chicken usually improves health. Foods with Vitamin C such as kale, oranges and chili or bell peppers are especially good choices, because this substance is known to reduce melanin production. Balance is still important, however, because the amount of one chemical in the body often influences levels of another, and because even necessary nutrients can be toxic at extremely high doses.

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General Lightening Products

For some individuals, the best option to use a natural or commercial lightening product. Lemon juice is well known as a chemical exfoliant that has bleaching properties. Milk and yogurt are also good for removing cells because they contain lactic acid. Experts recommend using potato slices or pastes, as well, because this vegetable contains the lightening enzyme, catecholase.

Many different commercial lightening creams and gels are available, many of which are available over the counter. Others require a prescription because of their strength or because one or more ingredients they contain are regulated. In many cases, these products should be a last resort, because they can have potentially harmful side effects. Hydroquinone, for example, has long been criticized as a potential carcinogen system disrupter and neurotoxin. Even “safe” versions are usually not intended for long-term use.

Medical Cosmetics and Tattooing

Some cosmetics, including lipsticks, are formulated with ingredients designed to treat a variety of skin conditions, including hyperpigmentation. These medical-grade products can be a very convenient and aesthetically pleasing way to hide and treat the darkening at the same time. Another alternative is cosmetic tattooing, also known as permanent makeup. Only a trained, qualified and certified tattoo artist or technician should perform this procedure, and although the coloring can fade over time, there’s no good way to reverse it.

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