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A Comprehensive Guide on the Reasons Your Lips Turn Black and How to prevent it?

Published : June 12, 2024 9 mins read Updated On : Jun 12, 2024

Has finding a lipstick shade that matches your lips naturally been a lifelong struggle for you, because of the uneven toning in your lips? If you are here we will take that as a yes!

Darkening of lips is a common phenomenon that can be brought about by smoking, pollution, medical conditions and sun damage. However, some of you may give up on the idea of ever having rosy lips but it isn't an impossible feat to achieve.

It isn't a miracle but a few lifestyle changes and lip care steps can help you get rid of the darkening. We have compiled the ultimate guide for you to identify and prevent your lips from turning black.

● What is lip darkening?
● How to treat lip darkening?
● Homemade remedies for lip darkening

What is lip darkening?

You are familiar with hyperpigmentation in the skin, but it is also possible in lips which makes them black or discoloured.

Although a common condition in lips for people of all ages and skin tones, it is more prevalent in people with darker complexion.

Hyperpigmentation of lips is associated with a wide variety of conditions that include inflammatory diseases, physiological change,

genodermatoses, endocrinologic conditions, benign and malignant neoplasm and other non-melanotic conditions. (1)

Causes of hyperpigmentation in lips

1. Sun exposure: similar to the development of hyperpigmentation in the skin, prolonged exposure to the sun can lead to hyperpigmentation in the lips too. The skin on the lips is more vulnerable to hyperpigmentation as they are thinner.

2. Hormonal changes: during phases of pregnancy and menopause women may experience hormonal changes that cause an imbalance which may lead to hyperpigmentation in the lips (2)

3. Smoking: there have been studies that have shown that high content of nicotine and benzpyrene from tobacco smoke can cause increased melanin production in the gingival tissue (3) which leads to lip discolouration over time resulting in hyperpigmentation.

4. Allergic reactions: cosmetics for lips are amongst the most common causes of allergic contact cheilitis (chapped lips) the flavouring agents and preservatives used in the lipsticks cause more allergies than the dyes present in the product. (4)

5. Cyanosis: a condition named after poor oxygen circulation that causes bluish discolouration of the skin. Central cyanosis affects the lips and the tongue. (5)

6. Iron deficiency anaemia: individuals with white and pale lips may have anaemia as discoloured lips are a telltale sign. When your body doesn't have enough red blood cells it leads to discolouration in the lips.

7. Hemochromatosis: if your body tends to turn dark grey or you have brown patches on your skin, then it can be due to hemochromatosis, a disorder that turns the skin and lips bluish.

8. Oral thrush: the white patches inside your mouth and lining of your lips are due to a fungus called candida albicans accumulating on the lining of the mouth.

9. Laugier-Hunziker syndromes: it is a kind of hyperpigmentation that causes brownish-black spots on the lips and nails. (6)

10. Medication: A lot of people may experience dark spots due to certain medications that they have been prescribed, some common medications that have these side effects are antipsychotic drugs, and medicines used to treat cancer.

Effects of hyperpigmentation on lips

1. Aesthetic concerns: hyperpigmentation can cause noticeable changes in the lips that can affect a person’s confidence and self-esteem.

2. Uneven lip colour: dark and uneven lip tones can make it hard for an individual to achieve a natural-looking lip colour with makeup.

3. Dryness and chapping: in severe cases, one may experience chapping and dryness along with discolouration that makes it painful and irritating.

4. Increased sensitivity: darkened lips may become more sensitive to external factors such as cold weather, wind, or certain foods.

What are the types of lip darkening?

There are several types of lip darkening that can occur.

1. Melasma: This type of hyperpigmentation tends to appear as dark patches on the lips which is often triggered by hormonal changes during pregnancy or with the use of certain medications.

2. Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation: this could occur due to injury trauma to the lips or inflammation. Some of the common causes include biting lips, burns or allergic reactions to certain lip products.

3. Smoking-induced hyperpigmentation: Regular and chain smokers will experience darkened lips due to staining from chemicals or nicotine.

4. Sun-induced hyperpigmentation: overexposure to the sun without any sunscreen can lead to lip darkening especially in individuals with lighter skin tones.

How to treat lip darkening?

To treat lip darkening, there are several approaches you can try. Here are some common methods that may help:

1. Sun protection: there is no alternative when it comes to sunscreens, UV rays can cause damage not just to your skin but lead to multiple diseases. A lip balm with SPF will save you from discolouration on your lips.

2. Exfoliation: a good exfoliation can help remove any dead skin cells and give you an even tone. There are several scrubs available in the market choose a gentle scrub or use a soft toothbrush to gently massage your lips in a circular motion to get rid of the dead skin.

3. Moisturization: the key to hydrated lips is moisturization; it also prevents darkening.

4. Avoid smoking: smoking contributes to major health issues amongst lip darkening, to prevent any more discolouration it is best to quit smoking or to slowly reduce it.

5. Lip care products: while there are 10 steps and above in place for skin care we often forget to consider lips, they are just as important and require products that are rich in ingredients such as kojic acid, vitamin C, liquorice extract, or niacinamide, to help lighten the darkened lips over time.

6. Medical treatments: there are several medical treatments available that can provide quicker results such as chemical peels, laser therapy, or topical creams containing hydroquinone or retinoids to target lip darkening.

A Comprehensive Guide on the Reasons Your Lips Turn Black and How to prevent it?

Home remedies for lip darkening

Home remedies are less invasive, and natural and can be easily available for everyone, here are some easy ways you can lighten your lips at home:

1. Lemon juice

Lemon is the safest and most natural bleaching agent that can lighten darkened lips.

How to use it?

Squeeze out fresh lemon juice from half a lemon into a sanitised container, dab it on your fingers or cotton pad and rub it across your lips.

Leave it for 10 minutes then rinse it off with lukewarm water. Lemon juice can dry out your lips so always apply a moisturiser after to keep it hydrated.

2. Honey

Honey is nature’s moisturiser, it makes the lips more soft, supple and hydrated. It also acts as a lightening agent and works extremely well for darkened lips.

How to use it?

Wear a glove as honey can get sticky and apply a thin layer over your lips.

Keep it on for about 15-20 minutes and rinse it off with lukewarm water. Do it alternate days to lighten the lips and keep up the hydration.

3. Rose petals

Rose petals are full of natural compounds that nourish, hydrate, and lighten darkened lips.

How to use it?

Pluck rose petals off fresh roses, rinse them in water thoroughly then crush them and mix a few drops of honey to create a paste.

Apply this mixture to your lips and leave it on for about 15-20 minutes before rinsing it off.

4. Cucumber slices

Cucumber is an excellent solution to lighten pigmented lips. It also provides refreshment to the lips.

How to use it?

Wash and cut a fresh cucumber into thin slices and gently rub them on your lips for a few minutes. Do it as often as you can to see the results.

5. Aloe vera gel

Aloe Vera can inhibit melanin production and provide moisturization to the lips.

How to use it?

Take fresh Aloe Vera and cut through it, peeling out a thin layer of its gel apply it to your lips and leave it for 15-20 minutes before rinsing it off.

6. Beetroot juice:

Beetroot also contains natural bleaching properties that can lighten your dark lips and make them rosy naturally.

How to use it?

Peel and juice fresh beetroot (do not add water) and apply the extract to your lips.

Leave it for about 15-20 minutes before rinsing it off.

7. Almond oil:

Almond oil contains fatty acids that help moisturise and heal chapped lips. Additionally, the emollient properties of it help soften, smoothen and lighten your lips.

How to use it?

Take 100% natural almond oil and rub it onto your lips before going to bed.

Rinse it off in the morning along with your morning skincare routine and apply lip balm.

8. Pomegranate seeds:

Pomegranate seeds have natural bleaching properties that can help reduce lip darkening.

How to use it?

Crush a few pomegranate seeds and mix them with a teaspoon of milk cream to create a paste. Apply the paste on to your lips and keep it for 15-20 minutes before rinsing it off.

9. Coconut oil

Coconut oil has multiple benefits, some of it being rich in iron, vitamins K and E and lauric acid and is extremely effective in lightening dark lips.

How to use it?

Melt fresh coconut oil and transfer it to a small container. Then apply a thin layer to your lips several times a day like a lip balm.

10. Natural Exfoliator

Exfoliation is a very important step in the lip care routine, you do not have to spend a fortune on fancy ones you can create natural exfoliators at home simply by:

Mix sugar, honey and olive oil gently scrubbing your lips in a circular motion and rinse it off with lukewarm water. This will remove the dead skin cells and allow the lips to be more fresh and rosy.


While darkened lips are very common, choosing to lighten them is a personal visual choice.

However, it is best that you ensure that you are actively avoiding the causes that can be controlled such as wearing sunscreen to prevent further darkening.

If the discolouration bothers you then several effective home remedies are effective and efficient. For professional & medical help get in touch with your dermatologist to discuss a course of treatment that is suitable for your skin and condition.


1. How to reduce lip pigmentation

You can reduce your lip pigmentation by:

● Moisturising with SPF lip balm
● Rubbing lemon juice or a slice of raw potato on the lips
● Use aloe vera gel to soothe and help with pigmentation in the lips

2. How to make lips pink

You can achieve pink lips by exfoliating them gently, using lip balm regularly and using natural lip masks every day for 15 minutes.

Massaging them with beetroot juice and honey can also enhance their natural colour, lastly keep yourself and your lips hydrated.

3. Home remedies for dark lips to pink lips

To naturally lighten dark lips and make them pink, try these home remedies:

● Exfoliate
● Moisturize
● Apply rose petals and milk cream for 10-15 minutes
● Be consistent

4. Does coconut oil darken lips?

No, coconut oil does not darken lips. It does however moisturize them as coconut contains natural emollients that help lighten the darkened lips over time.

5. Why are my lips turning black and I don't smoke

Some of the common causes besides smoking for lips to turn dark are:

● Sun exposure
● Dehydration
● Allergies
● Medication
● Hormonal changes
● Vitamin deficiency


Full Name - Dr. Neelam Mishra
Education - BDS, MDS.
Experience and Short intro - I am Dr. Neelam Mishra, a dental surgeon with 6 years of experience.
I have completed my BDS and MDS in periodontology and implantology. My specialty is in smile makeovers, and I am dedicated to enhancing both the health and appearance of my patients' smiles.

A Comprehensive Guide on the Reasons Your Lips Turn Black and How to prevent it?

Soumil Vartak
Health and Fitness enthusiast

Soumil is really passionate about health and fitness. He provides great insight on various trends about health and fitness. By writing about these topics he try to provide key insight on diet and e... Read More


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