Lips (labia oris) are the corners of mouth cavity with facial skin outside and buccal mucosa inside. The lips skin layers outside is almost similar to other skin tissues but with lesser layers. The lips color is determined by the amount of melanin pigment, produced by melanocytes cells.
Melanocytes cells malfunctioning can result in pigmented lips, lip discoloration, dark lips, lips turning black or black spots on lips. However, they have no role in other dermatology conditions like dry patches on lips, bump on lip, pimple on lip lines, lip biting wounds or infected lip piercing.
Discolored lips are more common in girls compared to boys, as women skin is more sensitive. There is no scientific data available on specific age pattern of the lip discoloration occurrence. Yet, the condition is more common in people with dark skin.
Lips Discoloration is the condition where lip(s) turn dark, light or discolored permamnently, away from the nature color. The upper lip discoloration (labium superoris) is more common than bottom lip discoloration (labium inferioris).
Discolored lips can be caused by many reasons. For example, it is medically known that lips turn black from smoking. Sometimes lips turn light, purple or lips discolored due to lipsticks and low-quality cosmetic, as they have chemicals.
Normally, discolored lips should not be worried much, as the human body undoes changes constantly, under hot or cold weather and other environmental or hormonal conditions. Lip discoloration can also be caused by a lip augmentation procedure. Although, it is performed to get more fuller, plumper and beautiful lips by injecting dermal filler into the lips. The augmentation lip injections cost around $600 or more.
However, there are some rare lips discoloration reasons that can lead to serious diseases like oral cancer. If your lips color has changed into white or lips turned splotchy, you should consult your doctor and get it checked.
Lip Discoloration, Symptoms, Causes, Treatment
These are mainly due to environmental causes, chemical or electromagnetic exposure, skin disorders, systemic diseases, lifestyle factors or toxicity.
Lips Discoloration Symptoms
There are conditions that cause lip discoloration, but there are no exact discolored lips symptoms. Most cases of lip discoloration are associated with brownish lips. Even the black lips from smoking, as refer as smoker lips are not actually black lips but dark brown lips. However, some less common symptoms of lip discoloration include lips turned hue, blue, gray or yellow colored.
Discolored Lips Pictures
Below are some lip discoloration pictures and images that are resulted from various conditions:
Lips Discoloration Causes
Wondering why are my lips turning black? Well, there is no exact answer to what causes your lips to turn black or what causes lip discoloration. It all depends upon underlying condition.
Lip discoloration is common in United States. There are many causes of discoloration of lips. The causes include hormonal changes, sun rays, diet. It can be due to irritation. It can even be genetic that your lips are changing color at some specific point of age.
The single largest among lip discoloration causes is women is hormonal changes during:
- Pregnancy due to estrogen hormone
- Taking oral contraceptives or birth control pills
- Receiving hormonal therapies
Lip discoloration can also be caused by skin irritate due to waxing for removing hairs round the lips. The other reasons include acne treatment medicines and skin and lips discolored due to sunburn or longer exposure to sun light.
Just like smoking, consuming high amount of coffee or tea are also known to cause dark lips. Excessive and unbalanced intake of iron rich foods can also change color or your lips and skin. Below are some other reason that causes lip discoloration:
- Decreased oxygenation level or oxygenation deficiency
- Decreased hemoglobin level (HBg) in red blood cells
- Increased heart beat rate due to sweating
- Cold and fever
- Dermatitis and jaundice
- Chemotherapy or radiotherapy treatments
- Anemia or low red blood cells (RBC) count
- Cheap quality cosmetics, lipsticks or lip liners
Several different types of medication may cause hyperpigmentation and other forms of discoloration of the skin which may affect the lips as well to some extent. This includes:
- Tetracyclines like minocycline which are broad spectrum antibiotics and other types of antibiotics may also be responsible for lip discoloration.
- Chemotherapy drugs used in the treatment of cancer.
- Antimalarial drugs used in the prevention or treatment of malaria.
- Tricyclic antidepressants like imipramine and desipramine.
- Antipsychotic drugs used in the treatment of certain psychiatric conditions. Some drugs like phenothiazines may also be used for treating nausea and vomiting.
- Skin-lightening agents like hydroquinone.
- Certain photosensitizing drugs like isotretinoin and acitretin which are used for the treatment of other skin disorders.
Lip discoloration Treatment
The lip discoloration treatment depends upon the root cause that lead to discolored lips. There is no direct medical treatment for lip discoloration but to address the underneath cause.
Dry patches on lips or dark lips treatment due to hormonal imbalance in women, does not require particular intervention. The natural lips color is automatically restore as the estrogen and progesterone levels come back to balance.
For lip discoloration due to excessive coffee drinking, you should quit coffee or at reduce its consumption. If you are wondering how to get rid of black lips from smoking. Quit smoking first, because it could later develop into oral cancer. Then there are some products available with ingredients like topical retinoid, hydrocortisone or kojic acid that are used to treat the discolored lips.
For lips turning black due to anemia or iron deficiency, you can take an iron supplement but it would be better to consult with your doctor first to make sure it is anemia.
Excessive regularly and breath enough fresh air at least 30 min every day to get your body enough oxygen level. For lip discoloration due to sun burn or sun rosining, the physicians recommend SPF 15 Sunscreen, which is an oil free skin moisture product by Neutrogena.
Skin and lip discoloration can be caused by toxins. This includes metals like copper, bismuth, mercury and silver and caustic substances such as acids, strong alkalis and other slow poisonous compounds. If this is the case make sure your food or water is not the source of this toxicity.
Lip Discoloration Treatment Home Remedies
Below are some very good natural lip discoloration home remedies that you can try to restore the natural color of your lips:
- Drink clean water. Because it removes all toxin material and make skin fresh as well as free from dark spots that form on the lips.
- Avoid hot food because it effects the color of the lips as well as also remove the look of lips.
- Use the best quality cosmetics (lip liner or lipstick) for for your lips.
- Use lemon juice on the lips that make your lips fresh.
- Use Alovera gel on the lips that make your lips free from the discoloration of lips.
- You can use natural bleaching agent like lime paste to cleanse your lips.
- Use mixture of yogurt and ripe of banana to restore discolored lips.
- Apply Vaseline on your lips every night before going to bed.
- Apply white toothpaste and leave it for drying on the lips. Wash when it is completely dried. Do it 3 times a week and your lips will get back to their color, shape, shine and beauty