What Causes Dark Lips and How to Lighten Them

Updated: February 2, 2020
what causes dark lips and how to lighten them
Image: freepik

To lighten your lips, know first what actually causes your lips dark. If you can identify the reasons for discoloring your lips, you can easily pink up your lips.

Every woman wants pinkish, reddish and beautiful lips because a couple of pretty lips enhances the overall beauty of the face. When your face looks beautiful and smart, you feel also better to expose yourself.

But, unfortunately, many people acquire dark lips in different ways. And, today, I will show you what things can be accountable for causing dark lips in both women and men.

The reasons for dark lips and tips to brighten them

1. Dry and Chapped Lips

Lips look better and beautiful when the natural moisturizer for the lips is in the right amount. The skin of the lips is always open, it loses its moisturizer easily for a slight rough thing.

Especially, the smokers and the mouth breathers experience dry lips more. The lip lickers also face dry lips. In cold and windy weather, you may also face dry lips. Sometimes, dryness may cause cracked lips. Dry lips finally created dead skin cells, darkness and dark spots on lips. To keep your lips always moisturized, you can use Burt’s Bees 100% Natural Lip Balm. It is a good quality lip moisturizer.

2. Your Lifestyle and Habits

Your lifestyles may also leave dark spots on your lips. Smoking, alcohol and regular usage of narcotic may bring discoloration on the lips. The darkness on the lips and in the inner lining of the mouth is called a smoker’s melanosis. Illicit alcohol and homebrews containing acidic substances may cause black spots on lips. Lack of sufficient water causes dehydration and it first attacks the sensitive skin, like lips, face, under-eye, etc.

You Can Also Read “The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business“. It is a New York Times Bestseller Listed Book. This book describes scientifically how to be accustomed to good habits.

3. Old or Expired Lip Products

Sometimes, lip care products may cause dark lips. The inferior, low and inexpensive products are formulated with chemical materials that are harmful to the delicate skin – lips. The over and longtime use of lipsticks also leaves dark hues on the lips.

Unfortunately, your date expired products may harm your beautiful lips. If you do not remove your lipstick from the lips at night before going to bed, this also frequently causes black lips.

4. Melasma/Hyperpigmentation

Melasma means hyperpigmentation on the skin caused by the excessive deposition of melanin. Generally, melanin is occurred by excessive sun exposure. It may occur on any open skin of your body, like face, lip, hand, neck, etc. As the face is the most open part, it is affected mostly by melanin.

Usually, melasma causes darkness on the upper lip. The darkness caused by hyper-pigmentation forms as symmetrical patches. But, you don’t face any itching or rashes. Using SPF lip balm can protect your lips from sunspots and sunburns.

5. Sun Exposure

You may also get discoloration on your lips from chronic sun exposure. The persistent sun exposure burns the skin both on your lips and face. But, dark lips are more focused. The UV rays also trigger the melanin deposition in the various parts of the body. But, the face and lips are mostly burned.

Don’t move in the sun rays without sunscreen on your lips, hands, face and other exposed areas if you want to remain them bright. Use SPF lip balm when you go out.

6. Anemia

Anemia is also liable for dark and black spots on the lips. Anemia occurs basically in women during their pregnancy. Often anemia means the deficiency of iron. But, any type of anemia can cause black lips.

Anemia occurs when the oxygen-carrying compound (hemoglobin) is less than the normal amount. And, hemoglobin is responsible for the red color of the blood. So, the deficiency of hemoglobin causes the discoloration of the lips. Sometimes, this discoloration looks blue and in cold weather, it becomes acuter.

7. Unhealthy Eating

Eating disorders mean the deficiency of nutritional foods. The eating disorders cause various problems, like bulimia, and anorexia nervosa. For example- bulimia means repetitive vomiting and the corrosive action of stomach acid. This problem may cause long-term damage to the lips.

So, it is not abnormal to get the discoloration on your lips. Besides, many do not eat sufficient amounts of vegetables, fruits, and water. These 3 things help to retain the lips and skin smooth, clean and bright.

You Can Also Read “It Starts With Food: Discover the Whole30 and Change Your Life in Unexpected Ways“. This book helps you to form good eating habits in just 30 days and helps to reduce lots of disease symptoms.

8. Lentigo

Lentigo affects the skin, including lips and face. Lentigo is related to a flat brown to black spots. Lentigo may be occurred usually by chronic sun exposure and systemic diseases, like Peutz-Jeghers syndrome.

9. Some Medications

Different types of medications cause hyperpigmentation and discoloration of the skin, including lips, necks, and chin, etc. But, lips are most affected by these medications. The medications are as follows:

  • Certain photosensitizing drugs such as- isotretinoin, acitretin for treating other skin disorders
  • Tricyclic antidepressants such as- imipramine, desipramine
  • Tetracyclines (minocycline) are high power antibiotics. And, other kinds of antibiotics may also cause lip discoloration.
  • Antipsychotic drugs for treating particular psychiatric conditions.
  • Chemotherapy drugs for treating cancer
  • Some drugs (phenothiazines) for treating vomiting and nausea
  • Antimalarial drugs for preventing or treating malaria
  • Hydroquinone (skin-lightening ingredient)

10. Peutz-Jeghers Syndrome

Peutz-Jeghers Syndrome is a genetic condition. Hyperpigmentation of the skin, mucosal membranes and the presence of gastrointestinal polyps occur. This condition increases a very high risk of intestinal cancer. For this, you may experience dark skin patches through the dark mucosal lining of the mouth.

11. Toxins and Poisons

Your lips may face discoloration for a different number of toxins and poisonous things. These toxins are silver, mercury, bismuth, copper, etc. Besides, some caustic substances, like strong alkalis, acids, and other toxic elements may cause chemical burns on your lips. Thus, you may experience darkness on the lips.

12. Smoking

Smoking is harmful to health. It even may cause death. Smoking also causes some skin problems around your mouth and lips. The lips are most affected by smoking. The lip skin becomes very dark by smoking. It also causes dryness, fine lines, and wrinkles on or around the lips. The teeth also become dark or brown for smoking. The only way to get natural lips is to discontinue smoking.

Read also “Allen Carr’s Easy Way to Stop Smoking“. It is one of the best selling books. It shows you some natural ways to stop smoking permanently.

13. Dehydration

You face dehydration in two ways such as- one is not taking enough water and the second is the lip licking. The common symptoms of dehydration are dry skin of the face, chin, hands, lips, and neck. Dryness causes dead skin cells on lips and lips look darker. A person should drink 8-10 glasses of water a day to keep his skin hydrated and moisturized. Hydrated lips look supple and healthy.

14. Allergens

Allergens come with different types of lip care products. It may come from your lipsticks or lip glosses or lip balms. Basically, the fragrances and dyes infused with the cosmetics are liable to cause allergy. And, allergens may cause dark spots on your lips. If you understand the particular cosmetics are causing allergies, you must terminate them.

15. Caffeine and Hot Beverages

Many people cannot control the craving and aroma of taking freshly hot coffee or tea. Even, people who have the habit of taking many cups of coffee or tea, they drink these items during the hot sun. It is true that hot coffee or tea gives us freshness and removes monotonous.

But, excessive drinks are not good for health. The excessive amount of hot tea or coffee can cause harsh on your body. Even, more than 5 cups of hot tea or coffee are harmful to the face skin. Your lips may become darker to almost black with a huge intake of hot caffeine. Hot caffeine also stains your teeth.

16. Lack of Lip Care

The lip skin is very thin and subtle. It may be harmed easily by anything. So, you must take care of your lips properly and regularly. In winter, the lips are mostly victims. We see many men and women do not take care of their lips during this period.

So, they notice, their lips become dry first, then they become chapped. Finally, the dryness and chapping leave dark patches, dead cells, and cracking on your lips. With home remedies, you can easily treat your dry lips. Read “how to take care of your lips“. This article will show you how to get pink, supple and smooth lips always.

17. Dermatitis

Dermatitis is two types such as- contact dermatitis and atopic dermatitis. Atopic dermatitis is not harmful to the lips. Usually, contact dermatitis is harmful to the woman’s lips. The contact dermatitis comes with the touch of lipstick, lip gloss, lip liners, and lip balms. Having dermatitis, these lip products cause darkness on the lips over time without causing any dermatitis symptoms like itching.

Generally, the cheaper cosmetics made with dyes contain dermatitis. So, the dermatologist suggests not to use inexpensive lip care products. Most of the reputable cosmetic brands try to avoid these harmful dyes.

What else can be liable for your black lips?

  • Injuries and allergic reactions
  • Inappropriate dental fixtures may also cause dark lips. But, it is rare.
  • Your lips and mouth can be allergic to any toothpaste.
  • Hormonal changing levels of the infection, age, and diseases are also responsible for black lips.
  • Lack of vitamin B also sometimes creates discoloration on the lips. Take vitamin-rich foods or multi-vitamin pills.

Summing Up

If you have acquired dark lips, you may easily turn them bright or pinkish. There are also many natural ways to lighten dark lips. Using lip balm, lipstick, lip gloss, and lip cream can also cover up your dark lips.

But, to get natural pink soft lips, you need to care for your lips properly and avoid the things that generally darken your lip color. (unfortunately, you cannot lighten your dark lips if they are dark from birth, genetically or naturally).

Don’t use inexpensive, chemical-mixed, old or expired lip products. And, if you have liked this article “What Causes Dark Lips”, share it with others.


How We Pick The Product

We recommend products by researching Amazon best-selling items, user’s reviews, YouTube reviews, talk show interviews, higher rated products, most reviewed items, celebrity gossip, daily publications, and magazine interviews with celebrity, dermatologist or doctor.

We research the product’s literature from the trusted sources. We frequently refer many leading publications – Elle, Allure, Cosmopolitan, She Knows, Good Housekeeping, Reader’s Digest, Best Reviews, Marie Claire, Women’s Health, Vouge, Buzzfeed, etc.

We also often analysis the product’s information from the reliable sources (who make the deep testing) like Cook’s Illustrated, America’s Test Kitchen, Consumer Reports, Consumer Testing Laboratories, etc.

It’s better to note that every product does not work for everyone. The result may be varied for different skin tones, types, and conditions. So, often your dermatologist may give you the better recommendations which product you should use for your skin.


  1. I used mouth wash for a month and I had a bad reaction my lips have turned black, also I dyed my beard black and it did more damage

    • Hi Rob,
      You can consult with a dermatologist. He can suggest you some safe mouthwash that cannot harm your skin like lips.

  2. Hello…
    I just wanna ask.. my lips are darker around the line where the skin and the lips met.. so it look a little weird.. it makes my friends think that i’m a smoker, although i’m not.. recently, I’ve also been using a lipbalm to light up my lips.. but it seems not working.. maybe it is something to do with symptom of a disease

  3. Hi Adam,
    Why not? You can restore your actual lip color if you have made your lips discolored by your picking habit or other reasons, like smoking, sun rays etc.

    But, if the lip are dark from birth or naturally, then you cannot lighten them.


  4. Thanks.. but there is a little query. Can the picking-torn dark lips be restored back to their original color,, after they become dark,scarry and ugly due to lip picking habit?

  5. Hi Anthony,
    Normal the around of the lips are a little bit darker for everyone. Anyway, to remove it, you can rub the corners with lemon juice once a day. Lemon can bleach the darkness.

    Best of luck.

  6. Hey guys, my lips are not dark or chapped. I just have a light discolouration around my upper and lower lips. What may be the cause? Any suggestions on how to get rid of this?

  7. Hi Arihant,
    The prolonged use of lipsticks, cheap lipsticks, expired or old lipsticks causes the lips dark. better ideas to use lipstick when you have any party or function.

    After using lipstick, rinse your lips with lemon juice. Massage your lips with lemon juice for 2 minutes. Then use a lip balm.

    laepatitis, it is Laetitia dark lips cream. It is good cream to lighten dark lips. You can read here in detail- https://darklipstips.com/laetitia-dark-lips-cream-review.html

    Best of luck

  8. Hi,Since one and a half year,my upper lips got dark coloured due to usage of expired lipstick .This can be lightened/hidden temporarily using maybelline lip balm but I want a permanent solution to remove the disculouration and restore its original colour.I tried home remedies for last 1.5 years-like honey,sugar,butter,lemon..but all in vain.All efforts seems to be getting wasted.what should i do ?I heard laepatitis (a filipino company product)can help?please guide.

  9. Hi Jose,
    Love your comment.

    For getting pink lips for men, you cannot smoke, drink more than 3 cups of tea or coffee, take spicy or hot foods, etc. Use lip balm with SPF sunscreen. Rub your lips with honey for 3 minutes before going to bed every night. Crashed rose petals are effective and natural to turn the lips rosy instantly. But, be careful of using it. Just rub your lips with mashed rose petals for a few minutes. Then wipe the lips off with a tissue. Don’t go out immediately, because the rose color is still very visible. Give the lips more time to fade the color away a little. Then your lips look brighter, but not look as raw rosy color.

    You can use Laetitia dark lips cream. – https://darklipstips.com/laetitia-dark-lips-cream.html

    best of luck

  10. Hello,

    I just read you’re article and I do believe through all these years of using Colgate total; that it has been doing harm to my lips. I’ve tried different brands and Crest was a huge mistake. As soon as I tried Crest, cavities came about. It just never gave you a clean feeling. I’m using Arm & hammer Truly Radiant paste now and it feels it’s easy on my lips now.

    Well anyways back to the topic, now I am reading I can regain the redness through certain steps. Any suggestions for a “guy”? I do take a multi-vitamin and easy on the coffee. I am currently doing a green tea cycle as a matter of fact.
    Oh and do you have an instagram?

    Thank you Paoli Johan ?


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