Causes of Dark Lips

Causes of Dark Lips

The common causes of dark lips and the reasons why they affect your lips’ natural color.

Among your facial features, your lips are among those that are noticed first as they enhance your overall beauty. That is why it is understandable that every woman wants to have reddish lips (instead of dark lips) as they also equate to beauty.

However, there are those who are born with naturally pinkish lips but acquire dark lips as they grow older. There are several factors that cause dark lips and we are going to briefly discuss 15 of the most common.


Top 15 Reason Dark Lips Occur

  1. Smoking

Smoking has a lot of negative effects on the body and darkening of the lips is just one of them. In fact, dark lips, or oral pigmentation is very widespread and commonly observed among smokers. This is probably caused by the tobacco and tar that are abundant in cigarettes. They stain not only the lips but also the teeth and gums.

The extreme heat from the cigarette can also be another reason. It can affect the amount of melanin in the lip area. It can trigger the production of more melanin, making the color of the lips darker.

  1. Toxic Chemicals in Cosmetics

Some lip cosmetics, especially those that are made with low-quality ingredients, may contain harmful chemicals that causes dark lips. Leaving lipstick on for longer periods can also leave dark tones on the lips. It’s also important to ensure that you do not use expired and cheaply made cosmetic on your beautiful lips.

  1. Excessive UV Exposure

If you think that sun exposure only affects the skin, you may be surprised to know that lips can also undergo discoloration due to chronic and prolonged sun exposure. The harmful UV rays of the sun burn your skin and your lips. But the darkening of the lips is more focused. They also trigger the accumulation of melanin on various parts of the body, including the lip area. In fact, the lips and the face are the most affected and harmed parts.

To avoid darkening of the lips due to UV rays, make sure that you always apply sunscreen on your lips, and of course, avoid prolonged sun exposure.

  1. Caffeine

People who frequently drink coffee, tea, and other hot beverages containing caffeine have a higher risk of acquiring dark lips over time. That is because hot caffeinated beverages can cause harm to the body and stain not only your lips but also your teeth.

  1. Allergens

Different allergens may be found in different products that you use on your lips such as lipsticks, lip balms, lip glosses, and lip tints. Oftentimes, the allergens come from the dyes and fragrances that are infused in the formula of the lip products.

When you suffer from allergy, your lips may have dark spots and lines that can be permanent if you do not do anything about it. If you have identified the product that causes the allergies, discontinue use and throw it away immediately.

  1. Anemia

Anemia is common among women, especially during the reproductive years, and one of its effects is lip discoloration. This condition is usually related to iron deficiency and also a lower concentration of hemoglobin, which is an oxygen-carrying compound.

Since hemoglobin is the element that is responsible for the red color of blood, it can also affect the color of the lips. This is because the color of the lips is partly influenced by the blood that flows through. Hence, the color of the lips will also be affected accordingly if there is a deficiency in hemoglobin.

There are even severe cases wherein the discoloration of the lips will be a little bluish and will become more obvious during cold weather.

  1. Melasma / Hyperpigmentation

Hyperpigmentation on the skin is called melasma and it is caused by the extreme accumulation of melanin. It usually transpires when there is too much sun exposure and may affect any exposed skin on your bodies, such as the hand, neck, face, and lips.

Melasma usually causes the upper lip to darken because this part of the face is the part that is most exposed. To prevent this from happening, you can use products that contain sunscreen to avoid sunburn.

  1. Dry Lips

The lips need the right amount of natural moisturizer so that they will look smooth and supple. During rough weather or due to external factors, the lips may lose its moisture easily since the skin on the lips is always open.

Those who smoke and breathe through their mouths, as well those who frequently lick their lips experience dry lips more often because of the frequent in and out movement of air. The loss of moisture leads to dryness and as a result, the lips may crack or become chapped. Eventually, these damages will end up with darkening of the lips.

  1. Dermatitis

There are two types of dermatitis, atopic dermatitis and contact dermatitis. Between the two, contact dermatitis is more harmful to the lips, especially women, because contact dermatitis can be passed on through lipsticks and other lip products.

They can cause dark lips over time, even without the usual symptoms of dermatitis such as itching. Specialists suggest avoiding cheap and low-quality cosmetics because they are generally made with dyes that contain dermatitis.

  1. Dehydration

Dehydration can be caused by not taking sufficient amounts of water as well as lip licking. It can cause dry skin on the face, neck, hands, and lips, which can eventually result to dark tones. This is something that is a self-caused issue, which means that it can be resolved by drinking at least eight glasses of water a day and avoiding lip licking.

  1. Lentigo

Lentigo is a condition that is characterized by small brown or black patches, like those usually found on the skin of the elderly. It is not just caused by old age, but also by chronic exposure to the sun. It can also affect the lips and cause discoloration, so it is best to avoid staying under the sun for a long time.

  1. Genetic

If dark lips are hereditary or related to genes, then it may be best to consult a dermatologist for exfoliation and to determine the best treatment. Genetic cases are quite difficult to be applied with natural remedies.

  1. Hormonal Changes

One of the main causes of lip discoloration among women is due to hormonal changes. Dark patches or melasma can form on the face, specifically the upper lips, when hormones are released during pregnancy or during hormone therapy. Estrogen hormones, especially in high levels, can cause skin discoloration and darkening of the lips.

The American Academy of Dermatology also said that those who have darker skin pigments are more prone to experience this kind of lip discoloration.

  1. Lip Stains

Just like other lip products and cosmetics, lip stains may also cause lip discoloration or darkening of the lips, if formulated with cheap and harmful chemicals. Before going to bed, make sure to remove lip stains since they are meant to be highly pigmented and long-wearing. Leaving them on the lips for too long may cause the lips to darken.

  1. Eating Disorders

People who have eating disorders naturally lack essential nutrients and may also suffer from other problems such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia. These disorders are related to repetitive vomiting, which may cause damages on the lips in the long run.

Also, it is a known fact that nutritious foods such as fruits and vegetables help keep the skin, including the lips, looking great.

These are the top 15 reason dark lips may occur. Use this information as a guide to avoid experiencing discoloration on your lips. Although there are remedies and ways on how to make darkened lips to become pinkish or reddish again, preventing it from happening is always better than finding for a cure.


It is okay to use products on your lips. Just make sure that you only use those which do not contain artificial and harmful chemicals. It can potentially cause discoloration in the long run. There are lip products that are made to take care of your lips and bring it back to its natural tone. Also, it is always best to use branded, expensive cosmetics rather than settle for inexpensive ones. It can only contribute to the darkening of your lips.

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