Some people develop darker lips over time due to a range of medical and lifestyle factors. Read on to learn about the causes of dark lips and some home remedies to lighten them.
Darkening of the lips can be the result of hyperpigmentation. This is a typically harmless condition caused by an excess of melanin. Lip hyperpigmentation may be caused by:
- excessive exposure to the sun
- lack of hydration
- cigarette smoking
- allergic reactions to toothpaste, lipstick, etc.
- too much caffeine
- lip sucking
Most of these causes can be addressed by lifestyle changes, such as wearing sunscreen, limiting caffeine intake, or changing toothpaste brands.
The following can also lead to darker lips:
Treating hyperpigmentation is often a cosmetic decision. Laser treatments and chemicals such as hydroquinone and kojic acid are often used to treat lip hyperpigmentation. Many hyperpigmentation treatments work by inhibiting an enzyme that produces melanin.
You might, however, find a natural lip lightener that suits your needs. Here are some to consider.
A 2002 study suggests citrus fruit peel may act as a melanin inhibitor. Every night just before going to sleep, cut a lemon and gently rub the juicy part over your lips. The next morning, rinse your lips with cool water. Repeat this routine every night until you see results. It may take 30 days.
Lemon and sugar
Before bedtime, cut a lemon wedge and dip it in sugar. Rub your lips with the sugared lemon. The next morning, rinse your lips with lukewarm water.
Lime is another citrus fruit that may have anti-melanin production properties. In a small bowl, mix together:
Gently apply the mixture to your lips before bedtime. Wash your lips the next morning.
According to a 2010 study, turmeric may act as a melanin inhibitor. In a small bowl, mix together:
- 1 tablespoon milk
- enough turmeric powder to make a paste
With a wet fingertip, rub the paste on your lips. Leave it in place for about five minutes before gently rinsing it off with cool water. After drying your lips, apply your favorite moisturizer.
A 2005 study found that pomegranate extract may lighten skin hyperpigmentation. To make this remedy, mix the following into a paste:
- 1 tablespoon pomegranate seeds
- 1 teaspoon rose water
- 1 tablespoon fresh dairy cream
Gently massage the paste into your lips for about three minutes, then rinse your lips with cool water. Repeat daily.
Other natural remedies
Some people use the following home remedies to lighten darker lips. However, research is needed to explore their effectiveness. Keep this in mind if you try them out:
- Coconut oil. Using your fingertip, take a very small amount of coconut oil and gently apply it evenly over your lips. You can do this multiple times during the day and also before you go to sleep at night.
- Rose water. Mix together two drops of rose water to six drops of honey. Apply this mixture to your lips three to four times per day. You can also apply this mixture before going to bed at night.
- Olive oil. Before bed, massage a few drops of olive oil onto your lips.
- Cucumber juice. In a blender, juice half a cucumber. Cool the juice in the refrigerator. Once the juice is cool, dip a cotton ball into it and use the cotton ball to gently apply the juice onto your lips. Leave the cucumber juice on your lips for about 30 minutes, then rinse off with cool water.
- Strawberry. Make a paste by mixing together five crushed, medium-sized strawberries and 2 teaspoons of baking soda. Gently apply this paste to your lips at bedtime, then rinse off with cool water the next morning.
- Almond. In a small bowl, blend 1 tablespoon of fresh dairy cream and enough almond powder to make a paste. Massage the paste onto your lips for three to five minutes. Let it dry for about five minutes. Rinse your lips with lukewarm water. Repeat this process daily.
- Almond oil. Every night before bed, massage a drop or two of almond oil onto your lips.
- Sugar. Blend together 3 teaspoons of sugar and 2 teaspoons of butter. Three times a week, massage this blend onto your lips for three to four minutes. If you like, you can substitute olive oil for the butter.
- Mustard oil. Once per day, gently massage one to two drops of mustard oil on your lips.
- Beets. Using a food processor or blender, grind beetroot into a fine paste. Twice a week, apply the beet paste to your lips. Leave in place for 5 to 10 minutes, then rinse off. Once your lips are clean and dry, apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly.
The lightness or darkness of your lips is often a personal cosmetic preference. There are a number of natural home remedies for lip lightening if you have lip hyperpigmentation.
Talk with your doctor before deciding which remedy to choose. They can help ensure the underlying cause of your darker lip pigmentation is also treated.