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Lip Discoloration

Last reviewed by Dr. Raj MD on January 12th, 2022.

What is lip discoloration?

This is when your lips begin to lighten or darken from their usual coloring.

There are several reasons why a person may have lip discoloration but it is rarely a sigh of oral cancer but if you notice that your lip discoloration is whitish or splotchy, this could be a sign of oral cancer and should be checked out by your physician.

Although both men and women can have lip discoloration the majority is women who have this. Lip discoloration can also happen at any age.

It also seems that people with darker skin tones are more prone to lip discoloration.

Associated Symptoms

There are no symptoms associated with lip discoloration except in certain cases your lips may have a bluish-hue or a purple tinge.

Causes of Lip Discoloration

Many times when a person has lip discoloration it is a benign symptom that is an indication of some hormonal change but other times it could the result of being exposed to the sun, a change in your diet, or a result of some type or irritation. In African-Americans lip discoloration is hereditary.

The primary reason for lip discoloration, especially in women, is hormonal. Women who have a darker skin tone are most notably the ones who have lip discoloration because of hormonal changes. Some of the hormonal reasons can include:

  • Pregnancy when your body is producing more estrogen
  • Taking birth control pills
  • Receiving hormone therapy

Some women have light hair around their lips so they may wax that area causing irritation to their lips. The lips could also be irritated because of using acne treatments and shortly after an acne treatment your lips may darken if exposed to the sun for a long period of time. Even without acne treatment your lips could darken because of long sun exposure.

If the cause of lip discoloration is from your diet it could be that you are drinking excessive amounts of coffee or tea. Smoking may also cause lip discoloration. Having an excessive intake of foods that are rich in iron could also cause your lips to darken.

Other causes can include:

  • Chemotherapy treatments
  • Illnesses like the common cold
  • Rapid heartbeat and excessive sweating can result in lip discoloration with your lips turning blue from pink
  • Medical conditions that are related to oxygenation problems like dermatitis and jaundice that can cause your lips to have a bluish hue or purple-tinged lips.
  • Lack of hemoglobin in your red-blood cells, also known as anemia, cause purple lip discoloration
  • Excessively using low-quality lip-liners and lipsticks can cause your lips to lose their natural color causing lip discoloration.
  • Being exposed to the cold for a long period of time could cause your lips to have a bluish-hue.

How is Lip Discoloration treated?

How lip discoloration is treated depends on what the cause is. If it is from hormonal changes it will most likely over time disappear on its own with little to no medical help. If you have a darker skin tone and notice lip discoloration you can treat it by using a product that contains topical retinoid, hydrocortisone, or kojic acid.

There are some physicians who suggest using lip products that have SPF 15 or higher when going out in the sun for a long period of time to help prevent lip discoloration.

If it is from drinking excessive amounts of coffee or smoking the only treatments would be either to quit drinking coffee and quit smoking or at least cutting back on both of these. One important thing to note is if the lip discoloration is because of smoking it could later develop into oral cancer.

If your lip discoloration is due to anemia you can take an iron supplement but it would be best if you checked with your physician first to make sure it is anemia. You should also try to exercise at least thirty minutes a day to ensure oxygen is getting to all areas of your body.

Lip Discoloration Pictures

Collection of pictures, photos and images of Lip Discoloration…

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lip discoloration pictures

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Home remedies for Lip Discoloration

There are also some home remedies that you can try for lip discoloration like:

  • Make sure that you drink a lot of water to flush out all the toxins in your system and to help keep your skin hydrated. This will help to prevent dark spots from forming on your lips.
  • Avoid excessively hot foods because they can exacerbate the color of your lips and leave embarrassing stains on your lips.
  • Use good quality lip-liners and lipsticks, especially herbal and natural beauty products.
  • Apply lemon juice to your lips and will help give you healthy looking lips.
  • You can also apply aloe Vera gel to your pips to help fight lip discoloration.
  • Before you go to bed apply lime juice to your lips as this type of juice acts like a bleaching agent.
  • Mix some honey and yogurt with the pulp of a ripe banana and apply the paste to your lips.
  • To preserve the natural color of your lips rub Vaseline on your lips every day.
  • Apply white toothpaste to your lips, let dry, and rinse off. You should do this a week to notice any results.

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