Simply defined, lip discoloration is when the color of lips changes from a natural red color to darker colors such as blue, gray, and sometimes even black. At other times, the color of lips may change to shades of yellow, although this is relatively rare.
Lip discoloration can be disconcerting, especially because they are prominent on the face, and their discoloration can subtract a lot from one’s appearance. Other than their aesthetic value, having discolored lips can also be a cause for health concern.
The discoloration in itself is rarely a disease, but an indication that there could be a much more serious underlying health problem. If you notice your lips changing color for a relatively long period of time, it is important that you seek medical attention.
What Causes Lip Discoloration?
Lips can get discolored due to many reasons, some of which include:
Some habits can be detrimental to the appearance of your lips. These include smoking and consuming alcohol. The risk of getting discolored lips increases if you are in the habit of consuming cheap illicit brews, or smoking low quality cigarettes.
Prolonged use of these substances also increases your chances of suffering from lip discoloration. Other habits that may seem harmless can also lead to the discoloration of your lips, such as consuming hot food and drinks regularly.
Some products that are used on the lips can also contribute to the discoloration of lips. These products include lipsticks, glosses, or lip liners. Cheap products are particularly responsible for the discoloration, and this is because they often contain cheap dyes that are detrimental to the health of your skin.
Other products that may contribute to discoloration of lips are medicines. Additionally, if you consume some toxins or poisons, they could also lead to the discoloration of lips. Some heavy metals such as mercury, silver, and copper in particular have been shown to contribute greatly to the discoloration of lips.
A leading cause of lip discoloration is anemia. Anemia generally refers to a shortage of hemoglobin in blood. Hemoglobin is the red pigment in blood, which is what gives blood its red color.
If there is less hemoglobin in blood, it means that the blood that flows to the lips will not be as red as blood usually is. Anemia is normally caused by insufficient iron levels in the body. If you suffer from anemia, the color of your lips is likely to change to blue or a blue-gray hue.
There are various skin conditions that can lead to the discoloration of lips. One such condition is known as melasma, which refers to the hyper-pigmentation of parts of the skin. Although melasma is more likely to affect other parts of the skin, it can still affect the lips, especially the upper lip.
Another skin condition that can cause lip discoloration is the occurrence of lentigo, which is the appearance of black or brown spots that affects the skin. It is usually caused by long exposure to the sun. Jaundice can also cause lip discoloration.
It might not be primarily a skin condition, but it is characterized by yellowing of the skin. It is particularly evident on the upper lip and inner lining of the mouth.
This occurs when the levels of deoxygenated blood are higher than normal and can be caused by many things, especially cardiovascular diseases.
Because the color of lips can be affected by the flow of blood, the presence of a lot of deoxygenated blood then usually leads to discoloration of the lips. The discoloration is exacerbated by certain conditions, such as the cold or even a lack of exercise.
Exposure To The Sun
Extended exposure to the sun is generally not good for the health of your skin. You might think that your lips are insignificant when it comes to the exposure to the sun, but the truth of the matter is that they too can be affected by prolonged exposure.
Exposure to the sun stimulates the excessive production of melanin, which then results in more coloration on your lips.
Dry lips can also lead to lip discoloration. Lips are particularly susceptible to drying because they have far fewer layers of skin than other parts of the body.
This can lead to their discoloration too. At other times, drying of lips can result in their cracking, which is equally disconcerting.
Who Is At Risk Of Getting Lip Discoloration?
Although lip discoloration can affect anyone, there are certain groups that are more susceptible to the condition than others. For instance, women of African-American heritage have lip discoloration that is generally inherent.
Women who are at the reproduction stage are also likely to experience lip discoloration because of hormonal imbalances in their bodies.
How Is Lip Discoloration Treated?
Because lip discoloration alone is not a disease, it is treated by addressing the root cause of the discoloration. If for instance your lips are discolored because of continued use of alcohol, or due to smoking, stopping those habits should clear up the discoloration.
If you use cheap lipsticks and glosses, using quality products can also help clear up discoloration. If you suffer from anemia, taking iron supplements can help eliminate the discoloration.
Sometimes your healthcare provider may recommend that you use medicines that contain retinoid, kojic acid, or hydrocortisone. These help put a stop to discoloration of the lips.
There are also a number of home remedies that can help reduce discoloration. Lime powder, for instance, is a natural remedy that can help lighten the color of darkened lips. You could also apply white toothpaste on the lips, let it dry, and then wash it off.
The bleaching agents in the toothpaste will also help lighten your lips. Lemon juice, honey, and aloe vera gel are also substances that can help eliminate discoloration.
Also, make a habit of drinking as much water as you can. This can help flush out all the toxins that may contribute to darkened or discolored lips. If dry lips are the sole cause of lip discoloration, then rubbing Vaseline regularly on your lips should do the trick. Also try and avoid eating very hot foods and drinks because they don’t do your lips any good.
Lip Discoloration Conclusion
Lip discoloration can be disconcerting, but it is not a permanent condition. There is a lot you can do to alleviate the condition. The thing about clearing lip discoloration is that you must address the real problem that is characterized by the darkening of lips.
As soon as you address the issue at its core, the darkening should go away on its own.