We all want pink lips that look rosy and feel soft to touch, don’t we? But most often than not, you end up covering them with lipstick just to hide your dark, pigmented lips. True story? We get it. Dark lips can be a real downer, especially on special occasions or a date, when you want to look your best natural self.
Well, it is possible to step out with your real lips, sans the layers of lipstick. Wondering how? Keep reading, as we give you all the causes behind this problem and solutions in this article.
What Causes Dark Lips?
1. Lifestyle Reasons For Dark Lips
One of the most common reasons for dark lips is smoking. Dark lips are also caused by hyperpigmentation , when the skin produces extra melanin. Hyperpigmentation of the lips can occur due to dehydration or even drinking excessive amounts of coffee.
Being in the sun for too long or an allergy to chemicals present in lipsticks or toothpaste (fluoride) can also cause dark lips.
2. Medical Reasons For Dark Lips
Medical conditions such as anaemia, chemotherapy and a lack of certain vitamins can also result in dark lips. Certain medications like antimalarial tablets or even the antibiotic minocycline  can cause pigmentation.
A medical condition known as Addison’s Disease  can also result in dark lips due to a faulty immune system, which prevents the necessary hormones required by the body from being produced by the adrenal gland.
How To Lighten Dark Lips?
1. Moisturize Your Lips With Lip Balm
Using lip balm, preferably one with a high SPF, can help in lightening dark lips. Lip balms also keep the lips moisturised, preventing them from darkening further. Use a lip balm the moment you feel your lips are drying up. It can be used several times a day.
2. Use Sun Block
Always use sunscreen whether you are outdoors or indoors. Make sure you use it liberally on your lips as well to prevent the UV rays of the sun from causing hyperpigmentation.
3. Massage With Oils
Gently massaging your lips with extra virgin coconut oil or almond oil can improve blood circulation to the area and give them a healthier pink hue instead of the dark colour. Rub your lips with one of these oils four or five times a day for best and quick results.
4. Exfoliate Your Lips
To lighten the colour of your lips, you can gently scrub them with an exfoliator. You can even make your own, by mixing a little honey and sugar to remove the dead skin of the lips.
5. Medical Treatments
Laser treatments or the use of kojic acid  or hydroquinone  are your options for treating dark lips. These work by controlling the enzyme that is responsible for the production of melanin. They may not produce permanent results though and may not be safe.
Word of Caution:
These treatments can cause side effects like scarring, skin irritation and even nerve damage. According to experts, skin lightening formulations may have mercury as an ingredient which can lead to other health problems .
6. Moisturize With Glycerine
Glycerine moisturises the delicate skin of the lips, keeping it supple and smooth. It removes dead cells and lightens the lip color, when mixed with lemon juice and applied. Glycerine also prevents the skin from peeling and cracking.
Natural Remedies To Lighten Dark Lips
- Studies reveal that aloe vera gel contains a melanin inhibiting component. Applying fresh aloe vera gel on your lips and washing it off when it dries up may help.
- You can apply a few drops of extra virgin coconut oil or olive oil to your lips. This will hydrate the lips and over time help reduce the dark colour. Even applying mustard oil twice a day will help.
- Besides eating cucumbers, juicing them and applying the juice can also help reduce the appearance of dark lips. You can do the same with beetroot paste. After washing off, apply some lip balm.
- Mix a few drops of rose water with a teaspoon of honey; apply several times a day and leave on overnight.
- A paste of almonds and fresh cream applied and left on as a mask can also help reduce dark lips.
You can even make your own lip mask and apply on to your lips to lighten the colour. You need to ensure you are not allergic to any of the ingredients used:
Turmeric contains curcumin , which can stop or reduce the production of melanin, thereby assisting in skin lightening. Make a paste of milk and turmeric powder, and apply on your lips. Leave on for five to ten minutes, then wash off. Pat dry and apply moisturiser or lip balm.
2. Lemon Juice
Lemon juice, or the peel of a lemon may also reduce the production of melanin according to studies . While there is no concrete evidence of this fact, people do use lemon juice to lighten the skin. The citric acid in lemons can exfoliate and remove dead skin.
Apply some lemon juice on your skin and leave on overnight. Do this for at least a month to see results. Make sure your lips are not cracked, as lemon can irritate the skin. You can even mix some sugar with the lemon juice, apply and keep overnight.
You can also mix about one tablespoon of lime juice with a teaspoon each of glycerine and honey and apply to dark lips. Keep overnight and wash off the next morning. The honey and glycerine will also help to moisturise the lips.
3. Strawberry Mask
You can mix a handful of strawberries with a couple of teaspoons of baking soda. Blend into a paste and apply on your lips before you sleep. This mask may help lighten the dark colour of your lips.
4. Pomegranate Mask
Studies have shown that an ingredient in pomegranates  may help lighten the skin colour. You can make a paste of one tablespoon of pomegranate seeds with one teaspoon of rose water and one tablespoon of fresh cream. Apply as a mask on your lips till your lip colour gets lighter.
Achieving Pink Lips - DOs & DON’Ts
Avoid the intake of too much caffeine -- either through coffee or caffeinated drinks. They also dehydrate you which can lead to hyperpigmentation. Include water rich foods such as melons and cucumbers in your diet.
2. Avoid Smoking
Besides all the health problems that smoking can cause, dark lips is also one of the prominent visible damage caused by cigarettes. Reduce the number of cigarettes you smoke or quit altogether.
Drinking water and staying hydrated at all times, goes a long way in preventing and reversing dark lips. Lack of water can impact the blood flow to your lips making them darker.
4. Choose The Right Lip Cosmetics
Be careful while selecting lipsticks, lip gloss or even lip balms. That is because some of the chemicals in lipsticks can make lips go dark. Play safe and opt for trusted brands, or those that use a lot of natural ingredients.
5. Always Remove Make-up Before You Sleep
If you wear make-up regularly, don’t ever hit the pillow before you remove it. Make it a point to take it off completely and wash your face of any remaining traces. The chemical residues in colour cosmetics can affect the skin and over time, darken the lips.
6. Change Your Toothpaste
If you think it is the fluoride in your toothpaste that is causing your lips to go dark, you may consider changing your brand to one that uses more natural ingredients and fewer chemicals.
Pigmented lips are a common condition faced by women all over the world. However, with a little care and attention, they can be prevented. If you already have dark lips, you can adopt one or more of the treatments mentioned above to restore them to their original pink colour.
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