How To Lighten Dark Lips: 7 Home Remedies

Simple, easy-to-follow DIY ways to address pigmentation and get rosy lips.

Medically reviewed by Vd. Naveen Sharma, BAMS Vd. Naveen Sharma Vd. Naveen SharmaBAMS facebook_icon
Written by , MA (English) Dipti Sharma MA (English) linkedin_icon Experience: 2 years
Edited by , BTech Anjali Sayee BTech linkedin_icon Experience: 7 years
Fact-checked by , MA (English Literature) Swathi E MA (English Literature) linkedin_icon Experience: 3 years
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It is a known fact that everyone is born with a different shade and color of lips, but issues arise when hyperpigmentationi  A common, harmless condition in which you observe darker patches or spots on the skin due to excess melanin (natural skin pigment). occurs. Thus, it is important to recognize the cause and then go for treatments that work well to get rid of dark lips.

Mostly, you can remove this discoloration completely with natural and organic ingredients instead of resorting to artificial products or medications. Read on to find out how to lighten dark lips with some wholesome and organic ingredients. Keep scrolling!

What Causes Dark Lips?

Woman covering her face from excess sun exposure
Image: Shutterstock

Dark lips may be a result of the following factors:

  • Increased exposure to the sun can increase the melanin production in your skin, thereby causing pigmentation.
  • Excessive smoking can cause a type of pigmentation known as a smoker’s melanosis (1).
  • An allergic response to certain products like toothpaste, lipstick, etc. may also cause hyperpigmentation in your lips.
  • Medical therapies for conditions, such as Laugier-Hunziker syndrome and Peutz-Jeghers syndrome, and posttraumatic pigmentation can affect your lips and cause them to look dark (2).

Dr. Cameron Rokhsar, MD, FAAD, FAACS, says, “One of the most common deficiencies associated with dark lips is a deficiency in vitamin B12. Another vitamin deficiency linked to dark lips is vitamin B2 deficiency. This vitamin plays an important role in skin health, and a lack of it can cause lips to become dry, cracked, and discolored.”

He adds, “Vitamin B3 and B6 deficiencies have also been associated with dark lips. Zinc deficiency is another potential cause of lip discoloration. Zinc is a crucial mineral for skin health, and a deficiency can lead to a range of skin issues, including dark lips. Additionally, iron deficiency anemia can cause pale lips, but this is not typically associated with darkening of the lips.”

The good news is that dark lips may not be a permanent problem and can be reversed with a few practices. Dr. Rokhsar says, “Dark lips can turn pink with proper care and treatment. To make lips pink, it is essential to identify the underlying cause of the dark lips and address it accordingly.”

Now that you know the factors that cause dark lips, scroll down to the next section to learn more about the different dark lip remedies.

Natural Remedies To Lighten Dark Lips

1. Coconut Oil

Woman with coconut oil on her fingertip
Image: Shutterstock

Coconut oil has emollienti  A substance or agent that helps moisturize the skin by forming a protective layer or barrier on the skin and trapping moisture. and moisturizing properties (3). These properties help keep your lips soft, smooth, and supple and prevent them from getting dry and darker, which usually happens with skin dehydration.

What You Can Do: Take a little virgin coconut oil onto your index finger and apply it to your lips. Leave it on to dry. You may do this 1-2 times daily.

2. Lemon And Honey

Citrus fruits like lemons are known for their skin lightening properties (4). When combined with honey, lemons not only lighten your lips but also help soften, revitalize, and rejuvenate them.

What You Can Do: Take a teaspoon each of lemon juice and honey. Mix well and apply it to your lips. Leave it on for 15-20 minutes and rinse with water. You may do this once daily.

Arius, a YouTube blogger, explained how she naturally brightens her dark lips in one of her vlogs: “I applied this lemon and sugar scrub morning and night, so I could get a faster result. I was actually not so consistent, so it took me no long time before my lips began to brighten up. It was all soft and pinkish, and I was really happy (i).”

Note: Lemon juice can cause a stinging sensation on your skin. Please do a patch test before trying this remedy.

3. Aloe Vera

Freshly extracted aloe vera gel to get rid of dark lips
Image: IStock

Aloe vera contains aloin, a compound with depigmenting properties (5). This may help fade the pigmentation on your lips.

What You Can Do: Take half a teaspoon of freshly extracted aloe vera gel and apply it to your lips. Rinse with plain water. You may do this 1-2 times daily.

4. Cucumber Juice

Cucumber contains antioxidants and silica-rich compounds (6). These compounds may help fade pigmentation and lighten dark skin tone.

What You Can Do: Take a few slices of cucumber and grind them. Apply the paste to your lips and leave it on for 15-20 minutes. Rinse with water. You may do this 1-2 times daily.


protip_icon Quick Tip
You can also grate a washed and peeled cucumber to obtain its pulp and juice, which you may apply to your lips.

5. Turmeric

Curcumin is a major constituent of turmeric. This may help inhibit melanogenesis (the formation of melanin) (7). This, in turn, can lighten your lips.

What You Can Do: Prepare a thick paste by mixing a teaspoon of turmeric powder with a little water. Apply this paste to your lips and allow it to dry. Rinse with water. You can do this once daily.

Note: Turmeric can cause an allergic reaction to skin contact in some people. It can cause an outbreak of rashes on your skin if you are allergic to it. Hence, do a patch test before you proceed with this remedy.

6. Sesame Oil

Sesame oil contains an active lignan called sesamol, which was found to inhibit the biosynthesis of melanin in animal studies (8). Hence, sesame oil may also help in lightening dark lips.

What You Can Do: Apply sesame oil on your lips and leave it on until it dries. You may reapply the oil as necessary. You can do this 2-3 times daily.

Note: Sesame oil can cause an allergic reaction upon skin contact in some people. Hence, do a patch test.

7. Pomegranate

Woman holding pomegranate
Image: Shutterstock

Pomegranate extracts were found to reduce tyrosinasei  A copper-containing enzyme responsible for the first step in melanin (natural skin pigment) production. activity and melanin production (9). These properties may eventually lighten dark lips.

What You Can Do: Take a teaspoon of pomegranate powder and make a paste using water. Apply this paste to your lips and leave it to dry. Rinse off with plain water. You may do this 1-2 times daily for best results.

Note: Pomegranate powder can cause an allergic reaction like skin irritation and rashes in some people. Hence, do a patch test.

Dr. Rokhsar adds, “Dark lips caused by excessive smoking or sun exposure can be reversed by quitting smoking and using sunscreen. Similarly, dark lips resulting from certain medications can fade once the medication is stopped or changed. However, it is important to note that in some cases, dark lips may be a symptom of an underlying medical condition, such as Addison’s disease or Laugier-Hunziker syndrome. In these cases, reversing the darkening of the lips may not be possible without treating the underlying condition.”

8. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar for dark lips
Image: Shutterstock

Anecdotal evidence suggests that the high acid content in apple cider vinegar may help exfoliate dead skin cells, reduce pigmentation, and improve overall lip texture. However, more research is warranted in this regard.

What You Can Do: Mix a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar with an equal amount of water to reduce its acidity. Gently apply this mixture to your lips and leave it on for 15-20 minutes before rinsing it off with water. You can do this once daily.

Note: Apple cider vinegar may cause a slight burning or stinging sensation. Conduct a patch test before application to ensure it is well tolerated.

If the above natural remedies do not lighten your lips, scroll down to the next section to know how to lighten dark lips permanently.

Treatment For Dark Lips

  • The common treatment options for dark lips include the use of lasers (10). Laser treatment does not have severe side effects.
  • Chemical treatments may also be used to lighten dark lips. They often involve the use of hydroquinone and kojic acid that can inhibit the tyrosinase enzyme (11).
  • Certain dark lips treatments also work by inhibiting the production of melanin. But most of them may cause adverse side effects (increased sun sensitivity, flaking skin, or an uneven skin tone).

Dr. Rokhsar says, “These treatments should only be performed by a qualified and experienced dermatologist, as they require specialized training and equipment.”

Prevention Tips

Woman exfoliating her lips
Image: IStock
  • Exfoliate your lips regularly. According to Dr. Rokhsar, “ Exfoliating the lips regularly can also help to remove dead skin cells and promote blood circulation, which can improve lip color.”
  • Drink plenty of fluids daily to stay hydrated.
  • Use a lip balm with SPF 40 or above.
  • Do not use low-quality lip cosmetics.
  • Avoid using products you are allergic to.
  • Avoid sucking on your lips constantly as it makes them very dry.
protip_icon Quick Tip
You can mix two teaspoons of ground coffee with a teaspoon of olive oil for a quick and effective lip scrub. Exfoliate your lips with this scrub 2-3 times a week and follow up with a hydrating lip balm.

Infographic: 6 DIY Remedies To Treat Dark Lips

Does it break your heart to see your lips turning darker? Well, it is because of the hyperpigmentation of the skin that no amount of gloss or chapstick can fix. But worry not – we have listed in the following infographic some natural ways you can restore and achieve pretty pink lips. Take a look.

6 diy remedies to treat dark lips (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Hyperpigmentation on the lips may make it look darker than its natural color. Excessive smoking, exposure to the sun, certain medical conditions, or allergic reactions to the chemicals in cosmetic products may lead to dark lips. You can choose from a variety of natural remedies to get rid of dark lips. Coconut oil, aloe vera, cucumber juice, a mix of lemon and honey, pomegranate powder, and turmeric are some of the popular ingredients that can reduce hyperpigmentation and nourish and beautify your lips. Conventional methods include laser and chemical treatments. To protect and repair your lips against hyperpigmentation, hydrate them, avoid lip products with low-quality or harsh ingredients, exfoliate your lips on a regular basis, and use a balm with a minimum SPF value of 40 to renew them.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is the best lip balm to make your lips pink?

You can use lip balms with skin lightening agents. You may also use any lip balm with SPF 40 or above to prevent your lips from darkening further.

Does toothpaste make your lips pink?

Toothpaste may help lighten your lips to a small extent, but if left on overnight, it can burn your lips and cause scarring.

Does lip scrub lighten lips?

Using natural lip scrubs like beetroot, lemon, and honey scrub, or sugar scrub can help gradually lighten your lips.

Why are my lips turning dark even though I don’t smoke?

Smoking is one of the many factors that may contribute to darkening lips. Other factors can include increased exposure to the sun, lack of hydration, an allergic response to products like toothpaste, lipstick, etc., and treatments like chemotherapy and radiation.

Why are my lips dark around the edges?

One of the primary triggers of dark lips around the edges is hyperpigmentation. This can be caused by increased sun exposure or even an inflammatory skin condition.

Can I use petroleum jelly to lighten my lips?

There is no scientific claim confirming that petroleum jelly lightens lips, but you can use it to moisturize your lips and keep them supple. Dr. Rokhsar says, “There is no scientific evidence to suggest that Vaseline can lighten the color of lips. When applied to the lips, it forms a protective barrier that locks in moisture and prevents it from escaping. However, it does not contain any ingredients that have been proven to lighten the skin or pigment of the lips. Therefore, if you are looking to lighten the color of your lips, Vaseline is not an effective treatment option.”

Are dark lips genetic?

Anecdotal evidence suggests that genetics, climate, and lifestyle play an important role in determining your lip color. Thus, you may have a genetic predisposition toward dark lips.

Is brushing your lips good?

Brushing your lips with a toothbrush helps in exfoliation. It may help increase blood flow to your lips. However, it does not affect their pigmentation.

How long should I scrub my lips?

Use a lip scrub for a couple of minutes to eliminate and diminish the dry skin from your lips. Avoid over-exfoliation as it may irritate your lips.

Does milk lighten lips?

Possibly. Anecdotal evidence suggests that using milk with a teaspoon of turmeric may help reduce lip hyperpigmentation and lightly brighten them.

Key Takeaways

  • Excessive smoking and allergic reaction to lipsticks may cause hyperpigmentation of the lips.
  • The aloin in aloe vera may help reduce lip pigmentation.
  • Chemical exfoliants like kojic acid, enhance the appearance of dark lips.
  • Drink plenty of water regularly to prevent dark lips.
How To Lighten Dark Lips: 7 Home Remedies

Image: Stable Diffusion/StyleCraze Design Team

Are you tired of dark lips? Learn effective home remedies to lighten and get rid of dark lips in this informative video guided by a dermatologist. Say goodbye to dark lips and hello to confidence!

Personal Experience: Source

References

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Epidemiologic study of excessive oral melanin pigmentation with special reference to the influence of tobacco habits. Scandinavian Journal of Dental Research, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6961509/
  2. Oral pigmentation: A review, Journal of Pharmacy and BioAllied Sciences, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4606629/
  3. In vitro anti-inflammatory and skin protective properties of Virgin coconut oil, Journal Of Traditional And Complementary Medicine, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6335493/
  4. Citrus Flavonoids with Skin Lightening Effects – Safety and Efficacy Studies, International Journal for Applied Science, ResearchGate.
    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/281436622_Citrus_Flavonoids_with_Skin_Lightening_Effects_-_Safety_and_Efficacy_Studies
  5. On the novel action of melanolysis by a leaf extract of Aloe vera and its active ingredient aloin, potent skin depigmenting agents. Planta Medica, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/22495441/
  6. Invigorating Efficacy of Cucumis Sativas for Healthcare & Radiance, International Journal of Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Pharma Research Library.
    http://www.pharmaresearchlibrary.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/IJCPS2001.pdf
  7. Curcumin inhibits melanogenesis in human melanocytes. Phytotherapy Research, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/21584871/
  8. Sesamol decreases melanin biosynthesis in melanocyte cells and zebrafish: Possible involvement of MITF via the intracellular cAMP and p38/JNK signalling pathways, Experimental Dermatology, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4744993/
  9. Inhibitory Effect of Dried Pomegranate Concentration Powder on Melanogenesis in B16F10 Melanoma Cells; Involvement of p38 and PKA Signaling Pathways, International Journal Of Molecular Sciences, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4632747/
  10. An effective treatment of dark lip by frequency-doubled Q-switched Nd:YAG laser, Dermatologic Surgery, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11231240
  11. TOPICAL TREATMENT OF MELASMA, Indian Journal of Dermatology, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2807702/
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Vd. Naveen Sharma
Vd. Naveen SharmaBAMS, Ayurveda Specialist
Dr. Naveen Sharma is a renowned Ayurveda specialist with an experience of 10 years. He completed his Bachelor’s degree in Ayurveda, Medicine and Surgery(B. A. M. S) from Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences, Bangalore, Karnataka, in 2007.

Read full bio of Vd. Naveen Sharma