What Causes Dark Lips? How To Make Your Lips Pink?

Now getting those healthy, supple lips that you have always wanted is simple.

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Zeel GandhiDr. Zeel Gandhi, BAMS
By Anjali SayeeAnjali Sayee  • 

We all want our lips to look rosy pink and beautiful. But many factors, like stress and smoking, darken your lips. So you scramble to find products, remedies, and any other treatments that can give you the luscious pink lips you desire. In reality, dark lips are very common in women. They may be caused due to certain medical conditions or lifestyle choices. Learn more about why your lips become dark and how you can prevent it in this article. Keep reading for some natural remedies to lighten your dark lips.

What Causes Dark Lips



The skin on your lips is very delicate and sensitive. It can get damaged and become dark easily. There are a number of reasons why your once healthy and pink lips may have become darker and drier, which include:

  • Hyperpigmentation

Hyperpigmentation (overproduction of melanin) is a common condition that changes the color of your lips. It could be a sign of an inflammatory disease, a genetic disorder, physiological changes, usage of certain drugs or chemicals, and abnormal tissue growths (1), (2).

  • Medical Conditions

Certain medical conditions, like vitamin deficiencies, melasma, Laugier-Hunziker syndrome, and anemia, can turn your lips dark (3). Addison’s disease, a rare disorder of adrenal glands, is also known to darken the lips (4). Some medical treatments and prescriptions, like chemotherapy, can also change your lip color (5).

  • Smoking
Smoking can cause dark lips


According to a study conducted on the effects of smoking on lips, the result indicated that more smokers have darker lips compared to non-smokers (6). This suggests that smoking can discolor your lips.

  • Sun Exposure
Sun exposure can cause dark lips


Just like the rest of your skin, your lip skin can get tanned too. If you are out in the sun often, it could be why your lips have turned darker. UV ray exposure increases the melanin in the skin, causing areas to darken (2).

  • Stress

 When you are stressed, your body produces more free radicals. These free radicals cause oxidative damage, which could lead to skin discoloration.

  • Additional Factors

Hyperpigmentation of the lips may occur due to dehydration or consuming excessive amounts of caffeine. It may also be a sign of an adverse reaction to some harsh ingredient in a cosmetic product, like lipstick or toothpaste.

If your lips are dark, don’t worry. Keep reading to learn how you can make your lips pink and healthy.

How To Lighten Dark Lips

1. Follow A Skin Care Regimen

Woman applying lip balm to lighten dark lips


Just like the skin on your body, the skin on your lips needs daily TLC. So moisturize your lips every day. Here are a few more things you can do:

  • Mix and apply Vaseline and vitamin E, or simply use a lip balm made of natural ingredients to transform your dark lips.
  • Some lip balms even come with SPF protection to shield the delicate skin on your mouth from the harsh UV rays.
  • Exfoliate the skin on your lips with an exfoliator or scrub every alternate day.

2. Avoid Using Too Many Products

The skin on your lips is very delicate. Most lip products contain certain harsh ingredients that tend to do more damage than good. The more makeup or skin care products you apply, the more susceptible your lips are to damage. This is why it is recommended by many skin care experts to use natural products or DIY lip balms to replenish and lighten your lips.

3. Practice A Healthy Lifestyle

Woman eating healthy food to lighten dark lips


How healthy your skin is depends on how well you treat your body. To keep your skin glowing and looking youthful, you need to follow a healthy lifestyle. Here’s what you can do:

  • This means eating balanced meals containing fruits, vegetables, greens, beans, nuts, good meats, and whole grains. When you eat healthy, you can notice the change in your lips.
  • Keep yourself hydrated as well as dry lips are more prone to damage and darkening. Also, exercise daily. You may be surprised by how much it helps keep your lips light and plump.
  • Avoid smoking and a stress-filled life. Seek out stress-relieving options, such as meditation or therapy. Also, reduce your consumption of caffeine.

4. Medical Treatments

  • There are some treatments, like chemical peels and skin bleaches, which may help reduce lip pigmentation. But do not use them without consulting a dermatologist as they may contain ingredients that might be too strong for the delicate skin on the lips.
  • Hydroquinone creams can also reduce the production of melanin in the skin (2).
  • Kojic acid, extracted from mushrooms, also blocks melanin production in the skin (7).
  • Topical retinoid creams may be applied to lighten the lips and decrease pigmentation caused by an increase in rapid cell turnover (7).

5. Natural Remedies

Listed below are a few natural ingredients that may help reduce the hyperpigmentation in your lips and make them pink. Check them out (2).

Honey and glycerinGood for moisturizing the lips (2)
Neem or aloe vera pasteRejuvenates the lips (2).
CucumberSoothes chapped lips (2).
Lime juiceLightens dark lips and increases skin shine and softness (2).
Cocoa butterMakes the lips plump and soft.(2)
Vitamin C or ascorbic acidLightens the skin. (2)
Olive or peanut oilDecreases pigmentation. (2)
Red rose petalsMakes the lips pink. (2)
Aloe vera, pears, cranberry, blueberry, ginseng, root vegetables, licorice, grape seeds, and strawberryNatural skin lighteners that inhibit melanin production (8).
Turmeric paired with milk or yogurtInhibits melanin production (9).
Pomegranate seeds with rose water or olive oilInhibits melanin production and reduces lip pigmentation (10).
Beetroot juice or powderGives the lips a pink color.
StyleCraze Says
Remove the yellow sap from aloe vera before application to reduce your risk of developing latex allergy. Also, wash your skin with warm water and soap if you touch it to avoid skin irritation.

You can also make your own lip balm with the natural ingredients listed in the table below (11):

StyleCraze Says
You can also add essential oils like peppermint, lime, grapefruit, lavender, or sweet orange oil to add a wonderful fragrance to your lip balm.
Butter/WaxOilColoring AgentFlavoring Agent
Cocoa ButterCoconut OilBeetrootStrawberry
BeeswaxOlive  OilPomegranateHoney
Shea WaxAlmond  OilMarigoldOrange
Shea ButterVitamin E OIlTomatoSaffron
White BeeswaxPeanut OIlJabulRaspberry
Yellow BeeswaxTea Tree OilWatermelonVanilla
Carnauba WaxGlycerinHoneyMango
Candelilla WaxCastor OilSaffronRose Oil
Mango ButterJojoba OilTurmericSandalwood
Avocado ButterCorn OIlCapsicumJasmine
Olive WaxArachis OilCherryCherry
Jojoba WaxLemon OilOrangeApple
Olive ButterAvocado OilStrawberryLemon
Sweet AlmondSesame OilMangoApricot
Sweet Almond WaxGrapeseed OilCarrotRosemary
 Raspberry ButterSunflower OilLemonPineapple

Key Takeaways

  • Your lips can become dark due to smoking, stress, medical conditions, medical treatments and drugs, and hyperpigmentation.
  • Hydroquinone creams and topical retinoids are some medical treatments that can help you lighten your lips.
  • Natural remedies like pomegranate, lime juice, and beetroot can also make your lips pink.

In Summary

Your lips can turn dark due to stress, smoking, sun exposure, hyperpigmentation, and certain medical conditions and drugs. But by following the right care tips, you can make your lips healthy and pink again! If you have darkened lips, using the natural ingredients and tips mentioned above can lighten your lip color. Just like your hair and skin, your lips need hydration and care to stay healthy, supple, and light. Exfoliate your lips to remove any dry or dead skin. And don’t forget to live a healthy lifestyle and avoid smoking and stress.


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. Approaches To The Evaluation Of Lip Hyperpigmentation
  2. Drug Induced Hyperpigmentation: Review And Case Studies
  3. Management Of Hyperpigmentation Of Lips With 940 nm Diode Laser: Two Case Reports
  4. Addison’s Disease
  5. Minocycline-Induced Hyperpigmentation
  6. Interrelationship Of Smoking Lip And Gingival Melanin Pigmentation And Periodontal Status
  7. Topical Treatment Of Melasma
  8. The Use of Botanical Extracts as Topical Skin-Lightening Agents for the Improvement of Skin Pigmentation Disorders
  9. Curcumin Inhibits Melanogenesis In Human Melanocytes
  10. Inhibitory Effect Of An Ellagic Acid-Rich Pomegranate Extract On Tyrosinase Activity And Ultraviolet-Induced Pigmentation
  11. Review On Natural Lip Balm
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