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 Gandhi, BAMS Dr. Zeel Gandhi Dr. Zeel GandhiBAMS
Written by , BTech Anjali Sayee BTech Experience: 7 years
Edited by , MA (English Literature) Ramona Sinha MA (English Literature) Experience: 11 years
Fact-checked by , MA (English Literature), Certified Skin Care Coach Shiboli Chakraborti MA (English Literature), Certified Skin Care Coach Experience: 4 years

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

Image: Shutterstock

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, melasmai  A skin condition that causes patches on the skin, usually darker than one’s skin tone, due to hormonal changes or sun exposure. , Laugier-Hunziker syndromei  A rare sporadic disorder characterized by hyperpigmentation of the skin on the lips, oral mucosa, and nails. , and anemiai  A condition that refers to low blood cells that cause low hemoglobin and oxygen levels leading to fatigue and shortness of breath. , 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
Image: Shutterstock

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
Image: Shutterstock

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
Image: Shutterstock

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 add to your lip care routine:

  • 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 a homemade lip 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. You can also use a chemical-free lip liner to define your lip shape and to give your lip color.

3. Practice A Healthy Lifestyle

Woman eating healthy food to lighten dark lips
Image: Shutterstock

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, promote moisturization, 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.
protip_icon Quick Tip
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.

Hawa Jay, a beauty vlogger, shared her experience of using a combination of vitamin e, lemon juice, and vaseline to combat her dark lips in her video. She said, “ I noticed my lips got lighter. Maybe the fourth day where it was completely almost back to its natural color (i).”

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

protip_icon Quick Tip
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

Creating your own lip balm is a one-time effort. It also offers you the freedom to use it at your convenience. The process is fairly simple. Learn more in the next section.

Homemade Lip Balm

You Will Need

  • 8 to 10 drops of lavender essential oil
  • 1 tablespoon of beeswax
  • 1 tablespoon of shea butter
  • A few drops of lemon juice


  1. Melt shea butter and beeswax using a double boiler.
  2. Squeeze lemon juice into the mixture.
  3. Allow it to cool slightly. Add lavender oil.
  4. Transfer the mixture to a lip balm container.
  5. Place it in the refrigerator to solidify.
  6. Use the lip balm consistently throughout the day and before bedtime.

Infographic: The Causes Of And Treatment For Dark Lips

If there is one thing that can instantly ruin your whole look, it is discolored and uneven naturally dark lips. In the infographic below, we have highlighted the causes and treatment options for this issue. Check it out to learn the simple ways to make your lips naturally rosy and beautiful.

dark lips causes and treatment (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

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 the lip beauty 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. Scrub your lips twice a week as exfoliation helps remove any dry or dead skin. And don’t forget to live a healthy lifestyle and avoid smoking and stress.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some of the best cosmetic products and treatments for making lips pink, such as lip balms, lip scrubs, and lip stains?

Lip balms and lip gloss with natural products, such as shea butter, vitamin E, and coconut oil, can heal chapped lips and keep them hydrated. Lip scrubs formulated with natural exfoliants, like sugar or coffee, help remove dead skin as well. Lip tints or lip stains with jojoba oil or aloe vera gel are excellent choices to retain a pink lip color.

Are there any potential risks or side effects associated with using cosmetic products or treatments to make lips pink, and how can these be avoided?

If the products contain all-natural ingredients, it reduces the chances of serious side effects. Check for allergens, which can lead to itching, redness, or inflammation in certain cases. If opting for treatments, check with the dermatologist once and understand the procedure in detail.

What are some of the most common mistakes people make when trying to make their lips pink, and how can these be corrected?

Over-exfoliating lips, not protecting them from UV damage, and using products with chemicals in them, are common mistakes people make in their quest for pink lips. Use products with natural ingredients and lip balms with SPF to protect lips, and drink enough water to hydrate the skin from within.

How do diet, hydration levels, and overall health affect the appearance of the lips, and what are some of the best ways to promote healthy lips?

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet rich in nutrients and vitamins, consuming plenty of water, and using mild skin products promote healthy pink lips.

What are some of the most innovative and cutting-edge techniques for making lips pink, such as laser treatments or chemical peels, and what are their pros and cons?

Topical medications or chemical peels can help in achieving pink lips. But before opting for one, consult with a dermatologist as some of the treatments can be too strong for the sensitive skin of the lips.

Key Takeaways

  • Dark lips may be caused by a plethora of conditions like hyperpigmentation, vitamin deficiencies, anemia, certain medical treatments and prescriptions, smoking, or even excessive consumption of caffeine.
  • Following a natural skincare regimen, exfoliating your lips, and applying SPF to shield them from UV rays,
  • Avoiding harsh ingredients may help keep your lips pink and healthy again.
  • Eating healthy, staying hydrated, reducing your caffeine consumption, and avoiding smoking and unnecessary stress may help with dark lips.
how to make lips pink

Image: Stable Diffusion/StyleCraze Design Team

Discover effective tips and techniques to achieve pink and healthy lips. Learn how to lighten dark lips and enhance their natural beauty. Watch the video now for expert advice and guidance.

Personal Experience: Source


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
Was this article helpful?
Dr. Zeel Gandhi is an Ayurvedic doctor with 7 years of experience and an expert at providing holistic solutions for health problems encompassing Internal medicine, Panchakarma, Yoga, Ayurvedic Nutrition, and formulations. She graduated as a top ranker from Dr. D.Y.Patil College of Ayurveda and Research Centre , Navi Mumbai, and is a specialist in Panchakarma therapies. She believes that Ayurveda...read full bio

Latest Articles