Hyperpigmentation Around Mouth: Causes, Remedies, And More

Written by Annie Jangam

Do you have dark, uneven skin around your mouth? Do you find it difficult to leave your house without slapping on makeup to cover it up? Well, you are not alone.

Having an uneven, darkish skin tone, particularly around your mouth, is a common occurrence. This condition is also called hyperpigmentation, where your skin produces excess melanin and causes dark patches on the affected area.

This pigmentation can have a psychological effect on your confidence. If you have tried every skin whitening cream out there but still found no results, we have you covered. Here, we will discuss how you can treat hyperpigmentation around the mouth using natural treatments. We will also explore the causes of hyperpigmentation and possible ways of prevention. Read on.

Why Is The Skin Around Your Mouth Darkening?

The general causes of oral pigmentation include:

  • Consuming drugs like oral contraceptives, hormone replacement medications, antimalarials, etc. (1).
  • Consuming tobacco or engaging in passive/active smoking (1).
  • Having pre-existing health conditions such as HIV, tuberculosis, thyroid disorders, or Addison’s disease (1).
  • Having occasional exposure to heavy metals such as lead, bismuth, mercury, silver, arsenic, and gold via tattoos or due to occupation (1).
  • Recent pregnancy that can cause hormonal changes (also known as Melasma) (1), (2).
  • General aging and wear-and-tear of skin, which causes “liver” spots (1), (2).
  • Excessive exposure to the sun, causing skin damage and skin darkening (2).
  • Skin issues like acne, which can leave dark spots behind (2).
  • Injuries to the skin due to surgeries or skin burns (2).
  • Having deficiencies of vitamin B12, folic acid, serum cortisol, adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), or iron (3).

These are the major causes of hyperpigmentation around the mouth. We will now see how you can reduce this condition.

How To Reduce Hyperpigmentation Around Mouth?

Speak to your dermatologist before you try any new cream or home treatment. The course of treatment should factor in your genes, skincare routine, and the level of sun exposure, among others.


Spending long hours in direct sunlight can damage your skin and may cause dark marks around the mouth. Hence, it is advisable to wear sunscreen and cover your body with hats, gloves, and sunglasses whenever you step out. Use sunscreens containing titanium dioxide or zinc oxide on all sun-exposed skin on a daily basis (3).

Exfoliation And Chemical Peels

Engage in a gentle exfoliation ritual or use chemical peels such as salicylic acid to lighten the skin (4). These methods work by getting rid of the dead skin cells and unwanted melanin (5). Make sure to not scrape your skin while exfoliating or using a chemical peel. Scraping can worsen the condition. You should also stay away from the sun and apply sunscreen for further protection.

Skin-Lightening Creams

Investing in high-quality skin lightening creams with specific ingredients can combat dark skin around the mouth.

Glabridin supposedly has whitening properties, as does kojic acid (6), (17). Other ingredients known for their skin-lightening effects include grape seed extract, arbutin, vitamins C and E, soy, mulberry, and coffee extract (8).

OTC Ointments

OTC medicines containing hydroquinone can help treat hyperpigmentation. Hydroquinone restricts melanin production and allows the dark spots to fade with time (8).

Laser Treatment

Fractional laser treatments can lighten the skin. It also can be used to treat certain signs of skin aging (9).

In addition to these conventional treatment methods, you may also go for home remedies. We have listed them below.

6 Natural Remedies To Treat Darken Skin Around Mouth

The best part about these ingredients is you can find them in your kitchen. Do a patch test to check if you are allergic to any of the ingredients.

1. Turmeric

Turmeric contains curcumin, an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-carcinogenic agent that can lighten skin over time. Topical application of turmeric can reduce fine lines and wrinkles as well (10).

You Will Need
  • A few drops of water/milk ½ a teaspoon of turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons of gram flour, for better consistency
What To Do
  • Mix the ingredients and form a thick paste.
  • Apply this mixture to the affected area.
  • Let it sit for about 10 to 15 minutes and rinse with cool water.

2. Potato Juice

Potato contains azelaic acid that may help reduce pigmentation spotting related to breakouts. This chemical can also lower itching and skin inflammation (11).

You Will Need
  • 1 raw potato
What To Do
  • Grate the potato.
  • Squeeze it to extract the juice.
  • Apply this juice around your mouth and massage in a gentle circular motion.
  • Let it sit for 20 minutes and rinse with cold water.

3. Honey And Lemon Scrub

Lemon juice or lemon extract acts as a potent skin bleaching agent and can help lighten the skin (12). Honey is also useful in the treatment of skin wounds and burns (13).

You Will Need
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
What To Do
  • Squeeze the juice of a lemon. Mix the honey with it to make a paste.
  • Gently massage this paste on the dark patch around your lips for about 10 to 15 minutes. Alternatively, you can leave it on overnight too.
  • Rinse with cool water.

Apply this pack in the evening to avoid sun exposure (as exposing to the sun with lemon on your skin may cause burns). Plus, always follow up with a moisturizer as lemon can dry your skin out. Do a patch test before applying lemon if you have sensitive skin.

4. Aloe Vera

Aloe vera contains aloesin, which can help lighten the skin around the mouth (14).

You Will Need
  • Pure aloe vera gel
What To Do
  • Apply pure aloe vera gel to the dark areas around your mouth before bedtime.
  • Rinse with cool water the next morning.

Alternatively, you can also consume aloe vera gel in capsule form. But make sure you speak to your dermatologist first.

5. Glycerin And Rose Water

Anecdotal evidence suggests that glycerin may help reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation, dark rings, and dryness. Consult your doctor for further information.

You Will Need
  • 1 tablespoon of glycerin
  • 1 tablespoon of rose water
What To Do
  • Mix the two ingredients.
  • Gently massage onto the affected area.
  • Leave it on overnight and wash in the morning with cool water.

6. Oatmeal

Oatmeal possesses antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties (15). Some believe it may help reduce pigmentation, though more research is warranted.

You Will Need
  • 1 teaspoon of oatmeal
  • The pulp of ½ a tomato
  • A few drops of olive oil
What To Do
  • Take the oatmeal and grind it.
  • Add the olive oil and tomato pulp to the powder to make a paste.
  • Apply the paste to the affected areas and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Once it has dried, dampen the face a little and gently scrub it off.
  • Repeat this twice a week for best results.

These were some effective home remedies you could try to potentially reduce the dark circles around your mouth. Let us now look at some useful, time-tested hacks that may possibly help prevent hyperpigmentation or reduce its risk.

Expert Tips To Reduce The Risk Of Darkness Around The Mouth

  • Include acai berry, green tea, pomegranate, strawberry, and soy into your daily diet. These foods possess antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and are rich in flavonoids (8), (15).
  • If you are deficient in vitamin B3, opt for a topical cream that contains 2% niacinamide. It can significantly reduce the total area of hyperpigmentation and increase skin lightness after 4 weeks of treatment (8).
  • Try to avoid ultraviolet (UV) exposure by wearing hats and clothing when you are in the sun. Use a high-quality sun screen.
  • If natural treatments do not show results, try topical treatment options such as retinoids, azelaic acid, hydroquinone, chemical peels, and cosmeceuticals after speaking to your dermatologist (3). As mentioned earlier, do a patch test to check for any allergic reactions.
  • Keep tracking the treatment progress by capturing high-quality photographs of the darkened area.

Closing Thoughts

Hyperpigmentation around the mouth can be embarrassing. It is a common occurrence, has multiple causes, and can affect people of all ages and skin types.

Luckily, this form of hyperpigmentation can be treated and is generally harmless. The remedies listed in this post may help reduce the severity of your hyperpigmentation to some extent. But if you do not find satisfactory results, consult your dermatologist for alternative treatment options. Following a good diet and a proper skincare routine can also help you naturally reduce the appearance of pigmented skin.

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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. Oral pigmentation: A review
    3. Hyperpigmentation Therapy: A Review
    4. Whitening Effect of Salicylic Acid Peels in Asian Patients
    5. Chemical Peels for Melasma in Dark-Skinned Patients
    6. Phytochemistry and Biological Properties of Glabridin
    7. Depigmenting Effect of Kojic Acid Esters in Hyperpigmented B16F1 Melanoma Cells
    8. Cosmeceuticals for Hyperpigmentation: What is Available?
    9. Fractional Laser treatment for pigmentation and texture improvement
    10. Are Natural Ingredients Effective in the Management of Hyperpigmentation? A Systematic Review
    11. Health Benefits and Cons of Solanum tuberosum
    12. The Hunt for Natural Skin Whitening Agents
    13. Honey: A Therapeutic Agent for Disorders of the Skin
    14. Modulation of melanogenesis by aloesin: a competitive inhibitor of tyrosinase
    15. Innovations in natural ingredients and their use in skin care
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Annie Jangam is a Molecular Biologist with 7 years of research experience in Rice Functional Genomics and Nutrient Signalling with International Publications in Abiotic stress, Nitrogen, and G-protein signaling. She specializes in writing on Health and Wellness. She has been an avid reader since childhood and is passionate about stories that help decipher life and its meaning. She believes in Human Rights for all and that one should "love others like we love ourselves."