Dark upper lips is simply a popular cosmetic problem that many persons, especially women, are worried about. The darker colour can appear on the skin above the upper lip or the upper lip itself.
No matter what, it can be a reason for embarrassment and concern. It can be due to medical or non-medical reasons.
Some known medical reasons include hirsutism, where the darkening of your upper lip may actually be a darkening of the hair above your upper lip; melasma, also known as a “pregnancy mask,” usually occurring when a woman is pregnant or taking birth control pills; and hormonal changes that may trigger excess melanin production.
Some non-medical causes can be inappropriate hair removal techniques, poor skin care routine, excessive smoking and damage from sun exposure.
No matter the underlying cause, you can easily lighten your upper lip with simple home remedies. However, bear in mind that you will not get results overnight. With regular application, these remedies will provide good results.
Here are 8 simple remedies to lighten dark upper lips:
Massaging the darker skin can help a lot to restore the natural color of your lip. This helps by removing dirt from under the surface and boosting blood circulation.
- Use a soft-bristle toothbrush to gently massage your damp upper lip area. After 5 to 10 minutes, rinse your lips with lukewarm water. Do this once daily.
- Another option is to rub a little natural oil (such as almond or coconut oil) into your lips, using your index fingers to gently massage them with small circular motions. Do this once or twice a day. You can rinse off the oil after 30 minutes.
- Alternatively, you can take an ice cube and massage it gently into the lips for a few seconds. The cold ice will bring blood to the surface, leaving your lips looking red and full.
If your upper lip has darkened due to non-medical reasons or age, then honey is the best remedy to try. Being a natural moisturizing ingredient, honey helps soften your lips and even restore their natural pink color.[Read: 8 Ways to Protect Your Skin from Darkening in the Sun]
- Apply honey on your lips before going to bed and leave it on overnight. In the morning, wash it off with lukewarm water. Do this daily.
- Alternatively, mix together ½ teaspoon of honey and 1 teaspoon of rose water. Apply it on the upper lip area. Allow it to dry for 20 minutes before washing it off with lukewarm water. Use this remedy once daily.
- Another option is to mix equal amounts of honey and tomato juice and apply it to the darkened area. Allow it to sit for 20 to 30 minutes, then rinse it off using lukewarm water. Do it once daily.
3. Keep Your Lips Hydrated
To keep your lips pink and soft, you need to keep them hydrated from the outside as well as from within.
As the outside environment has a dehydrating effect on your lips, you must take special care to keep them hydrated.
Use a lip balm containing cocoa butter or shea butter to keep your lips soft and moisturized. You can also massage your lips gently for a few seconds with a little coconut oil.
As lips tend to lose moisture faster than other areas of the body, use a moisturizing lip balm several times a day.
To keep your lips hydrated from within, drink 8 to 10 glasses of water a day. However, everyone has different requirements for water, so consult your doctor to find out how much you need to drink based upon your health and fitness level.
Besides drinking water, eat fresh vegetables and fruits that are rich in water content, such as oranges, kiwi, watermelon, apples, cantaloupe and watery veggies like celery, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini and carrots.
Also, eat foods rich in vitamins A and C. While vitamin A helps maintain and repair the skin tissue, vitamin C increases the collagen production. Vitamin C also protects the lips from the sun’s UV rays.
You can use lemon juice to naturally lighten a dark upper lip. The citric acid in lemon juice is a natural bleaching agent.
Also, it helps exfoliate your skin and slough off dead skin cells.
- Squeeze a lemon and apply the juice on your lips. Massage gently for 1 minute. Leave it on overnight, and rinse it off using lukewarm water the next morning. Pat your lips dry and apply a lip balm. Use this simple remedy daily for 1 to 2 months.
- Alternatively, you can prepare a mixture of ½ teaspoon each of lemon juice, glycerin and honey. Apply it on your lips before going to bed. Do this daily until you see positive results.
5. Orange Peel Powder
A natural skin-whitening agent, orange peel powder is highly effective in lightening a dark upper lip. It is also a great source of vitamin C, which increases the collagen production and also protects the lips from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays.
- Dry some orange peels in the sun for a few days.
- Grind the dried peels into a fine powder.
- Mix ½ teaspoon of orange peel powder with 1 teaspoon of plain yogurt.
- Smear the paste all over your upper lip area and let it sit for 10 minutes.
- Using wet fingers, scrub off the paste.
- Rinse off the residue with lukewarm water.
- Use this remedy 3 or 4 times a week for effective results.
Packed with skin-hydrating components, glycerin can effectively improve the appearance and texture of a dark upper lip. It works as a humectant as well as emollient agent, which together keeps your lips feeling soft, smooth and well-hydrated.[Read: 7 Things Every Woman Should Know About Her Skin]
It can also help get rid of dead skin, so that you can enjoy healthy, pink lips.
- Apply glycerin on the dark lip and massage gently using your fingers. Do this daily before going to bed. The next morning, rinse it off using lukewarm water.
- Another option is to mix glycerin and rose water in equal amounts. Apply this mixture on your lips a few times a day to enjoy soft and pink lips.
7. Avoid Licking Your Lips
To get rid of a dark upper lip, you must try to avoid licking your lips, a common habit that many people have thinking it keeps the lips moisturized.
Licking is one of the bad habits that can be very damaging to your lips. The saliva from your mouth can dry out your lips.
To avoid licking your lips, always keep lip balm handy. Whenever your lips feel dry, just apply it. You can also try chewing gum or sucking on a hard piece of candy to stop licking your lips.
Along with licking, avoid biting or peeling the skin of your lips. The lips can even begin to bleed from biting or peeling.[Read: How to Care for Your Sensitive Skin]
9. Quit Smoking
People who smoke a lot tend to have darker lips than those who do not smoke.
Smoking has a dehydrating effect on your skin, which can lead to cracked as well as darker lips. Once you inhale cigarette smoke, the nicotine and tar transfers to the lips, which causes darker lips. Nicotine also takes iron out of your body, which may cause skin discoloration including on the lips.
At the same time, excessive smoking can cause the tender skin of the lips to burn, leaving a dark stain on your lips.
So, if you want your lips to be pink, it’s time to say no to smoking. Seek help of experts as well as support from friends and family members in your mission to quit smoking.
- If the dark shadow on your upper lip is due to pregnancy-induced melasma, it will likely go away in a few months following the birth of your baby, without any special treatment or prescriptions.
- If the dark upper lip is hormone-related, you can discuss hormone replacement therapy with your doctor.
- Apply a good quality sunscreen of SPF 30 or above before going out in the sun to help prevent darkening of your lips and skin.
- Wax instead of shaving your upper lip, if your dark shadows are the result of stubble.
- In the morning when you brush your teeth, rub your lips gently with a soft-bristled toothbrush. It will help remove dry skin from the lips and make them look fresh and soft.
- Before going to bed, wash your lips thoroughly with lukewarm water. Pat them dry with a soft cloth, then immediately apply a lip balm.
- Coffee has a mild diuretic effect, so instead of drinking coffee, drink an herbal tea. Herbal teas are hydrating and also beneficial for your overall health.
- Your dermatologist may prescribe hydroquinone cream, which effectively bleaches the skin so the shadow is less noticeable.
- If you use lipstick every day, choose those with moisturizing ingredients.
- Be choosy about your lipsticks or lip balm and make sure there are no harsh chemicals in them.