Lips are one of the most defining features of the face – some describe lips as sensual, sexual and sensitive! So making sure they look great can boost your confidence.
Chapped & dark lips are a problem for many people. Lips do not contain oil glands, like other parts of the skin. For this reason, the lips are more susceptible to drying out and becoming chapped (cracked) and dark. Lack of moisture can make the problem worse, whether it is weather-induced or related to a lack of self-care.
You should know that a lot of factors can contribute to the drying and darkening of your lips.
Heredity: The most prevalent cause of pigmented lips is in our genes. Such pigmentation can be removed only with cosmetic procedures.
Pregnancy and Hormonal changes: Some pregnant women develop dark irregular patches on their face, most commonly on the upper cheek, nose, lips, and forehead. This is called the ‘mask of pregnancy’.It is thought to be due to stimulation of pigment-producing cells by female sex hormones so that they produce more melanin pigments (dark colored pigments) when the skin is exposed to the sun.
Dehydration: Not drinking enough water and constant licking of the lips can cause dehydration. As much as dehydration affects the body and skin, it also affects the lips by drying it out which causes darkening after a while. Drink enough water throughout the day to keep your lips moisturised.
Smoking: This is one cause of lip darkening that a lot of us know about. Apart from a long list of problems linked with smoking, having dehydrated and dark lips and discoloured teeth give you one more reason to quit.
Caffeine & Hot Stuff: The same way caffeine can stain the teeth, it can also make the lips darker depending on how much you consume. It also causes dehydration and thereby chapped lips. You can counter this effect by drinking water with your coffee or tea or try cutting back a cup or two daily.
Poor Diet: We all know anemia is the deficiency in the quantity of oxygen supplied in the blood. Lip discoloration is often associated with the iron deficient anemia. If you don’t take a nutritious diet, your lips are bound to suffer. Deficiency of vitamins E and C is another reason behind dark lips.
Lip Products: Allergens in skin care products can contribute to darkened lips. These allergic reactions are caused by dyes or fragrances in your lipsticks and lip glosses. Contact Dermatitis is most often caused in women, it is caused due to cosmetics that are cheap or not of adequate quality.
Sun Exposure: Our lips are very sensitive to UV rays. Constant Sun exposure can discolor your lips also known as a skin disorder called solar lentigines popularly called lentigo. Opt for Lip balms that give you protection from UV Rays.
Some precautions/measure to help prevent/resolve lip discolouration an dryness
Exfoliate Your Lips: You can make a yummy lip scrub by mixing sugar and honey and applying on your lips for about 5 minutes. Honey is a natural antioxidant that helps protect lips from damage and sugar will remove rough lip skin. Apply a thin coat of lip balm once you’re done scrubbing, so your lips don’t dry out.
Keep your lips Moisturised: Make sure that your lips have ample amounts of moisture. This can be accomplished by:
- Applying lip balm that contains a minimum SPF of 15. You can also try natural lip softeners such as butter or vaseline to help condition your lips.
- Drinking more water
- Using a humidifier in the home in dry weather
- Avoiding cold weather conditions or wrapping your mouth with a scarf
- Avoiding the habit of licking or biting lips
Home Remedy: A mixture of lime, honey and glycerine applied regularly could help lighten dark lips. It can also keeps your lips pink, soft & well moisturized. Just apply it every day for a few weeks or until you see positive effects.
See a Dermatologys: Severe dryness and cracking that doesn’t improve with self-care measures may need a dermatologist’s attention. Cheilitis is a condition marked by cracked skin at the mouth corners, as well as several cracks on your lips. A dermatologist can determine whether your dry lips are simplychapped or if you have cheilitis.
It will help a lot to see a doctor. In general peels or lasers could be very helpful to address these lip concerns, but it is important to rule out any skin conditions first.