More blood vessels appear through the lip skin because the lip skin has very less melanin (natural skin pigment). This is the reason why your lip appears pink in colour.
There are no sweat glands and hair follicles on the lips.1 Normal skin contains cells known as melanocytes, which produce melanin. When the skin contains too much melanin, it is known as hyperpigmented skin.2
What Causes Discoloured Lips?
Causes of discoloured lips include:
Excessive exposure to the sun: When the ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun reach the skin, it causes the skin to make more melanin, which can further cause hyperpigmentation.3
Allergic reaction caused by lipstick or hair dye applied to the moustache5
Skin inflammation caused due to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH). PIH occurs when the skin makes more melanin after being injured or irritated.
Hormonal disorders like Addison disease: Addison disease is a rare hormonal disorder that causes hyperpigmentation.
Iron overload, also called hemochromatosis, is a hereditary disorder in which iron salts are deposited in the tissue, which causes discolouration of the skin.
Pregnancy (mask of pregnancy or melasma)2
Symptoms of Discoloured Lips:
Symptoms of discoloured lips include:
Purple-black colour lips
Sometimes, the lips are red and dry/flaking5
Suggested Home Remedies for Pink Lips:
Home Remedies to get pink lips are:
In a study conducted in 2002, researchers identified that the lemon peel was found to effectively stop melanin production.6 You can use lemon to redden your lips. It has been used for a long time.7 Lemon juice and its oil are beneficial for the skin. They rejuvenate the skin and keep the skin shiny, as they contain vitamin C and flavonoid (a plant compound that manages the activity of cells and fights free radicals that cause stress on your body).8
Overproduction of melanin can be a cause of hyperpigmentation. In a study done in 2009, turmeric was found to block melanin that causes hyperpigmentation. In addition, it contains antioxidant properties and helps to avoid excess melanin production.9 Therefore, turmeric might help achieve pink lips.
3. Aloe Vera:
In a study, it was found that aloe vera prevents melanin production. Therefore, applying aloe vera to the lips might be beneficial.10 Aloe vera has healing, anti-inflammatory, moisturising properties that might be helpful for the skin.11
In an animal model, pomegranate extract was found to reduce skin pigmentation by preventing melanin production and proliferation of melanocytes (cells containing melanin). Therefore, pomegranate might be beneficial for dark lips.12
Beetroot contains vitamins A and C, nutrients like iron, and betanin (dye obtained from beetroot) that are responsible for moisturising and colouring effect.13 Hence, beetroot might be helpful in achieving pink lips.
When to Seek Medical Help?
You can seek medical help if you notice:
Unexplained, constant darkening of the skin
Discoloured skin that is causing significant worry and is affecting you
Any lesion or skin sore that changes the colour, size, and shape (may be a sign of skin cancer)2
Generally, the lip skin has significantly less melanin as compared to the rest of the face. Discoloured or dark lips might be caused due to various reasons. Several home remedies like lemon, turmeric, aloe vera, etc., might be helpful for managing dark lips and attaining pink lips.
Usually, dark lips are common, but if you feel that there is a persistent darkening of the skin and it is worrying you, or you notice any lesion that changes colour, size, and shape, you must seek medical help.