If you have dark spots on your lips, you will be glad to know that they do not typically pose a health threat. However, they can come with their fair share of problems. Some individuals may not like the way they look, causing their confidence and self-esteem levels to drop as a result. There are instances where dark spots on your lips can further cause concern, such as developing an allergic reaction.
1. Understanding the Causes of Dark Spots
There are numerous reasons dark spots can develop on your lips, and they are usually harmless. Below is a list of common causes:
Hyperpigmentation: Hyperpigmentation is the most common reason for dark spots forming not just on your lips but on various parts of your body that have been exposed to the sun. This can be the result of melasma, which is more common in women than men. Hormones play a part in the development of melasma, and you can reduce its effects by taking protective measures against sun exposure.
Angiokeratoma: Often, dark spots on the lips are classified as angiokeratoma. These can form on any mucous-producing body parts, not just the lips. They are typically harmless and only pose an aesthetic concern. Although angiokeratomas are perfectly harmless, you may mistake cancerous growths for these harmless spots. When in doubt, it is always best to seek medical clarification.
Allergies: Another common reason you can get dark spots on your lips is due to allergies. For instance, you may be allergic to any ingredient in the lip balm you are using. When you are sure of a specific trigger, discontinue use of the product and in the future, ensure that the products you use are fresh. Products lying around for some time may contain traces of mold, which can trigger an allergic reaction.
Dehydration: If you frequently find yourself getting less than your eight glasses a day, you may be experiencing dehydration, which leads to dry and chapped lips. When that happens, the skin on your lips can start to peel off and form darker scabs or spots. Fortunately, all you need to do to resolve the problem is ensure that you stay hydrated.
Lifestyle habits such as smoking: If you smoke cigarettes, the smoke can burn the skin on your lips, resulting in scars that take some time to heal. The dark spots you see are a result of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Quitting smoking is the fastest and surest way of letting your lips heal.
2. Can the Dark Spots on My Lips Indicate A Deeper Health Concern?
Although indeed, dark spots on lips are not a health concern most of the time, there are some instances where it can give you peace of mind to seek medical clarification. Below are some of them:
Sunspots: Also known as actinic keratosis, sunspots can form on other parts of your face and upper body. If the spots on your lips feel bumpy and crusty, or you can feel them more than you can see them, you likely have actinic keratosis. These spots may also appear on other parts of your body. As actinic keratosis is considered a precancer, please consult a doctor if you have any doubts.
Hereditary hemochromatosis: Individuals with this condition have excess stored iron in their bodies from the food they eat. This can result in dark spots on lips. Patients typically undergo frequent blood draining.
Vitamin B12 deficiency: If you have a mild Vitamin B12 deficiency, this can result in discolored skin. Taking supplements can go a long way in restoring your skin to its natural color.
3. Treating Lip Discoloration
If the dark spots on your lips do not pose a health concern, there is no medical necessity to treat them. In cases where you know the exact cause of the dark spots, such as an allergy, the issue will typically resolve itself once the underlying cause has been addressed. However, some individuals may choose to treat their lip discoloration as a matter of personal preference. The options available to you are:
- Topical creams
- Laser treatment
- Intense pulse light (IPL) treatment
- … and more!
Before deciding on a course of treatment that will work best for you, always consult your physician or dermatologist. It may be the case that your lip discoloration is caused by a factor you were unaware of, and by removing that trigger from your life, the problem will go away by itself. If the discoloration is solely a cosmetic concern, consider that any treatment you seek to lighten the dark spots should be your own decision and not made for or by anyone else.