The lips are one of the top facial features anyone notices when they first look at you. That’s why it’s important to make sure that they’re smooth, youthful and free from any kind of pigmentation. Dark lips are a common problem that affects both men and women. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to combat this and restore your lips to their natural youthful appearance. To lighten dark lips, start by following these tips:
1. Reduce your coffee intake
Drinking lots of coffee could be the reason why your lips are darkening. Studies show that caffeine present can stain the lips as well as the teeth. Caffeine is also known to have a dehydrating effect on the body, and this can cause the lips to become dry and chapped. This dryness can lead to your lips appearing darker and more discoloured.
One way to lighten dark lips naturally if you are a coffee drinker is to switch from regular coffee to decaf. Decaf coffee has a lower caffeine content and is less likely to cause staining and dehydration of the lips. Additionally, drinking plenty of water throughout the day can help to keep your lips hydrated and prevent them from darkening.
2. Up your water intake
Darkening of the lips is one of the body’s ways of telling you to drink more water. The skin covering the lips is the thinnest and most delicate hence the first victim of dehydration since it loses moisture to the environment really fast. Consuming plenty of water and eating fruits high in water content should keep your lips from getting dark.
Also, another lip hydration tip would be to use a lip balm containing beeswax or cocoa butter to help seal in moisture. Beeswax is a natural emollient that can soften and protect the lips, while cocoa butter is a rich moisturiser that can help nourish and repair the lips.
3. Exfoliate your lips
Exfoliating the lips regularly will help to get rid of dry dead skin cells and also boost blood circulation to the area. There are a number of natural exfoliation methods that you could use. Lighten lips with some of them:
- Lemon or lime — Apply some lime or lemon juice on your lips, let it stay overnight and rinse it off in the morning. Lemon and lime have a high citric acid content which has great exfoliation properties.
- Vegetable oil and sugar. — Mix a sizable amount or a few drops of edible oil of your choice (like olive oil, coconut oil or almond oil) and sugar and use it to gently scrub the lips. Rinse it off once you’re done.
- Vaseline and a toothbrush — Apply some Vaseline on the lips and use a toothbrush with soft bristles to gently exfoliate the lips. These exfoliation tips can be done daily but always remember to moisturise afterwards. Try applying fresh aloe vera gel to rehydrate your chapped and dark lips.
4. Avoid licking your lips
Whether you lick your lips when you’re anxious or salivating at an image of a sumptuous meal, this habit could be one of the reasons why your lips are darkening. Contrary to what you might think, giving your lips a quick lick doesn’t help hydrate them. Licking the lips actually dries them out hence causing them to crack and darken.
Saliva contains enzymes that are meant to break down food particles, but they can also irritate the delicate skin on your lips. The constant exposure to these enzymes can cause inflammation and darkening of the lips over time. Furthermore, the act of licking your lips repeatedly can disrupt the natural moisture balance and strip away the protective oils from the surface of your lips, making them more vulnerable to dryness and darkening.
If you find yourself licking your lips out of habit, try to become more aware of the behaviour and redirect your attention. Instead of licking, apply a lip balm or take a sip of water to provide relief and moisture to your lips. Creating this new habit will help prevent dryness, cracking and darkening caused by lip licking.
5. Choose and use lipsticks carefully
Long-wearing lipsticks could allow you to go about your day without having to touch them up but this comes at a cost. Wearing lipsticks for prolonged amounts of time could lead to lip pigmentation. This is especially common with lipstick brands that are of low quality. Pigmented lips can also be caused by expired lipsticks so always check the expiry details.
Finally, don’t forget to remove any lip cosmetics before you sleep! Leaving lipstick or lip stain on your lips overnight can lead to dryness and pigmentation, especially if the product contains harsh chemicals or pigments. Use a gentle makeup remover or oil-based cleanser to remove any traces of lipstick or lip product from your lips before bed.
6. Eat healthy to lighten your dark lips
Deficiencies of some vitamins can also cause the lips to darken. One such vitamin is vitamin C. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps neutralise free radicals and reduce oxidative stress, which can contribute to the darkening of the lips. Additionally, vitamin C is important for collagen production, which can boost the overall health and appearance of the lips. So eat foods high in vitamin C, such as citrus fruits, strawberries, kiwi and broccoli. Doing so helps lighten dark lips from the inside out.
7. Try applying some natural extracts
Want more natural remedies to have rosy lips again? Try natural extracts. The healing properties of some of the natural extracts have been found to be beneficial in lightening dark lips. Some of them include cucumber juice, rose petal extracts, turmeric, almond, strawberry, mustard and beetroot. Here are a few more to consider:
- Honey: Honey is a natural moisturiser that can help keep your lips soft and supple. It also has antibacterial properties that can help prevent infections. Apply some honey to your lips and leave it on for 10-15 minutes before washing it off with water.
- Pomegranate seeds: Pomegranate seeds are rich in antioxidants that can help protect your lips from damage and discolouration. Crush some pomegranate seeds and mix them with a little milk or rose water to make a paste. Apply the paste to your lips and leave it on for 10-15 minutes before washing it off with water.
- Coconut oil: Coconut oil is a natural moisturiser that can help keep your lips soft and hydrated. Apply some coconut oil to your lips and leave it on overnight for best results.
8. Quit smoking to lighten your dark lips
Smoking is known to have many harmful effects on the body, including on the appearance of the lips. The chemicals in tobacco smoke can cause the lips to darken over time, making them appear dull and discoloured. This is because smoking causes a decrease in blood flow to the skin, which can lead to a decrease in oxygen and nutrients delivered to the lips. Poor blood flow can also lead to dryness and wrinkles around the mouth area, making the lips look older than they actually are. So if you’re a smoker who wants to lighten or treat dark lips, quitting smoking is one way to do it.
Hopefully, the above set of tips should help lighten your dark lips and consequently boost your confidence.