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Have you ever noticed something on your lip that you swear wasn’t there yesterday? A dark spot on your lip can be concerning and might even make you feel a bit self-conscious. Here are thirteen potential causes of dark spots on the lips. 

What causes black spots on the lips? 

Various factors can cause black or dark spots on a person’s lips. Many causes for this condition can be treated at home with a simple remedy. 

Hyperpigmentation

Hyperpigmentation is a common and harmless skin condition. Also known as melasma, it occurs when patches of skin become discolored. The colorization may be brown or gray and can appear anywhere. 

Melasma is usually caused by hormone fluctuations, affecting pregnant women the most. 

The patches may fade over time but should be protected from the sun. If the problem persists, topical medications are usually recommended. 

Vitamin deficiency

An uneven skin tone or dark spots can result from vitamin deficiency. A doctor can diagnose deficiencies, usually through blood work. Treatments typically include vitamin-rich diets or multivitamin supplements. 

For extreme cases, doctors may recommend vitamin injections. 

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Too much iron

Excess iron can cause hemochromatosis, a disorder in which iron builds up in joints and organs. Those suffering from hemochromatosis may notice skin darkening on lips and other areas. 

Contact your doctor for treatment, which may include regular blood donations or prescription medicine. 

Dehydration

A lack of water can lead to many harmful reactions in the body. Regarding the face, however, it may lead to chapped, irritated skin. The skin on the lips becomes rough, and layers peel off. Scabs, scars, and other color changes may occur. 

The remedy? Drink plenty of water and eat liquid-rich foods throughout the day to avoid dehydration. 

Dental fixtures

Braces, dentures, retainers, and other dental fixtures can cause pressure sores to appear if not placed correctly. Once these pressure sores heal, they often leave behind dark spots on the lips or gums. 

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To treat these sores, you may need to find a dentist and book a dentist appointment to correct the fixture. Additionally, the spots need to be protected from sunlight as they heal.

Allergies

Allergies may also cause dark spots on the lips. Allergies that affect the lips are called pigmented contact cheilitis. 

Possible causes of lip irritation include

  • lipsticks 
  • hair dye
  • green tea
  • makeup
  • toothpaste

Should you have an allergic reaction to these substances, stop use immediately and contact a doctor. 

Medications

Some medications may have side effects that may cause skin discoloration on the lips. Some of the medications that cause dark spots on the lips are found in the following categories

  • cytotoxic drugs
  • antipsychotic drugs
  • antimalarial drugs
  • anticonvulsants 
  • antiarrhythmic medications

Treatment may include a change in medication. 

Hormone disorders

Black spots on the lips can result from hormone disorders that cause fluctuations in thyroid hormones. 

Contact a physician for a proper diagnosis and to create a treatment plan. 

Venous Lake

Venous lakes are small blemishes that are slightly elevated. Colors range from dark blue to purple. Typically, they are benign and cause no pain or symptoms, but they may be confused with melanoma. 

While the direct cause of venous lakes is not known, they are usually associated with sun exposure. 

Laser therapy is needed to remove venous lakes. 

Sunspots

Sunspots are tiny areas of hyperpigmentation that appear on the skin when exposed to the sun. Traits include: 

  • a flat or possibly raised surface
  • colors may be skin tone, slightly pink, red, or dark brown
  • rough and dry surface
  • crusty or flaky texture
  • can range up to an inch in diameter

Sunspots, referred to as actinic keratosis in the medical community, are considered a form of precancer. Consult your doctor for concerns regarding sunspots. They may offer various ways to remove sunspots, including removing them with chemical peels. 

Smoking and drinking

Tobacco products contain harmful chemicals and toxins that can damage the lips and mouth. Additionally, drinking an excessive amount of alcohol may disrupt the toxin balance in the body and cause dark spots to appear on the lips. 

The best way to prevent this symptom is to discontinue or limit the consumption of these products. 

Angiokeratoma

Angiokeratoma is a skin lesion that varies in size, shape, and color. Typically, they are dark red or black and feel hard with an uneven surface. These lesions usually appear in older adults and look like warts. 

Typically, angiokeratomas are harmless. However, you may have a dermatologist inspect the lesions for cancerous growths. 

For those that want to remove an angiokeratoma lesion, laser or freezing are the usual options. 

Cancer

Cancerous growths on the lips may appear in various ways. The following symptoms are common signs that cancer may be developing: 

  • an irregularly shaped growth
  • a growth that increases rapidly in size
  • an open or bloody sore
  • a shiny growth
  • an unusual color 
  • scaly red patches
  • scar-like tissue

Can you get a freckle on your lip? 

The short answer? Yes. An oval, brown to black, flat patch on the lip is called a labial melanotic macule or a lip freckle. 

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Typically, lip freckles appear in adult women but may also occur in males and younger people. It is usually solitary, mostly appearing on the lower lip. Lip freckles are often confused with other pigmented lesions such as sunspots and melanomas. It is best to consult a doctor to discover the true nature of a dark spot on your lip. 

What does skin cancer on lips look like? 

Lip cancer typically occurs on the lower lip but may be seen on the upper lip. Typically, lip cancer is considered a type of oral cancer. 

Signs of lip cancer typically include: 

  • a flat or slightly raised lip discoloration, usually whitish
  • a lip sore that won’t heal
  • tingling, pain, or numbness of the lips

While the causes of lip cancer are not clear, several factors can increase your risk of developing skin cancer: 

  • tobacco use
  • fair skin
  • excessive sun exposure
  • weak immune system

To lower your risk of lip cancer, you should avoid the sun during the middle of the day, wear broad-spectrum sunscreen, avoid tanning beds, and stop using tobacco. If you don’t use tobacco, don’t start. 

Home remedies for dark spots on your lip

Many home remedies claim to eliminate dark spots on the lips. These products are said to eliminate black spots on the lips by making skin healthier or lightening the color: 

  • honey
  • lemon juice
  • apple cider vinegar
  • rose petals
  • white tea
  • turmeric
  • nutmeg
  • glycerol 
  • aloe
  • pomegranate
  • cucumber juice
  • strawberries

You start by rubbing any of the above ingredients onto the lips a few times daily. It is said that by maintaining this routine, the black spot will reduce in appearance. Some of these remedies may involve crushing or blending the ingredients to form a paste or juice.

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Protect your skin 

Additionally, you may consider purchasing special lip balms that protect the skin from UV rays. You may also choose to exfoliate with sugar or salt scrubs. Exfoliation removes dead, discolored cells. 

Stop smoking

If dark spots appear on your lips as a result of smoking, the best treatment is to stop smoking. While quitting cold turkey may not be suitable for many people, there are various methods to wean off tobacco use – such as nicotine patches or gum. If you have not started using tobacco products, don’t start. 

When should you see a doctor about black spots on the lips? 

When all else has failed, you should see a doctor. While home remedies are not scientifically tested, some have shown positive results in some people. If the problem persists, you should consult a doctor. 

If any skin lesion grows rapidly, is shiny, or irregular in color or shape, see a doctor immediately. 

As some causes of dark spots on the lips may be dental related, find a dentist near you to fix these issues. If you are concerned that a dark spot on your lips might be cancerous, consult a doctor immediately. 

Give $50, get $50.

Refer someone to book a dentist with Opencare and you’ll both get $50.

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