Darkened, chapped lips can lead to a bad first impression by making you look unclean and unhealthy. The causes of lip darkening ranges from the body's absorption of toxic ingredients to the lack of proper lip care.
If you have naturally dark lips, then this post is not for you **wink**.
As easy as it is to blame lip products for the 'gradual' darkening of your lips, you should know that lots of other things such as; smoking, consumption of tea & coffee, exposure to sunlight and dehydration can also contribute to the darkening of your lips. I've listed a couple of things that can cause your natural lip colour to change below;
Lip Products: It's true that some lip products can cause darkening but its most likely due to using products from disreputable companies or products that are already expired (If you've been using your lip products for more than two years, its time to throw them away). Except you are allergic to your lip product, it is unlikely that your favourite lipstick or lip pencil will cause a gradual darkening or change in your lip colour but to be on a safe side, it'll be better to switch to lip products made with natural ingredients in very sheer or transparent shades or stop using lip products for a few weeks and see if there'll be any improvement.
Hyper-pigmentation: The sun rays harm all parts of our body including the lips. We spend so much time protecting our skin from the sun's harmful rays and forget our lips completely. Our lips can also burn (hyperpigmentation), in fact they are very sensitive to UV rays, especially with constant exposure to the sun. Applying a lip balm with SPF 15 will do the trick and will keep your lips smooth and chap-free.
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. We obviously need water to survive but we aren't drinking enough. The recommended 2-3 litres of water should be taken throughout the day to keep us hydrated and healthy and our 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 dark lips and teeth is a major reason we should even quit since its physical. Its also known to cause damaging effects to the skin such as drying it out, forming wrinkles around the eyes and the mouth also.
Caffeine & Hot Stuff: Some of us can't ignore that craving & aroma of freshly brewed coffee, while some can't stop chewing ice or taking hot tea even when the sun is really hot. The same way caffeine can stain the teeth, it can also make the lips darker depending on how much you consume. Caffeine can get you through the day but can also give your lips a darker pigment with time. You can counter this effect by drinking water with your coffee or tea or try cutting back a cup or two daily.
Allergens: Allergens in skin care products can contribute to blackened lips. These allergic reactions are caused by dyes or fragrances in your lip sticks and lip glosses. These reactions can only be prevented by terminating the use of the product.
Now that we know some of the things that cause blackening of the lips, we should also know some precautions/measure to help prevent/resolve lip discolouration.
Exfoliate Your Lips: This helps remove dead skin cells from your lips, simply by using a wet baby toothbrush to scrub your lips gently to avoid hurting your delicate lips. Apply a thin coat of lip balm once you're done scrubbing, so your lips don't dry out. You can also 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. There are also a lot of cosmetic brands that produce a wide variety of lip scrubs which you can choose from.
Makeup Cover: With the help of concealer, you can cover up any form or shade of dark lips ;)
So don't be worried that you won't be able to wear all your favourite colours of lipstick just because your lips are turning dark.
Natural Remedy: A mixture of lime, honey and glycerine applied regularly could help lighten dark lips. Just apply it everyday for a few weeks or until you see positive effects.
* Lemon juice is also known for its skin lightening abilities. So you can make a paste of equal parts of lemon juice, flour, yoghurt and honey and rub it on your lips. Leave the paste on your lips for half an hour then wash off. You can continue this process for 2 weeks.
Keep your lips Moisturised: This keeps your lips healthy and makes them appear lighter by not drying them out. You can also try natural lip softeners such as butter or vaseline to help condition your lips. Apply either of them on your lips at night and as needed during the day to help protect your lips from darkening.
Its important we take care of our lips because as much as the eyes define the face, the lips add flavour to it..............