Melanin is the pigment that gives colour to the skin. Sometimes hyperpigmentation can appear around the mouth (perioral) and lips. “Peri” is a prefix from Greek meaning “around” or “surrounding”; oral relates to the mouth. Perioral or lips hyperpigmentation are usually benign. Change in the colour of the lip itself can be caused by medications or certain illnesses and should be assessed by a physician.
Normally, skin is composed of numerous layers of cells, however, the lips only have 3 to 5 cell layers. This means that skin over lips is thinner. Lips are also richly supplied by blood capillaries. Due to this, lips show the color of blood capillaries beneath them, owing to their crimson or pinkish color.
Those who are fair-complexioned tend to have rosy lips whereas those with darker skin have purplish lips.
People who smoke regularly have hyperpigmented lips. Nicotine is the main culprit.
Pan contains betel leaf and betel nut. Chewing pan for a long time can cause hyperpigmentation of the lips.
Liquid beverages can also stain lips and teeth.
Increased UV exposure can cause the melanocytes to overproduce melanin
An abundance of iron in the body can also lead to lip hyperpigmentation.
Some people can also have lip hyperpigmentation due to some diseases, like:
Various benign and malignant cancers can cause lip hyperpigmentation. These include:
Limit your sun exposure
Always wear sunscreen. There are various lip balms and lip products that come with SPF.
Hats are good to make a fashion statement as well as keep your face and lips protected from harsh UV rays if they are wide-brimmed.
Hemochromatosis (excess iron in blood)