Why Are My Lips Black?

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We commonly face dry or chapped lips problems but there are also other problems that can happen such as discoloration. 

Black is such a noticeable color! And when you see your lips in that color, you can’t help but ask: Why are my lips black? Black lips or dark discoloration of your lips is caused by multiple things.

It could be genetic, due to medical reasons, or due to your lifestyle. In some cases, you can do something about it. 

Below are some reasons why your lips could be black. If you think it could be due to medical reasons, then it would be best to consult a medical doctor.


Why Are My Lips Black? Common Reasons For Discoloration

Our lips come in different shades of pink to brown. The color of the lips will depend on your complexion as well. 

Unlike the skin that has more layers, the lips only have a few. That’s why the color of the blood vessels is more obvious. That gives the lips a pinkish color. 

It can be alarming to see your lips turn black or darkly discolored! Apart from the appearance, you might be worried that something is wrong. Here are a few reasons why your lips could be turning black.


Smoking can cause health issues. Additionally, it can also cause your lips as well as your gums to darken. The darkened spots or lesions on lips can also be a sign of smoker’s melanosis. This condition is reversible if you would stop smoking (which you should!).

Sun Exposure

Many of us love our tan! But too much exposure to the sun can cause the lips to darken. However, it’s not only the sun that’s the culprit. If you prefer to tan in a tanning bed, this could also be a risk.

UV lights cause the skin to tan. That’s because it initiates the increase in melanin production. Hyperpigmentation of the lips due to excessive UV exposure is also possible. 

Although not all people will experience it, the elderly and those with light to medium colored skin are more prone to it. 


Another reason for the blackening of the lips is trauma or injury. When your lips get bruised, it could result too partly or full discoloration of your lips.

The color change could be bluish or purplish. However, the lips can also turn black. 

Other damage to the lips like burns or extreme dryness can also darken the color of the lips into a blackish color. This is because they might lead to scabs or scars and eventually dark spots on the lips.


Due to the different chemicals in the cosmetics you use, or even your toothpaste, your lips can darken. Some are simply allergic to the ingredients or chemical components and the discoloration is the natural reaction of their lips. 

Medical Treatments

Some medical treatments or therapies can darken the lips as a side effect. Chemotherapy is one of them. 

Additionally, there are also other medications that can cause unnatural pigments on the lips. Examples of such include antipsychotics, drugs for cancer, anticonvulsants, antimalaria drugs, and many others. 

Vitamin Deficiency

When your body doesn’t have enough vitamins, specifically vitamin B-12, the skin may darken. This could also develop into darker spots on the lips, which could make your lips appear black.


Pregnant women often observe parts of their face turn darker than usual. This is called melasma and is caused by changes in hormone levels. This could also include the lips. 

This cause is transitional and the color of your lips will go back when your hormone levels also go back to normal. 

Diseases And Medical Conditions

Lastly, there are also some medical conditions and diseases that could cause black discoloration of the lips. Some of these are genetic while others can be acquired. They include the following:

  • Hemochromatosis – This is when there is too much storage of iron in the body and causes dark patches on the lips and skin.
  • Peutz-Jeghers syndrome – This is a genetic condition that could result in dark-colored spots and abnormal tissue growth called polyps.
  • Cancer- Skin cancer can also appear on the lips as a black or discolored spot. 
  • Laugier-Hunziker syndrome – This is a rare condition that could cause black macules on the lower lip. 
  • Venous lake – This is more commonly found in the elderly and causes a dark blue papule, which could be mistaken for blackening of the lips.  
  • Anemia – Due to anemia, the blood’s oxygen content may be limited, which can cause the blood to appear darker in color. This can cause discoloration or darkening of the lips too.
  • Hormonal disorders – Other hormonal disorders could also cause hyperpigmentation including that of the lips. 

How To Treat Black Lips

The treatment for black lips will depend on the cause. It is best to figure out the cause first before deciding to do anything because you might just worsen the problem. 

For medical reasons, always consult with your medical doctor. Apart from that, here are ways on how to deal with your black lips. 

Wait It Out

Sometimes, the cause of your black lips is just temporary. Just like those who are pregnant. Hormonal levels in pregnancy change. These changes can cause black lips. 

There is really nothing you can do but to wait for your hormone levels to go back to normal. It will only take a few months for you to be pregnant and give birth. By that time, your hormones will start to get back to usual. 

Additionally, if your black lips are due to trauma or injury, they will need time to heal. It is best to just let them heal on their own. All they really need is time. 

Make Your Body Healthier

Sometimes, the cause of the black lips is due to the unhealthy things you do like smoking. In that case, your lips will turn back to normal if you just stop smoking.

Those that could be caused by deficiencies could be remedied by taking supplements or improving your diet.

If you have treatable medical conditions that could be causing your lips to darken, curing them would eventually lead to correcting the black lips. 

Excessive exposure to UV rays isn’t healthy too. Excessive tanning can darken the lips, and cause cancer as well! Be very careful with your UV exposure.

As for those caused by allergies due to specific chemicals, you can try different, hypoallergenic products.

Sometimes it can be difficult to figure out which products could be making your lips darker. You just have to be observant and test them out.

Preventing Black Lips

Some causes of lip blackening are genetic and medical. For that reason, the only way to prevent them is to prevent medical diseases or conditions from happening. 

However, those that are due to your lifestyle could be easier to prevent. Here are some ways on how to do that:


Lips that are dry are more prone to being chapped or bruised. These could cause the darkening of the color. An effective way to prevent that is to use a No products found.

Lip balms help moisturize the lips. You can use them whenever you feel that your lips are overly dry. During the winter season, lips tend to be chapped and dry. 

That’s the perfect time to bust out your favorite lip balm and use it. These can be used multiple times within the day when you need to. 

Prevent UV Exposure

If you can’t skip going outside or exposing yourself to UV light, then use some protection. Sunscreen lotions are perfect for your skin but you may not use them for the lips. 

Today, there are now various lip products  that can also double as sunblock for your lips. Make sure you apply them liberally before heading out. 


Exfoliating your lips with a lip scrub  is another great way to prevent them from darkening. Just don’t overdo it because over-exfoliation could also damage the lips and darken them. 

Medical Treatments

Darker lips may also be caused by too much melanin on lips. You can prevent that by countering the enzymes that lead to melanin production. There are different ways to do that including using hydroquinone, kojic acid, or laser treatments. 


It could be alarming to notice that your lips are turning black. There are many causes, as outlined above. Some of these are lifestyle causes, while others are significant medical conditions.

Finding a remedy for black lips will depend on the cause itself. You’ll need to figure out what is causing it in the first place.

Medical conditions should be referred to your medical doctor for proper treatment. 

Those that are caused by your lifestyle are easier to prevent. You could keep your lips moisturized, prevent exposure to UV, exfoliate, or use medical treatments to lighten them. 

Written by Kayla Young

Kayla is the founder of LuxeLuminous. She has worked professionally in the tanning industry for years. She has been interested in esthetics since childhood, and has tried every hair, skin, and makeup product ever produced (more or less).