Sun exposure is a common cause of pigmentation around the lips. The skin around the lips is delicate and prone to sun damage. Prolonged exposure to the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays can lead to increased melanin production, resulting in pigmentation or darkening of the skin.
Hormonal changes, such as those occurring during pregnancy or while taking hormonal contraceptives, can contribute to pigmentation around the lips. Increased levels of hormones like oestrogen can stimulate melanocytes, leading to hyperpigmentation.
Melasma is a common skin condition characterised by patches of dark pigmentation. It often affects the face, including the area around the lips. Hormonal fluctuations, sun exposure, and genetic predisposition can all play a role in the development of melasma.
PIH is a skin condition that occurs after an injury, inflammation, or skin trauma. Inflammatory skin conditions like cold sores, acne, or eczema around the lips can leave behind darkened areas as the skin heals. This hyperpigmentation can persist for weeks or even months.
Smoking can cause pigmentation around the lips, often called "smoker's lips." Excessive exposure to heat, smoke, and harmful chemicals in cigarettes can lead to discolouration and darkening of the skin in this area.
Allergic reactions to certain lip products or cosmetics can result in inflammation and pigmentation around the lips. Ingredients like fragrances, dyes, or preservatives in lip balms or lipsticks can trigger an allergic response, leading to skin discolouration.
Sometimes, after an injury or inflammation, the skin may lose its pigment rather than becoming darker. This hypopigmentation can also occur around the lips, creating a contrast that makes the surrounding skin appear darker.
Certain medications, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), antimalarials, or chemotherapy drugs, may cause pigmentation changes as a side effect. Some of these medications can affect melanin production, leading to darkening of the lips and surrounding skin.
Vitiligo is a chronic skin condition characterised by the loss of melanocytes, resulting in depigmented patches. In some cases, vitiligo can affect the area around the lips, leading to a contrast between the depigmented patches and the surrounding skin, which may appear darker.
Genetic factors can also contribute to pigmentation around the lips. Some individuals may have a genetic predisposition to produce more melanin in certain areas, including the lips, leading to increased pigmentation.