How to Remove Darkness Around Mouth

February 8, 2024

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Dark or discolored patches around the mouth, medically known as perioral hyperpigmentation, can arise for various reasons. While harmless, these dark spots or skin discoloration can bother some individuals for cosmetic reasons or impact self-confidence. Fortunately, using targeted skin lightening or brightening techniques can help fade this facial hyperpigmentation and reveal a more evenly toned, vibrant complexion.

Causes of Darkness Around the Mouth

What triggers the development of dark patches around the mouth area? The main cause is increased production of melanin – the pigment that gives skin its color. Certain factors can spur melanocytes (melanin-producing skin cells) into overdrive:

  • Excess sun exposure – UV radiation activates melanocytes
  • Hormonal changes – Fluctuations during pregnancy, menopause, etc.
  • Genetics – Inherited pigment disorders like melasma
  • Skin irritation – Chafing, allergies, infections trigger inflammation
  • Medications – Antimalarials, tetracyclines, NSAIDs cause reactions

Additionally, thin skin around the mouth reveals underlying blood vessels more, adding to a darker appearance. And as we age, slowing cell turnover also allows melanin and hemoglobin byproducts to accumulate unevenly, creating dark patches.

Effects of Perioral Darkening

Aside from simply not liking the aesthetics of skin darkness around the mouth, this facial pigmentation can have other distressing impacts:

  • Self-consciousness about appearance
  • Feelings of looking older/tired
  • Worsened skin texture – flaky, rough spots
  • Lipstick/makeup application issues

Furthermore, the mouth area contains many delicate nerves, so skin irritation in the region can be very uncomfortable. And in severe cases, certain pigment disorders like melasma are linked to more harmful systemic effects.

Best Treatments for Fading Darkness

To safely and effectively tackle dark patches around the mouth, try these top treatment approaches:

1. Skin Lightening Creams

Creams with hydroquinone, kojic acid, vitamin C or niacinamide can block melanin production and help fade discoloration gradually with regular use. See a dermatologist to obtain prescription-strength creams.

2. Chemical Exfoliation

AHAs like glycolic acid and BHAs like salicylic acid boost skin cell turnover to reveal fresher, less pigmented skin layers. Use chemical exfoliants 2-3 times weekly.

3. Laser Resurfacing Treatment

In-office technologies like fractional CO2 laser physically eliminate dark, damaged skin layers. Several sessions are needed but results are dramatic.

4. Cover-Up Makeup

For quick, temporary coverage of darkness around mouth try:

  • Full-coverage concealer
  • Peach color corrector to counteract dark tones
  • Hold setting spray to increase longevity

Maintaining Results

Once you’ve succesfully lightened dark patches around the mouth, be diligent with these preventative steps to stop pigmentation from recurring:

  • Wear SPF 30+ lip balm and face cream daily
  • Exfoliate skin weekly to keep cell turnover high
  • Use skin lightening products periodically for maintenance
  • Avoid unnecessary sun exposure in the mouth region
  • Check medications with your doctor about skin reactions
  • Manage hormones – supplements, diet, exercise, sleep hygiene


What causes dark skin above upper lip and around mouth?

Excess production of melanin is the primary culprit behind hyperpigmentation and dark patches around the mouth. Triggers include sun damage, hormone changes, genetics, skin irritation, some medications, aging, and thin skin revealing vessels.

How can I lighten my upper lip fast at home?

Using skin lighteners containing ingredients like hydroquinone, vitamin C, kojic acid, AHAs, and niacinamide daily can safely fade an darkened upper lip area relatively quickly. Avoid irritants.

What deficiency causes blackness around lips?

Nutritional deficiencies in certain vitamins and minerals which help regulate melanin production can contribute to perioral hyperpigmentation. Low vitamin C, vitamin E, iron, and zinc levels may disrupt normal pigmentation.

Why do I suddenly have a dark patch above upper lip?

Sudden onset hyperpigmentation above the upper lip can stem from new hormone changes, skin irritation from an allergic reaction or friction, beginning use of a medication that increases sun sensitivity, or sun damage from inadequate protection like forgetting lip SPF. See a doctor.

How can I permanently get rid of dark upper lip?

For likely permanent reduction in an darkened upper lip, non-ablative or ablative laser resurfacing performed by a dermatologist offers the longest-lasting results. Several sessions are required with strict sun avoidance. Other treatments may need continual touch-ups.

In Summary…

  • Darkness around the mouth frequently arises from excess melanin production causing hyperpigmentation
  • Triggers include sun, hormones, genetics, medications, inflammation, and thin skin
  • Impacts self-esteem, age perception, skin texture, and makeup application
  • Treat with skin lighteners, chemical exfoliants, lasers, cover-up makeup
  • Prevent recurrence by limiting sun, managing hormones, etc.
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