6 ways to avoid dark lips during pregnancy

Expectants moms go through many changes, and some even get dark lips during pregnancy. Let's find out the causes and how to avoid dark lips when you are expecting.
Pregnant woman
Tips to avoid dark lips during pregnancy. Image courtesy: Adobe stock
Natalia Ningthoujam Updated: 3 Jul 2023, 11:03 am IST
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Pregnancy is a happy phase for a lot of women, but we can’t ignore the fact that an expecting mom experiences a lot of changes. There might be some discomfort, back pain, sleep issues apart from having a huge belly. Another change some pregnant women may experience dark lips. Before you know it, your pink lips are replaced with dark ones. You might associate dark lips with smokers. But dark lips during pregnancy are also possible. Read on to find out if you should worry about dark lips during pregnancy.

HealthShots connected with Dr Erika Patel, Scientific Director, Gynaecologist and Fertility Specialist at ART Fertility Clinics, Chennai, to find out all about dark lips during pregnancy.

dark lips during pregnancy
Dark lips during pregnancy may be due to hormonal change. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

What causes dark lips during pregnancy?

We all want our lips to stay pink and soft. But some women end up with dark lips during pregnancy. Darkening of the lips, or lip hyperpigmentation, is a relatively common occurrence during pregnancy. Dr Patel says that it is estimated that approximately 50 to 70 percent of pregnant women might experience some degree of hyperpigmentation, including darkening of the lips.

It can be attributed to a combination of hormonal changes and certain deficiencies.

1. Hormonal fluctuations

They are common during pregnancy, particularly due to increased levels of oestrogen and progesterone. These hormonal changes can stimulate the production of melanin, the pigment that is responsible for skin colour, leading to hyperpigmentation in various areas of the body, including the lips.

2. Deficiencies in certain nutrients

If your body isn’t getting enough iron and folic acid, it can leave your lips dark during pregnancy. Iron deficiency, known as anaemia, can cause a condition called perioral hyperpigmentation, says the expert. It is characterised by darkening of the skin around the lips. Folic acid deficiency, on the other hand, can lead to a condition called angular cheilitis. In that case, you will notice cracked and darkened corners on your mouth. It is essential for pregnant women to maintain a balanced diet, rich in essential nutrients, and take prenatal vitamins to minimise the risk of deficiencies.

The good news is that in many cases, the dark colour of the lips that occurs during pregnancy will gradually fade and return to normal after delivery. As hormonal levels stabilise and the body undergoes postpartum changes, the increased production of melanin tends to decrease, reducing hyperpigmentation. But this process might take several weeks or even months, says Dr Patel.

However, remember that every woman’s body is unique, and the extent and duration of post-pregnancy changes can vary. Some women might experience a complete reversal of dark lips relatively quickly, while others might notice a gradual improvement over a longer period of time. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including a balanced diet, proper hydration, and regular skin care routines, can help to support your skin’s natural healing process.

Tips to avoid dark lips during pregnancy

You can do a few things to help to minimise the chances of dark lips during pregnancy. Here are some tips that might help you:

1. Sun protection

Protect your lips from excessive sun exposure by using lip balms or lipsticks with SPF. Ultraviolet rays can stimulate melanin production, leading to hyperpigmentation, says the expert.

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dark lips
Use lip balm to protect your lips from sun. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

2. Balanced diet

Ensure you are eating a well-balanced diet rich in essential nutrients, including iron, folic acid, and vitamins C and E. This can help prevent deficiencies that contribute to the darkening of the lips.

3. Hydration

We have heard this many times, but staying hydrated by drinking water and healthy cooling drinks is needed. Hydrated skin tends to be healthier and less prone to hyperpigmentation.

4. Gentle lip care

Avoid excessive scrubbing or rubbing of the lips, as this can irritate the skin and potentially worsen hyperpigmentation. Instead, gently cleanse your lips using a mild cleanser or a soft cloth.

5. Prenatal vitamins

Take prenatal vitamins that are prescribed by your doctor. These supplements often contain essential nutrients that support overall health and can help to prevent deficiencies.

6. Moisturise

With so many lip balm brands out there, you should not have a reason not to keep your lips moisturised. This can help maintain the health of the skin on your lips.

These tips can help promote healthy skin and reduce the likelihood of dark lips, but make sure to consult with your doctor too.

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About the Author

Natalia Ningthoujam has written on various subjects - from music to films and fashion to lifestyle - as a journalist in her career that started in 2010. After getting stories from the crime scene, police headquarters, and conducting interviews with celebrities, she is now writing on health and wellness which has become her focus area. ...Read More

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