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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.