Do you always have to rely on lipsticks and other over-the-counter lip products to hide your dark, pigmented lips only for them to provide temporary relief? Sadly, it’s not just your lip balm or lipstick’s fault. Like your skin and hair, your lips too need special attention, regardless of the season outdoors. The skin on the lips is much thinner and delicate than the skin on the other parts of the body, making it easier to crack, chap and get discoloured. Skin expert Dr Jaishree Sharad, CEO, Skinfiniti Aesthetic & Laser Clinic, Mumbai, says, “Dark lips can be caused due to excessive smoking, drinking too much coffee, allergy to lipsticks and other lip products. Besides, Vitamin B deficiency, overexposure to sun and frequent pursing or lip licking are common culprits behind dark lips.”
The first step in getting rid of dark lips is by cutting down on daily coffee consumption, she says. It’s best to increase the intake of fresh fruit juices and water to keep yourself hydrated and lips moisturised. She further adds, “Don’t forget to keep your lips otherwise well moisturised by slathering some petroleum jelly and/or ghee every night to wake up to soft, pink, kissable lips.” Always opt for a lipstick or lip balm/gloss with SPF, as UV radiation may cause pigmentation, she advises. Besides, here are some other grandma-approved ways to help you lighten your lips.
This natural ingredient can be used to not only lighten your lips but also to make them soft and supple. Honey is a soothing agent, which helps moisturise and repair the lip mucosa, says Dr Sharad. Using your fingertips or a cotton pad, apply a generous coat of honey on your lips and leave it on overnight. Do this every day, for a couple of weeks until you achieve desired results.
This vegetable can help cleanse and lighten lips, leaving behind a natural pink tint, says Dr Shuba Dharmana, a Bangalore-based dermatologist. Mix one tablespoon beetroot juice with two tablespoons of sugar and some lemon juice. Gently rub this onto your lips and massage for a few minutes before washing off with warm water. Pat dry and apply a generous coat of lip balm or coconut oil. Do this every alternate day for best results.
Malai or milk cream has lactic acid that has skin lightening properties, says Dr Sharad. Besides, it can also help moisturise your lips, thanks to its hydrating properties. Every night before going to bed, rub some fresh milk cream onto your lips. Massage gently into circular motions for a few minutes before washing with warm water. Pat dry and follow with a lip moisturiser. Follow this ritual for a few weeks or until you get the desired results.
Red tomatoes are rich in selenium, a powerful antioxidant that protects your lips and overall skin from sun damage. In addition to including more of it these into your daily diet you can also make a smooth paste of it and apply directly onto your lips.
In addition to other factors, that morning cup of Joe is also to be blamed for your dark lips. It’s best to replace that hot cuppa with green tea. Rich in polyphenols, green tea can help fight free radicals and protect the delicate layer of the lips from ageing and sun damage. Applying used green tea bags over the lips can help correct discolouration and also moisturise dry, chapped lips.
Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)
ACV is acidic in nature and acts as a natural lightening agent, thereby helping lighten your pigmented lips. In a small bowl, mix ACV and water in the ratio of 1:4, recommends Dr Dharmana. Soak a cotton pad in this mixture and gently apply over your lips. After 10 to 12 minutes, rinse with warm water. However, make sure that you don’t leave this mix overnight as it can damage your skin. Do this every alternate day for best results.
Cucumber juice has soothing properties that can help moisturise your dry and chapped lips, thereby lightening them. Juice half a cucumber and let it sit in the refrigerator for a few hours before using. Soak a cotton ball in this juice and apply generously over your lips. Wash with warm water after half an hour and follow with any lip balm. Do this every day for best results.
Sugar works as a natural scrub and helps to exfoliate your lips by getting rid of unwanted dead skin. Dr Sharad says, “Sugar acts as a gently exfoliator without damaging the delicate outer lip skin, making way for a new layer of skin.” To get started, mix together three teaspoons of sugar with some butter to make a thick paste. Butter will help keep your lips moisturised preventing further damage. Use this scrub twice a week for best results.
Lemon is the most effective remedy to treat dark lips, thanks to its bleaching properties. However, Dr Dharmana warns, “Be careful of using it on broken skin or open wounds where it can sting and cause irritation.” She further adds that citrus products are better used at night as using them during the day and getting exposed to sunlight can cause a photosensitive reaction on the skin. To get started, simply soak a cotton pad in some freshly squeezed lemon juice and rub into your lips. Gently massage for a few minutes and leave overnight. Make this a part of your daily bedtime routine for best results.
In addition to following these, one should also avoid eating spicy foods, smoking and using lip products with chemical ingredients and fragrance in them, recommends Dr Dharmana. She suggests opting for lipsticks and balms with moisturising agents and ones that have the least amount of chemicals in them.
Image courtesy: Shutterstock
To feed your hunger for more
Want more? Click on the tags below for more videos and stories