Dark lips from smoking are usually called “smoker’s lips”. They appear to have vertical wrinkles and a darkened appearance which may also extend to the gums.
Smoker’s Lips can develop after months or years of smoking cigarettes or other tobacco-containing products.
Apart from the other health risks, constantly smoking can cause your lips and gums to produce more melanin and darken as a result of:
- Decreased blood flow,
- Exposure to tar, and nicotine usage, resulting in uneven pigmentation.
- Repetitive puckering when smoking and the heat produced by burning cigarettes.
Your lip might also appear blotchy, purple, dark brown, or even black. But thankfully, there are things you can do to help to lighten dark lips from smoking.
Things You Can Do to Lighten Your Dark Lips From Smoking
- Stop Smoking – this will allow your lips to start healing.
- Drink a lot of water – helps to flush out toxins
- Keep Lips Moisturize – lips that are hydrated heal faster.
- Exfoliate Lips
- Use topical treatments
- Lip Peels
- Lip Neutralization and Lip Blushing
- Lip Laser (most effective but very costly)
1- Stop Smoking
This may sound obvious, but one of the best things that you can do to lighten your lips is to stop smoking.
Your lips will not magically get lighter right away, but the absence of exposure to the nicotine and increased blood flow will help your lips to regenerate and heal over time, becoming lighter.
2- Drink A Lot Of Water
Whether you quit smoking or not, drinking a lot of water can help to flush the toxin from smoking out of your body and keep you hydrated.
When your lips get dehydrated, they’re more likely to get chapped, which makes them more susceptible to blackening from the smoke.
3- Keep Your Lips Moisturized & SPF Protected
You mustn’t let your lips dry out or be exposed to harmful UVA and UVB rays. This can only make dark lips worse. To avoid this, use a good lip balm or ointment and good SPF protection on your lips.
Many lip balms even come with added SPF protection. You should be using something with an SPF of 15-30 or more on your lips as often as necessary every day.
Best Lip Balms To Lighten Dark Lips from Smoking
1- Venus 46 lip balm for Dark Lips
This lip balm is non-toxic and contains Vitamins A, E, and C, as well as turmeric, sea burton oil, avocado oil, and shea butter.
All of which moisturize the lips while tackling darkness. It also contains zinc oxide to provide sun protection.
2- Omorfee Organic Lip Lightening Balm for Dark Lips
Omorfee’s Lip Lightening Salve is an organic lip balm fortified with the goodness and healing properties of nature.
It is a protecting lip balm with natural SPF owing to the Carrot Seed Oil present in it. Enriched with several vitamins.
Carrot Seed Oil helps in repairing the damaged tissues and eventually bringing back the natural color and luster of the lips. Lips are rendered smooth and full of sheen with Cocoa Butter and Sweet Almond Oil, hydrating and moisturizing the lips.
Related Article – 6 Best Lip Balms to Lighten Dark Lips -As Per Experts
4- Exfoliate Your Lips
Exfoliation can be done using cosmetic lip scrubs or DIY home scrubs. Either way, keep in mind that your lips are sensitive and you should always do a patch test first.
Here are a few exfoliation ideas:
Also Exfoliating your lips correctly and safely is essential so you need to read my article on How Often to Use a Lip Scrub: Tips How to use For Nicer Lips
1- Cinnamon & Lemon Scrub For Dark Lips
- In a small dish, combine 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 grams) of cinnamon with 1 drop of lemon juice.
- After that, apply a small amount of the cinnamon scrub with your fingertips and lightly rub your lips.
- You may exfoliate with the cinnamon scrub for up to 10 minutes,
- depending on how sensitive your lips are, to get rid of dead skin, increase circulation, and give your lips natural plumpness.
- You may add a drop of vitamin E oil in place of the lemon juice to help the cells in your lips regenerate and thrive.
- However, your skin’s melanin production may be controlled by lemon juice, which can lighten and pinken your lips.
2- Petroleum Jelly & Toothbrush For Smoker’s Lips
- Apply petroleum jelly in a dime-sized quantity to a soft toothbrush.
- Circularly rubbing the bristles on your lips will exfoliate dead skin and increase blood flow there.
- Rub for a further three to four minutes,
- then rinse your lips with water to get the jelly off.
- To avoid discomfort and bleeding, be careful to softly massage your lips with the toothbrush bristles.
3- Sugar, olive oil (or honey), & lemon Scrub For Dark Lips
- In a small dish, combine 1 teaspoon (5 grams) of sugar, 1–2 drops of olive oil, and 1–2 drops of lemon juice;
- Stir until a paste forms.
- Apply the paste on your lips and then rub it in a circular pattern.
- Rinse the sugar scrub off with water once you have exfoliated for around 3 to 5 minutes softly.
- After that, let it stay on for another 10 to 20 minutes to let the olive oil and lemon juice soak into your lips and promote healing.
- To moisturize your lips while exfoliating, you can also use honey in place of olive oil.
4- Baking Soda to Lighten Dark Lips
- Put 2 teaspoons (10 grams) of baking soda in a small bowl to start.
- Add just enough water to create a thick paste by stirring.
- After that, rub the paste over your lips to remove the top layer of skin that has been damaged by smoking.
- Rinse the paste off your lips with water after 3 to 5 minutes of exfoliation.
- Keep in mind that applying a lip moisturizer, such as petroleum jelly or almond oil, after exfoliating can help to moisten your lips since baking soda can cause them to become too dry.
Related Articles –
Great Lip Scrubs That You Can Buy
There are many lip scrubs that you can purchase if you do not want to make your own. They have been formulated for specific cases of dark lips. The key is to choose the right ones for your lips.
Many lip scrubs can be used 2-3 times per week depending on how sensitive your lips are. You will need to be consistent to see results over time.
Of course, you should always patch test any product first.
A few great lip scrubs we recommend:
1- The Bella Vita NicoLips Lip Balm Scrub
This unique formulation is excellent for Lip Lightening and Dark Spot Removal. It is the perfect solution for Smokers and works wonders against Nicotine Stains created on lips while smoking.
The pure oils and butter bring back the color and lost shine whilst still being gentle on your lips. It is recommended to be used regularly 3 to 4 times a week for atleast 4 weeks to see results.
2- The Omorfee Organic Lip Lightening Scrub
This Lip Lightening Scrub has KOJIC ACIC which helps in reducing lip discoloration caused due to external factors like sun, smoking, drinking, lip biting, or lack of care.
Fine Microcrystalline Spruce Wood Cellulose Beads exfoliates the dry & dead skin from the lips. The rich creamy base of natural butters, cold-pressed oils, and Vitamin E, imparts softness and moisture to the lips.
5- Topical Lip Treatments
Lip Treatments can either be made at home using natural ingredients or medical-grade topical treatments.
These treatments usually contain ingredients that help to lighten and treat your lips to reduce dark patches.
Even though some can be used overnight, the results do not become visible overnight.
Like all products, even the DIY ones, you will need to use these masks consistently, for months, to see results. Especially if you are still smoking.
DIY Topical Lip Treatments
1- Honey & Lemon for Dark Lips
- In a small dish, combine 14 teaspoons (1.2 ml) of honey and 12 teaspoons (2.5 mL) of lemon essence.
- Apply the salve to your lips, and then keep it on overnight or for at least 30 minutes.
- After that, use a clean towel to gently wipe the honey and lemon combination away.
- The astringent qualities of the lemon extract in this ointment can help brighten your lips. And the moisturizing effects of the honey can help repair any skin damage.
- Until your lips regain their original color, you can repeat this treatment as often as you like.
2- Rose Petals + Heavy Cream + Lemon
- One to two rose petals should be crushed as much as possible in a mortar and pestle.
- A dime-sized amount of honey and heavy cream should be added to the bowl; mix until a paste forms.
- After applying the paste to your lips, wait for 15 to 20 minutes before rinsing it off with water and a fresh towel.
- Rose petals can help nourish your lips in addition to lightening the color of your lips.
- Apply this paste to your lips many times a week for the finest effects.
3- Pomegranate Juice + Coconut Oil
- In a small dish, combine 2 teaspoons (9.9 mL) of pomegranate juice with 1 teaspoon (4.9 mL) of melted coconut oil.
- For around 30 seconds, rub the mixture on your lips before rinsing it off with water.
- Pomegranates can inhibit the generation of melanin, which can darken your lips, in addition to lightening them.
- For a month, or as often as necessary, apply a pomegranate juice combination to your lips.
4- Red Berry + Honey (or Aloe Vera)
- In a small bowl, mash one strawberry or three raspberries.
- Then, add just enough honey or aloe vera gel to the mashed berries to thicken them into a paste and provide some moisture.
- Your lips should be covered with the paste, which you should wear for roughly 20 minutes.
- After that, wash it with water.
- Strawberries and raspberries not only give your lips a pinkish tinge, but they also include several nutrients, such as vitamin C, that support the health of your lips.
Medical Topical Lip Treatments
If you would prefer to treat your dark lips medically, for faster results, you will need to contact a dermatologist. They will assess your lips and determine what lightening products your can safely use on your lips.
People tend to turn to medical treatment after DIY treatments either take too long or do not work. This means that your lips probably need something stronger.
Do not attempt to obtain and use these treatments on your own or without professional guidance.
The medical topical treatments will include varying concentrations of hydroquinone, tranexamic acid, kojic acid, glycolic acid, and retinol. All of these are active ingredients and have specific instructions for usage on the lips.
6- Lip Peels
The use of lip peels is somewhat controversial. Some experts recommend that you can use a tailored solution of either natural or chemical acids to peel your lips, while other recommend that you stay away from lip peels.
Stripping away the darkened skin of your lips and allowing fresh, new skin to regenerate has merit.
However, remember that the skin on your lips is very thin. Therefore, we suggest that you consult an experienced doctor before you try this particular treatment. Lip peels might work for some and might not work for others.
Remember that you are stripping away the top layer of your already thin lips. Therefore, you should be very careful when considering this treatment.
7- Lip Neutralization and Lip Blushing
If you want faster results when it comes to making your dark lips lighter, a great option is lip neutralization and lip blushing.
These are lip tattooing procedures that use color theory and pigments to balance out the color of your lips, giving you a neutral base, and then shading that neutral base with a lip color of your choice or that matches your skin tone.
It take a few sessions and a few months of healing time, but it is semi-permanent (lasts for 3-5 years) depending on how you care for your lips.
After your sessions, you do not need to continuously treat your lips for darkness, only practice good, general lip care (moisturizing and SPF protection).
8- Lip Laser
Another great way to tackle lip darkness from smoking is using laser treatment. This does not only treat it topically or cosmetically but corrects melanin production itself on a cellular level.
The laser technology sends targeted light and heat to deeply exfoliate the lips and melt melanin deposits, breaking them into smaller and smaller pieces until there are none left. This allows the lips to naturally lighten on their own.
Click here to learn more about Lip Lightening Laser: What is it, Cost, Pros & Cons
How long will it take for lips to lighten up after quitting smoking
It will generally take months for your lips to recover after quitting smoking.
However, how fast they will lighten will also greatly depend on the kind of treatment you choose to use, how aggressive it is, and how consistent you are.
With any of the treatments we discussed, it will take a number of months for your lips to gradually lighten, even after permanently quitting smoking.
Will Lips Get Back Dark After Treatment
Your lips will become dark again if your resume smoking or do not take good care for them.
After your treatments, some of them will require maintenance (weekly, monthly, or even yearly treatments) to maintain the results.
Others will require specific lip care to maintain the results.
And others, like the lip tattooing treatments and laser resurfacing, will only require that you desist from smoking and try to care for your lips in general.
This means that you will need to keep hydrated, keep your lips moisturized, use good SPF, and desist from activities that can damage your lips.