Dark lips are usually harmless and are brought on by too much melanin in the skin (hyperpigmentation).
Lip hyperpigmentation can result from:
- Too much sun exposure,
- Smoking, allergic responses to products like toothpaste and lipstick,
- Too much coffee, and even lip-sucking.
It may also be brought on by medical disorders including anemia or vitamin deficiencies, as well as treatments like chemotherapy drugs.
However, whatever the cause may be, many of us are relentless in our pursuit of a permanent treatment to make our lips lighter.
Enter: Laser Lip Lightening.
What Is Laser Lip Lightening
Laser lip lightening, also called laser lip toning, is the latest technology that sends targeted light and heat to deeply exfoliate the lips and melt melanin deposits.
There are two main types of lasers used in lip lightening:
Works by using the heat emitted from the laser to vaporize the upper layer of the skin in conjunction with a carbon emulsion.
Works by heating up the tissue underneath and breaking up pigments below.
Nonablative uses nanosecond technology that delivers short bursts of energy that break down the larger and deeper pigment or ink particles.
Then, the area is rescanned with Picosecond pulses that dismantle the smaller and shallower particles. This reduces the skin’s ability to regenerate pigment in that area which reduces hyperpigmentation.
How Many Sessions of Laser for Lightening You Will Need
Some people may only need one session, while others may need 4-6 sessions or more to see permanent results.
The number of sessions you will need will greatly depend on:
- How darkened your lips are
- How deeply through the skin the treatment will need to penetrate, which will take more sessions the deeper the pigment goes
- How your skin reacts to the treatment (some skin types are more resistant than others)
- How your skin heals after each session
How Long Will the Effects of Laser Lip Lightening Last
The effects of laser toning for dark lips are expected to be permanent.
However, if you are a chronic smoker or have a medical condition that predisposes you to recurring darkness of the lips, you may need touch-up sessions.
The need for touch-up sessions will vary for every patient and your doctor will recommend follow-up visits to discuss this necessity.
Related Article: Lip Neutralization 101: What is It, What to Expect & Cost
What is the Cost Of Laser Lip Lightening
In general, the average cost of laser skin resurfacing is $2,509 for ablative and $1,445 for non-ablative, per session.
The cost of laser lip lightening will vary greatly and will depend on:
- The kind of laser and technique being used
- How much darkness there is in your lips
- The experience of the doctor
- Your and the Clinic’s locations
- Other procedure expenses like anesthesia or other necessities are needed.
- Additional treatments or materials needed for the procedure and aftercare
Related Article: Lip Blushing 101: How long Does it Last, Costs, Pros & Cons
How Long Does Laser Lip Lightening Take & Does it Hurt
The procedure itself takes no more than a few minutes and is virtually painless.
With skin prep, the procedure, and immediate aftercare, the whole thing should be over in less than two hours.
Immediately after the procedure, the lips are gently cleaned and a lip moisturizer with added SPF is applied.
Related Article – How to Use Almond Oil for Lips: Benefits, Cons & Recipes
Best Candidates To Get Laser Lip Lightening
Except for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, anyone can get laser lip lightening done.
Keep in mind that you also need to:
- Be 18 years and older
- Have a thorough discussion with your doctor about any skin conditions that you may have which may preclude you from having the procedure
Related Article: 8 Ways How to Lighten & Heal Dark Lips From Smoking
Where To Get Laser Lip Lightening
Laser Lip Lightening should only be done in a clinical setting by a trained professional (medical aesthetician, dermatologist, or cosmetic surgeon).
It is important to do your research and look at the clinic’s and doctors’ portfolios to see what kind of experience they have and what their patients’ results look like.
It is advised that you have your laser lip lightning done at well-known and experienced clinics.
Pros of Laser Lip Lightening
Laser Lightening or Laser toning of the Lips:
- Is non-invasive and not painful
- Takes a short time
- Is sometimes a one-time treatment or only requires a few sessions to see great results
- Is permanent
- Resurfaces the skin and makes it healthier as well as lighter
Related Article: Does Vaseline Make Lips Dark or Lighter – What’s the Truth
Cons of Laser Lip Lightening
On the downside, laser lip lightening can:
- Expensive, especially if you need many sessions
- Place you at risk for infection or complications if your lips do not heal properly, if you do not practice good aftercare, or if you have it done by someone inexperienced or unqualified
You should always remember to consult a professional before having any kind of laser treatment done to your skin. Your lips are especially sensitive so do not hesitate to make the necessary inquiries.
The Laser Treatment Procedure For Lip Lightening
The laser treatment procedure is usually done after an initial consultation session.
During the initial session, the doctor will:
- Discuss the cause of your dark lips,
- What you can expect from the procedure in terms of side effects and outcomes,
- And any specific preparatory or aftercare instructions,
- As well as the costs and limitations of the procedure.
At the session for the actual treatment:
- Your face and lips will first be cleaned using a gentle but effective cleanser.
- Your eyes will be covered with protective gear to protect them from the laser.
- A numbing agent (either a cream, gel, or spray) will be placed on your lips to minimize any pain or discomfort you might feel. It is wiped off thoroughly when your lips have been sufficiently numbed.
- If required, the carbon emulsion will then be applied to your lips.
- The laser will then be applied to your lips in a controlled motion to make sure that no areas are missed.
Video of Laser Lip Lightening for Dark Lips
Precautions To Take Before Lip Laser Treatment
Based on your specific case, your doctor may give you special instructions to follow before the treatment.
However, in general, there are a few precautions that you can take before your laser treatment:
- Avoid any parlor treatments or other lip treatments at least 7 days before the procedure.
- Avoid using any home remedies or scrubs on your lips at least 3-5 days before the procedure.
- Moisturize your lips thoroughly the week before the procedure.
- Stop any lip priming practices at least 7 days before the procedure.
- Avoid using alcohol at least 7 days before the treatment.
- Avoid smoking before the treatment.
What To Expect After Lip Lightening Laser
Side Effects Lip Lightening Laser
Like all procedures, there are a few side effects that you can expect. However, they should be minimal to moderate and easily manageable. Side effects may include:
- Minimal swelling and redness
- Minimal pain or discomfort
- Crusting of the lips with lymph fluids (yellowish fluid) seeping through
- Peeling of the lips
Healing & Aftercare Lip Lightening Laser
Your lips will take about 3-4 weeks to completely heal from a laser session.
- You may expect your lips to be slightly swollen and irritated, but it should not be excruciating.
- You may gently wash your lips with clean water and keep them moisturized.
- Avoid any exposure to the sun and use a lip SPF.
- Your lips will start to crust and ooze. This is normal.
- The crust that forms may look like a black scab and the oozing may be of yellow fluid. Do not be alarmed. This is normal too.
- You may gently wash your lips with a mild cleanser and clean water. This will clean your lips and soften the crusts.
- However, do not pick at your lips or try to remove the crusts. Let them fall off naturally.
- Continue to keep your lips moisturized at all times.
- Avoid sun exposure and apply your lip SPF ad often as necessary throughout the day.
- If your doctor has prescribed a specific healing ointment, continue to use it as prescribed.
- As your lips stop crusting, they may feel dry. Apply your lip balms and moisturizers as often as necessary throughout the day and night to prevent dryness.
- Continue to use your prescribed healing ointment
- Keep your lips clean but do not overdo it. Do not scrub and exfoliate. A mild cleanser and water should be fine.
- Keep your lip care routine simple and basic.
- At the end of 3 weeks, your lips should be almost healed, if not fully healed. Your doctor will schedule a follow-up session to see how your lips have healed and to see if you need any touch-up sessions.
Precautions To Take After Laser Lip Lightening Treatment
To aid the healing process and protect your lips, there are a few tips you can follow after your laser treatment:
- Avoid any soaps or cleansers for the first 12 hours
- Do not apply any lip makeup until your lips have healed
- Avoid any physical activity that will cause you to sweat excessively
- Avoid pools, saunas, and beaches until your lips have healed
- Avoid parlor treatments for at least 7 days after the treatment
- Use a straw to drink liquids and try not to get food on your lips for at least 7 days after your treatment.
- Avoid exposing your lips to hot beverages or foods.
- Avoid using any home remedies until your lips are healed.
- Do not scrub or exfoliate your lips until your lips are fully healed.
- Avoid smoking.
- Avoid using alcohol until your lips are healed as alcohol can slow down the healing process.
- Restrict your sun exposure and use SPF religiously!
- Keep your lips as moisturized as you can (you can apply a moisturizer or lip balm as often as you need to during the day and night).
Great Lip Balms That You Can Use After the Procedure
One of the most important things that you can do during your healing process is to keep your lips well-moisturized.
If your doctor has not specified something that you should be using, here are a few great options:
Aquaphor Lip Repair Lip Balm with Sunscreen
This lip balm is clinically proven to relieve dryness and soothe chapped, cracked lips.
It is formulated with nourishing vitamins and Shea Butter and includes Broad Spectrum SPF 30 sunscreen for adequate protection from harmful UVA and UVB rays.
Everyday Humans Big Mood Milky Mineral Lip Balm
This lip balm Provides 100% zinc-based, broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection and lip care. It contains shea butter, jojoba, and argan oil which envelop dry lips in comforting moisture.
The oil blends nourish and soothe inflammation while leaving a subtle sheen. It features an oat milk-latte-inspired flavor that tastes creamy.