A woman covering her mouth.

Why Is The Skin Around My Mouth Dark & How Do I Treat It?

Getting dark skin, or hyperpigmentation, around your mouth is common. Thankfully, it's super simple to treat.
Updated: November 7, 2022
Share article:
Article Contents

If you’ve noticed areas of your skin becoming darker and your skin tone becoming unbalanced, you are probably suffering from hyperpigmentation.

One of the most common places where this can be most notable is the skin around the mouth, and many of us are trying to find a way of fixing it.

Don’t worry, we have your back! Dealing with discoloration and hyperpigmentation is actually rather simple. Keep reading to find out more.

What causes hyperpigmentation around the mouth?

Hyperpigmentation is when patches of the skin become darker than the rest. It occurs when the body decides to produce more melanin, and this can be triggered by a variety of factors.

Everyone is different and can experience hyperpigmentation in numerous ways. However, here are some of the most common and likely causes.

Sun exposure

Spending too much time being exposed to the sun’s UV rays can stimulate melanin production in the body. Often, people tend to forget to protect the mouth area when applying sunscreen, which can increase the likelihood of discoloration.

Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation

If your skin has endured periods of stress and damage, such as bad acne, aggressive breakouts, or environmental damage, it can develop post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. This is usually a protective bodily response, but it can be frustrating and unsightly.

Melasma

Melasma, or chloasma, usually occurs in women, especially pregnant women. It is a skin condition that sees patches of the skin become darker and discolored. Melasma isn’t considered to be harmful, but it can make people self-conscious about the way they look, especially if they have a lot of dark patches on their faces.

Medication side-effects

If you are taking specific types of medication, there’s a chance your body could have a reaction to it which then results in hyperpigmentation around the mouth. This can be triggered by chemotherapy drugs, hormone replacements, and doxycycline. Speak to a doctor if you have concerns.

How to remove dark skin from around your mouth

Reducing the prevalence of dark skin around your mouth is a process of care and planning. By following these very simple things, you can significantly minimize the appearance of hyperpigmentation, and help to prevent it from forming in the first place.

Sun protection

This should be a no-brainer. Melanin production can be heavily influenced by sun exposure, so you need to always protect yourself properly whenever you go outside on sunny days. Always apply a strong sunscreen to the skin with a minimum SPF of 30. This will shield the skin from the sun’s powerful rays. Don’t forget your mouth area!

Use brightening serum

From a product point of view, you could use brightening serums to help re-balance skin tone. Brightening serums containing antioxidants and Vitamin C can really help to lighten dark patches of skin. Use the serum consistently over a long period of time to ensure lasting results.

Try retinol

We normally associate retinol with anti-aging treatments, but it can also help to reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation! This is because it helps encourage healthier blood circulation under the skin, and stimulates the production of collagen and elasticity. Over time, the regular use of retinol can help smooth over unbalanced areas of the skin, which can lessen the sight of dark spots.

See a doctor

If none of the above suggestions work, it may be time to see a doctor. Hyperpigmentation is rarely harmful or the sign of a deeper medical issue, but a doctor will be able to do a proper evaluation and perhaps supply you with medication.

Conclusion

Dark skin, or hyperpigmentation, occurs when the body produces too much melanin. This can be triggered by sun exposure, medication, and other things.

By protecting your skin from the sun and by using brightening products, you can protect and re-balance your skin tone to reduce the signs of hyperpigmentation.

Read more:
Let's take this to the inbox!
Get our latest skincare news, best product recommendations & brand-exclusive discount codes directly to your inbox.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
Staying Medically Accurate!
This article has been reviewed by the in-field experts on our Medical Content Advisory Board to ensure everything is up-to-date and accurate.