Does Applying Lipstick Daily Darken the Lip? [Maybe, but…]

lady with dark hair, keeps lips rounded
  • Lipsticks are versatile but can cause lip darkening from the chemicals they contain, especially if applied daily
  • Dr. Richa Singh, Consulting Dermatologist in Junoesque Clinic, suggests taking care of dark lips by using sunscreen, being cautious of lipstick ingredients, avoiding expired lipsticks, and exfoliating lips.
  • Arthi Raguram, Founder of Deyga Organics also encourages not to worry about dark lips and provides tips for following a lip care routine, going lipstick free for a few days, removing lipstick before bedtime, and using a lip mask .
  • To deal with lipstick-darkened lips: follow a routine including exfoliation once a week; be cautious when choosing lipstick ingredients; do not use expired products; avoid sleeping with lipstick on.

My friend Jane was always a bit worried about her dark lips. She loved wearing lipstick, but every day, her lips seemed to be a bit darker than the day before. She wasn’t sure if it was the lipstick itself that was causing the problem, or if something else was going on.

I told her not to worry, and that I would help her figure it out. I’m a bit of an expert when it comes to lipstick – after all, I’ve been wearing it almost every day for the past 10 years.

Plus, I had experience with helping my mom deal with the same issue when she started noticing her lips were getting darker.

We talked about all of the possible causes of dark lips, and tried a few different solutions. Finally, we found something that worked: sunscreen! Applying sunscreen to your lips every day helps protect them from the sun’s harmful rays, which can make your lips darker over time.

We laughed about it all the whole way through, and now Jane is happy to know how to keep her lips looking their best – without having to give up her favorite lipstick!


Does applying lipstick daily darken the lip?

It is very rare for lipstick to cause darkening of the lip. Lipstick is applied to the upper layers of skin and is not deep enough to affect blood vessels. Unless you have underlying factors like rosacea, the darkening is probably due to sun damage.

It is advisable not to apply lipstick around the lip area without first applying sunscreen or lip balm sunscreen. In this article, we’ll look at the factors that cause lip color to fade and what you can do about it.

What Causes Color to Fade

i. Sun exposure

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One of the main causes of color fading is sun exposure. Unprotected sun exposure accelerates the natural fading process of lip color. The light waves in UV damage the lipstick molecules themselves, causing them to become discolored and to lose their strength.

The process is similar to how the sun will bleach a white shirt over time. Sunlight also causes skin pigmentation, which means that the area around your lips will darken over time, making any old lip color look darker than it really is.

ii. Underlying Health Issues

The health of your skin can also cause lip color to fade faster. It is not only UV damage that causes lip color to fade faster, but also the sun’s natural aging effects. As everyone knows, the skin on your face expands over time, pushing your lips outward.

The underlying layer of skin becomes thinner and more fragile like extra-thin egg whites; it is also more prone to wrinkles and other signs of age.

iii. Excess Oil Production

Oily skin will darken due to excess oil production; excess oil clogs the pores around the lips causing them to become discolored and dull looking. Keep the lips moisturized with a lip balm or petroleum jelly at all times.

iv. Discoloration from Other Sources

woman resting her chin on hand, with visible cracked lips and rosacea
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While color fading from lipstick alone is rare, discoloration from other sources is common. The most common cause of discoloration is due to rosacea and other inflammatory conditions. This means that anything that causes inflammation can cause the lips to darken without applying lipstick.

If you have rosacea, it might be advisable to be treated by a dermatologist before you apply any lip products; this way, your natural lip color will look more attractive against your luscious pink blush and red lipstick – bringing out your natural beauty instead of showing underlying inflammation caused from rosacea or another inflammatory condition.

How to Prevent Color Fade

i. Sunscreen

To protect your lip color, apply a lip balm or petroleum jelly with SPF 15 or higher whenever you are going to be in the sun for prolonged periods. This will prevent discoloration due to sun exposure.

Remember to reapply after eating and drinking as this process causes the lip balm to wear off more quickly.

ii. Waxing over Lipstick

If you don’t want your lipstick color to fade, it is advisable that you wax over your lips instead of applying lipstick directly on dry skin.

This will make applying and removing lipstick easier, plus it will give a smoother finish that lasts longer without stirring up the underlying skin pigmentation around your lips.

iii. Rejuvenate the Lips with a Medi-Spa Treatment

If you can afford it, a lip plumping treatment done by a professional in a medical spa will bring your natural lip color back to life. This helps your lips look more plump and full while reducing any uneven pigmentation that might cause your lipstick color to look flat instead of natural.

iv. Rejuvenate the Lips with Over-the-Counter Products

While these are not ideal for long-term use, over-the-counter products like Rosebud Salve or Dermablend will help you rejuvenate your lips and bring back their original fullness as well as how naturally beautiful they used to look.

Taking care of your lips will help your lipstick look better and last longer, no matter what color you apply. Remember that wrinkles, discoloration, and dryness are not only caused by sun exposure; in fact, you can also harm your lips by sun exposure but protect them with a lip balm or petroleum jelly with SPF 15 or higher.

The best advice is to stay away from prolonged sun exposure as much as possible without applying any lip color at all. You can also use lip plumper to make your lips more attractive rather than mousse or other anti-aging products that might cause pigmentation around the lips instead of preventing it.