People may view naturally pink lips as a sign of beauty. However, lips come in many colors, sizes, and shapes. It may be possible to naturally change lip color to pink, but often, the effect is temporary.

In this article, we will look at ways people can get pink lips naturally by using some simple home remedies and lip care techniques.

We will also look at whether having pink lips is beneficial, other factors that may discolor the lips, and whether there are any long-term cosmetic procedures that change the color of the lips.

Close-up of someone rubbing sugar scrub on the lips in order to get pink lips naturally.Share on Pinterest
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Many people view pink lips as a sign of natural beauty or health. However, beauty trends change over time. Even lip trends change over time, with research suggesting that the full lips so popular today were not in fashion over a decade ago.

Despite the perception that pink lips are healthy, there is no evidence that they are healthier than any other lip color. The exception to this is if a person normally has pink lips, and they change color.

Healthy lips are typically:

  • free from cracks and sores
  • hydrated
  • smooth

As with skin tone, the color of the lips will vary from person to person. People with darker skin tend to have darker lips. This is normal and occurs due to an increased amount of melanin in the skin. Melanin gives the skin its color.

People also can develop darker lips as a result of hyperpigmentation. This occurs when areas of the skin become darker than the surrounding area. Common causes of hyperpigmentation include:

  • pregnancy
  • smoking
  • sun exposure
  • some medications, including antimalarial drugs and the oral antibiotic minocycline
  • a medical condition, such as Addison’s disease

People with naturally dark lips may be able to temporarily make them more pink using home remedies, while those with hyperpigmentation may find that treatments for this skin condition help most.

The following home treatments may help people keep their lips hydrated and smooth, while also temporarily increasing blood flow to the area:

Lip scrubs

Gentle exfoliation can help remove dry skin that could be giving the lips a dull, rough appearance. It can also stimulate circulation, resulting in temporarily pink lips.

There are many lip scrubs available in stores or online. Alternatively, people can make their own by mixing sugar or salt with an oil such as sweet almond or coconut oil.

To use a lip scrub:

  1. Gently massage the scrub onto dry lips.
  2. Rinse off and pat the lips dry.
  3. Apply a lip balm.

The skin on the lips is delicate, so do not rub hard. Do not use lip scrubs more than once or twice per week, and do not use scrubs designed for the face or body, as these may be too harsh.

Lip massage

Massage can boost circulation to the lips, which may make them appear pinker. People can gently massage the lips once a day with a food-grade oil, such as coconut oil, before rinsing them off. Alternatively, people can leave the oil on overnight as a hydrating treatment.

Lip masks

Lip masks are treatments that involve applying a substance to the lips, leaving it on for a set amount of time, and then washing it off.

Some people report that lip masks containing turmeric improve the health and appearance of their lips. A 2018 systematic review notes that turmeric may reduce hyperpigmentation on the face, which may explain why this ingredient is popular. However, more research is necessary to conclusively prove it works on the lips.

To make a turmeric lip mask:

  • Mix turmeric powder with coconut oil.
  • Apply to the lips and leave on for 15 minutes.
  • Wash off and pat the lips dry.

Note that turmeric can cause temporary staining of the skin around the lips.

Peppermint oil lip balm

Some cosmetic companies use peppermint oil in lip balm to create a naturally pink look. Peppermint oil contains menthol, a compound that can dilate the blood vessels when applied topically, according to a 2016 study. This may result in temporarily flushed lips.

People can purchase lip balm that contains peppermint in stores or online. However, the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) advises that a person should avoid menthol and peppermint if they have chapped lips, as it can be irritating.

In addition to making the lips appear temporarily more pink, people can take steps to reduce dryness, irritation, and the chance of hyperpigmentation. These include:

Wearing SPF lip balm

Applying sunscreen to the skin and lips daily is one of the most effective things a person can do to prevent hyperpigmentation, sun damage, and visible aging. It also reduces the chance of developing skin cancer.

People should wear SPF on their lips, face, and other exposed areas when going outside, even if they do not burn easily, have darker skin, or live in a cold climate. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends using a nonirritating lip balm with an SPF of 30 or higher and titanium oxide or zinc oxide as the active ingredient.

Reapply SPF lip balm and sunscreen every 2 hours while outside.

Stopping smoking

Smoking can stain the lips, as well as other parts of the body that come into contact with tobacco, such as the hands. Nicotine in any form also reduces blood flow in the skin, which may reduce the color of the lips and accelerate skin aging.

Learn 11 tips for giving up smoking.

Keeping the skin hydrated

People can keep their lips hydrated by:

  • drinking enough water
  • using a nonirritating lip balm that contains ingredients such as shea butter, hemp seed oil, or petrolatum
  • avoiding licking, biting, or picking the lips

Licking dry lips can feel like it will help with dryness, but it actually makes dryness worse. Similarly, other habits such as biting or picking the skin on the lips can cause dryness, irritation, and bleeding.

Try to avoid these habits by replacing them with something else. Instead of licking the lips, apply a hydrating lip balm regularly. Instead of picking the skin, people may find it helpful to use a stress ball or something else that keeps their hands busy.

Learn more about lip biting, its causes, and ways to stop.

Discuss medications with a doctor

If a a person thinks a medication could be contributing to darker lips, they should discuss this with their doctor. Sometimes, the effect is temporary and their lip color will return to normal after they finish their treatment. In other cases, there may be alternative medications a person can try.

Many online sources claim that people can permanently change the color of their lips using natural or home remedies. However, few of these are based on scientific evidence. Additionally, some remedies may damage the skin.

Some cosmetic treatments may help people achieve long-lasting changes to their lips. For example, laser therapy can treat hyperpigmentation. However, the results of these treatments may not last forever. The side effects can include swelling, irritation, and scarring.

People who want to explore ways of treating hyperpigmentation can discuss the options with a dermatologist.

People can get pink lips naturally by using simple treatments, such as lip balms, scrubs, or masks. However, the effect will be temporary. Many at-home treatments that make the lips more pink work by increasing the blood flow to the area, which will eventually return to normal.

There is no medical benefit to having pink lips, but if a person wants to address skin discoloration or hyperpigmentation, a dermatologist may be able to help.