What Causes Black Spots to Form on Your Lips?
Black spots on your lips are caused due to various factors. One of them is genetic predisposition. Another factor which plays a role in black spots is sun exposure. You might have heard that some people develop black spots after being exposed to sunlight for long periods of time, while others don’t experience such problems even when they spend a lot of time outdoors.
But what exactly does it mean if someone develops black spots or not? Does it mean that they are genetically predisposed to developing these types of lesions?
No! It means that their skin reacts differently to ultraviolet rays. And, this is where the term “hyperpigmentation” comes into play. Hyperpigmentation refers to a condition in which pigment (the color) within the skin becomes excessive and abnormal. Let’s see why and how does it develop.
The skin is composed of three layers: the epidermis, dermis and subcutaneous (or hypodermic) layer. The epidermis is the uppermost layer and it is in charge of maintaining the integrity of the skin and keeping it protected from external influences such as pathogens or injury.
It also prevents fluids from escaping the body. However, the epidermis also has an important aesthetic role since it is in charge of reflecting light and giving color to the skin. The epidermis is divided into several layers. Every layer has a different structure and a different biochemical composition. At its core, the epidermis consists of keratinocytes and melanocytes. Melanocytes are specialized cells which produce a pigment called melanin, which gives color to the skin. The purpose of melanocytes is to produce more or less pigment based on what the body needs. When there is not enough pigment, a condition called hypopigmentation occurs in which areas of the skin appear to lack color. When there is an excessive amount of pigment, a condition called hyperpigmentation occurs in which the skin develops patches of color.
So, what exactly causes hyperpigmentation?
Well, there are several factors which can lead to this condition. Some of the most common are skin injuries, certain types of medication, hormonal factors, inflammation, pregnancy and certain diseases. Sunlight is one of the main causes of hyperpigmentation. Even if you do not get sunburned, just being exposed to sunlight will trigger hyperpigmentation. This condition is especially common in people with naturally dark skin. In these people, the skin will darken considerably after being exposed to sunlight.
Hyperpigmentation can also be caused by some medications, especially those used to treat acne. It is important to remember that these types of drugs increase the production of melanin in the skin and this effect can become permanent after ceasing to take the drugs.
Another important factor which results in hyperpigmentation is hormonal changes. Hormones have a very important role in skin health. Changes in hormones, such as those which occur during pregnancy, menopause or after an injury, can lead to hyperpigmentation. There are also some diseases which can cause hyperpigmentation. These include Addison’s disease, albinism, eczema, leukemia, liver disease and vitiligo.
In some cases, hyperpigmentation can be mild and can be concealed with a bit of make-up. However, in other cases it can be extensive to the point of affecting a person’s quality of life.
If you suffer from hyperpigmentation, don’t hesitate to see your doctor. He will be able to determine the cause of your condition and prescribe the necessary treatment.
Sources & references used in this article:
What Is the Black Lesion on This Woman’s Lower Lip? What Is the Black Lesion on This Woman’s Lower Lip? by P Basu, PR Cohen – the-dermatologist.com
The role of skin color and features in the Black community: Implications for Black women and therapy by S Kirshenbaum – 2011 – Grand Central Publishing
Population declines and priorities for amphibian conservation in Latin America by T Rose – 2008 – Civitas Books
The dark sides of virtue: Reassessing international humanitarianism by AM Neal, ML Wilson – Clinical Psychology Review, 1989 – Elsevier
Explaining behavior: Reasons in a world of causes by BE Young, KR Lips, JK Reaser, R Ibáñez… – Conservation …, 2001 – Wiley Online Library
The Hopkins Symptom Checklist (HSCL): A self‐report symptom inventory by D Kennedy – 2005 – books.google.com
Dark shamans: Kanaimà and the poetics of violent death by FI Dretske – 1991 – books.google.com