Uneven Pigmentation Around Lips

Geographically speaking, your lips top off your digestive tract. As much as they play a key role in your social identity, they also reveal the condition of your whole gastrointestinal system. So if you have developed vitiligo, irregular or blotchy skin color around your mouth, this mirrors problems below.

Look at your childhood photos and compare how your lips have changed over the years. Now look at photos prior to the 1950s or classical art. You’ll see how our lips have dramatically changed in the past few generations. Your top lip maps what’s going on in your stomach (see Skin Color Above Your Lip) and your bottom lip is a readout for your colon. If you suffer from leaky gut, acid indigestion, GERD, colitis, polyps, diverticulitis, celiac disease, SIBO, bloating, autoimmune disease, weight problems or IBS, your lips will show it. Vitiligo, hyperpigmentation, blotchy or uneven skin color are red flag that something is hurting.

What Lips Used to Look Like

Below we’ll look at contemporary photos of people whose lips reveal digestive issues. But first let’s describe lips that were our historical norm and that reflect a healthy GI tract. Such lips have:

Uniform size and pigmentation

• Precise borders with normal surrounding skin

Smooth texture and are moist (but not dry or wet)



Today babies and young children start out with such lips. This changes as they age. Indeed, our contemporary diet, stress and environmental toxins are taking a toll on our digestive health.

Note that Jason’s top lip is smaller than his bottom lip and their color is variable. While his lip borders are precise, there’s a white line surrounding them. This line denotes assimilation issues. It often starts as a thin white line but with increased years and dietary insults it can expand into a wide white or yellow/white swath. If the color has a grey, blue, orange or green tint, it reveals a more chronic condition. Jason is nine years old.



It appears that this 61-year-old Californian is growing a third lip! Ann’s “healthy” organic diet included ingredients that were toxic for her; she complained of low energy, bloating, depression and Hashimoto’s. The pink skin above Ann’s top lip indicates acid indigestion. The swollen ledge below her bottom lip reflects leaky gut.


You’ll see irregularities in Robert’s lips that substantiate his doctor’s diagnosis of hiatal hernia and rectosigmoid diverticulitis (small out-pouching of the intestinal wall near the rectum). His fuzzy bottom lip border denotes a leaky gut. Robert is 39 years old and from Chicago.

1. Robert’s red skin color in the center of his upper lip reveals stomach acidity, GERD and inflammation associated with his hiatal hernia.

2. Note how pale–even grayish–is the rest of his upper lip. Lips lacking uniform color indicate digestive issues and in some cases, adrenal insufficiency.

3. The right side of Robert’s bottom lip (left in the photo) is more enlarged than his left, which correlates to his diverticulitis. Note the tiny white/grey spot toward the outer corner of his mouth; grey may indicate cancer. As this spot is subtle, you may need to enlarge your screen to see it.

4. Robert’s bottom lip border is indistinct and has a swollen white/yellow zone underneath; all are classic examples of leaky gut.


What about Your Lips?
If your lips are not uniform in size and color, if the borders are fuzzy, if your skin color surrounding the mouth is irregular, and/or if your lips are deeply grooved or excessively moist or dry then it’s time to adjust your diet. Do so, and watch your lips regain normal parameters. Two core steps to resolve your digestion, assimilation and immunity are:

1. Daily enjoy three easy to digest, freshly prepared, nutritionally balanced meals with adequate fat and protein; it is essential to not overeat carbohydrates.

2. Identify and eliminate foods you do not tolerate.

While that prescription is easy to give, how will you actually accomplish this? To help you get underway, consider a Face Reading Consultation.  For more information and photos on face reading, see my eCourses.

46 Responses to Discolored Skin Color around Your Mouth

  1. Hi, you mentioned lips play a role in social identity. Can you elaborate what you mean by this as I am curious. Thank you

    • I was just trying to be poetic. Point being that we’d rather have lips that appear attractive versus lips that do not. It’s a given that “attractive” is a relative term.

  2. Yes. It seams like over night around my lips top and bottom is a pale green. I’ve tried to cover it up to no avail.
    Help please

    • Yes, cover-ups don’t get at root causes. For my personalized help, consider ordering a Face Reading Report. Or dig into my blog and you’ll find lots of supportive help. Good luck.

  3. I found your site when researching possible reasons for the faint-pink blotchy border just below the edge of my lower lip, and a similar pink blotchy spot just above the edge of my upper lip. I eat very little sugar (special occasions), only occasional bread, but I have dairy almost every day in the form of Greek yogurt with fruit. I’m 60, active, and my energy is excellent, but I am concerned about this pink discoloration.

    I also have a recurring fungal infection (Angular Chelitis) at the corners of my mouth that flares up after long periods of stress, and is relieved by an anti-fungal cream. It is pink and looks like cherry juice dripping out!

    After reading a little of your site, I’m considering avoiding all dairy for a while to see if there is any improvement. Would that be your first suggestion?

    • That’s a start. I’d also go gluten-free. If you don’t get speedy results then you need eliminate more culprits. So consider working plan C of my ebook, Detox and Cleanse.

      • Thank you for your reply, Rebecca. I’ll start with dairy-free to test just that one element before eliminating another. Question: I have been making or purchasing good kefir using organic grass-fed milk. Should I also avoid kefir altogether? I started drinking it after two courses of antibiotics for a recent dental abcess.

        • A problem with eliminating only one culprit is that you may not feel better. If you’re ingesting arsenic, mercury and lead, then eliminating only the arsenic might not make a huge difference.

  4. I’ve white skin above my lip that’s more fair than my face. Do you have any suggestions to get rid of this or to darken it?

    • While generally we can say that lighter skin above one’s lip is due to a digestive concern, the causes for each person are individual. That is, not everyone shares the same digestive triggers. If you follow all the links on this page, you’ll be able to remedy it. If you need individual help, consider a Consult with me.

  5. Dear Rebecca,
    I bought your clean and free book but I don’t know how to get started with it. Eliminating wheat is a really difficult task as we eat wheat bread with breakfast, lunch and dinner. The white line below my lip is like really expanding. And I’m stressed 😔

    • Yes, it is difficult to go gluten-free. And it’s doable. The question is how badly do you want to regain your normal facial coloring and digestive health? When you’re ready, Clean and Free has all the information and recipes you need to get you underway. Good luck.

  6. I notice when i am tired the skin above my upper lip is very white. What does this mean?

    • When you’re body is out of balance (from lifestyle and diet) your face will show it in different subtle ways. I invite you to also see what types of food (most commonly dairy, grains, eggs and nuts) also figure into the equation besides fatigue.

  7. Hi. Im 19 years old. And i have a white line below my lip as well as a little white spot at the lower lip. After reading your blogs it looks like i should decrease carbohydrate in my diet. Please suggest me some low carb diet. that are nurtionally good as well. Is lemon juice (with no sugar in it) good? Because i cant swallow food without drink.
    You really explained everything very well. Thank you so much for this.

    • Ellen, YOu’re welcome. One of the more common causes of digestive problems today is over consumption of carbohydrates. My ebook, Clean and Free gives directions for a balanced and healthy diet. Yes, a squeeze of lemon in water is generally a good drink.

  8. Hello
    For some months now, my lower lip border line has become irregular and blurred and below it, the color is white. My upper lip is ok. Can you please tell me what should I do? Which diet should I avoid ? Can it be cured? I eat a lot of yogurt and french fries. Thank you very much!

    • These indicators reveal that your diet needs adjusting. While I can’t tell you what diet to follow given this snippet of information, here’s what you can do: read all my related blogs about this. Also consider my ebooks for a DIY approach. Or I’ll be glad to work with you in a diet consultation. Good luck.

        • What’s great about our bodies is that if we given them basic care, they’re hardwired to heal. So set aside being scared. Follow the steps I outlined in my first answer to regain your normal color. Yes, if you do order a consultation, then you will send (and I will assess) your photo.

  9. Hello. I’m currently 16 and about 2 months ago,mi went and got a facial done. It was my first facial so I didn’t know what I was doing but at the end, they said that around my lips, I had a darker discoloration around them. I have never really noticed it before.. But now, I’m very nervous and scared about what it means. I don’t know whether I should change my diet because I’m already healthy and active. I don’t wear makeup so I’m just bewildered about what I’m doing wrong. Is there any way to get rid of it? I really would like your advice.

    • Dear Isabel, There is so much information and misinformation about diet, so please, do not let yourself get nervous about this. Take a big breath and have confidence that you’ll figure it out.

      That’s just great that you’re healthy and active. Keep it up. Also you might experiment to see if there is anything in your diet that makes it worse. Keep a diet log and see if you can sleuth out any dietary culprits. Of course, I’d be glad to help you in a consultation or you can find more detail in my ebooks.

  10. My lower lip has turned completely white with border loss in the last two years and not one dermatologist I have consulted with really has a clue. They say “hmmmm” a lot, 2 think it’s some odd manifestation of sun damage. I, too, cover up my borderless, greyish white lower lip with lipstick all day. One doctor said I must have COPD, or heart trouble. I am looking into that shortly. However, digestive issues were not suggested and this is the first information I have found that suggests a correlation. Can you pinpoint some of your recommended foods heal up the inner organs and put color back into the lips? I already eat so much of what you list, and make my own bone broth when I have time.

    • I’m sorry for your situation. So often with lip irregularities, what’s most important is figuring out what to exclude from your diet. What are you eating that has become toxic to your system? My ebook Clean and Free is a starting place. Good luck.

  11. I noticed a while ago that the skin around my mouth is darker than the rest of my face. It has a yellow green tint. It looks like I forgot to wash that area. A couple days ago I noticed my eyelids have suddenly turned yellow. Several people, young and old, have complained online. What could be causing this change in skin tone?

    • Jacqueline, I freely offer the overall answers in my multiple blogs. But to specifically say what is causing your discolored skin, and to point out the resolution, I’d need to see your photo and have your intake in a face reading. There’s no specific formula for everyone who has a yellow-green tint as the causative factors vary from person to person.

  12. Hello….I have recurring redness above my mouth that looks like a red moustache. I can see it coming on one day then the next it will be bright red then fades for a few days and usually gets dry and flaky like it was a burn. It comes and goes in this cycle each week with maybe one or two days with no redness. I’ve been told I have leaky gut and followed the autoimmune protocol strictly for 10 weeks which decreased the intensity but it still came and went each week. I’m still mostly following AIP but have reintroduced wine a few nights a week and notice if I go overboard the redness really flares up. Any other ideas??

    • Yes, it’s apparent that while the AIP protocol helped it failed to nail the cause of your irritated skin. That is, there’s another layer yet to be discerned. That’s where face reading is such a boon. I’d be glad to help you identify your next step.

  13. hi, i needed to ask you that if i have black colour all around my lip is it a good thing or a bad thing

    • Uniform lip color is “normal”. Color irregularities indicate an imbalance in the internal organs. If it’s a black border, almost like lip liner, that suggests challenged adrenals. I’d need to see your photo to comment further.

  14. Hi,I have a greenish hue around my lips,abovethe upper lip but I guess that’s because of mustache(embarrasing,i know)and under my lower lip.What should I do?

    • Odds are that the greenish hue is not from facial hairs (unless they’re green!) but from the skin itself. By eliminating foods that challenge your digestion, I’m confident your skin will lose its greenish tint.

      • I have the same problem with green skin around my mouth, how can I eliminate foods that challenge my digestion when I don’t know what they are?

        I’m particularly healthy so it’s not as though I can start with cutting out takeaways.

        • If you’ve green skin around your mouth, that’s a clear indicator that your GI tract needs support. The best way to determine the foods that are problematic for you is with an elimination diet as per my ebook, Clean and Free.

  15. Hello. In response to a comment above, you said, “Pls. see the autoimmune link in this blog for an approach that, I find,is more effective.” Which link are you referring to, please?

  16. I am trying to figure out why is there a a brown an 0ink line
    On my top lip. Above that its a solid brown line which I am use too. So what is really going on? Please help so I may get my lips back to the way they were…..

    • Your digestive system is compromised. Consider following the links in this blog to get your lips back to normal.

  17. Thank you so much for this information. How helpful it is! It teaches me that I definitely have leaky gut syndrome. I’m on the GAPS diet. Will following it strictly, plus clearing out my lymph system cure me?

    • You’re welcome. A potential problem with GAPS is that it’s a formula and might contain some foods that aren’t right for you. Pls. see the autoimmune link in this blog for an approach that, I find,is more effective.

    • My lips in this article show the described features of normal lips (and, given my age, the wrinkles surrounding my mouth are normal). For more details, see my book, Read Your Face.

  18. Trying to avoid wheat products; do you know if sourdough bread is an exception since it is made with a fermented substance?