Dear Rebecca: I’m 20-year-old college student, and I’ve had a white line around my lips for many years now. Some days it is more noticeable than others, but it’s almost always there. And for the past nine months, there’s been a white spot near my lips. This affects my self-esteem and confidence level so much. Can you please help me? —Zoe
Dear Zoe: If it’s any solace, you’re not alone. In the past decade, we are increasingly seeing different colors on the mouth region. This typically reveals a food sensitivity and leaky gut (increased intestinal permeability). Although any color of the rainbow can display here (see my post Skin Color Above your Lip Reveals Digestive Issues, it frequently is white. Sometimes the lip borders become indistinct and the lips seem to thin or fade into the skin.
White or Red Skin Around the Lips
To comment on the white spot near your lips, I’d need to see your photo and have your intake information. But I can share with you a client’s photo, where you’ll see a white border around her lips with a second red border below the white on her bottom lip. These “lip liners” provide important information and often indicate leaky gut.
Note also that her top lip is almost white which reflect that her diet lacks warming, freshly prepared real meals. Indeed, her breakfast was a green drink; throughout the day she grazed on yogurt, nuts, fruit, and chocolate; and dinner was typically a large salad. A pale colored lip reflects (according to the legendary John H. F. Shen, one of my Traditional Chinese Medicine teachers) a “frozen” stomach and results from having eaten too many cold or chilled foods.
Regaining Normal Colored Skin
Exactly three weeks after following the healing diet in Clean and Free, here’s her photo again. You can see that while the white border still shows, it is shorter and more narrow. The lower red “lip liner” is gone! And you can also see that as she supports her own digestive fire with warming foods, color is returning to her lips. Our amazing bodies: they’re hardwired to mend and when we give them what they need, healing happens.
The good news is that you can restore your natural skin and lip color. To do so, you’ll need to first figure out what caused the problem. The common triggers include:
• Environmental toxins*
• Medications, alcohol and stimulants
• Foods that challenge the digestion, including: food allergens and packaged, processed, stale, refined and chemically adulterated foods as well as too many cold or chilled foods
Today the top two ingredients that challenge most people’s digestion are gluten and diary. So even if a piece of buttered toast nourished you in past years, now a single bite of bread or a spoonful of yogurt literally might be toxic to your system. And it can intensify your skin discoloration. Test this for yourself by going without gluten, dairy and food irritants for a month and then eat some of the suspect food. Be sure to take before and after photos.
In some cases, a white line encircles the mouth as you’ll see in the example below.
White around the mouth reveals a currently delicate digestive system. It’s reversible, but if the stressors are not removed, that is, if you keep challenging an already challenged system, dysfunction occurs. Typical symptoms may start out as bloating, bowel problems, indigestion, bad breath, heartburn, acid indigestion, pain in the gut, dysbiosis and leaky gut. Leaky gut underlies diabetes, Crohn’s disease celiac disease, multiple sclerosis, irritable bowel syndrome and other autoimmune diseases. Read the science behind it on this page.
“Erase” the White Line Around your Lips with Diet
While the color in the photos above show a relatively thin white line, some people have a wide swath of color which may or may not be white. Red or pink, as in the photo below, suggests inflammation.
Zoe, you observed that some days your white lip border is more noticeable than others. Keep tracking this important information and note what exaggerates the color discrepancy. Keep a diet log and you’ll see the cause and effect of what you put in your mouth and what your colors reveal. Consider that as a kindness, your body giving you a visual cue. So rather than letting your imagination run wild about how bad you think you look, give thanks to this personal “read out” and use it to your advantage!
* To name just one environmental toxin, the most used herbicide in the US, glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup, has been found to cause increased intestinal permeability. Now there’s one excellent reason to favor organic foods.