Lip Changes and Discoloration – for patients (Humans)

By David F. Murchison, DDS, MMS, Clinical Professor, Department of Biological Sciences;Clinical Professor, The University of Texas at Dallas;Texas A & M University Baylor College of Dentistry

The lips may undergo changes in size, color, and surface. Some of these changes may indicate a medical problem. Other changes are harmless. With aging, the lips may grow thinner.

Freckles and irregularly shaped brownish areas (melanotic macules) are common around the lips and may last for many years. These marks are not cause for concern.

Multiple, small, scattered brownish black spots may be a sign of a hereditary disease called Peutz-Jeghers syndrome, in which polyps form in the stomach and intestines. Kawasaki disease, a disease of unknown cause that usually occurs in infants and children 8 years old or younger, can cause dryness and cracking of the lips and reddening of the lining of the mouth. Rarely, smokers develop noncancerous brown spots on the lips near where the cigarette is held.


Merck Manual