Woman applying lipstick in her rear view mirror

Purple Spot On Lip: What Causes It?

Discovering a purple spot on your lip that was never there before can be scary, and you may be curious to know what it is and where it came from. While there are a number of reasons you might see a purple spot on lip tissue, it may be a case of purpura. Here's what you should know about this condition.

What Is Purpura?

Injuries, steroid use and medications that affect the blood platelets or clotting may factor in the development of purpura. Purpura may also be associated with various conditions, such as amyloidosis, congenital rubella syndrome or congenital cytomegalovirus. Hemangioma, a growth caused by blood vessels building up abnormally in the skin, and vasculitis, an inflammation of the blood vessels, may lead to purpura.

In some cases, these spots may appear due to bleeding disorders that reduce the number of platelets, the cells that help your blood clot. An example of this is idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura. This disorder occurs when the immune system destroys the platelets and affects the blood's ability to clot. This can result in bleeding into the skin. This particular type of purpura is more common in women than men, states the NIH.

Other Possible Causes of Dark Spots on Lips

Purpura isn't the only possible cause of dark spots on the lips. Dark spots can also form due to melasma, a common skin problem where brown or gray patches form on the skin. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, these patches usually develop on parts of the body that get a lot of sun exposure, like the cheeks or forehead, but can also form near the lips. This condition can be treated with sun protection, like wearing a wide-brimmed hat while outside and applying sunscreen.

Dark spots on the lips can also be caused by pigmented contact dermatitis, an allergic reaction, explains a review published by the Journal of Pigmentary Disorders. When allergens come into contact with the lips, the skin can develop reddish, brown or gray discoloration. These allergens may include ingredients in lipsticks.

Vitamin deficiencies are another possible cause of dark spots on the lips. For example, B12 deficiencies may cause hyperpigmentation and result in brown spots on the lips and other parts of the skin, reports Clinical Observations.

If you've noticed a dark spot on your lip, or any other changes to the skin on your lips, see your doctor or dentist as soon as possible.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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