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Dermadoc, Board Certified Dermatologist
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Hello, I am African American and for years have struggled with

Resolved Question:

Hello, I am African American and for years have struggled with lower lip discoloration. I don't know how it started or when but I notice it now more than ever. I am 30yrs. old. I have spots that are pink(which I think is the natural color) and spots that are dark. Is there a way to fix this? I have read all these home remedy stuff but I want a MD opinion. Is there a procedure that can be done to fix this(elective surgery)? It looks bad and doesn't help with my confidence. Please help. Also, many African American's struggle with dark elbows and knees including me, is there a way to fix that? Thx!
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Dermatology
Expert:  Dermadoc replied 6 years ago.


it will be important for me to see a photo of the condition that you are mentioning.

please could you send it to me?

you could use picasa and then send me the link.

i will be able to tell you what exactly do you have after seeing them.



Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I don't have access to Picasa now, can I email you a pic?
Expert:  Dermadoc replied 6 years ago.

i am sorry, just answer just blocks our email id, you could use or photobucket if possible.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Ok, tell me if this works for you.

Expert:  Dermadoc replied 6 years ago.

thanks for sending the photo, that makes all the difference in dermatology.

i saw the photo and i think you are having vitiligo of the lips. guess its just begun.

if you take treatment for it, it will start repigmenting but it may take time.

surgery can surely be done for it, its called suction blister grafting, but the concern is to do it only after the lesion is stable. i.e. it doesn't extend in size nor do new ones come for atleast 2-3 months.

also if you have lesions elsewhere on the body it needs to be treated.

the treatment to make it stable is to apply desonide cream over it once daily and elidel cream over it once daily.

please feel free to ask me in case you have any queries.

hope this answer was useful. please click on the green accept button if so. any bonus or positive feedback would be appreciated.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I've had the darker spots for many many years now. It looks like I have "smoker lips." Like I used to smoke and the bud damaged my lips. I have never smoked. Most people of my skin tone have completely pink lips(upper and lower), but my upper lip is dark as well. What kind of treatment is available and how can I get it? What is the success rate of this treatment and how long does it usually take? What are the side effects because this is mostly a cosmetic issue and i don't want to make a mountain out of a molehill.

I also have dark circles around my eyes that never go away no matter how much sleep i get. I don't know if any of this is related.
Expert:  Dermadoc replied 6 years ago.

please let me confirm what you are concerned about?

you are concerned about the pink discoloration that you have on your lower lip?

i observed that the upper lip is normal.

is that right?
please let me know if i am mistaken.

the solution for the pink discoloration on the lower lip is the medications i suggested.

they don't have side effects which are very severe, if they are used as directed by the doctor.

it takes a few months for the effect to show.

the dark circles under your eyes are not related to the lips.

please let me know if what i am understanding is correct.

warm regards
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Yes I am concern with the discoloration(it is actually black blotches that are covering up what should be pink). What I was saying is that for my skin tone(family history), my lips should be pinkish, not as dark as they are. My upper lip is either normal or completely dark.

Does this change your diagnosis? You were suggesting a treatment but never stated what is was(name)?
Expert:  Dermadoc replied 6 years ago.

yes that changes my diagnosis. since you are mentioning that the natural colour of lips is pinkish, then the darkening of the lips could be due to a condition called acanthosis nigricans.

but i would make you a suggestion to visit your dermatologist. he would examine your lips under wood's lamp which is a special light that dermatologists use to know the details about the pigmentation.

this will tell you whether the pigmentation is superficial or deep and depending on that the treatment can be further decided.


please do not accept the answer if you are not satisfied with it.

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