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Ask a Dermatologist Free: Vitiligo on Lips

Dear Doctor

As you can see in the photo my skin pigmentation is going away on my bottom lip, once was brown now turning pink.

This is caused from smoking im guessing.

I wanted to ask is there possibly a solution to this or a cream or anything that will rejuvenate the skin pigment back to its original brown color?

ask a dermatologist free

Dear Patient

This condition is known as vitiligo.

It is an autoimmune disease in which cells from the immune system attack those which produce melanin. Melanin is the pigment that gives skin its color.

Treatment of Vitiligo on Lips

The treatment of vitiligo on lips includes:

1. Applying Lip Balm with SPF 15 or higher to protect the hypopigmented areas (pink patches) from getting sunburnt.


2. Applying lipstick can also conceal the hypopigmented patches.


3. Permanent camouflage therapy by micropigmentation which is simply medical tattooing of the lips using pigments which closely match the natural lip color. Lip micropigmentation has been shown to treat lip vitiligo effectively by giving immediate results which are cosmetically acceptable.


4. Topical corticosteroids like Kenalog in orabase (triamcinolone acetonide in a carboxymethylcellulose paste) can also be applied on the lips to treat vitiligo.


5. Calcineurin inhibitors like Tacrolimus 0.1% (Protopic) are also applied on the lips to treat vitiligo.


6. Excimer lasers are also used to treat lip vitiligo.


7. Lip vitiligo can also be treated surgically in patients who do not respond to medical treatment. In addition, the patches should not have increased in number or size for the past 2 years. The vitiligo should also not have begun as a Koebner response to injury of the skin. Surgical treatment of lip vitiligo includes:

a. Excision and primary closure in which the white patches are cut out and the wound closed with sutures (stitches). This method gives good results which are seen once the wound heals. Complications include the fact that it can change the shape of the lips and it cannot be used if the vitiligo affects large areas of the skin.

b. Suction blister grafting in another surgical method of treating vitiligo on lips. In this procedure the doctor creates blisters on the patient’s healthy skin and then removes the tops of the blisters and attaches them to the areas affected by vitiligo on the lips.


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