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Pale Skin Around the Lips: Symptoms and Causes

Closed lips with a pale outline around the outside.
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Last updated April 8, 2024

Pale lip skin quiz

Take a quiz to find out what's causing your pale lip skin.

Pale white skin around the lips can be caused from an iron deficiency anemia, a skin pigment condition known as vitiligo, or a circulation issue called vasovagal syncope. Read now for more information on causes for pale discoloration around the mouth and how to find treatment.

Pale lip skin quiz

Take a quiz to find out what's causing your pale lip skin.

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3 causes of pale skin around the lips

This list does not constitute medical advice and may not accurately represent what you have.


Vitiligo is a condition where white patches develop on the skin, which is due to a loss of color (pigment) from affected areas. There are usually no other symptoms apart from the appearance. It's not clear to doctors what causes the skin color changes, but it is thought due to an autoimmune response. This means that the body attacks the healthy cells that give a person their skin color.

You should visit a primary care doctor. Depending on how much of your body is affected, the provider may consider writing a prescription for a steroid cream that could be used to prevent patches from getting bigger. Other prescription creams and even UV light therapy can be prescribed to treat vitiligo.

Rarity: Uncommon

Top Symptoms: loss of skin color around the lips, skin changes resembling vitiligo, loss of skin color on the arm or hand, loss of skin color on the neck

Urgency: Self-treatment

Vasovagal syncope

Vasovagal syncope is one of the most common causes of fainting. It occurs when the body overreacts to certain triggers, such as the sight of blood or extreme emotional distress. The body coordinates a sudden drop of heart rate and blood pressure, causing reduced blood flow to the brain and a brief loss of consciousness.

You do not need treatment for this condition, as it is normal and not a cause for concern. You may require medical attention if during the fainting episode you fell and injured a body part.

Iron deficiency anemia

Iron deficiency anemia means that the body does not have enough iron to form hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout the body.

The condition is caused by:

  • Acute blood loss through injury, surgery, or childbirth.
  • Chronic blood loss through an ulcer, overuse of aspirin or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs,) or heavy menstrual periods.
  • Inability to absorb dietary iron due to intestinal surgery or disease, or interference from certain medications.
  • A diet low in iron-supplying foods.

Symptoms include fatigue, shortness of breath, lack of endurance, and chest pain with rapid and irregular heartbeat.

If not treated, iron deficiency anemia can lead to heart disease because the heart has to pump extra blood to get enough oxygen to the tissues. Developmental problems in children can also occur.

Diagnosis is made through physical examination and blood tests.


Treatment includes a diet higher in iron-rich foods, such as red meat and dark green leafy vegetables, along with iron supplements. Severe cases may require hospitalization for blood transfusion and/or intravenous iron therapy.

Here's some Over the Counter Treatment that might help:

  • Iron Supplements: If it's iron deficiency anemia, your body is crying out for more iron. Boosting your iron levels could help restore some color.
  • Moisturizers for Vitiligo: While OTC options for vitiligo are limited, keeping your skin moisturized can help protect it and possibly minimize the appearance of white patches.
  • Stay Hydrated: For vasovagal syncope, staying hydrated and increasing your salt intake (if your doctor agrees) can help.

Pale skin around the lips symptom checker statistics

People who have experienced pale skin around the lips have also experienced:

  • 11% Fatigue
  • 7% Pale Skin
  • 6% Nausea

People who have experienced pale skin around the lips were most often matched with:

  • 50% Iron Deficiency Anemia
  • 33% Vasovagal Syncope
  • 16% Vitiligo

Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from Buoy Assistant.

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The stories shared below are not written by Buoy employees. Buoy does not endorse any of the information in these stories. Whenever you have questions or concerns about a medical condition, you should always contact your doctor or a healthcare provider.

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