A lip freckle is a small dark spot that results when a cluster of skin pigment cells forms just under the surface of the upper or lower lip. Since the skin on the lips is thinner than on other body areas, any dark spots on lip surfaces are often more noticeable. The medical term for a freckle is a melanotic macule, and it is a common skin condition that is normally not a cause for concern. A lip freckle is usually tied to sun exposure, age, and a genetic predisposition to freckling easily. Some dermatologists advise that freckles should be examined only if they appear suddenly or have noticeable changes in color or texture.
Freckled skin tends to be common in people with light skin and light eye colors, such as green or blue. People from families prone to freckling can often develop prominent freckles after a relatively short time in the sun. Since fair skin can often be more sensitive to sun damage, skin-care experts recommend regular use of lotions and lip balms containing sunscreen. Regular sun protection on the lips will also help prevent a lip freckle from darkening over time. This measure is also important for reducing the risk of lip cancer, which can sometimes appear as a dark spot that later becomes a raised bump on the lip surface.
Some people who have at least one freckle on their lips are not bothered with their appearance and even believe the freckle is a unique facial feature. Others may wish to have their freckles removed, although the process can sometimes be challenging. Freckle-lightening creams available with a dermatologist's prescription can often help when applied on a consistent basis. Some people also have some success with using lemon juice to fade the freckles over time. These kinds of topical treatments are considered the safest and least invasive for reducing the appearance of dark lip freckles.
While a lip freckle can be surgically removed under local anesthetic, many dermatologists caution that this procedure carries a risk of lip scarring. A noticeable lip scar can be potentially more troublesome than the original lip freckle. Unless a freckle shows potential signs of becoming a cancerous lesion, physicians are often reluctant to perform surgical excision for purely cosmetic reasons. Cosmetic freckle removal is normally considered a voluntary procedure, so it is usually not covered by health insurance plans.