Why Do My Lips Turn Purple When I Workout?

Learn why your lips may turn purple when you workout and how to prevent it from happening in the future.

Causes of Lip Discoloration

Did you ever notice that your lips turn purple when you exercise? While this may seem strange, it is actually quite common and can be caused by a number of things. In this article, we will be discussing what some of the potential causes of lip discoloration are when it occurs during physical activity. We will also cover some tips on how to prevent it from happening in the future.

Low oxygen levels

Low oxygen levels can cause your lips to turn a purplish-blue color. This phenomenon is often seen in athletes and is due to the fact that when oxygen levels drop, your body compensates by boosting the production of red blood cells – which cannot carry quite as much oxygen as hemoglobin. Because there is less oxygen available, it takes longer for blood cells to cycle through your body, and they can therefore become more concentrated especially in areas with fewer capillaries or veins like your lips. Low oxygen levels tend to be more common during exercise or strenuous physical activity but can also be caused by cigarette smoking, heart failure, or hypoxic disease states.

High carbon dioxide levels

The most common cause of lip discoloration is high carbon dioxide levels in the body, which can occur when you exercise vigorously. During exercise, your body consumes oxygen and expels carbon dioxide through respiration. When the body begins to run out of oxygen during strenuous activity, it increases its production of carbon diozide resulting in a condition called hypercapnia. Your body compensates by constricting blood vessels and sending more oxygenated blood to vital organs like your brain and heart. As a result, less oxygenated blood reaches your lips, causing them to turn purple or blue as the decrease in circulation causes them to lose some of their natural coloration.

Poor circulation

Poor circulation can lead to lip discoloration by causing a build-up of blood and fluid in the affected area. Poor circulation is often caused by an inactive lifestyle, smoking, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure. Low levels of oxygen can also occur due to reduced air intake when exercising, resulting in hypoxia which leads to purple lips. Additionally, poor circulation can be caused by Vitamin B12 deficiency and veins that are too close to the skin’s surface called telangiectasia. In any case, it is important to seek medical attention if you are experiencing any form of circulatory problem as these may be signs of a more serious condition such as deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or Raynaud’s phenomenon which can restrict oxygen and result in cold, numbness and/or discolored lips.


Experiencing purple or blue lips when exercising is not uncommon. This symptom is usually associated with exercise-induced hypoxia and occurs when the body does not get enough oxygen. It is important to determine the underlying cause of this symptom, since it can be a sign of an underlying health condition. In this section, we’ll discuss the different potential causes of purple lips when exercising.

Bluish or purplish hue on the lips

A bluish or purplish hue on the lips after exercising is a common sign of hypoxemia, or low levels of oxygen in the blood. Hypoxemia is most often the result of an increased respiratory rate — when breathing speeds up, not enough oxygen can make its way into the bloodstream. As a result, your lips can become discolored and take on a bluish or purplish hue. Other symptoms of hypoxemia include shortness of breath, dizziness, increased heart rate, fatigue and confusion.

If you have noticed that your lips tend to turn purple when you exercise, it is best to consider consulting a physician for proper diagnosis and treatment. A healthcare professional may order tests to rule out any underlying cardiovascular conditions that could be causing your symptoms and offer treatment options as well as lifestyle changes to reduce your risk for further episodes.

Swelling of the lips

When exercising, it is common for the lips to turn a purplish hue due to swelling. Swollen lips can be caused by strenuous physical activity, or from something as simple as breathing heavily. The increased heart rate that accompanies exercise increases circulation, allowing for more blood vessels in the body to open up and swell. This same phenomenon can also lead to discoloration of the skin around the mouth due to increased heart rate and circulation.

In addition, swelling of the lips during exercise could be a sign of dehydration or hyperventilation. If you experience any of these symptoms alongside lip purple-tinted discoloration, it is important that you stop exercising and replenish your body with electrolytes and fluids in order to avoid further complications. If this symptom persists after discontinuing prolonged physical activity along with replenishment of vital nutrients, it is advised that you seek medical treatment in order to identify any underlying health concerns.

Tingling sensation

Exercising at a high intensity or for an extended period of time can cause the lips to turn purple due to a lack of oxygenated blood. This reduces the amount of oxygen in the body and leads to a tingling sensation known as hypoxia. Hypoxia occurs in areas where there is decreased oxygen, causing blood vessels to constrict, reducing the supply of blood and leaving skin looking paler or purplish. This symptom can be linked with other signs such as a slowed heart rate, difficulty breathing, dizziness, headaches, confusion and even fainting if left untreated. If you experience any of these symptoms while working out it is important to stop and seek medical attention if it persists.


If you are experiencing purple lips while working out, it can be caused by many different factors. It’s important to get a proper diagnosis in order to determine the cause of your condition. In this section, we will discuss potential triggers, as well as potential treatments and preventative measures.

Physical exam

The physical examination is an important part of diagnosing why your lips turn purple when you workout. During the physical exam, your doctor will observe any changes in skin color, temperature, texture, and moisture. Any abnormalities noted during the exam help provide clues about possible underlying causes. In addition to visual inspection of your skin and lips, you may need to undergo some laboratory tests. These tests will help crack the mystery behind why your lips turn purple when you exercise.

The labs that may be performed include:
-Blood oxygen level: This test monitors how well your blood takes in oxygen while performing physical activity.
-Complete blood count (CBC): This test looks at various components in the blood such as red blood cells and platelets which can reveal diseases that could cause purplish coloring of the lips when exercising.
-Kidney function tests: These analyses measuring substances like creatinine, urea nitrogen and electrolytes help determine if any underlying kidney problems are causing changes in skin coloration like a bluish tinge to the lips during workouts.
-Thyroid hormone levels: Testing for hormone levels related to thyroid functions helps rule out any hyperthyroidism that could cause changes in lip color when engaging in physical activity.
-Vitamin B12: B12 levels are sometimes tested as Vitamin deficiency could be a factor causing change in hue of lips due to exercise or other normal activities like walking or standing upright for extended periods of time.

Blood tests

If you’re experiencing purple lips when exercising, it’s possible that you’re suffering from an underlying medical condition. To diagnose the source of your problem, your doctor may recommend a few blood tests that can help identify any problems. The two most common tests are a complete blood count (CBC) and a hematocrit test.

The CBC measures the levels of different types of blood cells in your body, such as red and white blood cells, platelets, and hemoglobin. This will help to identify any problems in the way your body is producing or using oxygen. The hematocrit test measures the number of red blood cells in your sample by counting how much they fill up a tube. This helps to indicate how well your body is circulating oxygen throughout your system – an important factor for active individuals.

Your doctor may also suggest additional tests like an arterial blood gas or an exercise tolerance test if more information is needed regarding exercise-induced vasoconstriction or damage to muscles related to poor circulation during exercise. Ultimately, understanding why you’re experiencing purple lips when working out can help ensure you receive prompt and proper treatment so you can get back to working out safely and enjoyably!

Imaging tests

Imaging tests such as echocardiograms and X-rays of your chest can help in the diagnosis of purple lips during exercise. An echocardiogram is an imaging test that uses sound waves to create a picture of your heart as it pumps blood. It can help to determine whether you have any underlying health issues that could cause your lips to turn purple, such as an irregular heartbeat or a problem with the structure of your heart, valves, or septa.

An X-ray of your chest may also be taken to see if there are any underlying issues that could cause your purple lips. Your doctor may be able to identify blood clots in the lungs or a blocked lung artery, both of which can block oxygen from getting to the tissues and restrict blood flow. This can cause discoloration of the lips during exercise.

In some cases, further testing may be needed depending on what is found in the image tests. This includes more specialized tests such as electromyography (EMG), which measures muscle activity; cardiac catheterization, which uses x-rays and other imaging devices; and doppler ultrasound, which measures blood flow through a specific area.


Sometimes people experience a condition called exercise-induced vasoconstriction which can lead to their lips turning purple when they workout. This condition is caused by cold temperatures, or when the body is put under a lot of strain during exercise. Fortunately, there are treatments available for dealing with the condition, including things like wearing warm clothing, using humidifiers, and using medications. Let’s explore some of these treatments in more detail.

Oxygen therapy

Oxygen therapy is an effective treatment for purple lips during exercise. It is usually done with a simple device called an oxygen mask. Oxygen masks are available in two types: tube and non-tube. Tube masks are attached to a high-flow source of compressed medical-grade oxygen, while non-tube masks attach to a low-flow source of compressed medical grade nitric oxide only, without oxygen being present.

The recommended intensity for exercising with an oxygen mask should be set at 65% of the maximal heart rate for your age group. This ensures that you get enough oxygen and that CO2 levels don’t become too high, both of which can contribute to purple lips. When using a mask, make sure that it fits properly and that there is no leakage around the edges. Make sure, too, that you breathe through your mouth rather than your nose as this will help to ensure efficient delivery of the gas as well as avoiding air being trapped behind the mask on exhalation, again reducing the likelihood of CO2 build up and purple lips developing during exercise.


Certain medications, such as those that are used to treat high blood pressure, can cause lips to turn purple when exercising. This side effect is caused by the drugs’ effect on the body’s arterial circulation, which decreases the oxygen levels in your system. If you have been prescribed cardiovascular medications and experience this symptom while exercising, it is important to speak with your doctor so they can assess the best course of action for you. As well, some nonprescription and over-the-counter drugs may have this same effect on lip colour when working out. It is important to consider all aspects of your health before taking any medications.


Surgery should be considered as a last resort for treating blue or purple lips during exercise. While certain surgical interventions, such as laser facial skin resurfacing or nasal reconstruction, may reduce the discoloration of the lips, they are typically only used in cases where the underlying cause is determined to be something other than exercise-induced hypoxia. In cases where hypoxia is suspected, there are less invasive treatments and measures that can be taken to minimize the problem. Non-surgical treatments for reducing lip discoloration include dietary changes, supplemental oxygen therapy, increase in physical activity level, and humidified air inhalation during exercise. Additionally, monitoring heart rate and exercising at an appropriate level may also be helpful in reducing this symptom. If these measures do not help relieve the problem then consulting a doctor is advised.


If your lips turn purple during or after exercise, then there are a few potential causes. Often, this discoloration is a sign of inadequate oxygen delivery to your cells or an imbalance in your body’s electrolytes. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to prevent this from happening so you can exercise without worrying about your lips turning purple.

Warm up and cool down exercises

In order to prevent your lips from turning purple when exercising, it is important to make sure you include warm-up and cool down exercises as part of your routine. Warm up exercises help to gradually raise the temperature in the muscle tissue, preparing it for more intense exercise. Cool down exercises help reduce muscle fatigue and decrease the amount of lactic acid build up in the muscles, which can lead to pain or cramping. Additionally, both warm ups and cool downs can help improve flexibility and range of motion by improving circulation through gentle stretching. By combining dynamic stretching with static stretching during both pre-workout warm-up and post-workout cool down routines, you can minimize muscle stiffness and ensure a higher quality performance throughout your exercise period.

Wear appropriate clothing

It is important that when you exercise, you wear appropriate clothing that properly manages moisture and heat. Wearing fabric that is breathable like polyester, nylon or spandex will help keep your body cool during exercise and prevent your lips from turning purple. Also, wearing a wide-brimmed hat when exercising outdoors in bright sun can help protect the upper lip skin from extreme rays which can cause the lips to swell and turn purple. It is also important to wear light colored clothing. Dark colors absorb the heat from direct sunlight and could make you overheat; this could potentially cause even more discoloration in the lips.

Monitor your breathing

When our body experiences a lack of oxygen, it can cause the lips to become purplish in color. While this condition is typically harmless, its occurrence during physical activity can be a sign of more serious underlying medical issues. To reduce the odds of this happening, it is important to monitor your breathing while working out. It is recommended that you breathe rhythmically and deeply in order to get as much oxygen into your lungs as possible. Avoiding holding your breath while engaging in strenuous activities is also important. Additionally, it may be beneficial to engage in pre-workout stretching and warm up activities prior to beginning strenuous physical workouts. This increases lung capacity and overall flexibility so that you can absorb more oxygen when the intensity increases. Finally, if the issue persists despite all the measures taken, it would be ideal for you to consult with a doctor or healthcare provider for further assessment and advice.

Checkout this video:


Similar Posts