A bump or pimple on the lip is a small pustule or papule.
The bacteria that cause pimple are present in everyone’s skin. However, 1 in 5 people is lucky enough to get only an occasional pimple in a lifetime.
“We learned that not all acne bacteria trigger pimples — one strain may help keep skin healthy,” said Huiying Li, an assistant professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.
Pimples can appear on anywhere on the body. However, pimples or bumps that appear on or around your lips (including lip corners, side of the lip, upper lip, lower lip or inside/inner lip) are the most irritating and ugly ones.
Bumps around the lip are quite an awkward sight. It is ugly, painful and irritating.
The symptoms of lip acne may last up to 3 to 5 days before it bursts out and heals by itself.
Home remedies and preventive care are the best solutions for getting rid of these bumps on rims of mouth.
What Causes Pimples And Bumps On Lips?
Most people get lip pimples many times in their lifetime.
A few people develop recurring lip bumps very frequently for some specific reasons.
All types of acne are caused by bacterial infections that take place in the pores of the skin. The acne bumps appear on the skin when bacterial infection takes place in the clogged skin pores. The skin pores get clogged when the sebum, dead skin cells, dirt or hair get accumulated in it .
There are several external and internal factors that are responsible for the clogging of skin pores; they can be seen as causes of acne.
Here are a few major causes of lip and skin acne:
- Hormone Imbalance: Variations in the production of various hormones in different ages or physical situations affects the production of sebum. During puberty (teenage) and pregnancy in a woman, the production of hormones fluctuates. When the sebaceous glands produce excess sebum in response to hormonal imbalance, it may block the skin pores on the sensitive areas of the body like face, nose, and lip [4,5].
- Oily Skin Type: People with oily skin type are more prone to develop lip bumps .
- Herpes: Virus-induced diseases like herpes can cause bumps on the lip. These bumps are slightly different from common pimples as they appear on the lip in small clusters, have an ulcer-like look and very painful too. Cold sores or fever blisters on lips and around mouth caused by a type of herpes virus also appear like pimple bumps .
- Poor Quality Lip Makeup: Poor quality lipsticks, lip glosses, lip balm, or moisturizers contain harmful ingredients that clog the skin pores and cause bacterial build up in the skin pores of the lips.
- Unhealthy Diets: Eating fatty and oily foods can make your skin oily . Bumps and whiteheads on lips can appear because of poor diets you have.
- Personal Hygiene: Not cleaning your lips after eating oily foods or after using the lip makeup, can cause clogging the pores on lips. To prevent lip pimples, it is necessary to keep your lips clean and well hydrated.
- Medication: Whiteheads or blackheads on lips and face can appear if you are using medicines that contain corticosteroids or lithium.
- Skin Allergy: Lip bumps can happen because of the allergic reactions caused by some of the lip care products that do not suit your skin. Allergic effects caused by certain food can also cause bumps and blisters on lips.
- Smoking: Heavy smokers are prone to develop acne issues on skin, nose, and lips .
- Stress: When you are overstressed, it upsets the metabolism and causes hormone imbalance in the body that eventually affects the production of sebum (skin oil) in the body.
- Fluoride: If you use toothpaste containing too much of Fluoride, it may lead to the development of zit on lips and face.
- Dirt And Filth: If you are constantly exposed to a filthy and polluted environment it can block the skin pores which eventually give rise to acne eruptions.
Differences Of Pimples, Cold Sores, And Herpes On Lips
Cold sores, pimples, and herpes produce lip bumps somewhat identical in appearance. However, they are different for their causes and symptoms.
Cold Sores Vs. Pimples: Cold sores, also known as fever blisters, are small sores, or blister-like lesions on the face, lips or inside the mouth. They produce pain, itching, and burning sensation; they burst and crust over within a few days. Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex viruses; the most common cause of sores around the mouth is herpes simplex type 1, or HSV-1 .
Herpes Vs. Pimples: Herpes appears in various parts of the body, most commonly on the genitals, lips or mouth. Oral herpes is responsible for cold sores and fever blisters around the mouth. They are caused by HSV-1 herpes simplex virus. HSV-2 is generally responsible for genital herpes. Herpes appears in clusters, unlike the pimples which are solitary .
Both the HSV-1 and HSV-2 herpes have symptoms like burning, itching, or tingling which occur at the infection site before the sores, bumps, blisters or pimple-like lesions show up on the skin.
When you have Herpes (HSV-2) and Cold sores, there will be other symptoms like fever, irritability, pain, muscle aches, and weakness that accompany the disease, whereas, the regular pimples on lip and skin do not have any of these symptoms.
Remedies For Getting Rid Of Bumps/Pimples On Lip
Pimples appearing on lips cause irritation and pain.
Inflamed large pimples are the worst as they swell up puss formation. Picking or popping them can leave ugly and deep scars on the lip.
There are many home remedies that you can use to get rid of the bumps fast.
Here are the best remedies for healing the acne or zits on lips:
1. Do Not Pop Or Squeeze Pimples
For goodness sake do not pop or squeeze the lip bumps.
By squeezing the pimples you are just helping to aggravate the bacterial infection. It increases pain and inflammation.
When you forcefully burst the bump, the bacteria in it spreads and enters into other skin pores surrounding the area. If no proper medication is followed up after popping the pimple, it might give rise to a plethora of bumps on the skin and lips.
The worst effect of popping zits is the deep scars it can form on the lips.
2. Use Good Quality Lip Makeup And Cosmetics
If your skin is highly sensitive to makeup products, it is better to avoid or minimize the use of lip makeup products as much as possible.
The chemical substances in makeup products penetrate deep into the skin pores and clog them.
Do not use makeup products that are sticky for they attract dirt and dust accumulation on lips.
It is better to avoid cosmetic products containing chemicals such as Methicone, Dimethicone, Trimethicone, Cyclomethicone, Siloxane, Cyclopentasiloxane, Silsesquioxane or Methylpolysiloxane in more than the permissible limit. If these chemicals are used in excess they can cause acne flare-ups.
If you are using lip glosses, go for shades that have the least amount of chemical pigment in them.
Always use natural makeup products instead of the chemical ones.
3. Proper Diet And Drinking Water
It is important to keep the skin well hydrated by drinking at least 8 glasses of water daily. This makes the skin supple and healthy with less oil clogging the skin pores.
Make it a point to drink 1 glass of water after every hour during the day.
By having healthy diets you can minimize and prevent the occurrences of bumps on face and lip to a great extent.
Your diet must contain foods that are rich in skin vitamins and minerals like zinc, magnesium, Vitamins E, A, C, and fatty acids.
Too much caffeine intake can aggravate the outbreak of acne on skin. Also, avoid alcohol and smoking that make your skin highly dehydrated.
4. Exfoliation And Scrub
If your skin is highly prone to the occurrence of acne, it is good to do skin exfoliation or scrub once or twice in a week.
Exfoliation helps to open up the clogged skin pores which otherwise would become a breeding ground for acne-causing bacteria.
It is best to use natural lip and skin exfoliating solutions to be safe from the chemical ingredients usually found in commercial products.
You can also purchase from a cosmetic store, natural lip scrub products which mainly contain ingredients like sugar crystals, beeswax, grape extracts, and Kokum butter.
5. Alpha Hydroxy Acid
Alpha hydroxy acid, a common ingredient in chemical peels, may help get rid of severe acne by preventing new acne lesions on the skin. It is a good alternative to Benzoyl Peroxide commonly used for acne treatment.
You can eat foods that are rich in Alpha hydroxy acid; most citrus fruits like grape, orange, and apple contain this acid. Eating citrus fruits help in clearing the clogged pores from within and the removal of accumulated oil and dead skin cells from it.
6. Hot And Cold Compress Treatment
Lip pimples can easily be managed by performing hot compress on lips and surrounding facial skin.
It works well for relieving the pain and inflammation caused by acne. This also helps open up the skin pores to release the oil and dead skin cells clogged in it.
You can use a cotton face towel soaked in warm water to do the hot compress over the lips and the surrounding area.
Similarly, doing an ice cold compress on the affected area can reduce pain and swelling caused by inflamed bumps. This can assist in making the acne-causing bacteria to become dormant or dead.
7. Herbal And Natural Remedies For Lip Pimples
There are several herbal remedies that contain anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that work well for removing lip acne. Here are the best herbal remedies that can use to remove the symptoms of acne fast:
- Apply diluted apple cider vinegar on lips to fight bacteria;
- Use cinnamon and honey mask on lips to eliminate the acne-causing bacteria;
- Try papaya pulp for lip exfoliation;
- Use a blend of Juniper Berry, Lavender, Clary Sage, Tea Tree essential oils for healing lip acne;
- Apply orange peel paste on lips for expelling the bacteria and cleansing the pores;
- Use diluted tea tree oil on lips to remove the acne bacteria;
- Scrub the lips with banana peels for reducing swelling and inflammation;
- Use Aloe vera gel on lips to reduce acne inflammation and swelling;
- Use baking soda to exfoliate the lip skin;
- Dab fresh lemon juice on lips to reduce acne breakouts
- Use sugar scrub for exfoliation;
- Dab garlic pastes on lips to reduce the bacterial infection.
8. Remove Stress And Anxiety
Biggest reasons for pimples are stress and anxiety that creates hormone imbalance in the body.
You can do the following things to reduce stress and anxiety:
- Get a sufficient amount of sleep each day;
- Reduce the intake of caffeine;
- Avoid smoking and drug abuse;
- Do yoga and meditation daily;
- Engage in leisure activities;
- Do 30 minutes of workouts every day;
- Take up hobbies and other activities that make you feel relaxed.
9. Use Anti-Acne Medication
There several over the counter medication that you can try for managing severe acne problems on the lip.
Creams and lotion that contains ingredient like Benzoyl peroxide, Salicylic acid, Alpha hydroxy acid, or Sulfur are the most commonly used OTC medications for acne.
However, these medicines need to be used only if you have severe pimple breakouts on lips. These medicines are strictly for external application only; applying them on lips may be unsafe.
Occasional occurrence of acne on lips should be treated with natural remedies and DIY care at home.
Types Pimples Appearing On Lip And Mouth
Pimples appearing on the lips can be different types according to their location and severity.
Most people get normal acne or zits appearing on any part of the lips. They can appear on your lip line, inside your lips, at the corner of your lips, on your upper or lower lip.
They are just like the usual bumps that appear on face and forehead.
Lip bumps can be whiteheads or blackheads that last for 2-3 days before they disappear.
They usually have a whitish tip filled with pus and blood. If you burst them forcefully, it might leave scars on your lips and cause the spread of acne.
Most people get pimples on the upper lip than the lower lips. Frequent waxing the mustache area, threading, or lip piercing are some of the prominent reasons for getting pimples on upper lip.
Upper lip often remains hygienically unclean as the casual washing of mouth often does touch up the upper lip at all.
Getting pimples on lower lip do happen for reason like threading, waxing, piercing or bleaching the chin area. The bumps that appear on lower lip become more reddish in color as bottom lips have a slightly more tender skin texture than the upper one.
The bumps caused by herpes on the lips are usually swollen, big or a cluster of small blisters.
Most people get a lot of pimples near, around or at the corner of the lips than exactly on the mid of lips. If you observe, you can find that lip lines are most susceptible to the occurrence of white bumps.
Pimples coming up in the surrounding area of the lips are usually caused by stress, insomnia, indigestion, STIs, and hormone imbalance.
Lip pimples caused by cystic acne are usually big, swollen, reddish and painful. To get rid of cystic acne on lips, you are required to do regular treatment and wait for more than two days to remove them.
The pimples you get inside the lips are mostly caused by herpes or cold sores, mucous cysts, canker sores, inflamed papillae, and oral lichen planus.
Regardless of the location of the pimples, most of the symptoms will get healed by itself provided you avoid poking or touching them.
If the bumps inside your mouth are hurting you, it is better to consult a dermatologist to get it efficiently treated and to prevent infections in the mouth.
Having big pimples anywhere on the lip can make your lips swollen. Large bumps on lip might also get bitten while you eat food.
How To Pop Lip Pimple
Popping is not recommended for getting rid of pimples and other forms of acne.
It usually worsens the acne conditions and increases the spread of acne.
However, if you have big and swollen pimples with a lot of pus, it may require of you to do gentle popping of a pimple. You can pop the pimples that are fully ripe with puss and never do it on others.
Here is what you can do to make the popping of the pimple easy and safe:
- Do hot compresses on the pimples before you proceed to perform the popping;
- With the help of two cotton swabs gently push the pimples from opposite sides;
- Gradually increase the pressure of pushing to let the puss flow out smoothly;
- Continue squeezing the pimple till the yellow puss is fully out; stop it before the blood oozes out.
- Do not use your nail or pointed object to pick a pimple after popping;
- Once you have finished popping, gently wash the burst pimples with clean water.
When To Consult A Doctor For Treating Lip Pimples?
If you have a sporadic and recurring occurrence of acne on lips, you need to consult a doctor (dermatologist) to get it medically treated.
It is important to consult a doctor when you see that natural remedies and DIY pimple care methods are not producing any satisfactory results for you.
Chronic bumps on lips could be a symptom of other health disorders that need to be diagnosed and treated by a doctor.
To get rid of the chronic pimples on lips, your dermatologist might use advanced treatments like:
- Isotretinoin drug that’s used to treat the most severe cases of acne;
- Anti-inflammatory steroid injection to treat inflamed acne cysts;
- Photodynamic therapy for acne bacteria elimination.
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