Pimple On Lip: Causes, Treatment, And Prevention

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Tim Pearce, MBChB, MRCGP
By Eshna Das, Certified Skin Care Coach

A pimple on your lip is often caused due to clogged pores and hair follicles under the skin. The pores can get clogged due to several factors like pollution, stress, sweat, and hormonal imbalance (1). Luckily, there are several remedies to get rid of a pimple on the lips.

Usually, a pimple on the lips is not a cause for concern. However, since lips are sensitive, the pimple tends to be more painful and annoying. Moreover, you might have difficulties talking or eating with a pimple on your lips. Worry not, this article gives you information on what causes pimples on lips, the treatments and remedies available to help you manage the pimple. Keep reading to learn more.

What Causes Pimples On Your Lip Line

There are several known causes why a pimple might appear on the lip. Each of the following diagnosis will be explored in greater detail, which will assist in the treatment and future prevention:

  • Clogged Pores

Most acne and pimples tend to show up when the pores of your skin get clogged. The sebaceous glands (microscopic glands in our skin that produce oil and sebum) in the skin around our lips are sometimes triggered to produce excess oil. This oil, along with dirt and dead skin buildup, can block the pores, resulting in lip acne or pimples (2).

  • Hormonal Changes

More often than not, what shows on our skin is a mirror of what goes on inside our body. When it comes to acne or pimples, it has been often found to be related to certain hormonal imbalances in our body, during the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, menopause, and around the time of puberty (3,4). Other than these, a hormonal imbalance at any other stage of life for any individual might also result in an acne/pimple episode. If it lasts more than a few weeks, one should consult a dermatologist and get basic blood work done to keep the hormones in the right balance.

  • Cosmetics

All the skin care products have the potential to affect the skin’s natural moisture, oil, and pH balance (5,6). Occasionally, some of the ingredients might react adversely resulting in pimples and acne. Therefore, it is advisable to use non-comedogenic skincare and makeup.

Most lip products are formulated with oils and emollients that may clog the pores along the lip line leading to lip acne. Using any lip makeup product beyond its expiry date also can have adverse reactions causing pimples on the lip. Excessive use of lip balms and petroleum jelly might also lead to pimples in and around the lip area.

  • Diet

What we eat plays a vital role in our overall health. You might find your skin breaking out into pimples and acne soon after you eat something greasy or oily. It shows up on our face as excess oil secretion leading to a flare-up of acne. Milk and dairy products have also been found to have a direct relation with pimples (7). While some studies have shown that intake of cow’s milk can lead to acne, yogurt and cheese have not been found to aggravate the same (8).

  • Stress

In our modern work-life culture, stress has been found to increase the incidence of acne and pimple flare-outs (9). Next time you get pimples on the lips or find yourself getting it more often, take some time to check on yourself, sit back and relax a bit to help your mind and body unwind.

  • Medications

Certain medications containing corticosteroids or testosterone, can alter your skin structure and damage the pores leading to acne (10). In such instances, it is advisable to find some other suitable alternative.

Now that we are aware of some of the possible causes, let’s see in what ways you can treat and heal a pimple on your lip effectively.

Before doing that, you must be sure that it is only a pimple and not a cold sore near your lips. Cold sores usually look like a group of blisters or as a tender crust or scab that usually form on the outer edges of your lips. They are caused by the Herpes simplex virus as opposed to bacteria, which are more commonly the cause of pimples and acne.

Usually, a pimple on your lip starts as a slightly painful red bump on the lip line, which might develop into pus-filled blisters that can get infected with bacteria, if not taken care of in time. There is no need to rush to a dermatologist in the first instance, as you can safely try a few of the remedies mentioned below that are effective in treating a pimple.

How To Get Rid Of A Pimple On Your Lip

  • Hot Or Cold Compress

Keeping a hot or cold compress can be very effective in dealing with a lip pimple. It not only reduces the swelling of pimples but also offers instant relief from pain. While a cold compress helps in shrinking the pores, a hot compress adds the right pressure to cause a pimple to burst and heal. You should avoid a hot compress in case of inflammation and redness. Also, be careful not to put the compress directly on the pimple. You can use a wet towel (warm or cold) in a ziplock bag to make your own compress at home.

  • Castor Oil

Castor oil, being a natural source of azelaic acid, is highly effective in acne prevention and treatment (11) You can first wash your face with warm water to open up the pores and then apply castor oil to the affected areas. The oil then penetrates and cleanses the open pores to help heal the acne sooner. Though this is an effective remedy for acne, it might not be suitable for people with oily skin.

  • Lemon Juice

Lemon juice is a natural astringent that helps keep your pores free of dirt, grime, and bacteria. It can be used as a spot treatment for acne (12). You can simply dip a small cotton ball in some lemon juice, apply it to the pimple on your lips and wash it off after 10 minutes. Being high in its acidic content, lemon might not be suitable for sensitive skin.

  • Turmeric Paste

Turmeric is a natural antiseptic that absorbs excess oil and has anti-inflammatory properties (13). You can make a paste of turmeric with a little water and apply to your pimples and wash it off after 20 minutes. Alternatively, using turmeric regularly also helps keep your facial skin healthy and acne-free for a longer period.

  • Honey

Honey, with its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, not only works to heal acne but also works on removing scars and blemishes (14). Dip your fingertip in a teaspoon of honey, apply it to the pimple, and leave it on.

  • Tomato

Tomato is a rich source of lycopene, a natural antioxidant that cleanses and heals the skin from within (15). It balances the skin’s natural oil production without drying up the skin. You can apply half a piece of raw tomato paste to your face and wash it off after 20 minutes to see visible results.

  • Tea Tree Oil

Another effective remedy that might help your lip acne is applying tea tree oil (16). It not only unclogs your pores of dirt and grime but also works to kill the bacteria instantly, offering visible results in just a few applications. You can mix a few drops in a bit of coconut oil, apply it to the affected area with a cotton swab and rinse it off after 20 minutes.

  • OTC Creams And Cleansers

You can find certain over-the-counter creams and cleansers containing benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid that are effective in treating acne and pimples (17,18). Though these don’t usually need a prescription, you must be careful to check that they are safe to be used on the lips and near the mouth.

If none of the above seems to be working and you experience any signs of infection like pain and swelling then you should consider getting it checked by a dermatologist.

Medical Treatments

You might be prescribed one of the following medical lines of treatment for your lip acne.

  • Topical Medication

Ointments and lotions are usually the first lines of medical treatment for persistent acne (19). These might contain retinoids, salicylic acid and azelaic acid, and topical antibiotics. Your dermatologist can recommend any such creams or ointments as per the severity of your pimple condition (20).

  • Oral Medication

the lip pimple is moderate to severe, you might be prescribed certain oral antibiotics (21). Medicines for hormonal therapy in case the cause is hormonal (22). In certain cases, oral contraceptive pills have been found effective for the same (23). But these should be taken only when prescribed by your doctor.

  • Other Medical Treatments

Your doctor might also give you some other options like acne extraction, laser therapy, or chemical peeling procedures. (24, 25). All of these should be done under professional guidance and supervision.

Should I Pop A Pimple On My Lip?

No matter how tempting it might seem, you should never pop a pimple on your own. That often leads to unnecessary scarring and makes the pimple prone to further infections. This would make the situation worse instead of healing it faster. If ever at all required, only a licensed dermatologist should do a physical acne extraction using sterile tools and instruments (26).

Why Do Lip Pimples Hurt So Bad?

Although a pimple on your lips is the same as any other pimple on your body, if you have ever had a lip pimple, you would know how bad it hurts. That’s usually because, with about a million nerve endings, your lips are one of the most sensitive areas of your body. It therefore tends to hurt a bit more than usual acne anywhere else on the body.

Preventing Lip Pimples

While a pimple on your lip can show up for a multitude of reasons as discussed, there are, however, several steps you can take to ensure the frequency of breakouts is minimal:

  • Cleanse your face at least twice a day.
  • Exfoliate your face once a week.
  • Use natural or mild facial cleansers.
  • Avoid harsh soaps or face products.
  • Use non-comedogenic makeup and skincare products.
  • Cleanse off any face and lip makeup before going to bed.
  • Don’t share makeup products.
  • Don’t touch your face or lips too often.
  • Don’t pop or squeeze any pimple.
  • Maintain good hygiene.
  • Take care of your mental health.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet.

You can develop pimples on your lips due to clogged pores, hormonal imbalance, poor diet, or stress. To get rid of those pimples on your lips, you can apply a hot or cold compress, honey, castor oil, or turmeric paste to remove those angry and painful pimples. If these home remedies do not provide any relief, consult your doctor. They may prescribe topical creams or oral medications to treat the pimples. Avoid popping the pimple to avoid scarring and further infection. Eating a proper diet and following a proper skincare routine can reduce the frequency of pimples in the long run.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does a lip pimple last?

A lip pimple generally lasts between 2 to 4 weeks. However, it may last for a longer or a shorter duration, depending on the cause and treatment of the pimple.

Can kissing give you lip pimples?

No. Acne is not contagious, so kissing will not give you pimples.

What does a white pimple on your lip mean?

White pimples on the lips may be whiteheads, which are a type of acne. They may also be other conditions such as canker sores or Fordyce spots.

Key Takeaways

  • Clogged pores, hormonal changes, stress, and certain medications may cause pimples on your lip.
  • You can use a hot or cold compress or remedies like castor oil, lemon juice, and tomato to treat pimples on the lips.
  • Topical retinoids and oral antibiotics can also be used to deal with this skin issue.

Sources

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

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Eshna has a triple main bachelor’s degree in psychology, English, and journalism from Mount Carmel College, Bengaluru, and a master’s... more

Dr. Tim Pearce

(MBChB, MRCGP)
Dr. Tim Pearce has over 10 years of experience in esthetics and has done over 25,000 cosmetic procedures. He is... more

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