A pimple is a kind of acne that gets formed due to clogged pores and hair follicles beneath the skin. Sweat, hormonal imbalance, stress, or pollution, are a few of the common factors that can result in a clogged pore and pimple (1) A pimple can appear anywhere on your body and sometimes you can find one on your lips as well.
Even though it’s harmless, a pimple on lip tends to be more painful as lips are a sensitive part of your body. It can appear right on your lips, your lip line, or anywhere in the area surrounding your mouth. Here, in this article, we shall explore the causes, treatment, and remedies to help you deal with a pimple on your lip better.
In This Article
What Causes Pimples On Your Lip Line
While you might not know what caused a pimple on your lip, there are a few known reasons that might have led to it. Let’s have a detailed insight into the same below.
- 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
What shows on our skin is most often than not, 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.
All the skincare products have some or other effect on our skin’s natural moisture, oil, and pH balance (5,6) Sometimes a few of its ingredients might react adversely resulting in pimples and acne. It is hence always 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.
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).
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.
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. It is commonly caused by a virus rather than bacteria as it might be the case of pimples and acne.
Usually, a pimple on your lip starts as a slightly painful red bump on lip line which might develop into pus-filled blisters that can get infected with bacteria, if not taken care of on time. But you need not rush to a dermatologist at the first sight of a pimple on your lips. 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 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 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, with its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, not only works to heal acne but also works on removing scars and blemishes (14).
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.
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
If the lip zit 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?
Though a pimple on your lips is the same as any other pimple on your body, if you have ever got 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 any and every reason in this world, there are few things you can take care of to make sure that they don’t appear as often otherwise.
- 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.
A pimple on lip, though painful and annoying, is often harmless. Most often than not, it is just a minor, temporary lip breakout that can clear up on its own or with simple home remedies. However, If you find it to be persistent and affecting your well-being, you might consider consulting your dermatologist to prescribe a suitable line of treatment for the same. Usually, a few supplements and changes in your diet and lifestyle can help you prevent lip pimples from developing in the first place.
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- Acne And Sebaceous Gland Function
- Acne vulgaris. The Role Of Hormones
- Androgens And Puberty
- The Impact Of Skincare Products On Skin Chemistry And Microbiome Dynamics
- Natural Skin Surface pH Is On Average Below 5 Which Is Beneficial For Its Resident Flora
- Evidence For Acne-Promoting Effects Of Milk And Other Insulinotropic Dairy Products
- Can The Right Diet Get Rid Of Acne?
- The Impact Of Psychological Stress On Acne
- Side-effects Of Topical Steroids: A Long Overdue Revisit
- Synthesis Of Azelaic Acid From Castor Oil
- Lemon As A Source Of Functional And Medicinal Ingredient: A review
- Turmeric: A Herbal And Traditional Medicine
- Honey: A Therapeutic Agent For Disorders Of the Skin
- Tomato-A Natural Medicine and Its Health Benefits
- Tea Tree Oil Gel For Mild To Moderate Acne; A 12 Week Uncontrolled Open-label Phase Ii Pilot Study
- Comparing 2.5% 5% And 10% Benzoyl Peroxide On Inflammatory Acne vulgaris
- Salicylic Acid Treats Acne Vulgaris By Suppressing Ampk/Srebp1 Pathway In Sebocytes
- Treatment Modalities For Acne
- Topical Azelaic Acid Salicylic Acid Nicotinamide Sulfur Zinc And Fruit Acid (Alpha-Hydroxy Acid) For Acne
- Oral Antibiotic Treatment Options For Acne Vulgaris
- Hormonal Therapies For Acne
- Hormonal Therapy For Acne Using Oral Contraceptive Pills
- Laser Therapy For Acne
- Chemical Peels In Active Acne And Acne Scars
- Pimple Popping: Why Only A Dermatologist Should Do It