You must have experienced a cluster of tiny white bumps on your lips. Do you know what they are and why they occur? These white patches or bumps on the lips are oral ulcers that form on the upper or lower lip or both at the same time. These can be a result of poor skin health, hormonal imbalances, or underlying illnesses. They cause discomfort and pain whenever you open your mouth.
Home remedies and certain treatments help relieve pain and accelerate healing. In this article, we discuss how to get rid of white bumps with home remedies and the preventive measures you can take. Read on.
In This Article
What Causes White Bumps On Lips?
The sebum builds up on the lips when secreted abnormally and serves as a breeding ground for viruses and bacteria. This can inflame the surrounding skin and cause white bumps.
The most common causes of white bumps on lips include:
- Hormonal imbalances (1)
- Poor personal hygiene (2)
- Allergic response to ingredients and products (anecdotal evidence)
- An injury to the area (3)
- Genetics (Anecdotal evidence)
Let us look at some of the most common conditions that may cause white bumps on lips. Keep reading.
Types Of White Bumps On Lips
1. Fordyce Spots
These are clusters of tiny white or yellow patches on or around the lips. These patches fade away with time and are neither contagious nor painful. These are enlarged sebaceous glands and occur mostly on vermilion (the red part of the lips) and oral mucosa. These also may occur on the penis, scrotum, and labia, though they are less common. The condition is mostly observed in middle-aged and elderly individuals (4). A study suggests that individuals with an elevated lipid profile may have the highest score of Fordyce spots (5).
These are benign (not harmful) and transient white cysts of keratine (a protein) on the skin. Dead skin cells get trapped under the skin and form cysts. These cysts are common in infants and develop on the face (usually on the nose, chin, cheeks, or along the boundary of the lips). Milia are classified into two types — primary milia and secondary milia. Lesions of some milia fade away on their own while others don’t. However, they can be treated with simple surgical interventions and topical retinoids (6).
3. Oral Thrush
It is an infection caused by the accumulation of the Candida albicans fungus in the mouth. It affects the oral mucosa and is also referred to as oral candidiasis or oropharyngeal candidiasis (7). It is characterized by white or yellowish bumps on the inside of the cheeks, lips, and tongue.
4. Canker Sores
These are inflammatory white-reddish patches (mouth ulcers) on the mucous membrane lining the mouth. Usually, two to four canker sores develop at the same time. Many people start to get them when they are teens or young adults. These are more common in women than in men.
Mucoceles are the most common lesions of the oral mucosa. These are caused by the accumulation of mucus secretion due to trauma, lip-biting tendencies, or changes in minor salivary glands. These occur anywhere in the oral mucosa, including the lips (most common), cheeks, and mouth (10).
6. Oral Cancer
It is characterized by a flat white bump in the mouth caused by a variety of factors, including excess exposure to the sun, excess alcohol intake, tobacco use, and the human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is a viral infection that is spread through skin-to-skin contact (11).
Some types of white bumps that occur on the lips can be managed with simple home remedies. Scroll down to know more about them.
How To Treat White Bumps On Lips
- 2 garlic cloves
- 200 ml water
- 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice
- Crush the garlic cloves and add water and lemon juice.
- Drink the mixture in the morning on an empty stomach.
2. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) has antibacterial properties (15). Its astringent effect may help regulate and manage the excess sebum production on the skin.
- A few drops of apple cider vinegar
- A few drops of water
- Cotton sponge/ball
- Mix apple cider vinegar and water in equal amounts.
- Dab the solution on the affected skin with a cotton ball.
- Rinse off with lukewarm water after a few minutes.
- Apply twice a week for better results.
3. Coconut Oil
- 2-3 tablespoons coconut oil
- A few drops of lavender essential oil
- Apply warm, unrefined coconut oil to the afflicted area.
- You can also blend it with lavender oil and apply.
Maintain oral hygiene and eat a balanced diet to avoid the recurrence of white bumps. Regularly rinse your mouth with warm water and salt.
Medications and topical treatments may provide temporary relief or completely heal the condition. Visit your dentist regularly for routine checkups.
White bumps can be bothersome, but you can prevent them with a few self-care techniques. Check them out in the next section.
Self-Care Measures To Treat White Bumps On Lips
Here are a few self-care techniques that may help a lip bump heal faster and minimize any pain or discomfort.
- Wash your face with warm water until the bump goes away. Use a liquid cleanser.
- Pat the skin dry after washing the face rather than rubbing it.
- Avoid the use of tobacco.
- Avoid cosmetics, sunscreen, and face creams.
- Eat a diet rich in vitamins and minerals obtained from whole foods.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Avoid rubbing, squeezing, or touching the bumps.
- Maintain good oral health by brushing and flossing the teeth at least twice a day.
- Use lip balms with natural components and a sun-protection factor.
Do you need to seek medical attention for white bumps on the lips? If yes, when should you consult a doctor?
When To See A Doctor?
White bumps on the lips are usually harmless and do not warrant medical attention. Consult a doctor only if these bumps persist longer than two weeks or cause the following symptoms:
- Difficulty chewing and swallowing
- Neck and jaw swelling
- Fever and sore throat
- Rapid-spreading rashes
- Breathing difficulties
- Numb tongue
White bumps, like canker sores (ulcers) and mucoceles on the lips, do not need any medical intervention. They may cause pain and discomfort but can be alleviated with simple home remedies. Try the remedies mentioned in this article and see the results for yourself. However, consult a doctor if these bumps persist longer than two weeks. Besides, it is important to understand their causes to rule out any serious underlying disease. Hence, routine dental checkups are advised.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Fordyce spots an STD?
No, Fordyce spots are not an STD. They are not contagious or harmful.
What deficiency causes white spots on the lips?
The iron and vitamin B deficiency may cause white spots on the lips. B-12 deficiency is another major cause of recurring canker sores.
Can you pop Fordyce spots on lips?
It is not a good idea to pop or squeeze Fordyce spots on lips. They won’t clear away if you pop them. In fact, they may even spread.
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- Symptomatic changes of oral mucosa during normal hormonal turnover in healthy young menstruating women
- Risk factors and management of white spot lesions in orthodontics
- oral mucosal trauma and injuries
- Fordyce Spots
- Can presence of oral Fordyce\’s granules serve as a marker for hyperlipidemia?
- Oral candidiasis: An overview
- Canker sores (mouth ulcers): Overview
- Guideline for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Recurrent Aphthous Stomatitis for Dental Practitioners
- Oral mucocele: Review of literature and a case report
- Oral Cancer: Prevention Early Detection and Treatment
- Garlic: a review of potential therapeutic effects
- Inhibition of microbial growth by ajoene a sulfur-containing compound derived from garlic.
- Antimicrobial properties of allicin from garlic
- Antimicrobial activity of apple cider vinegar against Escherichia coli Staphylococcus aureus and Candida albicans; downregulating cytokine and microbial protein expression
- A randomized double-blind controlled trial comparing extra virgin coconut oil with mineral oil as a moisturizer for mild to moderate xerosis
- In vitro anti-inflammatory and skin protective properties of Virgin coconut oil