Pimple on Lip: What Does It Mean & How to Get Rid

Yakov Dudelzak MD, FAAD will walk you through some common reasons why you have a pimple on lip and how to get rid of lip acne.

Many American teenagers are profoundly affected by pimples as compared to adults. The acne tends to occur not only on the lips but also on other parts of the body like cheeks, back e.t.c

The post provides detail information about the causes of pimples on the lips, the meaning of lip pimple and some of the popular treatment options available.

Pimple on Lip Meaning

The occurrence of zits on lips is an indication of a digestion problem. Lip pimples are a symptom of indigestion, intestinal colic, and constipation.

The lip skin is so sensitive and vulnerable to acne. However, they are not that serious since they tend to disappear even without treatment.

You are required to include more fiber in your diet to facilitate the proper digestion process. Also, try to take a cup of green tea after every spicy meal.

Moreover, check the ingredients of your toothpaste since it can also be the reason why you develop these zits on the lips. Try to use toothpaste that contains more natural ingredients.

What Causes Pimples on Lips?

The skin around the mouth is so sensitive, and the occurrence of pimples can make the lips to be painful, especially when eating spicy foods. 

However, a lot of people find it hard to differentiate between cold sores and pimples on the lips. These two issues tend to look similar, but they are quite much different. We shall look into that later.

Let’s find out more specific causes of lip pimples:

Hormonal Imbalance

Human body development is prone to hormonal imbalances, and this can result in the formation of pustules on various parts of the body like lips.

Hormonal alteration is quite common to pregnant women and teens at puberty since the glands are hyperactive.

Sexually Transmitted Infection

Herpes is a common STI that is known for resulting in formation of pimples around the lips. These tiny zits are quite easy to identify since they tend to occur in clusters. They are also ulcerated and painful.

Nature of the Skin

This is another primary reason behind lip acne. People who have oily skin are highly susceptible to formation of pimples on the lips.

If you happen to have pimples frequently, then it could be due to the oily nature of your skin. Try to clean around your mouth correctly daily.

Use of Low-Quality Cosmetics

Going for cheap low-quality lip ointment, lipstick, moisturizer, and lip balm could be another reason behind the development of lip pimples.

Many of these lip care solutions tend to contain inferior ingredients that clog your lip pores, causing the pimples and bacteria buildup.

Allergic Reaction to Some Ingredients

The skin around the lips are quite sensitive and can quickly react to some ingredients found in the lip care solution despite it being of high quality.

If you happen to suffer from these zits after applying the lip care products, then it could be due to an allergic reaction.

Reaction to Certain Medications

Medicines such as corticosteroid tend to contain specific components that are likely to trigger the appearance of pimples not only on the lips but also on the entire face.

Seek medical help from your doctor if you notice the formation of facial acne after using certain medicines prescribe to you.


Many toothpaste products contain sodium lauryl sulphate, which is the substance behind the formation of foam.

The component combines with other constituents from the paste and skin oil to clog the skin pores on the lips. Blocked pores on the lip skin result in the formation of pimples.

 Poor Diet

Consuming acidic foods tend to irritate the lip skin and causes inflammation. On the other hand, greasy remnants of fries can block the pores on the lip skin.

The combination of these two factors may result in the formation of gnarly-looking zits around your lips.

When to Seek Medical Help

It is advisable to seek medical help in case the pimples are severe, long-lasting, and also resulting in high fever as well as swollen glands.

Your doctor will offer some advice on pimples that are causing distress and various treatment options available.

In case the cause of the pimples are unclear, the doctor will take the sample of the lesion and take it to the laboratory for further testing.

How Does Lip Acne Diagnose?

The dermatologist will examine your lip skin first then inspect the skin lesion on your lips. You will be asked a couple of questions concerning your hygiene, recently used lip care product and diet.

Several tests will be conducted, such as allergy test and complete blood count. These tests will help to know the root cause of the lip acne.

You will be prescribed with some medications or medical lotions to relieve the painful zits on your lips.

Many people prefer to use medical treatments and home care remedies to get rid of lip pimples effectively. 

Treatment Options of Lip Pimples

There are plenty of ways on how to reduce the risk of damaging your skin and lips with pimples. These methods on how to get rid of pimple on lip are safe and quite effective. The plans include both home remedies and medical treatments.

Home Remedies

OTC soaps and creams

There are plenty of over the counter soaps, and creams meant for treating pimples. It is advisable to consider mild and alcohol-free cleanser.

Clean the lips twice a day and remember to stay away from exfoliants that can dry and irritate your lip skin.

Also, you can opt for a gentle skin moisturizer meant for acne-prone skin and apply on the lip skin daily.

Hot or cold compress

Application of a cold compress help to make the lip pimple unnoticeable since it reduces the swelling and redness. Also, it helps to relieve the pain.

On the other hand, a hot compress will help to get rid of the oil and debris clogging your lip skin pores. Also, the compress will help to drain the pus if the pimple is infected, reduce pain and redness.

Castor oil

This natural moisturizer has a lot of health benefits, and getting rid of lip acne is one of them. The product contains ricinoleic acid, which has anti-inflammatory properties. The property helps in the reduction of inflammation and pain on the lips caused by the pimples.

 Also, the product help to foster the healing of wounds since it facilitates the development of new tissues and prevents the buildup of dead skin cells. Therefore, it is an excellent product for treating skin pustules.

Benzoyl peroxide

This is another excellent acne treatment, and it works by killing bacteria that cause skin pustules. It can be used without any prescription, and it occurs in different forms like creams, gel, cleansers, and facial wipes.

Use the product as directed, and it will help to prevent future breakout occurrence as well as control the presence of acne around the mouth.

Lemon juice

Lemon juice is a popular home remedy for getting rid of various skin ailments inclusive of acne. Lemons are known to contain Vitamin C, which is formed from antioxidants and ascorbic acid.

The antibacterial property of the lemon juice is known to be good for your skin. However, there is no scientific proof to show that they are effective in getting rid of pimples.

Note: Avoid the use of citrus juice since it contains specific acid that can dry and irritate lip skin more. It can also cause eye irritation. 

Medical Treatments

It is recommended to speak to your doctor about medical treatments in case you are prone to breakouts and regularly get lip pimples.

Some of the standard medical treatment option available may include the following:

Topical medication

These are medications that are purely applied to the skin, and they are usually prescribed by the doctor. They include retinoids, salicylic and azelaic acid, and antibiotics.

Oral medications

These medications are typically suitable for mild and severe acne on the lips or any other body parts. They are majorly antibiotics and hormone therapies.

In case you have severe acne that does not respond to any medication, your doctor will prescribe Isotretinoin. However, medicine has some side effects in the long run.

Other medical treatments

These treatment methods are required to be conducted by a professional doctor who is licensed. They include laser therapy, chemical peels, and extraction of pimples.

Sources and References

  1. N.F.Mahmood. “The Age-Old Problem of Acne.” Science Direct.
  2. Editor. “Skin Conditions and Complementary Health Approaches.” National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.
  3. Editor. “Acne Overview.” American Academy of Dermatology.