A bump on the lip can occur for many reasons, including infections, allergic reactions, and injuries. Infection with the herpes simplex virus (HSV) is a common cause.

Lip bumps can vary in size, appearance, and associated symptoms. They can sometimes be painful or uncomfortable but are often harmless and will clear up without treatment.

Treatment depends on the cause, but a person can often use over-the-counter (OTC) medications and home remedies. More serious causes of lip bumps may require medical treatment.

This article looks at possible causes of lip bumps.

The herpes simplex virus (HSV) is a common viral infection that can cause cold sores on the lips and around the mouth. Cold sores are small fluid-filled blisters that can be painful and itchy.

HSV is contagious, and people can contract the virus through direct contact with the sores.

Cold sores usually clear up on their own within a week or so. If they do not, a doctor can prescribe antiviral medication.

Learn more about cold sores.

Another viral infection that can cause lip bumps is hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD). Symptoms of HFMD include:

  • fever
  • loss of appetite
  • a sore throat and mouth
  • feeling unwell
  • red spots in the mouth that develop into painful sores
  • a rash on the fingers, hands, soles of the feet, buttocks, and groin

HFMD is a common condition in children under the age of 5 years. Although contagious, HFMD is rarely severe. Most people recover without medical treatment within 7 to 10 days.

Learn more about HFMD in adults.

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection (STI)that results from a bacterial infection. It often begins with red, painless sores that can appear on the genitals or around the anus but sometimes also on the lips or inside the mouth.

Symptoms can often be mild at first, and many people may not realize they have the disease. Doctors can usually treat syphilis with antibiotics. However, it can cause severe complications if a person does not receive treatment.

Learn more about sexually transmitted infections.

Oral thrush, or oral candidiasis, is an infection that results from a type of yeast known as Candida. This yeast is naturally present in the mouth but can sometimes cause problems if it grows too much.

Symptoms of oral thrush can include:

  • white patches or splotches on the tongue, throat, and inner surfaces of the mouth
  • redness and cracking at the corners of the mouth
  • loss of taste or an unusual sensation in the mouth
  • redness or soreness
  • pain when eating or swallowing

Anyone can get oral thrush, but people with weakened immune systems are at greater risk than others. A person can often treat oral thrush with an OTC antifungal medication.

Learn more about a yeast infection in the mouth.

An allergic reaction to a specific substance known as an allergen may cause a rash, causing inflammation of the lip followed by a bump.

Allergens that can trigger a reaction on the lips include some foods, pet dander, and lipstick products, such as those containing titanium and other harsh chemicals.

People with this type of reaction usually experience a sudden lip swelling that generally disappears after a while.

OTC antihistamines can alleviate the allergy symptoms, or a person can contact a doctor for prescription medication.

Learn more about an allergic reaction on the lips.

Fordyce spots are clusters of small white or yellowish spots that can form on or near the lips. They are not contagious or painful.

These spots are enlarged sebaceous glands that naturally exist on the lips and other moist tissues, such as the inner mouth, cheeks, or genitals, and usually disappear over time.

Learn more about sebum and its role in protecting and hydrating the skin.

Canker sores are small, flat ulcers that can form inside the lips or cheeks, on the tongue, or at the base of the gums. They typically develop in adolescents and young adults and can keep reoccurring throughout a person’s life.

Canker sores can cause pain but are not contagious. Triggers can include stress, injuries to the mouth, and certain foods, such as coffee, chocolate, strawberries, peanuts, and tomatoes.

The sores usually go away on their own within a week or so.

For canker sores, a doctor may prescribe or recommend:

Learn the difference between a canker sore and a cold sore.

Mucoceles, or mucus retention cysts, are harmless, fluid-filled swellings that form on the lower lip, gums, or the lining inside the mouth.

People usually experience mucoceles after an injury, such as accidentally biting the lip or due to a blocked salivary gland, which is responsible for draining saliva into the mouth.

Most mucoceles go away on their own without treatment.

Learn more about mucous cysts.

Milia are small, white cysts that can form on the skin. Many newborns have milia, and they tend to develop on the face, particularly on the nose, chin, or cheeks, but sometimes also along the border of the lips.

Milia result from dead skin cells trapped inside small pockets on the skin’s surface.

They are harmless, painless, and require no medical treatment, usually disappearing within a month or two.

Learn how to get rid of milia.

Perioral dermatitis is a common skin condition that resembles acne or rosacea. People with this condition develop a small, reddish, bumpy rash around the mouth and chin.

Doctors are unsure what causes perioral dermatitis, but using face creams containing corticosteroids, certain cosmetic creams, or skin contact with water or toothpaste containing fluoride may be potential triggers.

The doctor may prescribe an oral or topical antibiotic for perioral dermatitis if the condition is severe. Antibiotics may include tetracycline, doxycycline, minocycline, or erythromycin.

Learn about other causes of dry skin around the mouth.

A lump on the lip can also result from lip fillers that use hyaluronic acid. They may have names such as Juvederm (Ultra, Ultra Plus, Volbella) and Restylane (Kysse).

Bumps that appear within the first 72 hours after a lip filler procedure are usually the result of swelling or bruising and will typically go away on their own.

However, bumps persisting longer than 72 hours may be a reaction to the filler product.

If a bump persists after approximately 2 weeks, it is best to return to the professional who performed the procedure. They can dissolve the lip filler product with hyaluronidase, an enzyme that breaks down the hyaluronic acid.

Learn about the benefits of hyaluronic acid for the face and body.

Rarely, lip bumps can be a symptom of oral cancer. This type of cancer occurs when a tumor develops on the lips or lining of the mouth.

Risk factors for oral cancer include:

  • smoking or use of tobacco products
  • heavy alcohol use
  • being male
  • prolonged exposure to natural sunlight and artificial sunlight, such as from tanning beds

Early symptoms of oral cancer include tiny sores or lumps appearing on the lips that do not heal. These sores can grow and spread to the inside of the mouth, gums, tongue, and jaw. Sometimes, they can also turn from white to red.

Anyone who thinks they may have symptoms that could suggest oral cancer should consult a doctor.

Learn more about the risks of smoking and mouth cancer.

Other possible factors of lip bumps include:

  • lip dryness
  • sunburn
  • reaction to foods such as strawberries, chocolate, coffee, peanuts, or tomatoes
  • stress

Learn about blisters on the lip.

The following are answers to commonly asked questions about lip bumps.

How do you get rid of a bump on your lip?

Some home remedies and self-care measures can speed up the healing of a lip bump and relieve any discomfort or pain.

Some tips include:

  • Wash the face only with warm water until the bump disappears, and then use a non-soap bar or a liquid cleanser afterward to help keep the area clean and irritant-free.
  • Dry the face gently after washing, such as by patting the skin dry rather than rubbing it.
  • Avoid face creams, cosmetics, and sunscreen, as they may irritate the bump.
  • Avoid touching, squeezing, or scrubbing the bump. This will reduce the chance of infection or injury and give it time to heal.
  • Eat a nutritious, balanced diet with plenty of vitamins and minerals from whole foods to help strengthen the immune system against infection. It is also a good idea to drink plenty of water daily.
  • Maintain good oral hygiene by brushing the teeth twice a day and flossing daily.
  • Seek medical treatment for the underlying cause. A doctor may prescribe antibiotic, antifungal, or antiviral medication if the bump is due to an infection.
  • Use antihistamines to treat a bump due to allergies or inflammation. It is best to contact a doctor if the bump persists.

What is this painless bump on my lip?

A painless bump could be due to milia or Fordyce spots. Both of these are harmless and painless.

Milia are tiny, white cysts that can form on the skin due to dead skin cells. Fordyce spots are clusters of small white or yellowish spots that can form on or near the lips.

Neither milia or Fordyce spots present a health risk, and they are not contagious. People may only wish to remove them for cosmetic reasons.

However, a bump on the lip can occur for a variety of reasons. Some include infections, allergic reactions, and lip injuries. It is best to contact a doctor if the bump does not go away.

Lip bumps have many possible causes. They are often harmless and will go away on their own. However, some lip bumps may require treatment, as they can sometimes be a sign of a more serious condition, such as oral cancer.

People should see a doctor for lip bumps that do not clear up within a couple of weeks or occur alongside other troublesome symptoms.

Read the article in Spanish