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Pimples are a type of acne that can develop on most parts of the body. A pimple may sometimes appear on the surface of the lip.
There are many possible causes of a bump on the lip, but pimples are typically due to clogged pores.
Various factors can lead to pores becoming clogged, including excess oil on the skin, the presence of bacteria, and trapped hair follicles. If a clogged pore becomes inflamed, a pimple develops, which may contain pus.
Pimples are not an indicator of poor hygiene, and a pimple on the lip is not usually a cause for concern. As with pimples on other parts of the body, people should refrain from popping a pimple on their lip because this may cause it to become infected or leave a scar.
In this article, we will look at ways to get rid of pimples on the lips. We also provide advice on how to prevent them and when to consult a dermatologist.
Typically, a lip pimple will not require medical treatment.
For this reason, there is little research into medical treatments that specifically target lip pimples. However, some treatments that address pimples on other body parts may be useful on the lip.
Over-the-counter (OTC) options include topical medications that a person can apply directly to the skin. These may be useful for pimples that develop on the lip.
An active ingredient in many topical medications is benzoyl peroxide. This chemical works by destroying the bacteria that cause pimples and reducing inflammation.
Products that contain benzoyl peroxide may come in the form of:
- face washes
Caution is necessary when using products that contain benzoyl peroxide as it may bleach clothes and hair.
It is best to ask a pharmacist which type of product may be most useful in treating the lip pimple. If a person experiences pimples regularly, they may wish to consider speaking to a dermatologist.
For multiple or recurring lip pimples, a dermatologist or doctor may recommend other treatments, such as:
- Prescription-strength topical medications: People may find these more effective than OTC products.
- Oral medication: In some circumstances, a doctor may prescribe antibiotics to treat pimples. These work by targeting the bacteria that may cause pimples.
- Laser therapy: Less commonly, people may undergo laser therapy, which involves using pulses of light to kill the bacteria that cause pimples. Multiple sessions may be necessary to produce results.
- Pimple extraction: During pimple extraction, a doctor or dermatologist uses sterile tools to remove the pimple. This procedure is expensive and time-consuming, so it is typically a last resort when other treatments have proven ineffective.
If a bump on the lip tingles and looks more like a blister than a pimple, it might be a cold sore and will require different treatment. Learn more about cold sores here.
Some anecdotal evidence suggests that certain home remedies may help get rid of pimples on the lips. Options include:
- Tea tree oil: Research indicates that tea tree oil can be beneficial in the treatment of pimples. It may reduce inflammation once a pimple has surfaced and stop more from developing.
- Aloe vera: Aloe vera has anti-inflammatory, soothing, and moisturizing properties. Due to these, it may be useful in treating a lip pimple.
- Apple cider vinegar: Research suggests that apple cider vinegar has antibacterial properties. Some people say that placing diluted apple cider vinegar on a pimple may help get rid of it quickly. However, there is little scientific evidence to support this.
- Ice: Using ice on inflammatory pimples may help reduce swelling. A person should always wrap ice in a clean cloth before applying it to the skin and avoid applying ice directly to the pimple.
Certain measures could reduce the likelihood of pimples developing on the lip. These include:
- Taking zinc: Taking zinc supplements or increasing dietary zinc may aid in preventing lip pimples. One study suggests that there is a correlation between low levels of zinc and more severe cases of acne.
- Taking fish oil: There is some evidence to suggest that taking fish oil supplements may help reduce pimples. Fish oil contains omega-3, which may reduce oily skin.
- Reducing stress: A 2016 study found that students experiencing low levels of stress were less likely to develop pimples than those with high levels of stress.
- Avoiding touching the face: The hands can carry bacteria and transmit infection. Anecdotal evidence suggests that because of this, touching the face or lip may cause pimples to develop. However, there is little scientific evidence to support this claim.
- Limiting dairy intake: A systematic review concluded that dairy products increase the chance of pimples developing in people aged 7–30.
Dermatologists are doctors who specialize in treating skin conditions. In most cases, a pimple on the lip will not require an appointment with a dermatologist.
The American Academy of Dermatology recommend seeing a dermatologist if many pimples develop on the skin. It may also be beneficial for a person to see a dermatologist if they frequently develop pimples on their lip or the pimples do not go away within 4–8 weeks of using OTC treatment.
A dermatologist will decide the appropriate course of treatment to remove the pimples and suggest follow-up preventive care.
Several OTC medical treatments can help get rid of a lip pimple, and some people might find that certain home remedies help speed up its removal.
Scientific research suggests that a few supplements and lifestyle choices could help prevent lip pimples from developing in the first place.
It may be worth seeing a dermatologist if the lip pimple does not go away with OTC treatment or if a person has multiple or recurring lip pimples.
Many different treatments and home remedies are available for purchase online. It is important to research products before using them and to consult a doctor if further advice is necessary.