There are many reasons for a spot on the lip. They can vary in color and size, and can be bumpy or flat. A person can be born with a spot on their lip, or it can develop at any age.
In this article, we discuss the potential causes for a spot on the lip, and the possible treatment options.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), around 40–50 million people in the United States have acne at any one time.
Acne can appear as anything from small inflamed bumps that often feel tender or sore, to bumps with a white or yellow center, caused by a build-up of pus, all the way through to large cysts under the skin.
Acne does not always need treatment. However, if a person wants to manage their acne, options include:
- topical ointments for mild acne
- antibiotics for moderate acne
- oral isotretinoin, which is a vitamin A derivative, or retinoid, for severe acne
However, some moles can develop and change their appearance.
If a person notices a mole that changes its color or shape quickly, they should speak to their doctor.
Moles do not typically need treatment. However, a person may want to treat it for a few reasons:
- to ensure that it is not cancerous
- for cosmetic reasons
- if the mole is a nuisance and catches on clothing, razors, or combs
Removal techniques include:
- shave biopsy
This is a highly contagious skin infection, most commonly seen in children.
This is the most common type and starts with itchy sores. These sores burst, and glands nearby can become swollen.
At this point, they crust over and heal. The infections can spread to other areas of the body.
This type of impetigo presents as fluid-filled blisters. These will become limp, and crusty sores appear, after which the skin heals.
Without treatment, impetigo usually resolves in a few weeks with no scarring. However, there is a risk of developing a condition called ecthyma, a more serious, deeper infection.
With impetigo being so contagious, a person must seek treatment if they suspect they have it.
Treatment typically includes an antibiotic that a person applies to the skin.
This appears as a rash around the mouth and lip area. It can be itchy or cause a burning sensation.
Treatments will vary depending on the person. A person can switch to milder skincare products, or use prescribed antibiotics or different medications.
Cherry angiomas, or senile angiomas, are small ruby-red, slightly raised spots. Although they can appear anywhere on the body, they commonly appear on the face, lip, torso, and scalp.
- cryotherapy, to freeze off the angiomas
- vascular laser, which targets blood vessels in the skin
- electrosurgery, which uses an electrical current to cut the tissue
However, healthcare professionals will also remove them to exclude different, malignant skin lesions called nodular melanoma.
A venous lake is a small soft blueish lump, up to 1 cm wide, which can be either flat or slightly raised, like a dome. They typically appear on the lower lip, and are more common among older adults.
Medical professionals are unsure of what causes venous lakes.
A person may want to treat a venous lake for cosmetic reasons. If so, options include:
- sclerotherapy, where a medical professional injects a solution to shrink blood vessels
- intense pulsed light, a type of light therapy
- vascular laser
A healthcare professional does not usually remove these surgically, as it can leave a scar.
A milium, or milia if there is more than one, is a tiny superficial cyst that often looks like a white pearl under the skin.
They look similar to whiteheads, but a person is not able to express them unless they make a small cut in the skin.
Milia frequently occur in people of all ages and sexes. They most often develop on the face.
Milia do not need treatment, and after a few months they can resolve by themselves.
However, if a person wants to remove them, a healthcare professional can do this by:
- using a sterile needle or blade to remove them
- performing cryotherapy
- prescribing topical retinoids
The World Health Organization (WHO) state that HSV-1 is the most common type, and most of these infections are oral herpes.
People may notice their skin tingling, itching, or burning for a day or so before the blisters appear.
Although there is no cure for herpes simplex, treatment can reduce the duration of symptoms. An antiviral cream can relieve tingling, itching, or burning.
Filiform warts are small, long, narrow growths that often develop on a person’s lips, eyes, face, or neck.
There are many ways to treat a wart, but it depends on various factors, such as location, how long a person has had it, and their medical history.
This is a viral infection that causes fever, mouth sores, and a skin rash.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this disease is most common in children under 5 years old.
However, Seattle Children’s Hospital suggest that a person should contact a doctor within 24 hours if:
- sores appear on the outer lip
- gums appear tender and swollen
- the rash spreads to the arms and legs
The CDC state that there is no specific medical treatment for HFMD. However, a person can use over-the-counter medications to help relieve fever and discomfort. They should also drink plenty of water.
If symptoms do not disappear after 10 days, a person should contact a healthcare provider.
If a person has itchy red spots all over the body that include a spot on the lip, they may have chickenpox.
This is a highly contagious disease that is most common in children.
The CDC suggest a person uses calamine lotion and a cool bath, with added baking soda or uncooked oatmeal. This will help relieve some of the itching.
The best way to prevent chickenpox is for a person to have the vaccine.
An allergic reaction can cause marks to appear on or around the lips.
According to DermNet, the medical term for this type of reaction is allergic contact cheilitis. One or both lips may be red, dry, or scaly, and they may crack.
Depending on the cause of the reaction, it may affect all of a person’s lips, or a small section.
Treatment involves simply avoiding whatever caused the reaction. It usually resolves quickly.
The majority of lip cancers, such as squamous cell carcinomas (SCC), appear on a person’s lower lip.
BCC can appear as open sores, red patches, pink growths, shiny bumps, scars, or several other symptoms.
SCC can appear as scaly patches, raised growths with a depression in the center, or thickened, wart-like skin.
It is important to catch this early, as with all cancers, the longer it is left alone, the more damage it can do.
Treatment can depend on the type of tumor, its size, location, and a person’s age and overall health.
Treatment options can include different types of surgery, radiation, and topical medications.
Most of the time, a spot on the lip is harmless, and there is no reason to see a doctor.
However, if the spot accompanies other symptoms that may be cause for concern, a person should speak to their healthcare provider.
If the spot on the lip appears with swelling of the mouth or face, or difficulty breathing, a person should seek immediate medical attention.
There are many causes of a blemish on the lip. Most are perfectly harmless.
It is important for a person to seek medical attention if a spot appears suddenly, or a spot changes in size, shape, or color. These could indicate something more serious.