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Pimple on Lip

Do you see a pimple on your lip?

A tender spot on the lips can be easily noticed when a person is brushing his/her teeth. Women often notice such problems when applying lipstick or gloss. The first thing a person will do is analyze the spot, asking himself/herself if that is a pimple, a cold sore or something else. Unfortunately, the pimple on the lip can cause a lot of discomfort, preventing regular daily activities such as eating.

pimple on lip
First and foremost, you need to remember that the cold sores are actually caused by an infection with the herpetic virus (herpes simplex 1). Because of the fact that 90% of the adults suffer from such an infection at one point in their life, this can be easily mistaken for a pimple on the lip. However, knowing exactly what that tender spot on your lip represents is essential, so as to get the correct treatment. The treatment for the pimple on the lip is often symptomatic but there are remedies recommended for the underlying cause as well (hormonal imbalance, excessive sebum production at the level of the skin or viral infection).

The differential diagnosis is best made by a doctor or a pharmacist but, until you reach these specialists, you need to learn how to recognize such conditions on your own. Let’s find out more information on the subject.

Normal Pimple on Lip

pimple on lip pictures
Normal Lip Pimples that are slightly swollen and painful


  • Minor soreness
  • Tenderness can appear in the respective area
  • No shooting pain or burning sensation (such symptoms are more common for cold sores)
  • Firm texture in comparison to cold sores (content – skin oils, dead skin; not clear fluid)
  • Often appears as an individual lesion (as opposed to cold sores, that appear grouped)


  • Hormonal changes that occur during puberty (hyperactive glands)
  • Excess oil production at the level of the skin (oily skin type) – in combination with the dead skin cells, these can plug the pores and contribute to the appearance of pimples (+bacteria overgrowth)
  • Pregnancy (hormonal changes as well)
  • Medication (corticosteroids, lithium-based drugs)
  • Hyperglycemia
  • Sexual transmitted disease (herpes)
  • Low-quality or expired makeup products (lipstick, lip gloss, lip balm etc.)
    • Low-quality ingredients with harmful effects
    • Chemical substances plug the pores, promoting the buildup of harmful bacteria and thus the appearance of pimples
    • Keep in mind that certain makeup products can also become contaminated with bacteria
  • Allergic reaction – if you notice that the pimple appears every time you are using a certain product, you might be experiencing an allergic reaction to the said cosmetics
  • Diet – a diet that is rich in fats can lead to the appearance of pimples at the level of the lips
  • Poor personal hygiene
  • Chronic conditions
    • Bacterial infection
    • Dermatitis
    • Viral infection
  • Red pimple
    • Canker sore
    • Acne
  • Upper lip pimple
    • Upper lip hair waxing (irritation of hair follicles/ingrown hairs)
    • Threading
    • Lip piercing (infected)
  • Lower lip pimple
    • Threading
    • Waxing
    • Piercing
  • Near lip pimple
    • Stress
    • Sexual transmitted disease
    • Hormonal imbalance (puberty, pregnancy)
  • Lip crease pimple
    • Excess sebum in combination with bacterial overgrowth
  • Other causes
    • Smoking
    • Genetic inheritance (predominantly in relation to hormonal imbalance or oily skin type)
    • Stress
    • Pollution or climate (especially if dry and windy)
    • Toothpaste (high fluoride content).


  • Acne treatment – recommended choice: Benzoyl peroxide, azelaic acid
  • Hydrocortisone cream – reduction of inflammation
  • Antibiotics – recommended choice: tetracycline
  • Medicated mouthwash
  • Vaporizing laser therapy (chronic pimple treatment)
  • Zinc – zinc supplements/topical treatments (cream, lotion)
    • Limit the side-effects
    • Quicken the pace of recovery
  • Avoid touching the pimple on the lip (risk of secondary infection and permanent scarring)
  • Diet change
    • Fruits (oranges, grapes, apples) – rich in alpha hydroxyl acid
  • Applying warm water compresses on the lips (reduce inflammation); in the acute period, when there is a lot of pain, it is for the best that a cold compress is applied (pain relief)
  • Avoid lip balms that contain chemical substances (plus, the constant application of lip balm can attract dust and other impurities, prolonging the presence of the pimple on the lips)
  • Wipe your mouth clean after eating or drinking (food residue on the lips increases the chance for pimples on the lips or aggravates them)
  • When brushing the teeth, clean the lips as well (a gentle brush will remove the dead skin cells and eliminate the debris accumulated throughout the day); the lip exfoliation should be performed twice per day
  • Increase the water intake (keep both the lips and mouth protected from bacteria)
  • Use high quality makeup products and throw out the ones that have expired (lip glosses and lipsticks should contain a reduced quantity of pigment, so as to reduce the chance of the pores becoming clogged; you also want to avoid those that contain coconut oil, for the same reasons as above)
  • Maintain excellent oral hygiene (salicylic acid toner for the cleaning of the lips
  • Apply herbal ointments to the lips (castor oil, neem, basil, eucalyptus).

How to squeeze the pimple on the lip

  • Before squeezing the pimple, make sure to apply a warm water compress for a couple of minutes; this will stimulate the circulation of blood in the area, helping you pop the pimple in an easier manner
  • Using sterile cotton swabs, apply gentle pressure to the pimple and start squeezing
  • The squeezing process will have to be continued until all the pus has been drained out; as you see blood coming out, this is the right time to stop (all the pus has been eliminated)
  • Refrain from washing the area immediately, as it will cause further irritation
  • Do not squeeze the pimple before it has formed the whitehead, otherwise you will only aggravate the infection and you will end up having a scar.

Cold sore on lip

cold sore on lip
Pimple of Lip due to of Cold sore


  • Pain or burning sensation at the level of the lip
  • Fluid-filled blisters (grouped)
  • Most common area – border of the lip
  • Upon healing the blisters can break, forming a crust or a scab (yellowish color)
  • Systemic symptoms can appear in more serious cases
    • Lymph nodes inflammation
    • Headaches
    • Muscle aches
    • Sore throat
    • Fever.


  • Infection with herpes simplex 1 virus – transmitted through direct contact (kissing, drinking sharing with an infected person)
  • Touching the personal objects of a person who suffers from this infection (eating utensils, towels)
  • Children present a high risk for cold sores
  • Virus remains dormant in the body throughout the entire life (may be re-activated in periods of reduced immunity)


  • Over-the-counter treatments – recommended choice: Abreva, Docosanol (faster and better healing; pain relief)
  • Cold ice application (ice pack – not directly on the lips, better wrapped in a towel)
  • Prescription antiviral medication (oral or topical administration, such as cream) – recommended for patients who suffer from severe or frequent outbreaks; this medication can also prevent flare-ups in the future
  • Lip balm with lemon extract (quicken the healing process)
  • Diet change
    • Foods that are rich in lysine (chicken, fish, beans, turkey) – high amino acid content, useful for blister containment
  • Lysine cream/supplements
  • Breathing exercises/yoga – stress reduction (stress – risk factor for cold sores).

Canker Sore

canker sore on lip


  • Lesion appears inside the lip (not outside)
  • Soreness present in the area
  • Single patch, yellow or white in color (not grouped lesions or blisters present)
  • May also affect the inside surface of the cheeks or the roof of the mouth
  • Redness can surround the canker sore lesion


  • Suspected – stress, mechanical injury (biting the lip or the cheek), stress, vitamin/nutrient deficiency


  • Oral numbing gel – pain relief.



  • Intense dryness at the level of the lips
  • Peeling
  • Irritation
  • Pain
  • Bleeding
  • Generalized redness (no specific white spot, as it happens with pimples)


  • Dry winter air
  • Cold wind


  • Lip balm
  • Avoiding picking the peeled skin or moisturizing the lips with saliva (aggravates the condition).
Pimple on Lip
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