What are these small white bumps on lips? Tiny or little bumps on lips can have various causes. While most aren’t really concerning, white bumps on your inside, lower or upper lips could indicate oral cancer or any other underlying medical condition. In this page, you will find the causes, pictures and treatment to get rid of white small lip bumps.
Your lips naturally communicates with the world. Having little white bumps on them naturally takes away your self-esteem and gives you a boring or unattractive look. While these bumps might be harmless, some can be an indication of a serious underlying health condition like lip or oral cancer, STD, HIV among others. Always seek medical attention to stay as healthy possible.
What do white bumps on your lips mean?
Is it normal to have small white bumps on your lips? Your lips may suddenly develop tiny or small bumps. What could they possibly mean? There are varied reasons for having lips with tiny dots or spots. These bumps could appear anywhere on the lips depending on the underlying cause. The bumps can be small appearing as dots or small or bigger in size and raised pimple-like. While some can be itchy or painful others are harmless and do not hurt at all.
White bumps, spots or dots on your lip could mean various medical conditions. They can be linked to infections such as oral herpes, Sexually transmitted diseases and oral cancer. In this page, we have covered the medical conditions associated with the white bumps on your lips.
Little white bumps on my lips pictures
How do white bumps on the lips look like? As described earlier, they can range in size and the location on your lips. They can be small or bigger in size. Some can be raised, on the edges or lower and upper lips. They can form itchy patches or be painful causing a burning sensation. Others are painless and won’t go away or keep on coming back.
Pictures are inserted below and throughout the post to give you a visual aid and understanding of how these bumps on lips look like.
Why do I have White bumps on lips? Causes
Small or little bumps can appear on the lips for many different reasons. While some of the spots may be benign, others are symptoms associates with certain underlying health conditions. Oral cancer, sexually transmitted diseases and allergic reaction are some of the medical conditions that can show signs and symptoms of white bumps on the lips. Lip bumps associated with underlying healthcare conditions should be diagnosed for proper treatment options. Here are some of the possible causes of white bumps on inside lips, lower lips or upper lips.
1. Painless white bumps at the edge of upper lips- Fordyce spots
Are you having small white or yellow bumps on the edges of your upper lips? These could probably be Fordyce spots. They are usually small white or yellow in color, painless bumps found along the border of the mouth on the edges of the lips. Fordyce spots also known as Fordyce granules are visible sebaceous glands that are present in most individuals – [Wikipedia]. They appear as small, painless, raised white spots or bumps. About 1 to 3 mm in diameter, they can appear on the scrotum, penile shaft and on the edges of the lips.
You need not to worry if you have these spots. They are not associated with any disease or infection. They are a natural occurrence on the body, non-contagious therefore no need for treatment.
You may need to consult a dermatologist if you are worried of having a sexually transmitted disease especially genital warts. Fordyce spots appearing on the lips can be removed surgically if they are causing cosmetic problems.
2. Oral cancer
If you’re having a white bump appearing on the face as flat or raised in texture, it could be cancer. A hard lump on the lips that refuses to go away may be a symptom of lip cancer. If the bump is painless at first but may eventually start to bleed or ulcerate, then it could hint a possibility of lip cancer. Some of the risk factor for oral cancer include excessive consumption of alcohol or smoking.
Precancerous condition such as leukoplakia can also increase the risk of cancer of the mouth and lip. The key to successful treatment of oral cancer is early detection. Otherwise if left untreated, oral cancer can be life threatening. Having regular checkup the moment you notice a suspicious lump or bump on lips is therefore important. Oral cancers will be treated depending on the severity of the condition. Treatment include surgery where the affected lesion is removed. Other available treatment options include chemotherapy or radiation to stop the spread of the cancer.
3. Canker sores
Having white bumps or lumps on lips may be a symptom of canker sores. These sores are usually painful, burning ulcers that will either cause a yellow or white patch on the lips and mouth. The bumps are 1cm or smaller appearing on the inner lips, the cheeks or in the mouth. Although they are noncancerous, they can be very uncomfortable. It may take two weeks for the ulcers or sores to fade away completely.
Treatment for canker sores causing white bumps on your lips is not necessary. As pointed earlier, the sores takes two weeks to completely fade or heal. You should avoid irritants such as spicy foods. However, if the canker sores is severe your healthcare provider may prescribe corticosteroid ointment and over-the-counter solutions to reduce irritation and a burning feeling.
4. Mucous Cyst
White lip bumps may be mucous cyst. These are cysts which cause white or pink sacs of fluid on the lips. They can be caused by physical trauma such as biting, sucking or irritation on the lips. The cysts are small, painless and shouldn’t be any cause of alarm. Also referred to as mucocele, the cyst typically develop on the inner surface of the lower lip-see picture below.
Other places where these cysts are likely to appear include on the floor of the mouth, tongue and inside of cheeks and on the gums. Mucous cysts tend to burst and drain the fluid inside them. No treatment is therefore required. However, if the cyst doesn’t rupture on its own, you may burst it open at home. Alternatively, you may need to visit your doctor to have it professionally treated. Irritating the cyst can form permanent bumps that can only be removed through surgical means.
5. Oral thrush
Thrush is basically yeast or fungal infection. White sores appearing along the mucous membrane inside the mouth and on inner surface of the lips can be as a result or oral thrush. Yeast infection commonly candida albicans is the causative agent particularly to people who have compromised immune system. People suffering from diabetes and HIV are at higher risk of developing oral thrush.
Oral thrush is not life threatening as such. It can be managed with at home and drugs from over-the-counter. Drinking yoghurt that has probiotics can help get rid of oral thrush at home. You may as well rinse your mouth with a 3% hydrogen peroxide to stop its growth. Thrush is commonly treated with anti-fungal medications, usually liquid solution are preferred.
White patches appearing on the skin including the lips can be associated with vitiligo. This is a long term skin problem characterized by loss of pigmentation of the skin affecting various parts of the body. The exact cause is not known. However, the condition can be associated with autoimmune disorders and inflammatory diseases. They include:
- Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Type 1 diabetes
- Addison’s disease
- Pernicious anemia
- Systematic lupus erythematosus
You may inherit the disease if any of your family member had it. This is through genetic inheritance influenced by environmental factors. Cancer of the skin may also be associated with it.
There is known treatment for vitiligo. People with light skin can use sunscreen and make up to cover up the patches. Other available treatment options may include steroid creams or phototherapy that can be used to darken the patches.
7. Small white bumps on lips allergic reaction
Tiny or small white bumps on your lips could be allergic reaction. Contact with substances that irritate the skin such as chemical can cause a severe itchy rash on your lips. Allergy can be due to foods, medications, environment or cosmetics such as lipsticks. The symptoms include itching or a burning sensation on the lips. Itchy raised white bumps may develop soon after or immediate.
Allergy can be treated with over- the-counter antihistamines and decongestants to relieve minor symptoms. Itching, swelling or redness can be reduced with topical creams containing corticosteroids.
8. Tiny white bumps on lips-milium cyst
Tiny or small white bumps on your lips may be milia cysts. These cysts typically appear on the nose and cheeks but can also be found on the lips and mouth. How do they occur? The cysts or bumps occur when keratin becomes trapped beneath the surface of the skin. Although milia is more common in infants, people of all ages can develop them too.
Milia are considered harmless. They usually don’t cause any long-term problems. There is no specific treatment for milia. The bumps or cysts will usually resolve on its own within a few weeks. If the milia is cosmetically unappealing, you may try the following treatments:
- Medical treatments such as topical retinoid- these creams contain Vitamins A compounds
- Chemical peels
- Freezing (cryotherapy) to destroy these cysts
- Laser ablation
- Using extreme (diathermy) heat to destroy these bumps
9. White spots on Lips HPV, HIV or herpes
Herpes or human papilloma virus infection could be the possible cause of white lip bumps or spots. HPV causes most common viral infections of the oral cavity as either localized or systematic infections. HPV is one the most common sexually transmitted infection, spread through direct skin- to- skin contact with vaginal and anal sex being the most common methods. It can also spread from a mother to her baby during pregnancy.
Human papilloma virus is associated with underlying serious health problems such as genital warts and certain types of cancers. Genital herpes is one of the common form of HPV sexually transmitted disease. In most cases, HPV will resolve on its own without causing any health complications. However, if the HPV doesn’t go away it can cause health problems such as cancer and genital warts.
10. White bumps on edges of lips from cold sore or HSV virus
White spots or pimple –like bumps on the edges of lips could as well be cold sores. Also called fever blisters, they are common viral infection commonly occurring in the oral cavity. These are tiny fluid- fluid blisters on and around the lips. The blister are often collect in groups forming patches. The blisters end up breaking forming a crust over the sore.
Cold sores or fever blisters are caused by herpes simplex virus (HSV-1). There are two kinds of herpes simplex virus: HSV-1 and HSv-2. Both can cause sores around the mouth, lips and around the genitals. The symptoms include:
- painful blisters or sores around the your mouth and lips
- sore throat
- swollen glands in the neck and other parts of the body
Cold sores usually start to resolve on their own within a few days. But if you find them embarrassing and painful, you can treat them. Treatment may include skin creams, ointments or pills. Treatment may help to get rid of the fever blisters or sores faster and help ease the symptoms.
Other causes of white spots on lips
White bumps or spots on lips may also be caused by trauma such lip biting or physical injury. This can be due to stretched skin of the mouth and lips. In some cases, sunburn, smoking and stress can contribute to small lip bumps. Acne forming around the lips can cause white heads or blackheads to appear on the lips. In order to determine effective treatment, visit your healthcare provider to have the bumps assessed.
White bumps on lips that won’t go away, recurring
Recurring bumps on your lips can be depressing giving unattractive look. Why are bumps on your lips refusing to go? Bumps under the skin of your lips could be as a result of different reasons including ingrown hair, acne, oral cancer, infection, abscess or allergic reactions to irritants such as foods, detergents or medications.
Having a lump or spots on your lip could be lip cancer. Oral cancer is rarely form of cancer. It can be successful treated if caught in the earliest stages. Having a lump on the lip that won’t heal could be a sign of oral cancer. Milia can also be the cause of a bump on your lips that refuses to go away. Milia are white hard cyst under the surface of the skin. Occasionally milia don’t have an opening to the surface.
It is quite difficult to give the exact treatment. Have the bumps evaluated by physician or dermatologist to get the appropriate treatment.
White bumps on lips that hurt
Having white bumps under the skin on lips that hurt? Lip bumps are rarely painful and therefore do not medical emergency. However, you may be forced to seek the advice of a healthcare should the bumps hurt and bleed.
Painful bumps on the lips could be canker sore in the mouth and lips. They are white or yellow usually surrounded by a bright red area. They are however not cancerous and are not similar to cold sore. Have the condition evaluated to determine the diagnosis and correct treatment.
Over –the –counter medicines can help ease your symptoms. You may as well rinse your mouth with salt water or mild over-the- counter mouthwashes.
White bumps on inner lips itchy
Itchy white bumps on your lips can be a difficult condition to live with. What causes the itchy spots on lips? Possible reason you’re experiencing itching or sometime a burning sensation could be as a result of allergic reaction or contact dermatitis. Allergy to foods or medication can cause mild or severe itchy rash or bumps on your lips. Contact dermatitis on the other hand occur when the lips or skin gets in contact with irritants. They may include cosmetics or lotions. Some fruits such as mango can cause itchy bumpy rashes or papules in the mouth and lips.
White bumps on lips treatment
How are white bumps on the lips treated? Treatment depends solely on the underlying cause of your symptoms. You have to get evaluated by a medic to determine the cause for appropriate treatment. Some conditions do not require any treatment, such include Fordyce spots. However, you may opt to remove if possible if they appear unappealing.
Laser treatment or electro surgery techniques are some of the ways used to remove Fordyce spots on lips.
Oral thrush is often treated with antifungal medications or liquids solutions, mouthwashes. This helps to remove fungal infections causing thrush.
Depending on the severity and stages of oral cancer, treatments can include surgery, chemotherapy or radiation to stop the spread of cancer.
How to get rid of white bumps on your lips
As clearly discussed in the post, treatment will entirely depend on the underlying cause of your symptoms. Most of the causes are harmless and will resolve on their own without treatment. However, below here are some of the tips that can get rid of white bumps on your lips:
- Resist the urge to pick or pop the bumps on your lips. It can cause the area to be more irritated and increase the risk of infection.
- Visit your doctor and ask permission to apply ointments or creams to keep them from getting dry and painful.
- Rinsing your mouth with saltwater quite often can help minimize irritation
Sources and references
- Fordyce Spots: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fordyce_spots
- Vitiligo: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitiligo
- White spots on lips: http://www.md-health.com/White-Spots-On-Lips.html
- White Are White Bumps on Lips? :http://www.healthline.com/health/white-bumps-on-lips – Overview1
- Milium Cyst: http://www.healthline.com/health/milia – Overview1
- Human Papilloma Virus Infection: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_papillomavirus_infection
- Cold Sores:http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cold-sore/basics/definition/con-20021310
- Canker Sores: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000998.htm