What Can Cause A Bump On The Lip? What Can Cause A Bump On The Lip?

What Can Cause A Bump On The Lip?

Lumps or bumps appearing on the lips can have many causes. These include infections, allergic reactions, and lip injuries. An infection with the herpes simplex virus (HSV) is a common cause.

In some cases, a lip bump may be an indication of cancer. Lip bumps can vary in size and shape and may cause pain and discomfort. However, they are usually harmless and can be cleared up without treatment.

Depending on the cause, a person can use OTC medications or home remedies. It may be necessary to seek medical attention if there is a severe cause of lip bumps.

This article discusses the possible causes of lip bumps, treatment options, and when to see a doctor.


The following are some of the possible causes of lip bumps:

Cold Sores

Cold sores, which are painful and itchy, are a prevalent viral infection caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV) around the mouth and on the lip.

Direct contact with the sores can easily transmit HSV, making it highly contagious.

Usually, cold sores can heal within a week or so.

Hand, Foot, And Mouth Disease

Hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) is another viral infection that can lead to the development of lip bumps. HFMD symptoms encompass:

  • Fever

  • Decreased appetite

  • Sore throat and mouth discomfort

  • General malaise

  • Red spots in the mouth that transform into painful sores

  • A rash appearing on the fingers, hands, soles of the feet, buttocks, and groin

HFMD is a prevalent condition, mainly affecting children under 5. While highly contagious, it is typically not severe. Most individuals recover without the need for medical treatment within a period of 7 to 10 days.


Syphilis is a bacterial infection that is spread through sexual contact. It may present as tiny, painless red sores on the genitals, anus, lips, or mouth.

The symptoms can be mild and hard to detect, so if you suspect you may have syphilis, it is essential to get tested and treated by a doctor. It is important to treat syphilis early to prevent complications. However, antibiotics can treat the infection and stop it from progressing.

Oral Thrush

The overgrowth of a yeast called Candida in the mouth causes oral thrush or candidiasis.

Symptoms of oral thrush may encompass:

  • White patches or scars appear on the mouth's tongue, throat, and inner areas.

  • Redness and fissures at the corners of the mouth.

  • Altered taste sensation or an unusual feeling in the mouth.

  • Mouth redness or soreness.

  • Discomfort while eating or swallowing.

Oral thrush can affect anyone, but individuals with weakened immune systems are more vulnerable. Typically, over-the-counter antifungal medications can effectively treat oral thrush.

Allergic Reactions

An individual may experience an allergic response to a specific allergen, which can result in an inflamed lip with a bump.

Common allergens that can trigger this reaction are certain foods, pet dander, and ingredients found in some lipsticks, such as titanium and other harsh chemicals.

Generally, the swelling begins abruptly and then subsides after some time.

Fordyce Spots

Fordyce spots are tiny white or yellowish spots on or near the lips. They are neither contagious nor associated with pain.

These spots represent enlarged sebaceous glands that naturally occur on the lips and other moist areas like the inner cheeks of the mouth or genitalia. Typically, they resolve on their own over time.

Canker Sores

Canker sores are small, shallow lesions that may appear inside the lips or cheeks, on the tongue, or at the base of the gums and are often painful and irritating.

They are most common in adolescents and young adults and can recur throughout a person's lifetime. Causes of canker sores include stress, mouth injuries, and eating certain foods like coffee, chocolate, strawberries, peanuts, and tomatoes. Fortunately, these sores usually heal independently in a week or so.


Mucoceles, also known as mucus retention cysts, are benign and contain fluid-filled lumps that develop on the lower lip, gums, or inner mouth lining.

Mucoceles typically arise following an injury, like accidentally biting the lip or due to obstruction in the salivary gland, which is responsible for saliva drainage into the mouth.

The majority of mucoceles resolve spontaneously without the need for medical intervention.


Milia are small, pearly white cysts that can occur on the skin, especially the face.

They are most common in newborns, appearing on the nose, chin, or cheeks but may also appear on the lips' border. These cysts are caused by dead skin cells trapped in tiny pockets on the skin's surface.

Fortunately, milia are harmless and painless and often go away independently within a few weeks. No medical intervention is necessary.

Perioral Dermatitis

People who suffer from perioral dermatitis typically have a rash of reddish bumps present around the mouth and chin area.

Even though the exact cause of the condition is unknown, it is thought that using face creams containing corticosteroids, cosmetic creams, and contact with water or fluoride-containing toothpaste may initiate the rash.

Oral Cancer

In rare cases, lip bumps can serve as a potential indicator of oral cancer, a form of cancer characterized by the development of tumours on the lips or the oral cavity's lining.

Factors that increase the risk of oral cancer encompass:

  • Smoking or the use of tobacco products

  • Excessive alcohol consumption

  • Male gender

  • Prolonged exposure to natural sunlight and artificial sources like tanning beds

Early signs of oral cancer include small sores or lumps on the lips that do not heal. These sores can progress and extend to affect the mouth's interior, gums, tongue, and jaw. Occasionally, they may change from a white to a red appearance.

Anyone suspecting symptoms suggestive of oral cancer should seek medical advice from a healthcare professional.

Other Possible Causes

Additional potential causes of lip bumps encompass:

  • Dryness of the lips

  • Sunburn

  • Reactions to certain foods, like strawberries, chocolate, coffee, peanuts, or tomatoes

  • Stress

Other Possible Causes


Being overly concerned about most lip bumps is typically unnecessary, as many will resolve independently without medical intervention. Nevertheless, it is advisable to consult a healthcare professional if:

  • Lip bumps remain present for an extended period, persisting for several weeks without improvement.

  • The bumps cause itching or irritation.

  • There is noticeable swelling of the mouth or face.

  • Issues with swallowing or breathing arise.

  • Lumps are detected on the lips, gums, or within the mouth.

  • There are signs of bleeding, pain, or numbness affecting the lips, gums, or mouth.

  • Loss of teeth occurs.

  • Voice alterations become apparent.

  • Throat soreness is experienced.

  • A rapidly spreading rash is observed.


To identify the cause of a lip bump, a physician typically initiates the process by gathering the individual's medical history and inquiring about their symptoms. They might also inquire about habits like smoking, alcohol consumption, sun exposure, and the use of any creams or medications.

Following this, a physical examination of the lips, mouth, and throat is performed to detect areas of tenderness or inflammation. Additionally, the doctor may examine the neck to check for any enlarged lymph nodes.

To aid in making an accurate diagnosis, the doctor may recommend certain tests, including:

  • Blood tests

  • An X-ray of the mouth and jaw

  • Biopsy of the bump

During a biopsy, the doctor extracts a small sample of cells from the lesion, which is then sent for microscopic analysis to gain further insights.


Treatment for lip bumps is contingent on the underlying cause.

If the bump results from an infection, the doctor may prescribe:

  • Antibiotics for bacterial infections like syphilis.

  • Antifungal medications for fungal or yeast infections, such as oral thrush.

  • Antiviral medications for viral infections like herpes.

The doctor may recommend antihistamines if an allergy or inflammation is the culprit.

For canker sores, the doctor may prescribe or suggest:

  • Pain relievers.

  • Corticosteroid creams or ointments containing dexamethasone, fluocinonide, or clobetasol.

  • Mouth rinses, typically containing chlorhexidine.

For cold sores, the doctor may advise:

  • Creams to alleviate pain and discomfort.

  • Antiviral medicines to combat the virus.

  • Cold patches to protect the affected area during the healing process.

In the case of perioral dermatitis, the doctor may recommend oral or topical antibiotics if the condition is severe. Several antibiotics are commonly used, including tetracycline, doxycycline, minocycline, and erythromycin.

Treatment options for oral cancer may include surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.

Home Remedies

Some home remedies and self-care practices can expedite the healing process of a lip bump and alleviate any discomfort or pain. These may involve:

  • Use a non-soap bar or liquid cleanser afterwards, and cleanse the face with warm water until the bump vanishes.

  • Gently patting the skin dry instead of vigorously rubbing it after washing.

  • Refraining from using facial creams, cosmetics, or sunscreen on the affected area.

  • Maintaining a healthy and well-rounded diet rich in vitamins and minerals derived from whole foods.

  • Ensuring adequate daily hydration by drinking plenty of water.

  • Avoiding any urge to touch, squeeze, or scrub the bump.

  • Upholding good oral hygiene practices, such as brushing teeth twice daily and flossing.

  • Using lip products containing sun protection factors and natural ingredients.


A variety of factors can cause bumps on the lips. Most of the time, they are not a cause for concern and will disappear independently. However, certain lip bumps may necessitate medical attention, and in some cases, they may indicate a more severe ailment, such as oral cancer.

If individuals experience lip bumps that persist for more than a few weeks or are accompanied by other problematic symptoms, they should seek the advice of a doctor.

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