White Bumps or Spots on Lips: Causes and Effective Treatments

White Bumps on Lips: Causes and Treatments

Many people get worried when they notice white bumps or spots on lips in case it’s a sign of a more serious health condition. There are many reasons why white spots or dots appear on the lips, and fortunately, most of them are harmless. Some harmless types of white lip bumps are Fordyce spots, canker sores, milia spots, and even acne pimples can appear on lip line. However, a hard white spot that doesn’t go away may require you to have it checked out by a doctor.


The white lip bumps or spots can appear on the upper or lower lip, or both at the same time. For example, some spots appear as painless tiny white granules and are visible when the lips are stretched. Other bumps can resemble a white ulcer on the corner of the lips and be uncomfortable when eating.

Having white pimple like bumps on your lips can make you very self-conscious. After all, a large white spot on red lips will be very noticeable and you probably want to get rid of it as fast as possible. Another reason to cure white spots on your lips is that they may cause pain and discomfort when you open your mouth.

In this article, I will look at the many causes of white bumps appearing on or around the lips. You will also find many helpful natural treatments that are effective in treating these white spots on your lips.

White Bumps, Spots, or Dots on Lips: Causes and Natural Treatments

Canker Sores

Canker sores are very common and they are one reason for having white bumps or white spots on lips. These bumps can appear on the inside of your upper or lower lip. You can recognize a canker sore because it will have a white center and red edge. A canker sore usually starts out as a tiny white spot on your lip and gradually becomes larger. Sometimes, you may develop a large cluster of sores on your lips which can be very painful.

The reason why people suffer from canker sores isn’t known. However, there are a number of factors that can cause a breakout of white sores on your lips and in your mouth. According to the Mayo Clinic, factors like stress, sensitivities to certain foods, injuries to the lip, nutrient deficiencies, and helicobacter pylori bacteria (which also causes stomach ulcers) can cause canker sores to form.1


To help prevent and treat canker sores, Dr. Kathleen Romito on WebMD recommends having a healthy, well-balanced diet and avoiding foods like chips, pretzels, and acidic fruits which could irritate your mouth. Good oral hygiene can also minimize the appearance of white lip bumps caused by canker sores.2

Use witch hazel to reduce inflammation and soothe the discomfort and pain of canker sores. The astringent and antiseptic properties of witch hazel help to kill the infection and reduce the inflammation of the white bump on your lip.3

To make a natural remedy for canker sores with witch hazel, mix 1 tsp. witch hazel in a cup of warm water and add 1-2 drops of clove oil. Mix well and swish this around your mouth for a few minutes, making sure that the remedy gets to the canker sores. Repeat using the hitch hazel mouthwash 2-3 times a day to help speed up the healing process of the white lip bumps.

Baking soda is another natural remedy to get relief from the discomfort caused by canker sores. Research into baking soda found that it contains antibacterial properties and is an effective natural remedy for many mouth infections.4

To make a soothing baking soda paste for canker sores, all you have to do is mix one tbsp. salt, one tbsp. baking soda and 4 oz. water. Apply the baking soda remedy by dabbing the paste directly onto the white ulcer on your lip for a soothing relief. Baking soda on canker sores helps to relieve the pain and irritation and reduce the size of the white lip bump.

You can also use your used tea bags to help canker sores heal quicker. Tea also contains astringent properties and the tea bags make a great a natural compress so that it’s easier to apply tea to the sore white lip bump to soothe the pain.

If you have other types of sores in your mouth, then you may find useful information and home remedies in my article about the possible causes of sores on the roof of your mouth.

Cold sores (fever blisters) caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV-1)

Fever blisters (cold sores) are groups of painful, itchy, white bumpy blisters with a red border. One of the first signs that a cold sore is developing on your lip is a tingling and itching sensation. This leads to blisters forming on your lower or upper lip that are very uncomfortable and painful. When the blisters break, fluid comes out and then a crust will form over the top. They usually heal themselves within 2 weeks.10

Cold sores on and around your lips are caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV-1). The herpes simplex virus (HSV-1) is very contagious and the infection can be easily spread from your lips to your nose, and even to the roof of your mouth.

To prevent cold sores from developing, it is important to know what triggers the cold sore virus. According to the University of Michigan, the most common triggers of cold sores are:

  • Stress
  • Fatigue
  • Sunlight
  • Fever
  • Menstruation
  • Intestinal problems
  • Other infections

Although there is no cure for the cold sore virus, there are many natural remedies that work to treat cold sore symptoms on your lip. For example, raw honey, tea tree oil, vitamin C, and Lysine are all natural ingredients that help to treat painful symptoms of cold sores.

Fordyce Spots

Fordyce spots are harmless tiny white bumps that look like raised dots under the skin of your lips. These little white lip spots are more visible when you stretch your lips, however, some people have large clusters of spots in and around their lips that are very visible.

Fordyce Spots on Lips

Fordyce spots on upper lip

According to dermatologists, Fordyce spots are a type of sebaceous gland in the lips. These tiny white spots in your lips are completely harmless and aren’t contagious. Depending on the number of spots and their visibility, the only discomfort that Fordyce spots cause is emotional.4

The only way to get rid of Fordyce spots is by laser treatment. Generally, dermatologists recommend leaving the spots alone and you should never try to pick or squeeze the spots.

Acne or lip pimple

A white bump around the edges of your lip could be an acne papule or spot. Outbreaks of acne spots around the lips appear when the skin pores become blocked by sebum (the oil the skin produces) and dead skin cells. Bacteria then infect the blocked pore and a spot with a white head develops.


Tea tree oil is an effective home remedy to get rid of acne spots or pimples around the lips. The antibacterial, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory properties of tea tree oil help to remove the infection and reduce inflammation.5

Use tea tree oil as a spot treatment to quickly get rid of an infected white bump around your lip. Tea tree oil can be used directly on the skin for a very small area (for example, on a spot). Put a drop or two of tea tree oil on the end of a cotton swab, dab it on the white lip bump to kill the infection. Repeat applying tea tree oil a few times a day until the redness and swelling have disappeared from the lip bump.

Did you know that there are more ways to get rid of pimples? To find out more information, please read my article on 12 of the best natural ways to remove pimples.

Oral Thrush

If your lips and the area around the mouth are sore, cracked and red, it could be a sign that you have oral thrush. Oral thrush also causes white bumps or spots to appear on your throat, tongue, and around your lips. These white spots around the mouth can be treated naturally using apple cider vinegar because of its antifungal properties.

Our mouth contains a delicate balance of microorganisms including the Candida fungus. In a healthy person, the balance of bacteria in the body keeps Candida in check. However, according to Minesh Khatri on WebMD, if the balance of bacteria is disrupted, the Candida fungus starts to grow out of control and causes white lesions to appear in and around your mouth.6

You are at risk of developing oral thrush if you take antibiotics or have a compromised immune system. Other factors like stress, diabetes, and hormonal changes in the body can cause the Candida fungus to “flourish.”

Prevention and treatment

To prevent outbreaks of thrush, Dr. Khatri recommends using good dental hygiene practices, limiting foods that contain sugar or yeast and taking care of your health.

Apple cider vinegar contains high amounts of acetic acid and is a natural treatment for oral thrush. For example, a study into the effect of acetic acid in apple cider vinegar on candida yeast growth found that it effectively halted the fungus growth. The study said that apple cider vinegar has “significant antifungal activity.”7

To use apple cider vinegar as a natural cure for Candida fungus, mix equal amounts of raw unprocessed ACV with water. Soak a cotton ball in the mixture and apply the compress to the affected areas to destroy the fungal infection and get rid of the white bumps around the mouth and lips. Keep the compress on for 10-15 minutes before rinsing off with warm water. Use the oral thrush remedy 2-3 times a day until the symptoms have gone completely and the white bumps on lips disappeared.

Milia spots

Small white bumps around the edge of your lips could be harmless milia spots. These little raised white dots on the skin appear when keratin forms a tiny cyst just under the surface of the skin. Milia spots commonly appear as white bumps on the eyelids and around the eyes.

According to Dr. Colin Tidy on Patient.info, these bumps are harmless and usually don’t require any treatment. Very often, they will disappear by themselves.8

White lip bumps and oral cancer

On rare occasions, a hard white bump on your lip could be a symptom of a more serious condition like lip or oral cancer.

According to the National Cancer Institute, one of the signs of lip cancer is a sore on the lip that doesn’t heal. This could develop into a thickened white or red patch on the lips gums or mouth.9

To get the best treatment for any type of cancer, you should be aware of cancer symptoms because early diagnosis is essential. Therefore if you have a bump on your lip, gums, or inside your mouth that doesn’t go away, you should see your doctor as soon as possible.

Read these related articles:
1. Why You should Never Ignore Bumps on Your Lips
2. Bumps in Mouth: Causes, Symptoms and Natural Treatments
3. Bumps on Tongue: Causes and Natural Treatments
4. The Top 10 Home Remedies for Sunburned Lips
5. Lip Twitching: What it Means and How to Treat it Effectively at Home

Article Sources

Healthy and Natural World