Lip Swelling: Causes and Treatments

December 16, 2023

Lip Swelling: Causes and Treatments

While there are lots of unwanted bacteria get stuck on our skin as soon as we get out of the shower, most of them are unable to invade through and infect us. The skin is made up of layers and the topmost layer has secretions that create a protective barrier. There are, however, parts of skin on the body that don’t have the same kind of defensive mechanisms. They are far more sensitive than the rest of the body and can get infected or hurt with very less bacterial presence or impact.

Skin on the lips is one such layer of skin that has the least defence and is the most sensitive skin on the body. When you touch something hot with your fingertips you feel pain but when the same temperature touches your lips that pain will increase 100 times over. Yes, the skin in the lips is 100 times more sensitive than that on the fingers. While skin every where else on the body has 16 layers of cells, the lip has only 3-6 layers of cells, depending on the shedding. The lip has a very thin skin which makes it look pinkish or red with the blood vessels underneath and that is the reason why inflammation affects it most, making immediate treatment mandatory. Here’s what causes inflamed or swollen lips and how to treat it;

1. Allergies
Allergies of any kind generally cause inflammation in the body. The allergy that you have can show up anywhere on the body. For lips, most common allergies are caused by food products. It takes up to two hours for a food allergy to affect the mouth after consumption. Along with swollen lips, symptoms of food allergy can also include feeling of a lump in the mouth and coughing. Other allergies that can cause swollen lips are- makeup, medication, dental whitening or plants.
What to do- If you’re having trouble breathing along with coughing, you should immediately rush to the doctor. If not, then the doctor might prescribe anti-histamines to relieve your symptoms. Do a complete allergy test to determine what caused it and prevent future occurrences. If a makeup product makes your lip swell up, immediately stop usage and do a patch test every time you buy a new product.

2. Herpes and other infections
Herpes is a viral infection that affects sensitive skin areas like lips and intimate areas. A herpes infection on the mouth can cause blister on the lips and even cause swelling. The lips can go numb because of that or can have a tingling sensation. Lip inflammation can also happen because of other infections which have quicker treatment than herpes. Lips that are dried or cracked due to trauma or dehydration can attract pathogens which can lead to swelling and redness. Same happens with thrush which is a fungal infection which affects most people in colder climates.
What to do- get to the doctor at the first sign of blisters with swelling. He will evaluate and determine the infection causing pathogen and give you an ointment and some anti-biotics to treat the inflammation. For herpes, you will be given antiviral medicines along with ibuprofen to ease the pain and discomfort. If you’re experiencing fever along with swollen lips, it is better to rest along with medication.

3. Dry or burnt lips
Lips dried up due to cold temperatures gradually get cracks and the body sends lots of platelet rich blood to heal the damaged skin. With that platelet rich blood, the lips might appear swollen and there might be some pain associated with it. Lips can also get burnt due to sun exposure and become swollen. Another reason for lips to swell up is the sensitivity to acidic foods like pineapples, lemons, or chillies. Mostly, if you have a lower spice tolerance, foods with hot peppers can cause the lips to swell up along with discoloration. Sometimes it’s just bad luck at sipping a piping hot cup of tea or coffee which can burn the lips.
What to do- cracked lips can be treated by regular application of moisturisers like coconut butter or Vaseline. Lip inflammation due to sun exposure has no quick treatment but the swelling can subside within a day or two if you rinse it with cold water 2-3 times a day. For lips burnt by acidic foods or peppers, it helps if you apply some milk to the lips along with a little bit of sugar.

4. Mucocele
Mucoceles are usually cysts caused under the skin which cause the lip to get swollen partially. These cysts are usually formed due to biting of the lips or direct impact from a hard object. Usually, the cyst is occurred due to accumulated saliva that has comes from an inflamed salivary gland. The cysts can be painful if disturbed or bitten into.
What to do- these cysts can disappear on their own within the week without any treatment. You need to visit the doctor if the cyst is beginning to grow in size rather than shrinking.

5. Pregnancy
If you’re pregnant and you feel that the size of lips has suddenly increased, you don’t have to worry. All women go through the process of bodily swelling when it comes to pregnancy. The high secretion oestrogen during pregnancy increases the blood flow through out the body which cause the skin to swell up. This has nothing to do with inflammation and the lips swell up along with other parts of the body as well.
What to do- there is nothing that you have to do about this condition. Pregnancy is both beautiful and painful, your lips, nose, finger and feet will swell up but there will certainly be no pain in your lips. So, birth a new life and your lips and other parts of the body will come back to normal shape in a few months.

Lip inflammation is caused by a lot of unharmful situations like pregnancy and no extensive treatment is required. However, if your lips have swollen suddenly and you have no idea how it is happening, it is better to get medical help. If you have trouble keeping your lips from getting cracked and dried up, try out the Namyaa Lip Plumping Serum. Other than helping your lips get a natural plump, it also stimulates blood vessels under the lips and improves internal hydration of the lips, preventing them from getting cracked. Your lips are an important part of your personality, care for them generously.
Back to blog