A bump on the lip can have a number of causes and may be harmless but sometimes might require medical attention. One of the most benign conditions is acne; pimples can form at the edge of the lip and are sometimes painful but will usually go away in a few days. A cold sore is another potential cause, which usually begins with a tingling feeling on the lip before a blister forms and eventually forms a scab before healing. A third possible reason for having a lip bump is a skin tag, which is a harmless growth of skin that is believed to form as a result of repeated friction. Lumps or bumps on or near the lips may also form as a result of skin or mouth cancer, although this is less likely than a more benign cause.
Acne pimples often form on the skin right next to the lips and usually look the same as on other areas of the skin. They may have a white head or can form under the skin and look like a red bump. Sometimes these bumps can be painful because the lips are a sensitive area of the face. People with this kind of bump may find it helpful to apply a warm compress several times a day to help reduce swelling and help it go away faster. Some over-the-counter acne medications can also be used to dry up the pimple, but should be used sparingly to avoid drying out the skin on the lips.
Another possible reason for having a bump on the lip is a cold sore, which is a blister caused by the herpes virus. Once a person becomes infected with this virus, he or she may periodically experience outbreaks with one or more cold sores on the lips or inside of the mouth. The person usually notices a tingling sensation in the affected area first, which is followed by the appearance of a blister. The blister may last for as long as a week before it forms a scab and then eventually heals. Cold sores can be painful, and there may be a great deal of swelling in the area. A doctor can prescribe medications that reduce the frequency and severity of outbreaks, although there is no cure for the virus.
Skin tags are growths of skin that form in a number of different areas of the body and may appear as a lip bump. They are usually small, round, and the same color as the skin. Although not painful, skin tags can be an annoyance or embarrassment to some people. Dermatologists can remove skin tags using a number of techniques, including freezing, burning, or cutting them. In rare cases, large, irregular, or rapidly growing skin tags may need to be biopsied to rule out the possibility of skin cancer. Some types of cancer may also cause a bump on the lip and can mimic the appearance of a skin tag, so it’s a good idea to see a dermatologist regularly for evaluation.