Lips are the most prominent part of the face and significantly reflect the personality of an individual. However, certain conditions like appearance of white spots on lips or face can affect the presentation and appearance of an individual leading to depression, lower self-esteem and low confidence. White spots are benign in most cases but in some cases may reflect a more grave pathology or underlying disorder.
Appearance of white spots or bumps on the lips can be due to skin conditions or it may be a result of sexually transmitted infections, allergic response to certain irritants, chemicals or allergens, immunological reactions and other systemic disorders.
Causes and Treatments of White Spots on Lips
Appearance of white bumps or spots on the lips can be due to multiple pathologies; however, management is mostly simple in majority of the cases. Clinicians suggest that maintaining hydration and retaining moisture content of lips always helps in improving the condition. This can be achieved by patting the lips with water frequently and maintaining high water intake. It is always recommended to consult a healthcare provider or dermatologist as early as possible due to controversial nature and risk of spreading. It is recommended to seek early intervention if symptoms are worsening or are associated with pain, discomfort swelling or bleeding.
1. Cold Sores
Description: Cold sores are painful blisters that develop as a result of viral infection by herpes simplex and are highly contagious. Blisters are usually white and are filled with a fluid that resolves spontaneously or after therapy. The viral agents stay dormant in the nerves of the body and blisters usually reappear after environmental triggers.
Treatments: Cold sores resolve after antiviral drugs that may be oral medications or local applicants. It is recommended to avoid any type of physical contact during active infection and maintain good hygiene and nutrition to prevent recurrences. Most effective anti-viral agents that are usually employed for the management of cold sores are Acyclovir, Famciclovir and Valacyclovir.
How to get rid of cold sores faster:
Description: Too much exposure to intense or UV rich sunlight may also lead to bumps or spots that may be white in color or may have the same color as that of lip. Most common cause of sunburn induced lip injury is the damage to the salivary glands as a result of intense sunrays leading to swelling, peeling and appearance of spots. Most cases of sunburn induced lip changes resolve spontaneously; however, it is recommended to avoid intense sun exposure if you have sensitive lips or skin conditions.
Treatments: Vitamin E ointments and gels are generally recommended to prevent further loss of skin moisture. Taking frequent sips of water and avoiding the use of chemicals on lips also helps in ensuring early recovery and maximal tissue healing.
Sunburn home remedies:
3. Fordyce's Spots
Description: Fordyce's Spots are usually benign that may be white in most cases but can also reflect different hues and color pattern at or around the lips. These reflect the ectopic sebaceous glands (that secrete thick sebum). All sebaceous glands are associated with ducts that open at or around hair follicles and hair pores that serve as a passage for the release and excretion of sebum; however, these ectopic sebaceous glands are not associated with any ducts and that’s why secretions pool inside the glands leading to Fordyce's Spots. These are usually painless and are not associated with any complications.
Treatments: Fordyce's Spots can be managed by the use of a variety of dermatological laser treatments (most common being pulse dye laser).
4. Contact Allergy
Description: Some people are allergic to cosmetics like lip glosses, lip sticks and other skincare products or some ingredients of those products ultimately leading to contact allergy. Certain chemicals like mica and titanium are especially known to induce inflammation and irritation of lip mucosa leading to lumpy bumpy appearance of lips along with irritation, burning and peeling of lips. Sometimes exposure to cat dander, pollen and other similar products may also lead to contact allergy.
Treatments: Treatment is focused mainly at avoiding obnoxious agents that may induce allergic responses on skin or lips. For more severe and intense inflammatory or allergic responses, treatment modalities like Steroids and antihistamines can be employed to decrease the intensity if allergic response.
5. Bacterial Infection
Description: Bacterial infection involving lips is fairly common in individuals who have improper hygienic conditions and those who frequently use shared skincare products or articles for personal use. Bacterial infection normally presents with pain, inflammation, itching and burning sensation in lips that may resolve spontaneously in mild cases.
Treatments: Maintaining hydration and moisture of lips is one of the helpful remedies that can improve the outcome in most cases. In addition, use of anti-bacterial ointments and analgesics also helps in decreasing inflammation and pain symptoms.
6. Lip Cancer
Description: Refractory white spots or bumps on the lips are usually a sign of malignancy or cancer that may undergo skin changes like ulceration, bleeding and infection. Usually skin biopsy is the best method to confirm neoplastic changes that may develop in the setting of chronic inflammation and exposure to certain environmental agents that lead to changes in DNA.
Treatments: Management of lip cancer is dependent mainly on the nature and severity of malignant lesion. Radiation and surgery are usually employed as the primary tools to manage the cancer in most cases.
7. Other Causes
White bumps or spots on the lips may also develop in the setting of long standing traumatic incidents like frequent biting or physical injuries that may present as ulcers and skin changes. Moreover, acne may also develop at or around the lips due to infected white heads or blackheads. In order to ascertain the actual cause of these spots it recommended to seek the help of a healthcare professional in order to manage these symptoms bad regain your physical beauty and confidence.