What Causes Those White Spots On Lips?

What Causes Those White Spots On Lips?

White spots on the lips are very common. Some are harmless and go away by themselves, while others could be a sign of an underlying health issue that might need medical attention. Let's explore everything you need to know about them and some treatments to consider.

Causes of White Bumps On Lips

Two common reasons for white bumps on the lips are milia and Fordyce spots. They can also indicate health conditions such as herpes simplex, oral thrush, or oral cancer.

  • Milia: Tiny white bumps caused by trapped dead skin cells. They're common in babies but can also occur in adults, including on the lips.
  • Fordyce spots: Small, enlarged oil glands without hair follicles. Usually tiny but can be bothersome, especially on the inner lips.
  • Herpes simplex: Oral herpes can cause small white bumps that may turn into painful ulcers. It spreads through intimate contact or sharing items like towels.
  • Oral thrush: A fungal infection leading to white lesions on the lips, mouth, or gums. Weakened immunity, diabetes, or certain medications can increase the risk.
  • Oral cancer: A raised or flat white bump could be a symptom. Factors like alcohol use, tobacco use, sun exposure, and HPV can contribute.

When To See A Doctor

While white bumps on the lips are usually harmless, you should consult a healthcare professional if you experience fever, sore throat, pain, swelling, bleeding, trouble swallowing, or if the bumps persist for more than two weeks.


When someone has white bumps on their skin, a healthcare professional can determine what is causing them by doing a physical examination. Sometimes, additional tests are required, such as lab tests, swabs, or tissue samples to help identify the underlying cause of the bumps. This information can help the healthcare professional provide the appropriate treatment for the individual.

Treatment Options

  • Fordyce spots: Often go away on their own but can be treated with laser or electrosurgery if needed.
  • Herpes simplex: No cure, but antiviral medications can manage symptoms and prevent outbreaks.
  • Oral thrush: Treated with antifungal medications, topical antiseptics, or dietary supplements.
  • Oral cancer: Treatment varies based on severity and may include chemotherapy, radiation, or surgery.

Home Remedies

For milia, you can try:

  • Over-the-counter exfoliating products with salicylic or glycolic acid.
  • Facial peels, ensuring they are light.
  • Steam to open pores and remove debris.
  • Retinoid creams with vitamin A (consult a dermatologist).


How to treat white bumps on lips?

Treatment depends on the cause. Home remedies like exfoliation, steaming, or retinoid creams may help, but consult a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Do white spots on lips go away?

Yes, in most cases, they'll either disappear on their own or with home remedies. However, some types, like milia, can be persistent and may take months to improve.

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