Swollen Lip (Upper and Bottom) Causes & Treatment

Swollen lips can occur on the upper or bottom lip. Allergies, hives or even sunburn have been known to cause lips to swell.

Some people may experience the swelling in the morning. Others may find the swelling sudden or out of nowhere.

Here are the causes and remedies for enlarged upper and lower lips.


Did you know that biting on your lip can cause it to swell? There are many things that can cause lips to enlarge suddenly, in the morning or almost with no reason.

Swollen lower lip (bottom)
A swollen lower lip.

Lip biting, pimples, food allergies, infected piercings, sunburn, hives and even STDs can cause your them to swell. Let’s look at each of these in detail.

1.  Hives on lips

Angioedema is a swelling that normally affects the deeper layers under the skin. The swelling is at times accompanied by the hives that are red, itchy welts that also develop on the outer surface of the skin.

Hives are the swollen, pale bumps which is normally red, or welts that are found on the skin which appear suddenly. They are able to occur due to allergies or some other reasons. The doctor can also call them as urticaria.

Hives are the itch, but they can as well burn or even sting. They area also able to show up anywhere on the surface of the skin, including:

  • Lips
  • Tongue
  • Ears

They also vary in size from a size of something like a pencil eraser to a size of a dinner plate and is able to join together so as to make a larger areas called plaques. They are able to last for several hours or up to many days.

Angioedema is very much different. The swelling occurs under the skin, but not on the surface of the skin. It’s normally marked by the deep swelling that is around the eyes and also the lips and sometimes the areas of the genitals, and feet.

It usually lasts for longer periods than the hives, but the swelling usually disappears in a shorter period. It’s rare, but the angioedema of the throat, or lungs can block the airways, making it very difficult to breathe.

2. Swollen lip pimple

It is very much common for the lips to swell because of irritation that is emanating from a nearby pimple, according to doctors. The particular swelling could be brought about by the following:

  • Physical aggravation of the pimple, like biting or even attempting to pop the pimple up
  • Cystic acne that is in the area that is surrounding the lips

Pimples that are found around the lips can be very much painful and leads to a lot of irritation. When having any kind of blemish that is on or even around the lips, it is very vital that you determine whether the blemish is a simple pimple or if it is a cold sore.

Cold sores are brought about by the herpes simplex virus, and are normally accompanied by the swelling and also itching sensations that are in the mouth or even the nose; they are very much serious issues than the pimples and might need medication so as to heal.

If a lip is swollen because of irritation that is emanating from of a nearby pimple, then an individual should stop aggravating the pimple.

To reduce inflammation, you should press a warm towel up against the affected part and then compress it.

To prevent lip from enlarging further due to pimples in the future, then a person should take the following precautions:

  • Ensure the skin that is around the lips is very much clean
  • use the pimple care products like the daily cleansing pads

3.  Lip blisters, herpes after kissing

Lip blisters can also cause swelling
Lip blisters can also cause inflammation.

Cold sores are the small blisters that are fluid-filled which normally develop around the lips or even the inside parts of the mouth.

Cold sores are brought about by the herpes simplex virus. HSV infection is passed on an individual to another through the skin-to-skin contact like kissing.

Herpes labialis, also known as the cold sores among others is a type of herpes simplex that is happening on the lip, i.e. which is an infection brought about by the herpes simplex virus. An outbreak usually leads to the small blisters or even the sores that are on or even around the mouth.

The sores usually heal within 3 weeks, but the herpes virus normally remains very much dormant especially in the facial nerve branches, following any of the orofacial infection, periodically reactivating to lead to sores that are in the same part of the mouth or even the face at the part of the original infection.

4. Sunburn

If you applied sunscreen to the skin, but you avoided the lips, you’ll be much surprised to discover that they might also get burned. Sunburned lips symptoms are but not limited to swelling and also reddening.

Less frequent indications are tender, chapped or even the warm lips. Bleeding is not also excluded, more especially if the mouth is cracked and begins peeling off.

A severe lip sunburn might also be accompanied by the small blisters that are filled with fluid. These may make an initial appearance just after a few hours after the sun exposure or even after a few days

5. Allergy (after eating)

Swollen lips, or also known as the lip oedema, is when one or even both of the lips enlarge or are completely distend beyond the normal size.

This particular kind of swelling is brought about by a build-up of the fluid, or even an inflammation that is inside the lip tissue. It might have several causes, including:

  • Injury
  • certain medicines
  • allergies

Enlarged upper lips can be a sign of anaphylaxis – which is a severe type of allergic reaction that requires urgent medical attention.

In very less serious cases however, the swelling might appear and go away much more quickly, for instance after chapping or even the sunburn.

Swelling that usually develops over some time and also lasts longer might be an indication of the infection or even a more serious inflammation or the condition.

6. Infected lip piercing

Lip swelling after the piercing is much common and may be treated using simple home remedies.

You should try to avoid eating, drinking or smoking for a period of about 4 hours immediately after the piercing.

Bleeding and also the inflammation are the common symptoms that are seen in the first days of the piercing.

You may apply the mild over-the-counter medications so as to treat bleeding. You may also consult a health care provider for the medications so as to treat bleeding brought about by the lip piercing.

7. Biting, trauma, injuries

Any person who has bumped a lip understands how faster it is able to double in size when it is hit in a sporting event or even some other accident.

The soft tissues that make up the lips are very much sensitive to the trauma and are frequently made to swell significantly when they are injured, even from a very slight bump that is found on the lip.

Fortunately, the treatment which is recommended for such an injury is very simple. Given proper first aid, most of the swelling on the upper lip can return to its normal size in a short while.

Swelling for no reason

While the swelling is very much natural, and disappears within a short period of time, sometimes there might be unexplained swelling of the eyes and also the lips that can persist for a considerably longer period of time.

Swollen upper lip
Upper lip swelling for no reason.

Normally, a swollen part of the body or even the facial feature is caused by:

  • excessive salt consumption, or even the tissue trauma (also known as the inflammation)
  • It might also happen as part of the anaphylactic shock which is in response to the allergen

But an individual may like to understand if there exists a swelling which cannot be accounted for because of the indicated reasons.

Moreover, the swelling of the lips is very much perplexing, as not only is the reason not understood, but also it is very much difficult to hide the swelling as the lips are a very much visible and too obvious feature of the face

Swollen lip in the morning

There are also many times when you will find that you are experiencing a swollen bottom lip, which might or might not be accompanied by some other given symptoms. The symptoms usually include the following:

  • discoloration (which is the appearance of a red, purple or even the blue color)
  • swelling that is in the corner folds of the mouth
  • lump at the corners leading to an inability of a person to close the mouth
  • entire bottom lip swelling which then increases the thickness of the whole mouth thus making the lips to appear larger in size
  • bleeding of lips
  • some feeling of the pain as well as a lot of discomfort when they are touched
  • Rubbery texture leading to the swelling of bottom cheeks sometimes.

All these are usual symptoms that appears when there is a very random swollen lip.

Home remedies

To relieve your symptoms, try doing the following at home.

1. Cold Compress

As soon as a person notices the lip swelling, he should apply a cold compress. In fact, it is indicated as one of the recommended methods that assists to reduce the swelling brought about by lip piercing.

  1. Wrap ice cubes in a paper towel or even a clean washcloth. You might also make use a bag that has frozen peas or even a cold spoon.
  2. Press the cold compress very much gently over the swollen skin part for about 10 minutes, take a break and then repeat the process.
  3. Do the process until the swelling disappears and you will obtain relief from the pain as well as the discomfort.

Note that you do not apply ice directly on the lip as it may lead to soreness or even a mild frost bite.

2. Aloe Vera

Aloe vera gel contains many anti-inflammatory properties which are very much effective in reducing of the swelling and also the burning sensation which emanates from a swollen lip. This particular remedy is the best for swelling brought about by insect or even the mosquito bites or a kind of allergic reaction.

  1. Use freshly extracted aloe vera gel on the specific affected lip.
  2. Massage the affected lip gently so that the aloe vera is completely absorbed into the lip.
  3. Repeat the process about three times a day.

3. Black Tea Bag

Black tea has compounds called tannins, which contains an excellent astringent qualities that are able to reduce the swelling that is found in the soft tissues of the lips.

  1. Soak a black tea bag in the warm water for a period of about 10 minutes.
  2. Remove it from the warm water and then allow it to cool.
  3. Gently Use it over the affected lip for about 10 minutes.
  4. Repeat the process several times a day for faster results.

4. Honey

Honey contains natural healing and also the antibacterial properties that are able to effectively and quickly treat a swollen lip. It can also keep the lips to be well moisturized, prevent any infection and thus reduce inflammation, swelling as well as pain.

  1. Dip a small clean cotton ball in a teaspoon of honey.
  2. Use it on the swollen lip.
  3. Leave it on for a period of about 30 minutes.
  4. Rinse the affected lip using cold water.
  5. Repeat the process for about two or three times a day.

5. Turmeric

Turmeric powder contains antiseptic and also healing properties that are able to treat a swollen lip. The antiseptic properties can also be able to prevent infection. You might make an herbal ointment using turmeric power.

  1. Mix a little amount of turmeric power with a teaspoon of the fuller’s earth and enough amount of cold water so as to make a thick paste.
  2. Use it over the swollen lip.
  3. Allow the turmeric to dry for some period of time and then clean up the lips using lukewarm water.
  4. Repeat the process twice daily to do away with the pain and also the swelling.

6. Baking Soda

Baking soda is very much recommended to treat a swollen lip brought about by an allergic reaction, or an insect or even the mosquito bite. It can also assist to reduce the pain and also the inflammation.

  1. Make a thick paste by mixing about four teaspoons of baking soda with a teaspoon of water.
  2. Use the paste on the swollen lip.
  3. Leave it on for a period of about five minutes and then rinse it off completely using the cold water.
  4. Repeat the process for about two times a day until the swelling disappears.

7. Salt

If the reason behind the swollen lip is a kind of a cut, then you can use salt to do away with the problem. Salt is a very natural disinfectant that can do away with the germs that are able to lead to any infection that is in the cuts.

  1. Dissolve a tablespoon of the salt in a cup of a warm water.
  2. Use a cotton ball so as to dab it very gently on the cut. In the beginning, there can be a burning sensation, but the remedy is very crucial in healing of the cut and disappearing of the swelling.
  3. Do this process at least once or even twice in a day.

8. Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is also an effective ingredient that is used for a swollen lip brought about by a cut as it contains anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties.

  • Dilute the oil with some other carrier oil such as the olive oil or even the coconut oil. Use it on the lips for about thirty minute so as to keep the lips moisturized and also disinfected and then rinse the oil off. Repeat this process a few times a day.
  • Alternatively, you can also make a mixture with a teaspoon of the aloe vera gel and then a few drops of the tea tree oil. Use a smaller amount of the mixture on the lips and then gently massage the affected area for about 10 minutes. Leave the oil on for about 30 minutes before rinsing it off using warm. Repeat the process for about three times a day.

Never use tea tree oil on the skin in its pure concentration. In the case of an irritation, immediately rinse the affected skin area using very cold water. Also, avoid the use of tea tree oil on small children.


1. Check the mouth for any other injuries

Check the tongue and also the inner cheeks for any injury that might need a doctor. If the teeth are very loose or even much damaged, then you should seek emergency dental care immediately.

2. Wash hands and the face using soap and water

Before you start any treatment, make sure that the swollen lips and the hands are very much clean. This is very vital if the skin is a bit broken and there is also a wound.

Apply soap and also warm water. Pat try the swollen lip and then avoid rubbing to so as reduce pain and thus further damage.

3. Use antimicrobial ointment as well as a bandage if skin is broken

If the injury badly damaged the skin and brought a wound, then you may require to apply the antimicrobial cream so as to reduce the chance of any infection before using a bandage.

  • The cold compress is supposed have stopped any form of bleeding, but if the wound is continuing to bleed then use enough pressure with a towel for about 15 minutes.
  • You may treat the minor, superficial bleeding easily at home, but ensure to seek the medical attention if you have very deep cuts or bleeding that do not stop after about 15 minutes
  • After the bleeding has stopped, apply antimicrobial ointment lightly to the affected area.
  • Cover the wound using a clean bandage

4. Take an anti-inflammatory pain medication

To assist in reducing the pain, inflammation as well as the swelling that is associated with a swollen lip, take acetaminophen or the naproxen sodium.


  1. What Is Angioedema: http://www.healthline.com/health/angioedema#Overview1


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