Do you have white stuff on your lips?
White spots, bumps, or patches on lips are common and can make you feel self-conscious. They are usually harmless and aren’t serious, but they can also be a symptom of an underlying health condition, like oral herpes.
Keep reading to know what this white stuff on your lips is, how it got there, and some potential treatments to help get rid of it.
What is the white stuff on your lips?
The white stuff on your lips could indicate many different conditions, which include:
1. Fordyce spots
Fordyce spots, also known as Fordyce glands or Fordyce granules, are small white or yellow spots that appear on the inner and outer parts of the lip. They occur when there is excess sebum (oil) in the sebaceous glands and are not contagious.
Fordyce spots are harmless and don’t require treatment, but you can remove them if they are embarrassing. Treatments include cryotherapy, laser skin resurfacing, micro-punch surgery, electrodesiccation, and topical retinoids such as tretinoin.
Milia are small, white, dome-shaped bumps that affect many people, especially babies. They occur when keratin, a protein present in skin tissues, gets trapped beneath the surface of the skin.
This condition is harmless and usually clears up within a few weeks or months. If they become a cosmetic concern, treatments such as chemical peels, laser ablation, and topical retinoids are effective in eliminating them.
3. Dead skin cells
The white stuff on your lips can also be a buildup of dead skin cells that have settled onto the surface of your lips. This can happen if you don’t exfoliate your lips regularly or use a lip balm frequently.
You can remove dead skin cells by exfoliating with an electric toothbrush or lip scrub once or twice a week. Applying a lip balm regularly will also help moisturize your lips and keep them soft so they don’t dry out.
4. Oral herpes
Oral herpes is a common type of herpes simplex virus infection that occurs when one’s mouth comes in contact with an infected person’s saliva or other bodily fluids, such as semen or vaginal secretions.
This type of herpes can cause white bumps on the lips, which may later develop into cold sores that don’t heal properly. You may also experience pain or itching around your mouth and burning sensations on your lips.
Oral herpes is highly contagious, and you should seek medical attention immediately to prevent serious health problems. In most cases, the doctor will recommend treatments such as numbing gels and antiviral medications to shorten the duration of your symptoms.
5. Oral thrush
Oral thrush is a yeast infection common in people with weakened immune systems as well as infants. The cause of oral thrush is an overgrowth of Candida albicans, a type of fungus that lives in the mouth and other parts of the body.
The main symptom of oral thrush is white patches on your tongue, lips, gums, and inside your cheeks. You may also have sores on your gums and/or tongue and a cotton-like sensation in your mouth.
Oral thrush goes away with antifungal medication, but you can take probiotic supplements for faster results. You can also try rinsing your mouth with salt water or a mixture of water and apple cider vinegar.
6. Oral cancer
The most common types of oral cancers are squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, and melanoma. They can affect any part of the mouth and throat, including the lips, tongue, cheeks, gums, and palate.
Oral cancer can cause white scaly patches on the lips. These patches may be flat or raised and are usually painless for the first few weeks. In addition to these white patches, you may experience other symptoms like loose teeth, difficulty swallowing, and mouth pain.
Treatment for oral cancer can include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or a combination of these approaches. The treatment suitable for you will depend on several factors, such as your health and the stage of cancer.
Do you need to see a doctor?
In most cases, white spots, bumps, or patches on the lips are usually harmless and do not require medical attention. However, you should see your doctor right away if they don’t go away or if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Foul taste in your mouth
- Bleeding or painful bumps
- Swollen neck or jaw
- Burning sensation in your mouth
- Mouth/throat pain
- Discolored tongue
- Difficulty swallowing
- Sores on your gums or tongue
What to expect when you visit a doctor
The doctor will ask about your medical history and the symptoms you’re experiencing. They will examine your lips, mouth, and throat to look for other symptoms.
In some cases, the doctor will take samples of your saliva and run some tests before they can determine your condition.
If your test results indicate a serious medical condition like oral cancer, the doctor will likely refer you to a specialist who then gets you started on a treatment immediately.
What causes dry lips?
Dry lips can be caused by many factors, such as dehydration, excessive exposure to heat or cold, sun damage, and genetics. You may also have dry lips if you don’t exfoliate and moisturize your lips regularly.
At what age do Fordyce spots occur?
Fordyce spots can occur at any age, but they are most common in people between the ages of 13 and 20 years old.
Can bleaching creams turn your lips white?
Yes, they can. Bleaching creams contain ingredients that can whiten the color of your lips if used regularly over long periods.
Should you peel the dead skin off your lips?
No, you shouldn’t. You can easily remove dead skin from your lips by scrubbing your lips with a toothbrush. For even better results, try using a good lip scrub.
Are Fordyce spots an STD?
No, they’re not. Fordyce spots appear when there is excess oil in your skin’s oil glands. They’re not sexually transmitted or contagious.
There are many reasons why you have white stuff on your lips. The most common causes are Fordyce spots, milia, and dead skin cells. Other causes include serious medical conditions such as oral thrush, oral herpes, and oral cancer.
Talk to your doctor immediately if you’re concerned about the white stuff on your lips. Your doctor can determine the cause and suggest effective treatments if needed.
Thanks for reading.
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