Last reviewed by Dr. Raj MD on January 12th, 2022.
There are many different reasons why a person has swollen lips. It can be anything from an insect bite to having an allergic reaction to trauma and injuries. How swollen lips are treated depends on what cause it in the first place. If the underlying cause is not serious the swelling should go away within seven to fourteen days without having any medical treatment but if you want you can try a home remedy to see if you can reduce the swelling sooner. If it is still swollen after two weeks you should see your physician to find out what is causing it and what treatment your physician recommends.
Causes of Swollen Lips
Lower lip swelling
- Injury – this could be cause by accidentally biting your lower lip, washing or rubbing your lip too hard, a fight, aggressive kissing, accident, etc.
- Allergic reactions – this is one of the most common causes of your lower lip swelling. It could an allergic reaction to certain foods, things in the air like pollen grains or dust, insect sting, etc.
- Medications – certain medications that are taken for psoriasis, eczema, or hives can cause your lower lips to swell
- Acromegaly – this is a syndrome which is due to an excessive production of growth hormone that can lead to soft tissue swelling
- Environmental conditions – this can include a climate that is either too cold or too hot, eating or drinking something that is too hot or too cold, chewing tobacco or smoking.
- Infections – if your lips are cracked this is an open invitation for viruses and bacteria to invade the area and cause an infection.
- Nutritional deficiencies – a swollen lower lip is usually a sign that there is a deficiency of vitamin B but could also be a deficiency of other vital minerals and vitamins.
Upper lip swelling
- Contact dermatitis – this is when your lip is exposed to irritants that also cause an itchy red rash. This irritant could be harsh soaps, mouthwash products, lipstick.
- Angioedema – this is an inflammation that strikes the layer underneath the lip’s skin surface. It can be caused by being allergic to certain medicines and food, from insect bites, and being overexposed to the sun.
- Melkersson-Rosenthal syndrome – this is a syndrome that damages the nerves and can lead to swelling of your upper lip.
- Lip paresthesia – at first you will have the feeling of “pins and needles” sticking your skin and then having swelling and numbness on your upper lip.
- Crohn’s disease – this is a medical condition that causes a specific part of your small intestine to become inflamed and the upper lip swelling is a side effect of this disease.
- Oral herpes – this also known as cold sores and is caused by being exposed to the HSV-1virus. It starts out with a burning sensation and then is followed by a swelling near or on your upper lip.
Swollen lower lip – you can treat this condition with an application of ice compresses on your swollen lip. To reduce the inflammation eat cold yogurt and avoid hot beverages. Sometimes taking inflammatory medications and corticosteroids can help to reduce the swelling.
Swollen upper lip – how this swelling is treated depends on what has caused it in the first place. If it caused by a chronic inflammation it can be treated by taking corticosteroids and anti-inflammatory medications. For allergic reactions you can take antihistamines.
Home remedies for Swollen Lips
- Hot compresses – soak a cloth in hot water, wring out excess water, and put it on your swollen lip. This will help to reduce the swelling and improve the blood circulation.
- Tea bags – steep a tea bag in hot water like you were making tea. Let bag cool down a little and place on swollen lip for ten minutes two to three times a day. The tea contains a phenolic substance called tannin, which is suppose to be a strong agent to help reduce swelling
- Lip balms – if your lips are chapped, dry, and swollen you can keep your lips moist at all times by applying lip balms to your lips, both upper and lower. Lip balms can also protect your lips from the sun.
- Monitor your diet – this is especially true if the swelling is caused by a certain food. If your lips are swollen from eating a certain food and you know what caused it, make a note of what it is so you do not eat or drink it again.
In addition to the above treatments for swollen lips you can also try applying aloe Vera gel or witch hazel extract to your lips. To help make sure that your lips do not swell due to lipsticks or lip gloss make sure they are of superior quality.