White Dots On Lips


White dots on lips

They are quite common and can range in size and form. Some spots are not noticeable and can be treated. Others may cause burning or pain and require treatment.

They are usually harmless and natural, such as Fordyce spots. However, some can be severe and painful.

It doesn’t matter what the cause is; it is important to identify it to determine if treatment is required and your health may be at risk.

Here are six causes of white spots on your lips and how to get rid of them.


According to Susan Messick, dermatologist and associate professor at The Ohio State University Wexner Hospital, Milia is a small, hard, white bump filled with trapped Keratin underneath the skin’s surface.

The medical term Keratin refers to a protein that makes up your skin cells.

These bumps are often very small. Usually less than 3 mm, they are smooth and dome-shaped.

Milla can occur spontaneously and are common, Messick says.

Treatment: Milia aren’t dangerous and usually resolve themselves in a few weeks or months. Messick says that treatment is not always necessary.

Messick suggests you see a dermatologist if the milia are bothersome or don’t disappear.

  • To extract the item, make a small incision.
  • It can be treated with an electric needle.

If you have multiple milia or recurring issues, prescribe topical retinoids.

Fordyce spots

Fordyce spots refer to the lips’ slightly larger oil glands (sebaceous glands).

These spots are tiny and slightly raised. They can be anywhere from 1 to 3 millimetres in size. These spots can be white or yellowish and are easier to spot if you stretch your skin.

Fordyce spots are usually asymptomatic. Miller says they are usually harmless but can be bothersome for some people.

Treatment Unless it’s a cosmetic issue, treatment is not necessary. Miller states treatment in this instance involves cauterization and lasers to reduce the appearance.

Herpes simplex virus

The herpes simplex virus causes white patches on the lips, which turn into cold sores. These sores can appear in three stages.

  1. A tingling sensation or burning sensation may be felt before the spots appear, which could indicate that there is an outbreak.
  2. White spots are usually found near the edges of the lips.
  3. These white spots can blister, scab and then crust over, creating a cold sore.

HSV can recur after a cold sore. This is especially true if the trigger for your cold sores is stress, viral infections, or hormonal changes.

Treatment: According to Messick, oral antiviral medication is the most commonly used treatment. These can be used to reduce the severity of your infection. You may also consider home treatments, such as:

  • Docosanol (Abreva), an oral, topical cold sore medication, is available over-the-counter.
  • Prescription of antiviral medication
  • You can use numbing gels like benzocaine and lidocaine to reduce itching and burning.
  • Pain relievers that are available over the counter, such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen
  • Avoid spicy, acidic or salty foods
  • Use cold, moist compresses

HSV is very contagious, especially if blisters are present. Therefore, you should not touch your skin or share items such as utensils with anyone with a cold sore.

Oral thrush (Candidiasis).

An overgrowth of yeast can cause oral thrush (or candidiasis). Messick states that this condition can cause white spots or bumps on the mouth or tongue. However, it can also appear on the corners or lips.

Other symptoms may also be experienced, such as:

  • Redness
  • The feeling of cotton inside your mouth
  • When you eat or swallow, pain
  • Sensitivity to taste has decreased

Treatment: Prescription antifungal medicines are required to treat the infection. Messick says that while the topical antifungal medication is often sufficient for mild cases, oral-systemic antifungal medication may be required in severe cases.


Vitiligo is a chronic autoimmune disorder that causes the skin to lose pigment. This leaves behind white patches or soft spots. It can occur at any age but is most common between 10 – 30.

They can vary in size. These spots can be as small as five millimetres (known as macules) or larger and widen over time.

These occur when the immune system attacks melanocytes (cells responsible for pigment production). Miller says that although this can happen anywhere, it is most common on the skin, such as the lips.

Treatment: Although there is no cure, you can use treatments to restore your pigment. Miller states that the most commonly used treatments for vitiligo are topical anti-inflammatory medication (corticosteroids) and light/laser therapy. There are also other types of vitiligo treatments:

  • Topical immunomodulators (which suppress local immune responses)
  • Topical vitamin D analogues are used to modulate local immune and inflammatory responses.
  • Skin graft surgery
  • Tattooing with micro-pigmentation

Insider’s takeaway

White spots on the lips can be temporary or more serious than milia.

You should consult your dermatologist if you are concerned about white spots on your lips or discomfort. This will allow you to get a diagnosis and determine the best course of action.a

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