Lips accentuate your physical appearance by differing in color from the rest of your facial skin. The lips have a few layers of skin underneath and a rich supply of blood that gives them their distinct pinkish-purple color.
Lips are a window to the expression of your thoughts with every smile and frown being physically expressed by a movement of the lips. Healthy lips can go days without being a thing to worry about.
A swollen or enlarged lip, on the other hand, is both embarrassing and painful. Accompanied by cuts and bruises, a swollen lip can cause difficulty eating, drinking, talking, or simply opening your mouth.
A swollen lip is usually a result of an injury or shock to the soft tissues of the lips caused by dryness, nutritional deficiencies, dental issues, dehydration, insect bite, or use of poor-quality lip care products.
Causes of Swollen Lip
A swollen lip can emerge due to several causes that include:
- Allergies to certain medicines such as penicillin
- Environmental allergens such as pollen, animal dander, and dust
- Insect bite or sting
- Lip piercing
- Minor wounds or cuts to the lips
- Nutritional deficiency
- Angioedema (a swelling underneath the skin)
- Harsh temperatures
- Viral infections such as varicella, herpes, and measles
- Medical conditions like;
- Granulomatous cheilitis
- Miescher-Melkeon-Rosenthal syndrome marked by a swollen lip, fissured tongue, and weakness in the facial muscles
Signs and Symptoms of Swollen Lip
It is easy to diagnose a condition once its symptoms are identified. Aside from the swelling in either lip, other symptoms of swollen lips include:
- Touch sensitivity
- Chapped lips
- Soreness in lips
- Flushed red appearance of the lips
- Cracked skin
- Burning sensation
- If the swollen lips are caused by an environmental allergy, the condition can be accompanied by sneezing, wheezing, hives, and a stuffy nose
- In rare cases
Tips and Remedies to Treat a Swollen Lip at Home
In a severe case of a swollen lip, consider a medical review. Although you can use over-the-counter or prescribed medications to treat it, you can also use home remedies that are an excellent solution to heal a swollen lip.
1. Apply Cold Compress
One of the best ways to suppress a swollen lip is by applying a cold compress, particularly when the reason is lip piercing.
- Use a clean washcloth or a paper towel to wrap some ice cubes. Alternatively, you can use a cold spoon or a bag of frozen peas.
- Gently press the cold compress onto the swollen area for 10 minutes, take a break, and repeat the application until you get relief from the discomfort and swelling.
2. Massage Using Aloe Vera Gel
Aloe vera gel is a trusted remedy for a swollen lip. It is used widely as a relaxant and is known for its anti-inflammatory properties that can ease the swelling and soothe the lips of the burning sensation.
To pacify a swollen lip caused by insect or mosquito bites or some kind of allergic reaction, apply aloe vera gel.
- Extract aloe vera gel from a leaf and apply it on the affected lip.
- Gently massage the gel on the lip until the gel gets absorbed.
- Repeat the application two to three times a day.
3. Use Black Tea Bag
The copious amount of tannins in black tea has excellent astringent properties that can reduce the swelling in the soft tissues of the lips.
- Soak a black tea bag in warm water for about 10 minutes.
- Remove the tea bag from the water and let it cool.
- Gently apply the cooled tea bag over the swollen lip for 10 minutes.
- Repeat the application several times a day for quick results.
4. Apply Honey to the Affected Area
The natural healing and antibacterial properties of honey are well known to the man on the street. Honey can be used to treat your swollen lips by reducing inflammation and decreasing swelling and pain.
Being an emollient, honey will also keep your lips moisturized and prevent further infection.
- Dip a cotton ball in 1 teaspoon of honey.
- Apply it on the affected lip and let it rest for 20 minutes.
- Rinse the area with cold water.
- Repeat the application two to three times a day.
5. Coat the Area with Turmeric Paste
Containing an antiseptic and anti-inflammatory compound called curcumin, turmeric can be used to heal a swollen lip. The antiseptic properties of turmeric reduce the chances of further infection.
- Combine a pinch of turmeric powder and 1 teaspoon of fuller’s earth. Mix in enough cold water until you achieve a paste-like consistency. Apply the mixture on the affected lip.
- Keep it for some time.
- Using lukewarm water, rinse your lips and pat them dry.
- Repeat the application twice daily.
6. Baking Soda can be Beneficial
- Mix 3 teaspoons of baking soda with enough water to form a thick paste.
- Apply the paste on the affected lip. Leave it until it dries.
- Rinse it off with cold water and pat your lip dry
- Repeat the application a few times a day.
7. Dab Salt Water Solution
The disinfectant properties of salt can help you heal a swollen lip due to a sore, cuts, or lesions by killing the germs that may lead to an infection.
Salt has chemical properties that contribute to wound healing.
- Dissolve 1 tablespoon of salt in 1 cup of slightly warm water.
- Use a cotton ball to dab the solution gently on the cut. Initially, there will be a stinging sensation, but this remedy will be very useful in healing the cut and bringing down the swelling.
- Do this once or twice a day.
8. Soothe with Tea Tree Oil
Blessed with a host of anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, tea tree oil is an effective ingredient for a swollen lip caused by a cut or a laceration.
- Use a carrier oil such as olive oil or coconut oil to dilute the tea tree oil. Apply it on your lips to retain moisture as well as to disinfect them. Rinse it off after 30 minutes.
- Alternatively, you can mix a few drops of tea tree oil and 1 teaspoon of aloe vera gel. Apply a small amount of this mixture on the lips. Gently massage your lips for a few minutes. Leave it on for 20-30 minutes before rinsing it off. Repeat the application two to three times a day.
- Always dilute tea tree oil.
- Avoid using tea tree oil on children.
- In case of irritation, rinse the affected area immediately.
9. Place a Warm Compress on the Affected Region
Applying a hot compress encourages blood flow to the swollen area and this can aid in reducing the inflammation and pain on the swollen lip.
- Use a heating pad or a washcloth soaked in warm water.
- Apply it over your lip for 10 minutes.
- Repeat the application a few times a day.
For best results, you can alternate the use of cold and hot compresses every 3-4 hours.
10. Try Witch Hazel
The astringent, wound-healing and anti-inflammatory properties of witch hazel make it an ideal remedy to reduce the swelling, soothe the pain, and resolve the lesion that is the cause of your swollen lip.
- Mix 1 tablespoon of witch hazel and a ½ tablespoon of salt.
- Use a cotton ball to apply the mixture on the swollen lip. Let it sit for 30 minutes.
- Rinse the area with cold water and pat your lips dry.
- Repeat the application as needed.
When to See a Doctor
Although most cases of a swollen lip tend to go away on their own, it can also be a symptom of an allergic reaction and requires a proper line of treatment.
A case of a swollen lip triggered by an allergen attack can cause dire consequences if not treated properly. Severe symptoms include hives, sneezing, wheezing, and swelling of the tongue or mouth, which can be a fatal result of an anaphylactic shock.
Such a condition requires an accurate diagnosis to analyze the condition, identify the cause of concern, and prevent future mishappenings.
If you suspect an insect bite or an animal sting, it is best to go for a medical review to avoid any infection.
A slight deformity in the lips can leave you embarrassed of your looks. Swollen lips can be caused by either allergic reactions or minor lacerations and injuries.
Swelling of the lips warrants medical attention if triggered by an allergic reaction to evaluate the underlying cause of concern.
While swelling of the lips is an unpleasant condition, there are several strategies right out of your home that can help you get relief from the discomfort.
Along with these natural treatments, avoid allergy triggers and eat a healthy and balanced diet rich in vitamins to promote healing. If the swelling is recurrent and does not seem to resolve, seek professional help promptly.
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