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How to Treat a Swollen Lip

Reshma Jirage
The causes of lip swelling could range from trauma and contact dermatitis to allergic reactions to certain medical conditions. The treatment options would vary depending upon the underlying cause.
Lips need proper care as they are one of the most delicate parts of your body. The outermost layer of the lips is thinner than the skin on the rest of your body. This makes them very sensitive. Trauma, exposure to an allergen, or an irritant can cause lips to swell up. The course of treatment depends upon the underlying condition.
Since lip swelling could be a sign of a medical condition, it would be best to consult a doctor in order to identify the underlying cause. Drug therapy, dietary modification and other lifestyle-related changes will certainly help. Here are a few self-care measures that you could follow.

Self-care Measures

Cold and Hot Compress

Take some ice cubes and wrap them in a towel. Pat this cold compress on the swollen lip. Otherwise, keep a spoon in the freezer for some time and gently press it on the lips. You can also try hot packs. Hold a towel dipped in warm water for 10-15 minutes on the lips. Heat reduces the accumulation of blood in the swollen area and thus decreases the swelling. These remedies are useful if the swelling is due to an injury.

Salt and Witch Hazel

A mixture of witch hazel extracts and salt in a 2:1 ratio is pretty effective in bringing any kind of topical swelling down. This mixture must stay on the lips for about 15-20 minutes, and should be washed off with cold water thereafter.


Another useful remedy is to apply a mixture of turmeric powder, Fuller's earth, and water. Fuller's earth possesses cooling properties, which help reduce swelling. You can also mix a few drops of organic honey to this mixture, to prevent turmeric and Fuller's earth from drying out your lips.

Tea Bag

Application of a tea bag to a swollen lip is another effective remedy. Immerse a tea bag in warm water for a few minutes. Remove the tea bag and allow it to cool down. Place it on the lips for a few minutes. This will help to reduce the swelling. Apply a medicated lip balm in order to prevent dryness.

Aloe Vera and Tea Tree Oil

A mixture of clear aloe vera gel and tea tree oil, in a 2:1 ratio, helps soothe dermal inflammation of any kind and, as such, is helpful in managing swelling of the lips too. Apply this paste on the swollen lips and let it dry. Thereafter, wash it off with cold water. You may repeat this procedure a couple of times a day if the swelling does not subside.


Potato can also help in reducing swelling. Grate a potato and squeeze out the juice. Apply this juice on the swelling. It will also relieve you from inflammation and will provide a cooling effect.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is known for its amazing property of curing skin damage. It also prevents the skin from excess dryness, inflammation and swelling. Apply a layer of coconut oil on your lips three to four times a day.

Baking Soda

If the swelling is a result of insect sting then baking soda will be helpful in reducing inflammation, swelling, and pain. Just mix 3 tsp of baking soda in 1 tsp of water and apply the paste several times a day, till the swelling subsides.

Salt Water

If the swelling is due to any lip injury, then applying warm salt solution may help in reducing the swelling. Just mix 1 tbsp in a cup of water and apply the solution several times a day with the help of a cotton ball. It might cause burning sensation but will heal the wound faster.

Other Measures

  • If the swelling of the lip is due to food allergies, then identify the foods responsible for the allergies and avoid eating those foods. Avoid exposure to allergens as much as possible. 
  • Make sure that lip balms and lipsticks don't cause allergic reactions. In case of an allergic reaction, you may be prescribed an anti-histamine or anti-allergic medication by your physician.
  • In addition to the above, drink adequate amount of water to prevent dryness and keep the lips moisturized.
  • Have a balanced and healthy diet to avoid nutritional deficiencies. Your diet should be rich in vitamins, especially vitamin B and C. Vitamin C plays a major role in treating bruised tissues and reducing swelling.
  • If the reason behind swelling of the lips is some other underlying health issue, such as an infection of the salivary glands, hypopituitarism, etc., treatment for these underlying conditions will automatically take care of the inflammation.

Major Causes

  • Swelling of lips is mainly caused due to an allergic reaction to certain food substances, pollen, or any other allergen in the environment. Various allergens such as pollen, dust, animal fur, or industrial/pathological contaminants can cause lips to swell up. 
  • The allergic reaction generally begins with a tingling sensation and then leads to swelling. The swelling may persist for several hours. Food allergies (especially, pertaining to nuts and shellfish) can cause swelling of the lips and tongue, along with other symptoms such as itchiness along the lips and rash around the mouth.
  • Lip swelling can also result from bites and stings of insects like bees, hornets, wasps, ants, etc. Here also, the mechanism is similar to an allergic reaction, only here, the insect venom acts as the allergen.
  • Swelling of lips can be a side effect of certain drugs and medications.
  • Certain medical conditions such as Crohn's disease, glucagonoma, myxedema, psoriasis, eczema, and hereditary angioedema could cause lip swelling.
  • Acromegaly is a medical condition that causes the skin on the face, hands, or feet to thicken or swell up. It may cause swelling, scaling and bleeding of lips as well as a change in texture and color of the lips.
  • Vitamin B deficiency can cause swelling on the corners of lips. The person finds it difficult to open his mouth.
  • Viral infections, such as oral herpes, can also lead to swelling and blister on the lips.
  • Another important cause is trauma or injury to lips.
The best way to keep your lips from swelling up is to take good care of them. Do not consume food items which you are allergic to. Keep dead skin off your lips by lightly scrubbing them at least twice a week using a mild, natural ingredient such as cornflour or a lemon juice-sugar pack.

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Make sure to apply a rich moisturizer each time you scrub to keep your lips from getting dry and cracked. Use a light, mild lip balm on a daily basis to keep your lips soft and supple, so that nothing comes between your smile and the rest of the world.
Disclaimer: This story is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.