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What Can I Use on a Pimple on My Upper Lip?

author image Brenna Davis
Brenna Davis is a professional writer who covers parenting, pets, health and legal topics. Her articles have appeared in a variety of newspapers and magazines as well as on websites. She is a court-appointed special advocate and is certified in crisis counseling and child and infant nutrition. She holds degrees in developmental psychology and philosophy from Georgia State University.
What Can I Use on a Pimple on My Upper Lip?
Smiling woman. Photo Credit Zoonar RF/Zoonar/Getty Images

A pimple on the upper lip can be unsightly and painful. The lips are among the most sensitive areas of the body, so harsh treatments may cause rashes and skin irritation. Some chemicals that are fine for the face and other areas of the body pose a danger when used on the lips because they may be ingested. To treat a pimple on the upper lip, first determine whether it is a pimple or simply something that looks like one.

Cold Sores

Herpes simplex, common in adults, causes cold sores on the lips. In most cases, this herpes infection is a different strain from genital herpes and unlikely to spread to other areas of the body. If the sore is red, patchy and itchy, it may be a cold sore and not a pimple. Because some cold sore strains can spread to other areas of the body, consult your doctor before beginning home treatment. Depending on the herpes virus you have, he or she may prescribe oral medications or recommend topical treatments. If you have had cold sores before, try an over-the-counter remedy. These treatments typically ease pain and clear up the infection in a few days. Avoid touching the sore or kissing until it is gone.

Lip Line Pimples

Pimples frequently affect the part of the lips where they meet the skin on the face. These pimples are similar to other acne and can be treated with acne remedies. Apply a dab of salicylic acid to the head of the pimple every night. Place a bandage over the sore to ensure you do not lick the treatment in your sleep. If your lips become dry and irritated, stop home treatment and see your doctor.

Lip Pimples

A pimple directly on the lips that does not touch the skin on the face is more challenging to treat. It is unsafe to use acne remedies on these pimples because the lips will quickly become inflamed and it is difficult to avoid ingesting the treatment. Instead, try using hot compresses to relieve swelling. Also, try a dab of toothpaste on the pimple. This can help draw out the infection and is not harmful if swallowed.


Once a person has developed the herpes virus that causes cold sores, it is difficult to prevent reinfection. But oral antivirals may help. Your doctor might prescribe these if you have frequent, painful outbreaks. Lip pimples can be prevented with proper skin care. Ensure you remove all makeup and cosmetics around your lips, because it's easy to neglect this area while washing your face. Avoid overusing lip balms, which may clog the pores around the lips.

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