You may have experienced swollen lip upon waking up at some point of time in your life. There are multiple reasons for a swollen lip ranging from trauma to allergies. There are many home remedies available that can relieve the swelling of the lip.

What Are the Causes of Swollen Lip?

When you woke up with swollen lip, you often wonder about the causes. Compare the information below with your symptoms to determine the cause:

1. Pimples and Acne: Swollen lips may occur as a result of pimples and acne. This especially happens if you are suffering from cystic acne which is quite painful and the lesions are larger than regular acne.

2. Allergies: Allergic reaction to some allergen is one of the most common causes of lip swelling. An allergic reaction can be triggered by nuts, cow’s milk, dairy products, soy, wheat, jalapeno peppers, pollen, shellfish, ant bites, dust, bee stings, medicines, latex ,etc. If swollen lips are associated with other symptoms of anaphylactic shock such as low blood pressure, increased heart rate, fainting etc., immediate medical attention is required.

3. Angioedema: It is characterized by accumulation of blood and fluid in the deeper layers of the skin, resulting in inflammation of the tissues. Usually lips and eyes are affected by angioedema. The trigger is an allergic reaction to animal dander, pet hair, insect bites, extremes of temperatures etc. It may also present as a hereditary disorder, which is quite rare.

4. Cheilitis: Cheilitis is an inflammatory disease of the lips or corner of the mouth, which is caused as a result of increased lymphatic spaces between the tissues. This leads to lymphedema, causing considerable swelling of lips.

5. Cold Sores/Oral Herpes: Due to infection with herpes simplex virus, swollen, red blisters and sores are formed on and around the skin of the lips along with swelling of the lips. These sores burst and ooze clear liquid, later turning into scabs. Treatment is to take antiviral drugs.

6. Embouchure Collapse: This is a common reason of woke up with swollen lip in individuals who play musical instruments including trumpet, flute, horn etc. The continuous pressure that the lips put on the mouthpiece of the instrument results in overuse of the lips muscles leading to swelling of lips.

7. Focal Dystonia: It is a neurological disorder affecting the muscles of the face. It results in inducing involuntary contractions and abnormal postures in the muscles. This could lead to appearance of swollen lips. The exact cause of focal dystonia is unknown. The management of the condition includes injecting botox injections into the lips. No permanent cure is present for the problem.

8. Facial Cellulitis: Cellulitis is characterized by inflammation of the body tissues; hence, facial cellulitis is characterized by inflammation of facial tissues. Any part of the face can be affected including the lips.

9. Sunburn: Lips can also develop sunburn just like any other area of the body. This is caused as a result of excessive exposure to the sun and can lead to swollen lips. In the majority of the cases, sunburn on lips heals by itself within a few days; however, you can apply petroleum jelly to moisten your lips and avoid peeling.

10. Dental infections: Any infection of the gums or tooth can result in an inflammatory response and can cause lip swelling.

11. Lip Cancer: Lip cancer can develop due to either excessive exposure to UV rays of the sun or due to metastasis from other parts of the body and can present itself as swelling of the lips.

12. Melkersson-Rosenthal Syndrome: It is a type of neurological disorder that is characterized by symptoms of paralysis of the face, swelling of the lips and formation of folds and furrows in the tongue. The cause of this disorder is not known.

13. Bruising: Swelling of the lips can be caused due to eating very hot food (the lips can get burned), bruising as a result of use of braces, or due to undergoing cosmetic enhancement on the lips.

14. Medications: Lip swelling may be induced by certain medications such as NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) and ace inhibitors.

15. Herpangina: Also known as mouth blisters, it is caused due to coxsackieviruses. The symptoms include sore throat, fever, swelling of face, tongue pain, oral ulcers etc. Analgesics and anti-inflammatory medicines are used to treat it.

16. Other Causes: These include minor events such as biting the lips, sleeping with face down in bed (which exerts much pressure on lips), a reaction to cosmetics or chapped lips.

How to Treat a Swollen Lip


Medical treatment: Medical treatment depends upon the cause of the swelling of the lips. Antihistamines are used to treat allergic swellings. Swellings due to inflammation are treated by giving anti-inflammatory medicines including corticosteroids. Antiviral and antibacterial drugs are used to treat viral and bacterial infections respectively.


Home Remedies: There are various home remedies that you can use when you woke up with swollen lip:

  • Cold Compress: You should immediately apply a cold compress on the affected area.

  • Aloe Vera: Massage fresh aloe vera gel on the affected area gently. It will help relieve the burning sensation and swelling.

  • Black tea bag: Place a black tea bag in some warm water for around 10 minutes. Remove and let it cool. Then apply it to the area for 10 minutes.

  • Honey: Apply honey on the swollen lips for 20 minutes before rinsing it off with cold water. Do this 2 or 3 times a day.

  • Turmeric: Mix some fuller’s earth with a teaspoon of turmeric powder and some cold water to create a paste. Apply it on the swollen lip, when it dries, wash with lukewarm water. Use 2 times a day.

  • Baking soda: Using baking soda is ideal for swelling of lips as a result of insect bites, allergy, and fever blisters. Mix 3 tsp of baking soda with 1 tsp of water and make a paste. Apply on the affected area and rinse with cold water after a few minutes. Repeat a couple of times daily.

Warning: If you experience other systemic symptoms along with swelling of lips such as increased heart rate, low blood pressure, swelling of tongue and throat etc, then it is recommended to visit a physician immediately.


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