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Mouth Diseases

Rash-like Miniature Bumps on Lip that Itches

09/19/2011

Question:

For a while my lips have been itchy from my bottom lip on one area and I can tell by looking really closely that I had small tiny bumps. And I also had them on the top lip near my "M" line. They were very itchy at some points and turn red when super irritated. My mouth and lips feel hot sometimes too by the way and im not sure if the bumps are effects of that or if its a bad acid reflux or if the bumps are totally irrelevant which is most likely. Thank you.

Answer:

Without actually seeing what you are referring to, I would consider that you are experiencing some form of contact allergic reaction. The vermillion border (red part of the lips) is what is considered transitional from mucosa to skin, and is susceptible to a number of inflammatory diseases (including contact chelitis) that may be the result of primary irritants or a delayed hypersensitivity reaction.

Depending on where the bumps are occurring,  they may be irritated minor salivary glands or sebaceous glands and may become more pronounced as a result of inflammation due to increased capillary blood flow into the region. One of the reasons the lips are bright red, or in melanin pigmented individuals, dark red, is due to the increased capillary blood supply within the lips.

Have you changed toothpaste? Used lip protection (chap stick) sun screens, face creams, or anything else that may be a new irritant? Do you have a history of herpes infection? The "tiny bumps" could be vesicles and the sensation could be the pre-infection symptoms associated with the disease.

If this problem persists I would strongly suggest that you have your primary care provider or dentist evaluate the situation.

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Response by:

Richard J Jurevic, DDS, PhD Richard J Jurevic, DDS, PhD
Formerly, Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences
School of Dental Medicine
Case Western Reserve University