Treat Acne Around the Lips Fast

Many adults and teenagers suffer from acne. Pimples and breakouts around your lips and mouth can be a particularly tricky problem to fix. You may be wary of putting creams or facial washes so close to your mouth. With the advice on this list, you can proactively treat acne around your lips in a safe and effective way.


Quick Remedies for Acne Around the Lips

  1. Use benzoyl peroxide. This is considered a very effective acne treatment. It works by killing any bacteria in the area and can clear up pimples quickly. This is an OTC product and should be easily available at drug stores.[1]
    • Be cautious when applying this around your mouth. If your acne is directly on your lips, you may want to forgo this treatment and use some of the non-chemical treatments below.
    • Call your doctor if you develop a rash, itching, blisters, burning sensation, redness, or swelling.
    • Benzoyl peroxide may cause dryness or peeling
    • Strength ranges from 2.5% to 10% benzoyl peroxide. Start with the lowest strength and work your way up if needed.[2]
  2. Hold ice on your pimples. Ice helps fight the inflammation and redness from acne. It also constricts the blood vessels, which can force out some of the oil and bacteria and speed up recovery.
    • Wrap an ice cube in a towel or napkin and apply it to the affected area. Remove it after a few seconds.
    • Wait a few minutes and repeat. Go through the process a few times.
    • Repeat this treatment several times daily for maximum effect.[3]
  3. Apply lemon juice to the pimple. The acidity of lemon juice will simultaneously kill bacteria and dry out the pimple. Dip a sterile cotton swab in the juice and apply it to your pimple before bedtime.[3]
    • Make sure you use freshly squeezed lemon juice. Bottled juice may contain preservatives that can irritate your skin.

Preventative Treatments for Acne Around the Lips

  1. Stop using lip balm/gloss. There are many ways that these products can cause and exacerbate acne around the lips.[4]
    • The wax from lip balm clogs your pores. This traps dirt and bacteria, causing pimples to form.
    • The fragrances in these products can stimulate sebum production. The increase of oil and sebum, coupled with clogged pores, is a good recipe for an acne breakout.
    • The lip balm may spread the bacteria that causes pimples. If this happens, you are re-infecting yourself every time you use it.
    • If you can't stop completely, use a fragrance-free product instead. This will still clog your pores but won't stimulate sebum production.
  2. Wipe your mouth after eating and drinking. Crumbs or food residue left around your mouth is a feeding ground for bacteria, and may cause breakouts.[5]
  3. Use a flavor and fragrance-free toothpaste. Just like with flavored lip balm, chemical flavoring in toothpaste can irritate the skin and increase sebum production. Some fragrance-free toothpaste brands are Burt's Bees, Biotene, Sensodyne, and Tom's of Maine.[4]
  4. Drink more water. This can help flush out your system and cleanse your skin from the inside out. Increase the amount of water you drink to help reduce acne overall.[6]

Treating Acne with a Prescription

  1. Visit the doctor. If acne around your mouth is a persistent problem you can't shake, you should visit your doctor or dermatologist. There are a multitude of prescription treatments that they may suggest to help.
  2. Use creams containing retinoids. Retinoids, derived from vitamin A, help unplug follicles and pores. This can get rid of existing pimples and stop new ones from forming. They can also cut down on the inflammation from acne. As an added bonus, these creams can also help fight wrinkles. Some prescription retinoids are Retin-A, Differin, and Tazorac.[7][8][9][10][11]
  3. Use topical antibiotics. These creams help kill bacteria that causes pimples and can also cut down on inflammation. Some common creams doctors and dermatologists prescribe are erythromycin, metronidazole, and clindamycin.[12]
  4. Take oral antibiotics. It may not be possible to apply topical treatments to acne so close to your mouth. Oral antibiotics may help because they work systemically. Your doctor may prescribe a prescription antibiotic. These can act as an anti-inflammatory, cutting down inflammation and killing bacteria that causes pimples.[8]
  5. Ask your doctor about hormone treatments. Often, acne in adults is caused by fluctuating hormone levels. If this is the case with you, your doctor may prescribe an oral treatment to help bring your hormones back into balance.[13]


  • Make sure new face washes you are buying are gentle, hypo-allergenic, and correspond to your skin type. Ex. Don't use a face wash for oily skin if you have dry skin and vice versa.
  • Be patient. There is no magic cure for acne. Making some manageable lifestyle changes, however, can lead to huge results over time.
  • Try not to touch your face with your hands. This can make acne worse by exposing your skin to oil and dirt on your hands.
  • Don't stress too much about it- stress may only cause more acne.
  • You might want to see your doctor. Pimples can be commonly mistaken and could actually be signs of a more serious skin lesion such as cold sores.


  • Do not pick at your acne. This will irritate your skin further and can even cause a serious infection.
  • Try not to use multiple facial scrubs or washes at the same time, as this may only irritate your skin further.
  • Make sure you follow any directions from your doctor for prescription medication.

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