Puckered lips look very attractive but sporting an unnaturally swollen lip can draw unwanted attention.
Apart from being embarrassing and painful, a swollen or fat lip can make it difficult to eat, drink, talk, or even open your mouth.
Swollen lips occur due to a number of reasons but if the swollen lips are due to injury, it may even result in splitting of the lip’s skin and bleeding.
With the lips being a central feature of one’s face, it’s understandable to want to get rid of swollen lips as quickly as possible. In medical terms, this condition is angioedema of the mouth.
- Causes and Symptoms of Swollen Lips
- Home Remedies to Treat Swollen Lips
- Method 1: Cold Compress
- Method 2: Tea Bags
- Method 3: Warm Salt Water
- Method 4: Cold Spoon
- Tips to get rid of swollen lips
Causes and Symptoms of Swollen Lips
Some people assume that swollen lips are the result of trauma from a fight. But more often than not, it’s due to an injury, health condition or various other reasons. Some common causes and symptoms are listed below. (1)
- An allergic reaction: Low-quality cosmetics, latex, pollen, dust, pet dander or even an insect bite can trigger angioedema, causing the lower layer of the skin to swell up.
- A physical injury or an infection at the site of the injury can make the lips swell up.
- Viral Infection: Herpes, chicken pox and measles are viral infections that cause inflammation or blisters on the lips.
- Nutrient deficiency: Lack of vitamin B in the body can make lips swollen, cracked, scaly or covered with red spots.
- Extreme temperatures: Swelling can also be a defense mechanism of the lips against extreme temperature changes.
- Medication exposure: This isn’t a true allergic reaction, but instead, medications such as blood pressure medications cause an accumulation of excessive fluid in the lips.
Home Remedies to Treat Swollen Lips
If you are embarrassed or frustrated with your enlarged lips, have no fear. You can treat it at home with these four simple remedies. While these remedies will not treat the medical condition causing the swelling, they may provide temporary relief from pain and swelling.
Method 1: Cold Compress
Pressing a cold compress made with ice against swollen lips is the most basic and easy remedy. The cold temperature helps bring down the swelling and also temporarily numbs the area, relieving any pain. (2)
If the swollen lip is due to an injury, a cold compress will also help slow internal bleeding by constricting the blood vessels. You can also use a cold compress to get rid of itchy eyes and treat bee stings.
Single-Step Treatment: Apply a cold compress 3 or 4 times daily
- Place a handful of ice cubes on a clean, cotton cloth.
- Bundle it up and press it against the swollen area for 5 minutes.
- Remove the ice compress for at least 1 minute or until your lips feel comfortable again, then repeat.
- The compress should give you some immediate relief. Repeat 3 or 4 times daily for 1 or 2 days.
- In case of injury, follow this with warm salt water treatment as described in Method 3.
Method 2: Tea Bags
Both black and green tea are loaded with tannins. These tannins have astringent properties that help reduce pain and swelling in soft tissue, including that of the lips. Due to their anti-inflammatory properties green tea bags provide some relief in the case of insect stings as well. (3)
Single-Step Treatment: Apply a used tea bag 4 or 5 times a day
- Place a tea bag in warm water for 10 minutes.
- Remove the tea bag and wring out the excess water. Allow it to cool for a few minutes.
- Place the tea bag over your swollen lips for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Repeat 4 or 5 times a day to reduce the swelling. Continue using the remedy until the swelling is completely gone.
Method 3: Warm Salt Water
Warm salt water can also be used to get rid of swollen lips, especially if the swelling is due to an infected cut. Salt is a natural antiseptic that can clean the area of any bacteria, and the warmth of the saline solution will reduce the pain.
Step 1: Mix salt and warm water
- Add 1 teaspoon of salt to 1 cup of warm water and mix it well.
Step 2: Soak a cotton ball in the solution and apply on your swollen lips
- Soak a cotton ball in the saline water and dab it over your swollen lips. It may sting a little, but be a little patient. The salt water will speed up the healing process.
- Use this remedy 1 or 2 times daily until the swelling comes down and the cut, if any, is healed.
Method 4: Cold Spoon
A cold spoon is another convenient way of applying a cold compress to get rid of swollen lips. You can also use it to get rid of a black eye. For this remedy, dunk 2 spoons in ice water to have a steady supply of cold spoons. Alternatively, you can also use a clean bag of frozen peas.
Single-Step Treatment: Press a cold spoon against the lips 3 or 4 times daily
- Gently press a cold spoon against the swollen lips for 10 to 15 minutes.
- When the spoon gets warm, replace it with a fresh cold spoon.
- Similar to the ice compress, the temperature of the cold spoon will give you immediate relief from the soreness.
Repeat 3 or 4 times daily until the swelling subsides.
Tips to get rid of swollen lips
- You can also make a paste of 1 tablespoon of Fuller’s earth with a pinch of turmeric powder and cold water. Apply it as a poultice over the swollen lips. Allow it to dry completely, then wash it off with warm water. Repeat 2 times daily until the swelling is gone.
- You can also apply fresh aloe vera gel on a swollen lip if it due to an insect bite. The cooling effect of aloe vera will provide relief from the pain and burning.
- Tarbox JA. Angioedema. JAMA. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2681197. Published May 15, 2018.
- King M. Management of Edema. The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5300735/. Published January 1, 2017.
- Sabu M Chacko, Priya T Thambi, Ramadasan Kuttan, Ikuo Nishigaki. Beneficial effects of green tea: A literature review. Chinese Medicine. https://cmjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1749-8546-5-13. Published April 6, 2010.