Pimples, also called pustules, are a type of acne. They can develop just about anywhere on the body, including along your lip line.

These red bumps with a white center form when clogged hair follicles become inflamed. Pimples can become infected when bacteria get inside. This is more likely to happen if you pick at or pop a pimple, which can damage the skin. An infection can cause redness and swelling and may be warm to the touch.

Popping or squeezing a pimple can also make your skin take longer to heal and lead to scarring, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. This is why learning how to get rid of a pimple on the lip the right way is important.

To reduce your risk of damaging your skin and lips, here’s how to get rid of a pimple on your lip safely, including home remedies and medical treatments.

OTC soaps and creams

There are a number of over-the-counter (OTC) soaps and creams made to treat pimples. Use a mild alcohol-free cleanser twice per day and avoid astringents and exfoliants that can dry out and irritate your skin.

The same applies when it comes to skin creams — the gentler the better. Look for moisturizers made for acne-prone skin.

Hot or cold compress

Applying cold to a lip pimple can help relieve swelling and redness — and make your pimple less noticeable. Cold is also an effective way to relieve pain.

Hold a cold compress against your pimple for one minute twice a day to help reduce inflammation. Repeat as needed if your pimple is painful.

A heating compress applied twice a day can help draw out the oil or debris that’s clogging the follicle. If infected, the compress can also help drain the pus, which will reduce pain and redness.

Castor oil

Castor oil offers several health benefits that may help get rid of lip pimples. It’s a natural moisturizer and contains ricinoleic acid, which has anti-inflammatory properties. A 2015 study found that gel containing ricinoleic acid applied to the skin significantly reduced inflammation and pain.

Castor oil is also used in wound healing because of its ability to stimulate the growth of new tissue and prevent the buildup of dead skin cells. In theory, all of these things may be beneficial in the treatment of pustules.

Benzoyl peroxide

Benzoyl peroxide is a popular acne treatment that works by killing the bacteria that cause acne. It’s available without a prescription in different types of products like cleansers, gels, creams, and facial wipes. Using these products as directed — usually twice per day — can help control acne and prevent future breakouts.

Lemon juice

Lemon juice is a popular home remedy for a number of ailments, including acne. Lemons contain antioxidants and ascorbic acid, which is a form of vitamin C.

The antibacterial properties of vitamin C could be good for your skin, but there’s no scientific evidence to support lemon juice as a safe or effective remedy for pimples.

Citrus juice contains acids that can dry out and irritate the skin, and cause eye irritation. If you’d like to give it a try, use your clean finger or a cotton swab to dab some on the skin.

Turmeric paste

Turmeric contains curcumin, which is responsible for its color, as well as its many health benefits. Curcumin has been found to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties effective in treating various skin conditions such as psoriasis. Since pustules are an inflammatory type of acne, applying turmeric to your pimple may help.

To use turmeric, make a paste by adding some water to turmeric powder. Apply it over a pimple and leave it for a few minutes then rinse with warm water and pat dry. Repeat twice per day.

Honey

According to research, honey from various sources has been found to have antimicrobial properties that may be beneficial in treating certain skin conditions. In vitro studies have found it has antimicrobial effects against some of the bacteria responsible for acne.

To use honey to get rid of a lip pimple on your lip:

  1. Dip a small spoon or your clean finger in honey.
  2. Apply the honey to your pimple and leave it on.
  3. Reapply two or three times per day.

Tomato

Tomatoes contain salicylic acid, which is a popular and effective acne treatment. Salicylic acid works by suppressing the bacteria that cause acne and unclogging pores.

A number of OTC products contain salicylic acid for treating pimples, but tomatoes may offer an inexpensive and natural alternative. To use tomato on lip pimples:

  1. Cut an organic tomato into small pieces and mash with a fork.
  2. Apply a small amount of the pulp to your pimple.
  3. Rinse off with warm water after 10 minutes.
  4. Repeat two or three times per day.

Tea tree oil

Tea tree oil is known for its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. It’s a popular home remedy used to treat a number of skin conditions. There’s scientific evidence to back its effectiveness on acne.

Topical tea tree oil is generally safe when used as directed. If you have sensitive skin or are worried about an allergic reaction, test the oil on a small part of your arm before applying near your lip.

Toothpaste

People swear by the ability of toothpaste to shrink and dry out pimples quickly when applied before bed, but it’s not without risks.

Toothpaste contains ingredients known to be drying, such as hydrogen peroxide and alcohol. The menthol that gives you fresh breath can also have a cooling effect on skin and temporarily relieve pain. That’s where the benefits of this remedy end.

Toothpaste applied to the skin can cause irritation and dryness, which could cause more acne. Experts recommend other at-home and medical treatments instead of toothpaste for acne.

Medical treatments

If you’re prone to breakouts and regularly get pimples on your lip, you may want to speak to a doctor about medical treatments, such as:

  • Topical medication. Medication that you apply to the skin is the most commonly prescribed treatment for pimples. These include retinoids, salicylic and azelaic acid, and antibiotics.
  • Oral medications. Moderate to severe acne sometimes requires oral medications, such as antibiotics or hormone therapies. Isotretinoin is reserved for severe acne that doesn’t respond to other treatments because of its potentially serious side effects.
  • Other medical treatments. Laser therapy, chemical peels, and extraction of pimples are therapies performed by a licensed dermatologist.

Pimples on the lip line can be caused by excess oil production, bacteria, and hair follicles that’re clogged by oil, dead skin, and debris. Stress, hormones, and certain medications can increase your risk of pimples and worsen acne.

There are reports of people developing acne around the lips after repetitive use of lip balm and petroleum jelly. Though generally safe, excessive use of any product could potentially clog pores and cause pimples on the lip line.

The following are ways to prevent lip pimples:

  • keep your skin clean by washing twice per day
  • use mild soaps and creams
  • avoid irritants and harsh products
  • avoid scrubbing your skin
  • wash off lipstick and other makeup before bed
  • avoid touching your face too often
  • don’t pop, squeeze, or pick at pimples

You should be able to get rid of an occasional pimple on the lip with home treatment. Keeping your skin clean and moisturized and avoiding stress can help prevent pimples.

See a doctor if you have regular breakouts or experience symptoms of infection, such as pain, swelling, and fever. You may need medical acne treatment.