What are skin tags?
Skin tags are harmless, flesh-colored skin growths that are either round or stalk-shaped. They tend to pop up on your skin in areas with lots of friction. These include your armpit, neck, and groin area.
While skin tags don’t usually grow on your lips, there are several conditions that can make it look like you have a skin tag on your lip. Like skin tags, all of these growths are harmless, but they do have different causes and possible treatments.
What else causes growths on lips?
Filiform warts are long, narrow warts that often have several projections growing from them. They’re very common on the lips, neck, and eyelids. Filiform warts on your lips usually don’t cause any symptoms beyond their appearance.
Filiform warts are caused by human papillomavirus (HPV), which is a viral infection that’s spread through skin-to-skin contact. There are more than 100 strains of HPV, but a handful of them cause filiform warts.
While filiform warts usually go away on their own, there are several treatment options, including:
- curettage, which involves burning the wart through electrocauterization
- cryotherapy, which involves freezing the wart with liquid nitrogen
- excision with a razor
Mollusca are small, shiny bumps that can look like moles, warts, or acne. They’re most common in children under the age of 10, but teenagers and adults can also get them. While they usually grow in folds in your skin, they can also grow on your lips.
Most mollusca have a small dent or dimple in the middle. As they grow, they might form a scab and become irritated. They can also cause eczema in nearby areas, so you may notice a red, itchy rash near your lips as well.
Mollusca are caused by the Molluscum contagiosum virus. It’s spread through direct contact with either these bumps or surfaces they’ve touched, such as towels or clothing.
If you have a healthy immune system, mollusca usually go away on their own within 2 to 3 months. However, new ones may keep popping up for 6 to 18 months.
There are several treatment options that can speed up the healing process, such as:
- oral medications, such as cimetidine
- topical medications, such as podophyllotoxin (Condylox), tretinoin (Refissa), and salicylic acid (Virasal)
If you have mollusca or are in close contact with someone who does, wash your hands often and avoid sharing towels or clothing. This helps to stop the spread of the Molluscum contagiosum virus.
If it feels like you have a skin tag on the inside of your lip, it’s probably a mucous cyst, also called a mucocele. They’re usually caused by an injury, such as a bite to your inner lip. This leads to mucus or saliva collecting in the tissue of your inner lip, which creates a raised bump.
These cysts are most common on the inside of your lower lip, but they can occur in other areas of your mouth, such as your gums.
Most mucous cysts heal on their own. However, if the cysts grow larger or come back, you may need treatment to remove them. Methods for removing mucus cysts include:
- surgical excision
- marsupialization, a process that uses stitches to create an opening to allow the cyst the drain.
Try to avoid biting the inside of your lip to prevent new mucus cysts from forming.
The bottom line
You may have a bump on your lip that looks or feels like a skin tag, but it’s probably a different kind of growth, such as a cyst or wart. Work with your doctor to identify the bump on your lip, and make sure to tell them about any changes in its size, color, or shape. Most of these growths go away on their own, and each have several treatment options if they don’t.