Zocdoc Answers

Medical questions & health advice by licensed doctors

"Why do white spots sometimes form on the upper lip?"

ZocdocAnswersWhy do white spots sometimes form on the upper lip?


I'm a guy in my 40s and I'm trying to figure out why I get white spots forming on my upper lip periodically. They aren't like bumps or growths or anything, they don't hurt or itch or anything, excpt when I pick at them. Is this a problem or just something I should ignore?


Concerns about the skin are some of the most common reasons for people to seek medical advice. The doctors who will be well qualified to discuss this issue with you include your primary care doctor or your dermatologist. The most likely cause of your condition, if the spots are not raised, bumpy, or painful, is something called Fordyce spots. These are small, normal oil glands that are commonly found in some people in the colored portion of the lip tissue. Although not everyone has them, they are a normal variant which does not represent a disease or infection. They should be left alone, as picking them may result in scarring or inflammation or infection. if the spots you notice are raised, blisterlike, or painful, which it doesn't sound like they are, then another possibility would be oral herpes. Additionally, sometimes small trauma to the lips, such as from biting, will result is little whitish areas of healing tissue which should clear up without any treatment. As always the diagnosis and the management of your particular skin concern will require a physical examination by your personal physician. Scheduling an office visit with your primary care doctor might be indicated.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.