ZocdocAnswersWhat is on my lip?

Question

What is on my lip?

I had a little blackhead under the corner of my lip that I squeezed out and it seemed to completely go away for a few days, then some kind of lump started growing under the skin there, now it's large and hard and hurts if I touch it, what is this thing?

Answer

What you seem to be describing is a different phase of a comedone (a pimple), although it's difficult to tell completely from your description. Every pimple undergoes different stages in its life cycle, beginning when a small opening in your skin (a follicle) becomes obstructed with skin material that can be infected with bacteria. As this happens, the body sends infection fighting cells to the area to remove the bacteria, which results in inflammation. All of this results in the normal pimple that we all know, which evolves from an obstructed follicle, to a whitehead, to a blackhead, and finally to an inflammatory lesion in the area surrounding the original obstruction. This final inflammatory response consists of all of the increased redness and infection fighting cells that your body had sent originally, which are designed to create more inflammation. Unfortunately, all that inflammation results in an unsightly redness larger and more annoying than the original pimple. It then takes some time to heal, as your body slowly relaxes from the response it had originally had to the obstructed skin follicle. So what can be done? There are many over the counter face washes that can help to reduce the debris and bacteria that cause pimples. Your physician can offer other remedies as well, such as systemic antibiotics and creams that can help the skin to develop in a more pimple-free manner. In the meantime, there is not much that can be done about the original reaction. If it persists for longer than a few days, or you have more symptoms than what you are describing, see a doctor to make sure that it is just a resolving pimple. Any growth that doesn't resolve quickly should be seen by a physician. And, if it helps, all of us have had the same thing at some point in our life.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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