Ah, mouth pimples. Those super-annoying little whiteheads that pop up (without paying any rent!) and make your mouth look like you’ve been smooching a cactus. I won’t deny I’ve had a few in my life (and those few cost me a second date!) because they were so, well, icky.
Acne around mouth area is some of the hardest to treat. It’s not because they’re deep—they don’t tend to be—but it’s a very sensitive area of your face, and close to your lips. You don’t want to be putting spot treatments so close to your lips, where they could be ingested!
How to get rid of lip acne is easy if you know what to do, but let’s rewind for a sec.
How does lip acne even get started?
In order to get rid of acne around mouth, we need to look at all possible causes of these breakouts.
The skin is slightly different in this area. It’s not as oily as your t-zone or the area near your nose—this is our first clue about how these breakouts start. Because it’s a less oily area, it’s less likely that breakouts are going to happen for internal reasons.
Most of the causes of whiteheads around lips are external—that is, caused by influences in our environment. We’ll pinpoint these causes below, and if any of them ring a bell—that might be why you’ve got lip acne.
At least one of these should come in handy in your quest to figure out how to get rid of pimples around mouth!
1. Lip Balms and Lipsticks
While lip balms go a long way towards keeping lips looking moisturized and healthy, they're often the culprit for a lot of pimples near lips.
Well, lip balms, in particular, are often formulated with a lot of very rich occlusive and moisturizing ingredients. While these work great on lips for locking in moisture, they tend to have a high comedogenic rating for skin—especially the sensitive skin around your mouth.
The comedogenic rating is basically a scale that explains how likely an ingredient is to create a clog (comedone) in the skin. Comedogenic ingredients that tend to pop up in balms and lipsticks are coconut oil, lanolin, and beeswax.
If you’re thinking, “Wait, but how does it get from my lips to around my mouth?!” there are plenty of opportunities for the product to travel.
Clear lip balms transfer quite easily (and invisibly), and breakout-causing ingredients in lipsticks can easily come in contact with skin.
Your best bet is to swap to something that has a single ingredient for a while and see if your breakouts go away.
This is one that you might not even think of as causing acne around mouth, but it's a low-key acne-trigger.
The thing is, toothpaste is kind of irritating to some peoples’ skin (no, I’m not saying that you need to skip out on good oral hygiene!) That’s thanks to an ingredient that is in almost every personal care product that we want to be foamy—sodium lauryl sulfate.
This isn’t the case for everyone, but if you check your toothpaste tube and those pesky three words pop up, it’s worth swapping out your toothpaste for an SLS-free kind.
In addition, it might help to ensure that any and all toothpaste is rinsed away from your mouth and lips after brushing your teeth, not just wiped off.
Rinsing it away properly gives your skin the best chance of being acne-free!
3. Constantly Touching Your Mouth
This is a huge pet peeve of mine, but do you know how easily germs can travel from the things you touch to your mouth just by putting your chin in your hands?
Spoiler alert, it’s a lot.
It’s more than just good hygiene to prevent the spread of the cold—it could be a matter of whether or not you have acne around your mouth.
A study done in the United Kingdom found that people touched their mouths around 23.6 times an hour when at work—and imagine all the stuff that they’re touching in between that.
Dirty keyboards, bathroom door handles, their phones—and all of that is ending up near your mouth, possibly causing your breakouts. So, perhaps it’s time to break that habit?
4. Playing an Instrument
All the musicians out there might be sad to read this one, but it’s true—especially for two major instrument groups.
If you play the violin or viola and always have acne where your chin rest goes, it’s unlikely it’s a coincidence. After enough time, there’s probably a good accumulation of sebum, bacteria, and dead skin cells on your chin rest.
Wiping it with an antibacterial wipe after every session is the best way to go to prevent any breakouts so you can keep playing your instrument with a good conscience!
The other instrument group is the brass instruments. I mean, you can see how it happens, right? Whiteheads around lips can be caused by the constant contact in the mouthpiece to the skin (along with saliva and any sebum buildup).
Fellow musicians recommend thoroughly washing out the mouthpiece before and after every session with hot, soapy water and even rubbing alcohol if you’re so inclined to stop that pimple-on-mouth issue.
5. Shaving Razors
Ok, this is one for the guys out there. First, ensuring that you have a clean razor will go a long way to ensuring that you don't have any whiteheads around mouth. Shaving with a razor that's past its replacement date means it's both too blunt and too full of dead skin cells that you can't see.
Those pesky dead skin cells are reintroduced back to your skin when you shave with a dirty razor, clogging pores that could lead to pimples. No thank you!
Doing a checklist of all of these is a great start to getting rid of pimples above lip. However, they're not the be all end all to getting rid of pimples near lips!
So, how to get rid of acne around mouth?
Well, at the end of it, a good skincare routine is the most solid foundation for getting clear skin, once and for all.
How to Get Rid of Mouth Pimples, Once and For All
The ideal skincare routine to help get rid of pimple-above-lip problems includes washing your face with a cleanser, then exfoliating the area with a salicylic acid product before using a moisturizer.
Salicylic acid helps to decongest pores for clear skin, ensuring that breakouts don't crop up again.
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