Small, White Bumps on the Lip

If you pull your lip tight, some people will notice small, white bump on lips. What kind of dots are these and are they harmful? Can you also find them in other places of your body?

white bump on lips


Fordyce spots or spots from Fordyce

If you are sure that you have no ulcers or STDs, then you probably have Fordyce spots, also called the spots of Fordyce. The name Fordyce is the name of the doctor who first described this condition. Often having Fordyce spots is related to your hormone balance. The bumps are harmless.

What are Fordyce spots?

Fordyce spots look like very small bumps, often yellow or white. They are enlarged sebaceous glands of the skin.

Where can you have Fordyce spots?

  • On your lower or upper lip
  • On the mucous membrane on the inside of the cheek
  • For women: on the labia
  • For men: on the penis or the ball bags
  • Less often: around the mouth, or under the armpit

Can you handle Fordyce spots?

There is no treatment for Fordyce spots. You can't do anything about spreading it either. You can grow over the Fordyce spots; these will then decrease over the years. Sometimes irritation from a shaver or razor blade is seen as the cause of the Fordyce spots. You could then consider shaving more gently around the area where you have the spots.

If you really suffer from the spots - in appearance, since the spots do not cause any further irritation - you can request a treatment with a fractionated CO2 laser. However, this is not often done. The laser treatment is primarily for reducing, for example, scars. Another means for possible treatment is Tretinoin gel.

Possible other causes

If you cannot find yourself in the description (s) above, it may be that the bumps in your lip are slightly different. Below you will find some other possible causes.


A aft is a (very) painful area, often on the lips and / or gums. The bumps differ in size. The difference with Fordyce spots is that ulcers are painful and burning. Canker sores heal automatically.

On your lower lip, on the inside, they are not called spots. Then it is often mouth ulcers and slightly larger than the small bumps that we call Fordyce spots


Herpes can cause a rash on your lips and genitals. The difference with Fordyce spots is that the skin around the Herpes is often irritated and red, and the bumps are on average larger. Genital warts can also be a cause of bumps around the sex. If in doubt, you can visit a doctor.

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