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Noticed small white lumps on upper lips. Is this an allergic reaction to cigarettes?

Answered by
Dr. Raju A.T

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :2008

Answered : 3829 Questions

Posted on Tue, 18 Dec 2012 in Asthma and Allergy
Question: little white pin head lumps on my upper lips and they seem to pop out if i smoke a cigarette. is this an allergic reaction or some kind of chemical reaction to cigarettes. its been happening for a while
Answered by Dr. Raju A.T 1 hour later

Thanks for your query.

I would like to know some more information on your problem to understand better and opine specifically.

Since when do you have the lesions on the lip?
Do the lesions itch, pain or associated with swelling?
Do you see any secretions oozing out or powdery substance when you scratch the lesions?
Have you applied any medication on the same?
Do you have allergies to any material?

Please do attach an image of the lesions here using the site's uploader, so that I shall have a look, which may help to narrow down the possibilities.

Waiting for your response,

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Prasad
Follow up: Dr. Raju A.T 1 hour later
Hi,The lesions started around 10 months ago. The lesions do not itch at all, but it is associated with some swelling in my lips, the swelling comes on after a cigarette and will slowly go down after a hour or two after the cigarette. The lesions settle down quickly also and then continually slowly go away and disappear after a few days, if I do not have a cigarette, they do return quickly after a cigarette. I know the answer to this and it is not to smoke but I still would like to know why this happens and if there is something a little more going on? there is no powder or anything oozing form the lips and it seems totally XXXXXXX I am not taking medication at the moment but was for quite some time with teeth removed and a skydiving accident, I was taking Ibuprofen. oh!! one other thing is that I have felt like my liver or something around there maybe a little swollen at times, but I have no jaundice or dark urine or any other symptoms of liver problems. I have smoked quite heavy sometimes a pack a day over 15 years. But I have stopped now most of the time but still have some relapses and have a few then stop again. I also have started to sneeze and get itchy eyes and runny nose sometime when I do return to smoking. but only sometimes. I do suffer from hey fever and do take some medication for it when needed. I also drink beer but not at home if I drink its probably only once a month if that!! but every now and then i will have quite a few in the one night for some special occasion. ok I think I have told you about everything I can..
Answered by Dr. Raju A.T 22 hours later

I apologize for the delay in answering this time.

Also I thank you for much informative history you provided above.

After having a look at the image and correlating with your history, I could think of two possibilities for the lesions you have.

Dryness of the lips without much chapping - this can occurs due to evaporation of moisture and subsequent dryness in the lip layers. Lips become dry because the layer of oil that is naturally produced to coat the lips is removed or is less. Factors like cold climate, smoking, excessive licking habits, nutritional deficiencies, etc., are commonly associated with such dry lips. A dry lip can appear whitish as in you. Treating it would be very simple - application of petroleum jelly or lip balm or a moisturizer twice daily would suffice and treat the condition within a week.

The other possibility which presents with lesions like you have is Fordyce's spots. Such spots are usually seen on the genitalia however at times they can also appear around and over the lip. These spots are a form of ectopic sebaceous gland. Normally such spots occur in associated to hair follicles; but they rarely occur without an identified cause- such spots can occur in lips.
Well, smoking and allergies can be considered to be triggering factors; but not the causes.
It is a benign condition requiring no treatment. But some do consider Laser treatments like CO2 laser or Pulsed XXXXXXX Lasers to get rid of cosmetic disturbance.

Do consult a Dermatologist and discuss the above differential diagnosis. He/she, after examining you can arrive at exact diagnosis and plan on management.

Hope I answered your query.

Wish you good health.


Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Prasad
Follow up: Dr. Raju A.T 58 minutes later


Thank you for the response!
Answered by Dr. Raju A.T 5 minutes later
You are welcome.

Thanks for using this service. If you are satisfied with my reply, please close this discussion and leave your feed backs


Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Prasad

The User accepted the expert's answer

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