Why Do I Have Blackheads on My Lips? How to Get Rid of It

Why Do I Have Blackheads on My Lips How to Get Rid of It

Blackheads can appear anywhere on the body where there are oil glands. Most times, people associate blackheads with acne; however, it can also be found in people without acne. 

If you have noticed blackheads on lips and want to explore effective remedies, you have come to the right place.

Blackheads on Lips

Blackheads on Lips

Blackheads on lips, also called open comedones, are clogged pores in the skin of the lips (1). They form when dead skin cells and oil accumulate in the pores close to the lips. 

As skin pores overproduce sebum or oil, they mix with dead skin cells, debris, and dirt. The sebaceous glands excrete more oil and release it into the duct. Hence, the plug moves up the skin’s surface, forming a bump. 

These clogged lips’ pores partially open and widen up, which makes the pore’s contents react with the air. This interaction forms brownish-black colour on the surface that people call as blackheads on lips.

What Causes Blackheads on lips?

What Causes Blackheads on lips

There are many reasons why blackheads form on the lips. This includes:

  • Seborrheic dermatitis
  • Sebum overproduction
  • Overuse of oily skin care products
  • Excessive moisturizers
  • Excessive sweating
  • Humid conditions
  • Exposure to environmental grease
  • Exposure to air pollution and smoke
  • Shaving
  • Wearing tight-fitted masks
  • Damage to a hair follicle by scrubbing the facial muscles or squeezing a pimple
  • Holding the mobile phone too close to the mouth or the face

Blackhead formation also largely depends on skin care, genetics, and hormonal changes.

How to Remove Blackheads on Lips at Home

It is not a good idea to squeeze out a blackhead. This may result in damage to the thin skin area of the lips and may cause bruises, bleeding, redness, infection, and swelling. If blackheads on the lips stay for a long time, they plug in the pore hardening, making it harder to treat.

There are many ways to treat blackheads, such as over-the-counter acne products like retinoids or benzoyl peroxide (2). The best way to treat blackheads on lips is to soften the plug and exfoliate the dead skin cells in the lips area.

Besides, a good skincare routine and proper hygiene also help in avoiding blackhead formation. 

There are various options to treat blackheads on lips. These include the following:

  • Salicylic acid-based face wash: Lather it for some time on the blackhead and let it rest there for some time. Rinse it off. This will break up the plug and make it release. Later, you can apply an oil-free moisturiser to smoothen the skin. 
  • Acne cream: Apply salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide acne cream to the blackhead. These creams exfoliate and unblock the pores, and easily release them from the skin. Be careful not to apply it too much, as this can leave your skin dry. You may even start with a patch test to see how your skin reacts to it.
  • Retinoid-rich cream: Apply a retinoid-rich cream to the blackhead directly (3). Retinoids are easily available in both prescription and OTC strengths. These reduce the size of the existing blackheads and stop new ones from forming.
  • Tea oil: It softens the blackhead and reduces swelling in the lip area. Apply a few drops of tea tree oil mixed with a carrier oil like coconut oil and apply to the blackhead area.
  • Honey: You can also apply a dab of warm honey to the blackhead area. Once it dries, wipe it off with a warm washcloth.
  • Sulfur: Sulfur also removes blackheads through unclogging pores (4). It has antimicrobial properties that fight bacteria that cause acne. Be careful while using sulphur. Use the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.
  • Lemon juice: It contains vitamin C that has antibacterial properties. This may not remove the blackheads but can help to stop bacterial growth. As lemon juice is acidic, it may cause irritation and redness. Hence, it is a good idea to do a patch test first.
  • Witch hazel: It contains plant compounds called tannins that have astringent properties. It controls oily skin and reduces clogged pores formation.

Visit a dermatologist if the blackhead issue continues for long or keeps returning after intervals. The dermatologist may use comedone, a tool especially made to unblock the pores to remove the blackhead.

How to Prevent Blackheads on Lips?

The most important thing to do to avoid formation of blackheads on lips is proper skin care routine. Excessive oil production and a build-up of dead skin cells can lead to blackheads on the lips. 

Hence, it is very important to keep the skin oil free at all times. If you have normal to oily skin, regularly wash your face with room temperature water.

Some steps that reduce blackhead formation are:

  • Wash the face gently, at least twice, with soap-free, pH-balanced gentle face cleanser.
  • Use non comedogenic makeup products.
  • While using skin care products, do not scrub the face as it worsens the situation by causing irritation
  • Put bentonite clay mask at least two to three times per week
  • Eat a healthy diet containing vegetables and fruits. 
  • Avoid smoking and alcohol
  • Exfoliate your skin twice per week
  • Avoid greasy, unprocessed foods, especially junk items
  • Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands
  • Avoid putting heavy makeup on skin sensitive to makeup products
  • Avoid makeup on skin already suffering from clogged pores and blackheads
  • Prefer noncomedogenic lip products
  • Avoid lipsticks and lip balms containing pore clogging elements like emollients and dyes
  • Keep makeup brushes and applicators fresh
  • Gently remove all the makeup before going to bed
  • Wear sunscreen every time
  • Wash the face after every workout to keep it sweat and oil free


A blackhead is a mild type of acne that can form anywhere on the body. If untreated, they might turn into inflammatory acne as oil and bacteria build up. A blackhead on the lip is not just an annoying sight but could be an initiation of other skin issues as well. 

Practicing a good skin care routine can help to treat and prevent blackheads. Gentle skin care products and exfoliation will help to soften blackheads and clear blocked pores. Squeezing a blackhead on the lips is not advisable as it may damage the delicate skin in the area. 

There are various home remedies and skin care products to remove blackheads on lips. Visit a dermatologist if they keep recurring.

Feature Image Source – Canva


  1. National Library of Medicine – Acne Vulgaris
  2. National Library of Medicine – A review of diagnosis and treatment of acne in adult female patients
  3. National Library of Medicine – Retinoids: active molecules influencing skin structure formation in cosmetic and dermatological treatments
  4. National Library of Medicine – The use of sulfur in dermatology
  5. IOP Conference Series – Lemon (Citrus limon) Juice Has Antibacterial Potential against Diarrhea-Causing Pathogen

Was this article helpful?