A dentist woman talking to female patient in dental office

What Causes a Scab on the Lip?

Published date field Last Updated:

Medically Reviewed By Colgate Global Scientific Communications

Suddenly discovering a scab on your lip can be distressing. Besides causing you discomfort or pain, it might make you feel uncomfortable because it's so visible. So what causes a scab on your lip, and what should you do if it just won’t heal? Find out more about lip scabs so you can go back to smiling painlessly in no time!

What Causes a Scab on the Lip?

Scabs can often result from cuts or wounds on your lips that are now starting to heal. They may also appear when lips are cracked because of dryness.

Cold sores may also lead to scabs around the lips. Cold sores – caused by herpes simplex virus type 1 – are tiny fluid-filled blisters that appear on and around your lips, often in groups or patches. After the blisters break, you’ll see scabs form. These scabs can last several days.

Occasionally, the scab on your lip is not a cold sore and can be a sign of something more serious. The Mayo Clinic notes that if you see a flat, raised, whitish patch on your lip, it could be a sign of lip cancer.

How to Help the Scab on Your Lip Heal

Although scabs can be uncomfortable, it’s important not to pick them off or pick at them at all. The scab forming is a sign that your body’s immune system has started to protect the wound from getting infected, so letting the scab heal on its own is essential.

That said, there are things to do to make the healing process quicker or give yourself some relief. If the scabs are the result of cold sores, antiviral medicines can help them heal faster. Your doctor may also recommend ointments that numb the blisters, dry them out, or soften the crusts of the sores. Sunblock lip balm can protect your lips from the sun, a trigger for cold sores. Cold sores usually go away on their own in a few weeks.

If the scabs are caused by any trauma, like dryness or because of biting your lips, you can try applying lip balm, beeswax, or petroleum jelly for some relief.

What to Do if Your Scab Won’t Heal

According to MedlinePlus, you will know if your scab is infected if you see redness, yellow or green pus, or excessive clear fluid around it. Increased pain could be another sign that the area is infected. In this case, you should consult with your dentist or doctor immediately to get the right treatment.

If your scab isn’t healing on its own, it’s essential to see your doctor to ensure it’s not a sign of lip cancer. Early detection means that the cancer may be curable.

In most cases, the scab on your lip will heal on its own, but if it’s been a few days and you’re wondering why the scab won’t heal, it’s definitely worth checking with your doctor or dentist. Seeking additional treatment can go a long way in making you feel comfortable and confident.


Want more tips and offers sent directly to your inbox?

Sign up now

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

Mobile Top Image
Was this article helpful?

Thank you for submitting your feedback!

If you’d like a response, Contact Us.

Mobile Bottom Image