Swollen lips are caused by underlying inflammation or a buildup of fluid under the skin of your lips. Many things can cause swollen lips, from minor skin conditions to severe allergic reactions.

Waking up with a swollen lip can be an alarming discovery, especially if there wasn’t an obvious mouth injury the day before. In addition to sudden trauma to the mouth, there are several common conditions that can cause swollen lips to appear in the morning. These include a variety of allergic reactions, as well as medical conditions affecting the skin, nerves, or face muscles. Dental work can also trigger inflammation that causes your lips to swell.

Causes of overnight lip swelling

Skin conditions and infections

Pimples on or near the lips may cause some temporary lip swelling. Severe swelling can occur if you have cystic acne. This serious type of acne can cause large boil-like lesions anywhere on the body.

Cold sores, herpes infections, and coxsackievirus blisters around the mouth can also cause lips to swell. These changes are symptoms of a virus and may appear overnight, even though the virus has been present in your body for a much longer time.

If you spent the day in the sun without proper protection, you may awaken with serious sunburn. Your lips can swell and crack if they are sunburned. Fortunately, the effects of sunburn on the lips and elsewhere usually subside within a few days.

Muscle and neurological conditions

A variety of conditions affecting the nerves and muscles of your face can cause you to wake up with swollen lips or similar symptoms.

Embouchure collapse (or embouchure dystonia) can affect trumpet players and other musicians who spend hours with their lips pursed while playing their instruments.

The embouchure is the position of the mouth when using the mouthpiece of a brass or wind instrument. The strain on the mouth muscles can leave the lips swollen and numb.

Allergic reactions

Allergies to certain foods, medications, or the bite or sting of an insect are fairly common triggers for swollen lips and other symptoms.


A direct injury to the lip may cause swelling that can form slowly overnight. Injuries include cuts, scrapes, and bruises.

You may unintentionally injure your lips if you bite or chew on them without realizing it. Also, sleeping in awkward positions or against hard surfaces can put pressure on your lips, causing a temporary swelling while you sleep.

Treatment For Swollen Lips

At-home treatments

  • Applying an ice pack wrapped in a towel to swollen lips can often reduce the inflammation.
  • Never apply ice directly to skin, as this can cause further damage.
  • You may find some relief from swollen lips caused by sunburn by using aloe lotion.
  • Severe dryness or cracking may improve with a gentle moisturizing lip balm.

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