Read below about lip numbness, including causes, treatment options and remedies. Or get a personalized analysis of your lip numbness from our A.I. health assistant. At Buoy, we build tools that help you know what’s wrong right now and how to get the right care.

A.I. Health Assistant

Take a quiz to find out why you’re having lip numbness

Take Quiz

Lip Numbness Symptoms

Numbness of the lip may seem like an odd or harmless symptom to have, and in some cases, it is. It may simply be due to a mild allergy or being out in cold weather and thus easily treatable.

But sometimes this unusual lip numbness symptom can be a sign of a serious illness that needs immediate treatment. As always, the body has a way of getting attention when it needs care, and the loss of feeling in one of the most important sensory parts of the face will certainly cause you to be on higher alert.

Characteristics:

  • An uncomfortable absence of sensation in the lips. This often happens only in the lower lip, but both lips may be affected.
  • One or both lips may also have:

    • Swelling, cracking, bleeding, inflammation, and redness.
    • A stinging, tingling, pins-and-needles sensation.
    • Rash, bumps, or blisters in and around the mouth.

Are lip numbness symptoms serious?

  • If both lips are affected, the cause is most likely allergies and can be readily treated.
  • Frostbite and hypothermia can certainly affect the lips. Though not a sign of illness, these conditions must be treated right away to prevent permanent tissue damage.
  • Numbness that you feel only in the bottom lip tends to be a sign of more serious illness and should be examined by a medical provider as soon as possible.

Lip Numbness Causes Overview

Most common lip numbness cause types:

  • Allergies, as well as anything that strains or damages the nervous system.

  • Systemic allergies to foods or medications, meaning things you have eaten/swallowed.

  • Contact allergies to foods, chemicals, or makeup, meaning things that have directly touched the lips.

  • Exposure to cold weather. This can lead to frostbite, which is the actual freezing of tissue.

  • Hyperventilation, due to excessive crying or other emotional upset. This causes a shortage of CO2 in the blood and leads to numbness in the lips, feet, and hands, and sometimes muscle twitching.

  • Anesthesia:

    • The injections used for dental work or facial surgery will cause only mild tingling and numbness that should fade within a few hours.
    • Some topical numbing medications (creams or gels) for mouth pain may also numb the lips.
  • Botox injections near the mouth.

  • Lip filler injections.

  • Piercings or studs in the lips.

  • Drinking excessive alcohol.

  • Smoking, or using chewing tobacco.

  • Nutritional deficiencies, especially in B vitamins.

Less common lip numbness cause types:

  • Peripheral neuropathy specifically affects the connections between the brain and the peripheries – the hands, arms, feet, legs, and face. The signals are disrupted due to nerve damage from various illnesses or chemicals which causes tingling, numbness, and pain. Peripheral neuropathy can be caused by:

  • Metabolic illness, meaning dysfunction in the organs that produce hormones and regulate body processes.

  • Viral illness, which can often cause neuropathy as a side effect.

  • Bacterial illnesses of certain kinds.

  • Autoimmune disease, which means the body's own protective system begins to turn against itself. In addition to lip numbness, symptoms can include:

  • Facial nerve damage.

  • Weakness, numbness, and eventually paralysis.

  • Over-constriction of the blood vessels in the extremities. The face can be affected, and you may experience numbness, tingling, and a feeling of cold in the lips. The lips will appear very pale or even blue-white.

  • Fatigue, dizziness, and vision problems.

  • Addiction to high quantities of drugs or alcohol.

  • Certain medications, especially in heavy doses.

  • Chemotherapy.

Rare and unusual lip numbness cause types:

  • Tumors and other forms of cancer, which can cause damage and disruption in the nervous system. Tumors found in the lips, tongue, throat, jawbone, and lungs may produce the symptom of lower lip numbness.,

A.I. Health Assistant Causes for Lip Numbness

The list below shows results from the use of our A.I. Health Assistant by Buoy users who experienced lip numbness. This list does not constitute medical advice.

  1. 1.Allergic Reaction (Not Life - Threatening)

    When the body encounters a harmful substance, it responds with inflammation and swelling that can be protective. In many individuals, the body responds this way to substances that are not normally harmful, like foods or pollen. This is the basis of allergy, or Type 1 Hypersensitivity.

    Symptoms should resolve in a matter of hours.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    swollen face, swollen lips, lip numbness, hives, red swollen bumps or patches with a pale center, lip redness
    Symptoms that never occur with allergic reaction (not life-threatening):
    shortness of breath, throat itching
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  2. 2.Low Calcium Level

    Hypocalcemia is a condition where there is not enough calcium in the blood. Calcium is a mineral contained in the blood, which helps the heart and other muscles function properly, and is needed to maintain strong teeth and bones.

    Problem should go away with home care within weeks.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, shortness of breath, irritability, general numbness, tingling foot
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  3. 3.Cold Sore

    Cold sores (also called oral herpes or fever blisters), are viral infections of the mouth caused by the herpes virus type 1. You were probably infected very early in life as a child when an adult kissed you. The virus stays asleep (dormant) and causes infections every now and then after exposure to lots of sun or emotional/physical stress. It is contagious when an outbreak is happening, but treatment is limited unless you are immunocompromised.

    1-2 weeks. Natural healing process starts within 24 hours of the initial sore starting.

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    mouth lesions, itchy mouth, pain on the outside of the lips, lip numbness, burning pain on the outside of the lips
    Symptoms that always occur with cold sore:
    mouth lesions
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  4. 4.Spider Bite Requiring Medical Attention

    Some spiders can be very dangerous. Even for the less dangerous ones, some people have serious reactions. If the symptoms of these reactions go untreated, it can be life-threatening.

    Symptoms should resolve within days.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    nausea, abdominal pain (stomach ache), vomiting, fever, dizziness
    Symptoms that always occur with spider bite requiring medical attention:
    spider bite
    Urgency:
    Hospital emergency room

    Lip Numbness Checker

    Take a quiz to find out why you’re having lip numbness.

    Take Quiz
  5. 5.Hypoparathyroidism

    Hypoparathyroidism is disorder in which the parathyroid glands in the neck do not produce enough parathyroid hormone (PTH). The majority of cases are following surgery.

    4-8 weeks if it's not permanent

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    patchy hair loss, skin thickening, fingernail changes, patchy body hair loss
    Urgency:
    Hospital emergency room
  6. 6.Stroke or Tia (Transient Ischemic Attack)

    A stroke is a medical emergency. Strokes happen when blood flow to the brain is stopped.

    Indefinite

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    dizziness, leg numbness, arm numbness, new headache, stiff neck
    Symptoms that never occur with stroke or tia (transient ischemic attack):
    bilateral weakness
    Urgency:
    Emergency medical service
  7. 7.Diabetic Neuropathy

    Diabetic neuropathy is a condition where pain, numbness, weakness, and motor loss occur in the limbs due to the effects of diabetes on the nerves.

    Symptoms can last a lifetime.

    Rarity:
    Ultra rare
    Top Symptoms:
    anxiety, depressed mood, trouble sleeping, diarrhea, fatigue
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  8. 8.Chronic Idiopathic Peripheral Neuropathy

    Nerve damage in the limbs can be caused by diabetes, toxic substances, immune system issues and low vitamin levels. However, in about one of every four cases no cause can be found and then the condition is called 'idiopathic'. Symptoms of nerve damage can be (burning) pain sensations, numbness, tingling and weakness in hands, feet or lower legs.

    This is a chronic condition.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    distal numbness, muscle aches, joint stiffness, numbness on both sides of body, loss of muscle mass
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

Lip Numbness Treatments and Relief

Seek immediate lip numbness treatment in the emergency room or call 911 if you have sudden lip numbness symptoms with any of the following:

Schedule an appointment for:

  • Ongoing lip numbness with mild swelling of the face, lips, and tongue.
  • Discussion of current medications to see if any of them may be causing the lip numbness.

Lip numbness remedies that you can try at home:

  • Apply petroleum jelly to lips before going out in the cold
  • Avoid carbonated drinks
  • Improve the diet, especially by taking B complex vitamins.

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Lip Numbness

  • Q.Does your throat feel itchy or irritated?
  • Q.Do you have a rash?
  • Q.Relax your face. Have someone else tap the corner of your mouth. Does your lip or face twitch with each tap? (This is known as Chvostek's sign.)
  • Q.Where in your mouth are you numb?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, try our lip numbness symptom checker to find out more.

Take Quiz

Lip Numbness Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced lip numbness have also experienced:

    • 6% Tongue Numbness
    • 6% Swollen Lips
    • 4% Facial Numbness
  • People who have experienced lip numbness had symptoms persist for:

    • 47% Less Than a Day
    • 27% Less Than a Week
    • 11% Over a Month
  • People who have experienced lip numbness were most often matched with:

    • 44% Allergic Reaction (Not Life - Threatening)
    • 44% Low Calcium Level
    • 11% Cold Sore
  • Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

A.I. Health Assistant

Take a quiz to find out why you’re having lip numbness

Take Quiz