Why Are Lips Bigger in the Morning? (We Have the Answer!)

why are lips bigger in the morning

If you’ve ever woken up to see one full set of lips in the morning visit to the mirror, and then noticed a smaller pair at night, you may be wondering: why are lips bigger in the morning?

Lips that appear larger in the morning can be caused by allergic reactions and medical conditions, or simply by the body’s natural process of shifting lower body fluids into the upper body during sleep.

It might be unsettling to notice this change in lips at first, but the reasons behind it are fascinating! In this article, we’ll uncover why lips seem to get bigger in the morning, or on different days, while appearing to shrink by the end of the day.

Why Do My Lips Get Bigger in the Morning?

The dominant reason that lips get bigger in the morning is due to the natural practice of the human body which involves retaining fluid while we are asleep. There are more than one reason behind this practice, as listed below:

  • Too Much Sleep – Nobody likes to admit that too much sleep is even possible, but thicker lips is a sign that you have been lying down for so long that retained fluid has built up in your face. This is especially apparent if you tend to lie on your belly!
  • Large Amounts of Salt Eaten – If you had tons of popcorn during movie night before bed, or other salty snacks, your body may retain fluid. If saltiness is the cause, you’ll notice swelling not just in your lips, but in your eyelids, too.
  • Visual Distortion – If you’re very tired in the mornings, it is always possible that your lips seem larger when you first check the mirror in the morning. According to Everyday Health, those who are tired can experience regular problems judging visual sizes.

Why Do My Lips Look Bigger Some Days?

In addition to your lips seeming to swell up just during the mornings, there are a few health conditions that can cause lips to look abnormally thicker throughout the day. It is important to pay attention to these, so let’s take a look at the list of health conditions and reactions below:

  1. Cheilitis
  2. Trauma to the Mouth
  3. Allergic Reactions

In order to be sure that full lips are just a result of natural water retention instead of something more serious, let’s take a closer look at these possible health-related causes.


Cheilosis glandularis is a health condition involving inflammation, but specifically inflammation in the lips! The Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center has confirmed that cheilitis glandularis is mostly common in men.

The cause of this health condition is largely unknown. Some doctors believe it is associated with too much sun exposure to the face, or lip injuries, or even smoking.

Chelitis doesn’t always cause lip swelling: it is characterized by any uneven lip surface. Its other symptoms include tiny holes and tenderness in the lips.

Usually cheilitis is not severe enough to really need treatment, but it can cause sensitivity to bacterial infections, so doctors usually treat it with antibiotics or corticosteroids. Check with a healthcare professional to see if any solution related to this condition is necessary for you!

Trauma to the Mouth

When the human body experiences blunt-force trauma, like getting hit or slamming into something with force, it typically responds by sending a cushion of protection to the damaged area. That cushion of protection is fluid, otherwise known as swelling.

If you’ve been cut, hit, burned or pinched hard enough around the lips, your body will try and help by causing the lips to swell. If you’re hurt around the mouth and noticing bigger lips, try using ice packs to bring that swelling down.

Remember, if your lip is bleeding, hot, or tender for a while after the injury, it could be infected and you may need to seek medical help.

Allergic Reactions

Allergies are the body’s response to something in your immediate environment. Sometimes it is a food, like peanuts, but other times it is as simple as pollen, mold spores, dander, or dust.

When the body reacts to things it is allergic to, it is called anaphylaxis or anaphylactic shock. One of the signs of anaphylaxis is swollen lips. This usually happens within a few mere minutes of exposure to the thing you are allergic to, but some cases take more than half an hour later to appear.

According to Heathline.com, during anaphylactic shock, the immune system of the human body pours in chemicals that can cause the person having an allergic reaction to go into shock. One of the signs that your body has started using these chemicals is a swollen tongue, throat, and lips.

The specific chemical that causes this is called histamine. Its particular specialty is inflammation, or swelling, and that swelling could be the reason you notice bigger lips during the day!

If you know you have allergies, your healthcare provider or doctor should be able to give you a prescription for a portable epinephrine pin, which you can inject into yourself whenever an allergy causes anaphylactic shock!

Why Do My Lips Get Smaller Throughout the Day?

There are a few reasons for those incredible shrinking lips! Let’s check out a few of them in the list below:

  • Too Much Sun – One of the most common reasons our lips seem to get smaller during the day compared to how they looked during the morning is that direct sunlight causes lips to thin out. UV rays break down collagen in the lips, making them seem thinner.
  • Smoking – The nicotine that is found in most cigarettes limits the amount of oxygen that your body would normally carry to your lip tissues, so the lips shrink and thin out during the day depending on how much smoking has occurred.
  • Vitamin Deficiency – Vitamins are very important to keeping your body healthy and normal. If you’re suffering from a lack of vitamins like B12, or if your lips are cracked and thin, you may need to replenish your body’s vitamins to solve the problem.


In summary, lips can appear larger in the morning due to a few natural reasons, including visual distortion due to being tired, the body’s regular retention of fluid, and too much time spent lying down! Usually they will lessen in size throughout the day, either because of too much sun exposure, smoking habits, or fluid regulating after sleeping.

If you experience full lips during the day, check to be sure your lips aren’t inflamed due to allergies or health issues!

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