Cold Sore Or Pimple: What Exactly You Have And How To Treat It

Knowing if whatever affects you is a cold sore or pimple will help you in identifying the right acne treatment

by Gorgeousgirl Staff, Updated June 1, 2023
Cold Sore Or Pimple: What Exactly You Have And How To Treat It


The true beauty of a person is seen on the face. Whenever a spot is seen to appear a person’s face, especially a lady, it completely ruins her day. As a person hits up teenage years, there are visible changes that happen in the body. One of the particular and most stressing ones is the infestation of pimples and other skin problems on the face. This is a major setback for the youths and can rob them of their self-esteem. However, the majority of the people don’t know how to identify and differentiate between cold sore and pimples. Knowing if whatever affects you is a cold sore or pimple will help you in identifying the right acne treatment for that skin infection. If you are wondering how you will get to understand the differences, then you do not worry at all as we got you covered. Sores and pimples on the lip may look the same hence confusing to many people. Both of them are never comfortable. However, there are apparent differences between their causes and how they’re treated. Here is all you need to know about cold sore vs. pimple.

1. What Are Cold Sores?

what are cold sores

What Are Cold Sores

Cold sores are small pores that look like blister lesions. They appear around the lips, cheeks, chin or even inside nostrils. They normally cause pain and are itchy with a burning sensation before they burst and crust over. Curing or preventing cold sores is impossible but various steps can be taken to tone down their frequency and time they last. The most known cause of cold sores is the herpes simplex.

2. Causes Of Cold Sores

causes of cold sores

Causes of Cold Sores

To understand if what you have is a cold sore or pimple, you will have to know what causes both of them. This will help to differ between pimples and cold sores. The major cause of cold sores is the helps simplex virus (HSV)[1]. The virus easily spreads and can be transmitted easily as a result of close contact from person to person. The virus can just be inactive in the body until a trigger activates the virus. Infection with HSV-2 may result from oral sex acts with a person who has genital herpes. The herpes virus can spread easily through skin-to-skin contact. Examples of ways the infection can spread include: kissing, oral sex, sharing razors, sharing towels, and sharing eating utensils.

Other people may experience regular cold sore outbreaks that may be triggered by various things.

Cold sores are caused by:

i. Illness or fever

ii. Stress

iii. Menstruation

iv. Sun exposure

v. Injury

vi. Lack of sleep.

3. Treatment

treatment for cold sore or herpes

Treatment for Cold Sore or Herpes

Most cold sore outbreaks can clear up within 1 or 2 weeks without prescription medications. However, some ointments and antiviral medications can help reduce the outbreak’s duration and alleviate discomfort and pain. Here is more about the cold sore treatment:

A. Antivirals

Getting over-the-counter cold sore antiviral creams can help shorten the duration of a recurrent infection. Most creams contain ingredients such as acyclovir[2] or penciclovir which are effective if applied as soon as symptoms and signs suggest the breakout of a cold sore. The cream should be applied up to five times a day within five days maximum. The creams can help eliminate the symptoms and reduce healing time but not clearing the virus itself.

B. Oral Antiviral Medications

Oral antiviral medications can also help treat a cold sore. The medication can significantly shorten or even stop a cold sore outbreak if taken when the first signs appear. If you are prone to getting the outbreaks, taking, the medication every day can help prevent the outbreaks.

RELATED: 5 Surprising Solutions On How To Get Rid Of A Pimple On Your Nose

4. What Is a Pimple?

what is a pimple

What is a Pimple

A pimple is a tender and small red bump that can have a white tip or head, a black one or no tip at all. Pimples can form around the face, the edge of the lips, chest or even the back. Pimples are a result of hair follicles being clogged with sebum also known as oil and dead skin cells. The oil travels through hair follicles to help moisturize your skin and hair. When extra sebum and dead skin cells build up, they block or shrink the pore and bacteria begin to form. This results in a pimple.

5. Causes Of a Pimple On Lip.

causes of a pimple on lip

Causes of a Pimple on Lip

Pimple on lip can be even worse than cold sores. This is because the lips are not an area where pimples normally occur. So, when it appears here, it becomes hard to know whether its cold sore or pimple.Pimples are caused by several reasons as mentioned below;

Using low-quality lipstick, or lip balm or lip gloss can cause pimples on lip. The chemical ingredients in these products are low-grade can easily maneuver into the skin of the lips to cause damage that will be seen as a bacterial infection causing pimples on lip.

Using expired face makeup can cause pimples on the lip as the cosmetics bleed into the lips thus affecting them.

A. Sign Of Herpes- pimples on the lip is one of the main symptoms of herpes. These are large, painful, and ulcer-like in appearance and can be mistaken for cold sores.

B. Poor Diet- A poor diet is often the cause of pimples on lip.

C. Hormonal Changes- This is one of the causes that can help differentiate if you have a cold sore or pimple. The body might be going through hormonal changes that may be caused by stress, puberty,menstruation or pregnancy hence you may develop pimples on lip.

D. Oily Skin- Many people who have oily skin are more prone to pimples on lip than those who have normal or dry skin.

E. Fatty Foods- If you do not clean your lips well after eating greasy foods or oily foods, you may contact pimples on lips because of the buildup of oil.

F. Bad Hygiene Practices- poor hygiene practices around the lips can lead to pimples on lip.

6. Ways Of Pimple Treatment

ways of pimple treatment

Ways of Pimple Treatment

There is always one question occurs: should you squeeze the clear liquid out of a pimple? and How? Let’s talk about it.

Pimple treatment can be done through various home remedies and medications such as follows;

A. Eat Well

Drink plenty of water to help the skin remain hydrated. Eat foods that have high levels of calcium and magnesium. If you eat a balanced diet plan high in fruits vegetable, nuts, seeds, and grain, you will easily combat pimples on lip.

B. Compress With a Washcloth

Both hot and cold compress can work well for pimples on lip. After washing your face and cleansing it, apply hot compress with a washcloth for some minutes, and you will notice a reduction in the pimple size and texture.

C. Benzoyl Peroxide Cream

Benzoyl peroxide[3] lotion or cream can be applied to the pimples around your lips during the day. However, you have to be careful to avoid the lip tissue. This will kill bacteria and wash away dead skin cells.

D. Non-Comedogenic Cleanser

Clean the skin around your lips with a mild pH-balanced non-comedogenic cleanser and warm water. They will help in killing bacteria around the big pores.

7. The Difference Between A Pimple And A Cold Sore.

difference between a pimple and a cold sore

Difference Between a Pimple and a Cold Sor

Despite the two skin conditions looking almost alike, with the above explanations, I hope you can now know their appearances. When you would like to know whether you have a cold sore or pimple, here is the easiest way to differentiate both;

i. Cold sores mainly show up in one area of the lower lip most of the time. However, at times, a cold sore can also show up on your upper lip. Pimples on the other side can appear anywhere on your lips or face.

ii. A pimple may be painful when touched, but a cold sore will itch, burn, or tingle when touched.

iii. Pimples have one whitehead or blackhead. Cold sores, on the other hand, are made up of a few tiny blisters that have clustered together.

If you have the stated symptoms and they persist, visit a dermatologist as soon as possible. They will help in prescribing further medication for the cold sore or pimple.

“Hope you find the post helpful and we are excited to hear what you think of it!”


By Gorgeousgirl Staff

At GorgeousGirl, our staff is a collection of highly skilled cosmetologists, estheticians, and higher education professionals. Our personnel works together to satisfy your fancies.