Dealing With Cold Sores and Pimples

Can’t stop looking at that embarrassing cold sore? Picking at a pimple that won’t disappear? One thing’s for sure: they both need to go. They’re the last things you want to see on your face when you look in the mirror. Moreover, you may feel embarrassed when out in public. Just because pimples and cold sores are common doesn’t mean you have to sit back and let them blemish your skin. Fear not, we at Short Hills Dermatology have some tips to make sure they don’t ruin your yearbook photo or Saturday night date.

Know What You’re Dealing With

Knowing the differences in appearance and feel are the first steps in understanding how to address cold sores and pimples. Both appear as red bumps, several distinct characteristics set the two apart. Cold sores appear on one area of the lip at a time. They often burn, itch, or tingle, and are actually not one sore but a collection of sores, or blisters. In contrast, pimples can appear all over the face and even other areas of the body, commonly on the back. They also hurt when you touch them as they are filled with pus, and have a black or white appearance (head).

What is a Cold Sore?

Cold sores refer to fluid-filled blisters that appear on your bottom lip, although they may show up on your top lip. These little troublemakers stem from the herpes simplex virus (HSV), which can spread through kissing, sharing towels, utensils, beverages, or other items. Other causes include illnesses such as the cold or flu, dehydration, and or lack of sleep. Typically, feelings of itchiness, burning, or tingling precede the appearance of a cold sore. Once a cold sore appears on your lip, it will remain until the sore pops, leaving behind a crust that usually disappears in about 2-4 weeks.

Cold Sore Treatments

Cold sores should disappear on their own, but there are some ways to quicken the healing process. A doctor may prescribe antiviral medications, or you can buy over-the-counter at a local drug store. You can opt for pills such as acyclovir, famciclovir, or Valtrex, or ointments like docosanol or penciclovir. Likewise, many swear by alternative remedies like lemon balm, aloe vera, licorice, and zinc Whatever route you select, just remember that none of these products will immediately remove your cold sore. As they say, time heals all wounds.

What are Pimples?

If you’ve experienced puberty, then you’re probably all too familiar with pimple. These small red bumps form when hair follicles become clogged with dead skin cells or oil known as sebum. Swelling of the follicle wall results in a whitehead, while blackheads appear when bacteria in clogged pores become exposed to air. Pimples often result from stress, failing to remove makeup at night, hormonal changes during puberty, and or even a history of acne throughout a family. Try to identify the cause of your pimples before taking measures to treat them – you’ll see better results.

Pimple Treatments

Keeping your face clean is the most important way to deal with pimples. Washing your face up to two times a day can help keep your face free of dirt that may otherwise cause those pesky bumps to appear. Additionally, lotions made with zinc and tea tree oil may help alleviate pimple outbreaks, all of which are available over the counter at your local food or drug store. During the summer, or in warm climate countries, always opt for an oil free sunscreen when applying your UV protection to cut down on grease, which may clog your skin pores. Resisting the urge may be difficult, but please try not to pick those nasty pimples. Yes, some find it relaxing, but just watch videos on YouTube of professional dermatologists doing it—don’t scar your skin.

For some easy at home treatments, try these:

  • Ice can help reduce the inflammation of a pimple. Whether it’s crushed or cubed, it’s effective in removing dirt and oil.
  • Fresh lemon juice helps pimples dry faster. Use a cotton swab or ball to gently rub the affected area.
  • Holding your face over steaming water is a great way to open up your pores.

Say Goodbye To Acne and Cold Sores  

Cold sores and pimples can be visually unattractive but are relatively harmless. Washing your face habitually and adopting a regular skincare regimen are good strategies to help maintain healthy, clear skin. While both can be treated rather easily, more severe cases may warrant a trip to the dermatologist. If over the counter treatments prove to be ineffective, contact a top dermatologist near you today!

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