What is the difference between a cold sore and a pimple?

8 Jun

There is a massive difference between pimples and cold sores, but because of their semi-similar appearance there can be confusion between them.

The information in this post is based on an article that originally appeared on Cold Sure Cures and Treatments – Do I have a Pimple or a Cold Sore?


Where do pimples and cold sores appear?
Cold sores usually appear on the lips, chin and around the mouth. They can also breakout around the nostrils and inside the mouth, but this is much less likely. They can sometimes also appear on the cheeks.Because pimples are brought on by a skin pore blockage, they can show up anywhere that hair follicles are present. For this reason pimples can’t appear on your lips, so if you have a red bump on your lips it is in all likelihood a cold sore.


What do they look like?
Both cold sores and pimples can appear near to the mouth and they can appear quite similar in their early stages, which can cause misunderstanding. However, they will feel very dissimilar and they will also change in appearance as they develop.

Cold sores have an appearance that resembles a blister (they are sometimes also known as fever blisters) and are caused by the herpes simplex virus. Before a cold sore shows up, you will often feel a tingle like sensation under the skin where it will eventually break out. This tingle is a clear symptom that you have a cold sore and not a pimple. Learn more about what causes cold sores

Pimples, in contrast, are red in colour and will grow a white top a few days after they first appear. They are caused by a blockage in a skin pore. They are especially frequent in teenagers, because of changes in the hormonal system which result in oily skin.

Does it hurt a lot?
Pimples can be sore, but they are not as painful as cold sores. The skin close to a cold soe will normally feel itchy and tingling in the early stages. The blister will then crack and ooze before scabbing, which is a much more painful process.


Who gets them?
The bad news is that anyone can suffer from cold sores and pimples. They are very common amongst a great deal of the population.

Teenagers are the worst sufferers of pimples. During adolesence certain hormonal shifts take place and the result is often oily skin and pimples.

Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus and are extremely contagious. The virus is easily transferred through kissing, skin to skin contact, and through sharing items like utensils, cups, towels and make-up. Once you have contracted the HSV-1 virus, it will remain in your body for life. It lies dormant in your system until activated by a trigger.

But even if you have the HSV-1 virus, you may never suffer from a cold sore. Some statistics show that as few as 10% of people carrying the virus will suffer from outbreaks.

What are some of the best ways to treat them?
You should never touch pimples and cold sores. We’ve mentioned before that the HSV virus is highly contagious, and touching a cold sore is the easiest way to spread it to other parts of your face and body.

Popping acne and zits can push the bacteria in the skin pore deeper, making it worse. And popping spots can bring about scarring, as well as spreading the infection to nearby areas of the skin. There are a range of treatment options available at supermarkets and chemists, as well as prescription medicines for those with more serious acne.


The information in this post is based on an article that originally appeared on Cold Sure Cures and Treatments – Do I have a Pimple or a Cold Sore?


2 Responses to “What is the difference between a cold sore and a pimple?”

  1. Will Noble February 16, 2013 at 11:58 pm #

    good blog 🙂 if more info is need on labial herpes(cold sores) http://www.labialherpes.info

  2. Allie WIlliams April 16, 2013 at 10:30 pm #

    you mentioned that pimples can not appear on your lip, but i have a spot on my lip that looks and feels like a pimple not a cold sore. It has none of the symptoms of the cold sore. I have never had a cold sore in my life and I’m 19; Even after reading the differences I’m still a little confused.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: