Is it a Cold Sore or a Pimple?


You’re doing your morning routine and you notice a tender spot on your lip. A closer look shows the beginnings of a nasty looking sore, and your mind begins to race. Is it a pimple? Are my lips chapped? Or, is it a dreaded cold sore outbreak?

As many as 90% of the population has the HSV-1 virus that causes cold sores, and other skin conditions can easily be confused, like canker sores or pimples. But you want to make sure which one it is so you can provide the proper treatment if it’s a cold sore or pimple.

Is it a cold sore?

The first thing you will notice if it’s a cold sore is some slight pain or burning in the lip. Soon, small bumps of blisters will form, usually on the outside of the lips. Eventually these pop, form a scab and heal over. If you’ve never had a cold sore before, think back – have I recently kissed or shared a drink with someone? This could be the source of the problem.

Treat It –

If you feel the tingle in your lip that tells you a cold sore is on the way, the best treatment is prevention! Grab InterceptCS™ to eliminate the cold sore before it appears. Otherwise there are lots of home remedies you can try as well.


Is it a pimple?

The big difference between a pimple and a cold sore is the difference in feeling. A pimple will have minor soreness or tenderness, as compared to the burning pain that comes with a cold sore. A pimple can appear on any part of the face, including near the lips. They also are more firm then cold sores and appear on their own instead of clusters.

Treat It –

Treat pimples by visiting a dermatologist, using specialized skin creams and cleansers, or by changing your diet. Pimples and acne are very complex.


Is it a canker sore?

A canker sore usually appears on the inside of the lip, not the outside. Instead of a small, grouped blister, you’ll notice one sore or tender white or yellow patch under the tongue, cheeks or lips. The area will be inflamed and painful. Doctors still aren’t sure what causes canker sores, but some aspects like stress, or nutritional deficiencies may play a role. Learn more about cold sore and canker sore differences.

Treat It –

The best way to treat a canker sore is to let it heal on its own. Oral numbing gel can help with any discomfort.


Is it chapping?

Dry weather and cold winds can suck all the moisture from your lips. This can lead to chapping, which can extend past your lips if severe. If you see redness that doesn’t appear to be forming blisters or whiteheads, it’s probably chapping.

Treat It –

It’s easy to relief chapped lips, there are a number of products available that soothe and repair dryness. Just visit your local drug store.


RELATED – Find out more about canker sores and how similar they are to cold sores. You can also read this article to learn about eczema and cold sores.