Cold Sore or Pimple – Difference, Treatment & Prevention

A cold sore or pimple may look the same, but the main difference between them is that Cold Sores are fever blisters that can be triggered by fever, illness, injury, menstruation, sun exposure, lack of sleep, immune system deficiency, but Pimples formation is due to the clogged pores.


What are Cold Sores?

Cold sores are also known as fever blisters because they appear when your body is under stress, any kind of stress—including stress and tension from fever.

Cold Sores are tiny blisters filled with fluid, that usually occur in a cluster. They generally appear around the mouth, but can also occur inside the nose, on the face, or in the genital area.


Facial Sores are actually the result of a viral infection caused by herpes simplex virus-1 (HSV-1), genital sores are often caused by herpes simplex virus-2 (HSV-2). However, either virus can cause sores on either area.

Herpes Simplex Viruses are very contiguous and can be easily spread from one person to another through a direct or indirect contact. Some ways that this virus can spread are; kissing, oral sex with the HSV affected person, sharing razors, towels, and even sharing your eating utensils.


Symptoms of the first Cold Sore Outbreak

Symptoms of the cold sore occurrence are the same, but the first outbreak is different. These are one time symptoms that you won’t experience later for further outbreaks.

  • Fever
  • Painful and abraded gums if it is in the mouth.
  • Burning and tingling sensation on the area of infection.
  • Sore throat
  • Muscle pain
  • A continuous pain in the head


What are Pimples?

Pimples are small and red bumps that may or may not have a head, pimples having a head are blackheads or whiteheads.


Also Read: Types of Pimples and their Identification


Pimples can appear on your face, shoulders, back, or anywhere on the body.

The main reason behind pimple formation is clogged pores, which become clogged due to excess oil.

The sebaceous glands continuously generate oil for your skin’s good, but when they start producing more than the required amount of oil, which can’t be managed by your hair follicles and thus get clogged. The entrapped bacteria begin to grow with the pus and the dead skin cells with them. This result in a raised bump called Pimple.


A pimple, zit, or acne indicates the starting of your body’s natural healing process against those bacteria and the dead skin cells.


Difference Between Pimple and Cold Sore – or – Pimple vs. Cold Sore

Here are few easy to understand dissimilarities between the Pimple and a Cold Sore:

  • A pimple is caused by clogged pores full of pus and bacteria, while Cold Sore is caused by herpes simplex virus (HSV).
  • Pimples can appear many where at a time, but the cold sores can only appear at one place at a time, and their favorite place is the edge of the bottom lip, but you can also expect them on other parts of your body like under the nose, around the mouth, etc.
  • A pimple may be painful when touched, while the Cold Sore can be itchy and tingling even without touching.
  • Pimples are raised and redder in color with a head on its top i.e. Blackheads, Whiteheads, But the Cold Sores are small fluid-filled blisters usually occur in a cluster, and they are more likely to have dark pink color.
  • Pimples cannot be transferred easily from one person to another, while the herpes viruses are very contagious and can be transferred through many direct and indirect ways.


Treatment of Cold Sores and Pimples

There are no treatments available for herpes simplex virus (HSV). In fact, they remain permanently in the victim’s body for the lifetime. They can remain inactive for years without causing any sort of problem to the body unless and until it is awakened by its suitable environment/condition.


Get Rid of Cold Sore

Although you cannot get rid of the HSV virus, but there are some over-the-counter products and medications available that can speed up the natural healing process.


  1. Docosanol

It is also known as Abreva, it’s an FDA approved product for treating cold sores. It can reduce your outbreak time to just a few days because of its ingredients like benzyl alcohol and light mineral oil.

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You can use this at the time you notice itching, tingling, or burning that indicate an upcoming outbreak. However, applying on already appeared blisters can also do the job well.


  1. Some Prescription Medications

Some people may get cold sores only a few times in their life, but others may often get outbreaks. If you are the unlucky one, then you may consider using some antiviral medications. Consult a doctor and ask if you can use acyclovir (Zovirax), famciclovir (Famvir), Denavir, or valacyclovir (Valtrex).


  1. Pain Reducer

Though there may not be a cure, but there are many ways that you can reduce the pain from the cold sores. Use an FDA approved pain reliever topically on your blisters that include benzoyl alcohol, dyclonine, lidocaine, tetracaine, benzocaine, etc.

  • One of the home remedies that you can use to relieve pain from cold sores is applying an ice pack in a washcloth.


  1. Use Coconut Oil on your Cold Sores

Coconut oil has some amazing antiviral properties that can speed up the healing process. Why? Because it contains lauric acid and researchers have proved its effectiveness against HSV-1 virus…Here’s the Proof.

  • Start using it when you notice cold sore development, apply it with a cotton ball or Q-tip to make sure that you are not spreading the virus.

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Note: Please note that Cold Sores will go away by itself in 1-4 weeks without any treatment and the chances are that you will never get Cold Sores ever again.


Get rid of Pimples

Getting rid of Pimples are a lot easier as compared to dealing with the Cold Sores. You may want to read my another article for preventing and removing pimples with natural home remedies and over the counter products.


How to Prevent Cold Sores

  • Whether it’s a cold sore or a pimple, the first and primary rule is not to squeeze them or pick at them because the trapped bacteria and virus can make their way out and can cause you more problems if popping of pimple is not done correctly and professionally. I strongly recommend you to do not touch your cold sores.
  • Wash your hands before and after applying topical medication on it, as HSV is a very contiguous virus.
  • Avoid sharing your utensils and hygiene items with others.
  • Avoid foods that are rich in arginine (Peanuts, Seed, Nuts, Chocolate, etc.) and focus on taking a lot of lysines (Fish, Chicken, Beef, Lamb, Milk, etc.)
  • Improve overall health and reduce stress.


Wrapping Up

I hope this article may have answered your questions like how to tell if it’s a pimple or a cold sore? What’s the difference between cold sores and pimples?  Cold sore vs. Pimple?

If you are still not sure and keep thinking that What the hell is happening on my skin? Then I will suggest visiting your doctor. He can help you better in this regard, he can tell you if you have a pimple, a cold sore, or even something entirely different.

Alright! This was it from our side, fell free to share your experience with us and don’t forget to share this article on your social networks to Thank me!


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