Having chapped lips is enough of an annoyance on its own. When you add other factors into the mix, like cold sores, the experience can become downright painful. But, can chapped lips cause cold sores?
The answer to this question is that it’s possible. Cold sores are caused by the HSV-1 virus, but the herpes virus can enter the body more easily through a small lesion to the skin on your lips. Once it enters the body, there are different triggers that can subsequently results in flare-ups.
These flare-up experiences can be different for everyone. Some people will rarely get a cold sore, while others seem to be more prone to outbreaks consistently. Whatever the case, there are things to know when it comes to various potential causes.
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How Do Chapped Lips Result in Cold Sores?
Cold sores can flare up due to anything from excessive stress, to intense sunlight. The major outbreak causes are different for everyone. However, they are called ‘cold sores’ for a reason. Oftentimes, it’s both cold weather, and illness that can trigger flare-ups. Let’s focus on both of those factors, how they relate to chapped lips, and of course, how they relate to cold sores in general.
The Common Cold
Whenever you have a cold, your immune system is compromised. As your sinuses become blocked, it can actually cause chapped lips since you’re doing more breathing through your mouth, and not allowing as much moisture to reach your lips. This is a ‘double whammy’ for cold sores. Not only will the weakened immune system make it easier than ever for a flare-up to occur, but having chapped lips can make that flare-up more painful.
Cold, Harsh Temperatures
When the air is cold and dry, think about what it does to your skin. Your lips are really no different, and the cold, harsh temperatures can easily cause your lips to become chapped. There’s a reason lip balms and chapsticks become such a big seller in the colder months. This dryness can cause your lips to crack open and start to bleed.
The Cold Sore Connection
So, how do chapped lips and cold sores actually connect? Again, remember that cold sores are actually caused by the herpes virus. Unfortunately, chapped lips allow the skin around our lips to dry out to the point of cracking, sometimes. That cracking open can lead to bleeding, and exposure to the virus. It’s the perfect opportunity for the HSV-1 virus to enter the body and cause a flare-up of fever blisters.
People often associate cold sores with dry, chapped lips for this reason – they tend to go hand-in-hand. Cold sores aren’t partial to moisture, so when you create the perfect environment for them with dry skin, it’s easy for them to show up.
The problems don’t stop there, unfortunately. When you are experiencing a flare-up, the cold sore(s) you get can ‘crust’ over after a few days. Once it does that, it can become extremely easy to tear it open again, which can essentially start the whole process over. It makes it hard for the cold sore to heal. Throughout that time, you have to deal with pain, discomfort, and even embarrassment.
Healing Cold Sores Caused by Chapped Lips
Again, the biggest problem concerning cold sores and chapped lips is the dryness that affects the skin around your mouth. Chapped lips on their own can be annoying, and even painful if the skin cracks. But, when you add a cold sore to it, the situation can feel much worse. If the cold sore keeps bursting open due to chapped lips, it can become a process that feels impossible to deal with.
Thankfully, there are plenty of treatment options that help to get rid of cold sores, and help with chapped lips all at once.
It might seem obvious, but moisture is definitely your friend in this situation! Try carrying a lip balm with you wherever you go. Even petroleum jelly, like Vaseline, can help to create a moisture barrier for your lips. That can keep the cold sore from bursting open, and can moisturize your chapped lips at the same time.
Lip balms, with lysine or a high SPF, can also be helpful. Aloe vera will help to heal the cold sore with its antibacterial and antiseptic properties. This can prevent the sore from becoming infected. It’s also a great soothing agent, and can take away some of the pain and irritation. Cold sores can become equally irritated by the sun, so using a lip treatment with UV protection is important.
Maintaining Healthy Lips
The best way to deal with cold sores is to try to prevent them from happening. While it’s not always possible, taking precautions can help. If you know you’re prone to chapped lips, take the proper preventative measures against them, especially in cold weather. Again, there are plenty of other ways cold sores can show up, but if you know there are preventative measures you can take, why not put them into practice every day?
If you’re equally prone to cold sores, it’s important to protect your lips as much as possible, and keep them from becoming chapped. Chapped lips can cause cold sores because it’s easier for the virus to enter your body. Applying Herpecin lip balm can help to keep your lips healthy, moist, and well protected. Once the virus enter your body, you’ve got it for the rest of your life.