Do You Have a Cold Sore or Pimple on the Lip Line?

When they first appear, cold sores and pimples can look a lot alike.

It’s hardly surprising that spots and cold sores are so often mistaken. Both skin conditions result in reddish-colored bumps on a similar part of the face. They have some similarities. We’re going to provide you with some ways to tell the difference between a cold sore and a pimple on the lip line.

Fever blisters are a strain of the herpes virus, and there’s no medical cure. Once the virus is in your system, it lives in a dormant state in the dorsal root of the Ganglia nerve. It’ll lay dormant until it’s triggered, so you’re likely to get them in the same spot. The virus travels up and down these nerve pathways.

Pimples form when the sebaceous glands become clogged up with sebum, oil, and bacteria. Blocked pores can lead to the growth of a pustule or papule, giving the appearance of a ‘blister.’ You shouldn’t pop whiteheads or cold sores because this spreads the virus or bacteria.

The similarities between cold sores and pimples can cause you to put off treatment. Uncertainty could prolong your suffering as it’s possible to reduce the healing time. That said, non-treatment won’t cause any long-term health issues.

We will seek to distinguish the two conditions. Once you’re able to make an accurate diagnosis, you’ll know how to proceed. If you do have a cold sore, you can reduce the healing time to 3 days with the FDA-approved Virulite Cold Sore Device. If you have a pimple, it won’t do you any harm. When you get cold sores regularly, it’s a must-own treatment, so we encourage you to read our in-depth review.

How to Tell if It’s a Cold Sore or Pimple on the Lip?

Most people find that cold sores appear on the lower lip line. They also appear around your mouth, under your nose, close to the eyes/eyelids, on the fingers, and the brain. Pimples can appear on most parts of the body, so what are the tell-tale signs?

Tingling or Burning Sensation

While they both start out as small red dots, there is a distinction. A cold sore will tingle or burn from the outset. A pimple will be more of a raised red bump. A spot or zit will likely hurt, but you won’t experience the same tingling sensation.

The first time that you get cold sores will leave you feeling pretty rough. This is the primary infection. You’ll experience other symptoms that don’t apply when you have acne. These include a bad fever, swollen glands, and a more severe infection around the mouth.

Cold Sores Don’t Contain Any Puss

It’s important that you don’t try to squeeze cold sores, as a lot of people do with pimples, as it will only make it hurt. If it’s a pimple, and puss comes out, it can cause another zit to appear. If it’s a cold sore, it’ll hurt and burn. It could also spread to other areas and people.

  • Pro Tip: A pimple occurs when a hair follicle clogs up. This means that a spot cannot form on the lips, but one can appear on the lip line. Cold sores usually, but not always, appear on the lip itself.

Virus Vs. Clogged Skin Pores

Cold sores are a result of the HSV-1 or the Herpes Simplex Virus. The virus contains two strains; one affects the mouth, and the other one affects the genitals. About 90% of people are born with this virus. This means that they are carriers of it, but only about half ever show signs. Once you do get a fever blister, there is a good chance that more will follow during your lifetime.

Triggered by Certain Conditions

Some things can cause the virus to ‘awaken’ from its dormant stage. Different people experience different triggers. Pay special attention to what is happening in your life when you do get one. The common triggers include cold weather, sunlight, stress, pregnancy, and illness.

Hormonal changes and stress can also cause pimples. Weather and illness don’t usually lead to spots or acne.

Pay Attention to the Color

A cold sore is more likely to be dark pink. A pimple will be redder and raised. It could have a head on it, such as whiteheads and blackheads. A fever blister does not have this visible symptom.

Cold Sore or Pimple on Lip

They will both get bigger, but a zit will only become inflamed and hurt. A cold sore will become bigger and more painful. There are different stages of a cold sore. If you can stop it from getting any worse, you won’t have to through as many of the stages.

When you treat a cold sore at an early stage, you can cut the healing time by at least half.

How to Treat a Cold Sore on the Lip

If you leave the sore to run its course, it will be there for 8-14 days and will become very painful and ugly. Cold sore treatments are getting better at stopping the virus in its tracks. One of these is HERP-B-GONE. Check the latest customer reviews on

When you have a pimple on your lip line, you can treat it with benzoyl peroxide, or another form of acne product. It may hurt until it’s gone due to the location. Your lips are always moving, and as they do, they are stretching the skin and irritating the spot even more.

do cold sores pop like pimples?

How to Prevent the Virus from Spreading

Wash your hands often. This is a virus, and it’s spread from person to person. This can be due to eating utensils, cups, towels, and washcloths. Anything that comes into contact with a cold sore can spread it to someone or a new area. And this includes getting a lip piercing or stud.

The good news is that the symptoms and healing time of cold sores can both be reduced. A new FDA-approved device, called the Virulite Cold Sore machine, can heal cold sores in as little as 72 hours. We also recommend HERP-B-GONE, if you prefer a cream-based treatment.

Treat cold sores as soon as you can, wash your hands, and avoid touching them.