Do Cold Sores Leave Scars: 10 Things I Wish I’d Known Earlier

Cold sore can not only be annoying and embarrassing, but painful at times. This, of course, depends on the severity. Some people seem to be more prone to cold sores than other. But, that doesn’t mean anyone has immunity.

It seems as though we don’t give much thought to cold sores, or the problems they might cause, until we have one (or several). By that time, it may be too late to find the best over the counter cold sore treatment. This is especially true when it comes to possible scarring. A cold sore scar on the lip is a forever reminder of the outbreak, and something no one wants to have to deal with.

Having a cold sore doesn’t automatically mean it will leave a scar behind. It all depends on your treatment of the cold sore from the start, and how you take care of it. Unfortunately, you can’t ‘rush’ it. Most scarring occurs when you try to get results too quickly, causing trauma, which leaves the scar.

Do Cold Sores Leave Scars When They’ve Gone Away

If you do have cold sore scars, getting rid of them, or reducing their appearance, isn’t impossible. Let’s take a closer look at a few things you should know when it comes to cold sores, and how to get rid of a cold sore scar.

  1. How Long Do Cold Sores Last?

Cold sores last about two or three weeks, depending on the severity of the outbreak, and the treatment option you’re considering. Topical creams, home remedies, etc., all work differently, and with different levels of effectiveness. But, even with no treatment at all, you can expect your cold sore to be noticeable for at least a couple weeks. Find out how this doctor-recommended cream promotes faster and safer healing:

During that time, there isn’t much you can do to hide them effectively. Makeup can work on some occasions, but it’s not exactly healthy for the healing process. The best thing you can do is let the scar ‘breathe,’ as it will help to lessen its overall time to heal.

  1. The Healing Process of Cold Sores

Do Cold Sores Leave Scars if You Disturb Them?A cold sore will typically start out as a sort of tingling feeling around your lips. You may notice the skin becomes tighter there as it forms, too. After it blisters, you’ll notice several small bumps that tend to cluster together. Those blisters can sometimes burst, and this is known as the ‘ulcer’ stage, which can be painful to some people. The sores can become inflamed, but after this stage, they will typically start to scab over. This is really where they begin healing.

It takes time for the scab to full form, and then naturally fall away, but any dryness and flaking of your skin in that area is relatively normal as the cold sore heals.

  1. Do Cold Sores Leave Scars?

Typically, cold sores will heal on their own over time, without leaving any scars. After all, they are nothing more than a blister, typically found around the mouth and lips, and blisters aren’t known for leaving noticeable scars. However, there are cases in which cold sores can leave behind scars. This can occur if they are especially ‘bad,’ or if you have a strong outbreak. It can also happen if you pick at the scabs of the scars as they begin to heal.

Interrupting the healing process in any way can cause a problem, and you then run the risk of noticeable scars to occur after the cold sores have fully healed.

  1. Cold Sore Scar Healing Time

Cold sores themselves will typically heal in about two or three weeks. During that time, you can try different treatment options to help prevent the appearance of scars. But, if scarring does occur, even after the sores have healed, choosing the right kind of treatment when it comes to how to fade a cold sore is important. Scars don’t just ‘go away’ overnight. Unfortunately, there is not 100% accurate way of offering a timeline for the scars to completely disappear. It could take weeks, or months, to notice a difference.

  1. How to Prevent Cold Sore Scarring

Preventing scarring from happening in the first place is actually relatively easy. Most cold sores won’t naturally scar on their own if they are treated properly, and not ‘messed’ with. It can be tempting to touch the sores, or pick at scabs, etc. But, in doing so, you’re running the risk of spreading the sores, and if the scab gets picked off prematurely, it’s likely a scar will occur.

The best thing you can do is treat your cold sores in a proper fashion, and leave them alone otherwise.

  1. Cold Sore Treatment to Minimize Scarring

A cold sore scar on the lip can be embarrassing to some people, so choosing the right treatment options for the cold sore itself is important. From specific creams that contain acyclovir, like Abreva cold sore cream, to home remedies like vanilla extract, there are plenty of options.

When you use a cold sore treatment effectively, it will not only help the sore to heal faster, but cleaner. The scab shouldn’t last as long, reducing the risk of a scar after it’s fallen or flaked away. You’re really minimizing your chances of scarring when you take the proper steps to treat the cold sore itself, before it has a chance to even become a scar.

  1. How to Get Rid of a Cold Sore Scar

While some scars may take a long time to fade away, there are several things you can do to get rid of the appearance of the scar. This includes everything from covering it with concealer, to trying a scar-reducing cream or ointment. You can also try to apply an aloe vera gel. The properties in aloe vera promote the production of collagen, which can really help your lips.

Be aware of anything you’re putting on your lips. It’s always a good idea to ‘test’ things like makeups and creams out on a small area, first. Some people’s skin is more sensitive than others, and some over the counter treatment options can cause irritation.

  1. Home Remedies for Cold Sore Scars

With just a quick search, you’re likely to find dozens of home remedies for cold sore scarring. It’s up to you to choose which one works effectively. However, as stated above, be careful what you’re using on your lips. Sometimes, remedies that sound like a good idea can cause more damage than you might expect.

Common remedies include tea tree oil, Vitamin E oil, lemon juice (for bleaching), or even a sugar-scrub mixture. Using any type of exfoliating mixture with natural ingredients can help to keep the skin around your lips moisturized. This can promote even more healing, and reduce the appearance of any scars.

  1. What if a Cold Sore Scar is Not Going Away?

Better understanding cold-sore-scarringUnfortunately, some scars may last a long time. If you had a particularly bad outbreak of cold sores, or the sore was traumatized by the picking of a scab, the scar may be very prominent. If a cold sore scar isn’t going away, continue to try treatment options. Or, you can always find a makeup concealer that is conducive to sensitive skin. Sometimes ‘hiding’ the scar as best you can becomes the best option if treatment doesn’t work quickly.

However, that doesn’t mean you should give up on treatment options. It may just take longer for your scar(s) to heal than you may have originally thought.

  1. Preventative Measures for Cold Sores

The best way to prevent scarring after a cold sore is to do what you can to prevent cold sores in the first place. The most important preventative measure you can take is simply to be cautious. Cold sores are extremely contagious. So, be aware of anyone you may come in contact with. This includes things like kissing, sharing drinks, etc.

Reducing common cold sore triggers is also an important preventative measure. Some people find that they will get cold sores as a result of a lot of heavy stress. If you’re one of those people, use techniques to reduce your stress levels.

Above all else, however, the best thing you can do to prevent cold sores in the first place is make good lifestyle and diet choices. Practice good hygiene, and do what you can to stay healthy. This includes a balanced diet, getting enough sleep, exercising, etc.

We tend to forget just how much our lifestyle choices can affect even the smallest things. But, those small changes and choices can make a big difference in the presence of cold sores. As a result, the less cold sore outbreaks, the less chance you’ll have of getting scars.