What to Do When a Red Cold Sore Mark or Scar Won’t Go Away

  • Medically reviewed by Emina Ribic (MD) on August 17, 2018. Written by Linda White (MD).

Once you have battled through the discomfort and embarrassment of a cold sore, the last thing you want is to experience further cosmetic issues. If a red mark or raised pink scar tissue is staring back at you in the mirror, you want it to fade away fast.

Although a cold sore outbreak is different for everyone, so much of the healing process depends on our own actions. It does not take much to make the situation worse. Just the slightest of actions, whether intentional or accidental, can cause damage to the skin after the cold sore has healed.

Let’s take a closer look at why red marks appear after a cold sore has gone away. We’ll then look at how they ‘normally’ fade naturally, or they can be removed with Mederma Advanced Scar Gel.

Why Do Cold Sore Red Marks Appear?

Understanding why your cold sore red marks or blotches appeared is important. This information can be beneficial if you ever find yourself in the midst of another outbreak, which is likely given that cold sores can’t be cured.

The skin directly underneath a cold sore turns white upon healing due to skin cell damage. Melanocyte cells, as they are properly called, are directly impacted by HSV-1. The virus enters melanocyte causing programmed death of the cell, called apoptosis. That is the reason why skin compromised by cold sores is typically more noticeable on individuals with a darker completion.

As it relates to red marks and potential scarring, this is often caused by exposure during the healing process. Quite wide ranging in nature, this exposure can be caused by sunlight or simply impatient fingers meddling with the area. The severity of the outbreak can also play a major role regarding the aftermath.

Here are some important points of note.

  • Cold sore markings are more prominent on darker skin. The post sore blemish is caused by skin cell damage, which is caused by the fever blister itself.
  • Various elements, either directly or indirectly, can cause red marks. Negative actions taken during the healing process are likely the culprit.
  • Learn from the past. While your primary concern is to remove your reddish-colored mark, knowing what caused it is important.

Do Cold Sore Marks Fade Naturally?

Yes. In an overwhelming amount of cases, cold sores marks vanish naturally without a trace. While some certainly heal faster than others, most fade away on their own over time.

  • Fact: Most red marks or pink blotches disappear within 14 to 30 days of their initial appearance.

However, some pink cold sore marks can stick around long after the typical window has closed. This is likely your greatest concern. When will the ugly pinkish scar tissue fade away?

How severe was your outbreak? Were you exposed to sunlight in the early stages? Did you pick or play with your scab? While unfortunate, so much of lasting red marks depends on how your cold sore was cared for when it was active.

In your current status, where you just want the mark to disappear, you can still lean on the side of treatment. Addressed in the subsequent section, various OTC medications and home remedies can grant you relief.

As it relates to the fading process, here are some important takeaways.

  • The normal process takes roughly 14 days. 30 days is typically the maximum timeframe. So much of the healing can depend on the severity of the outbreak. This could explain while your cold sore is gone, but the area is still red.
  • Although the sore is gone, that reddened area could be made worse by direct sunlight or the use of a sunbed.
  • Busy fingers can be a menace. While you would never want to harm yourself and delay healing time, old habits die hard. If you are known to have fidgety fingers, you could have accidentally created an issue. Just the nonchalant act of touching the scab during the day could have created the mark you are experiencing now.
  • Medicine is still your friend. If your red or pink blotch is still around some 30 days after your sore, treatment is available.

Does Aloe Vera Gel Help with Cold Sore Scarring?

Yes. Various treatment methods, both chemical and natural, can help with the fading of a cold sore mark. While results will always vary, the options are plentiful, to say the least.

Aloe vera gel is a promising and often productive way to remove cold sore marks. Serving as a known anti-inflammatory, aloe vera gel comes in a variety of creams and ointments. This includes lip balm. Aloe vera is known to produce collagen which can revive damaged skin.

Being proactive is critical during a cold sore outbreak as well as the post sore healing process. It is always important to be positively aggressive. Treating the sore head on can potentially eliminate skin issues after the cold sore itself has vanished.

How to remove a pink mark left by a cold sore

How Can You Remove Cold Sore Scars?

If an outbreak is severe, the sores are manipulated, or the treatment is inadequate, cold sores can leave scars.

It is likely that you still have valid questions. What is the difference between a mark and a scar?

While cold sore marks are not completely natural, they are indeed normal. Red or pink blotches are typically the aftermath of an aggressive cold sore coupled with minor irritation. They typically heal within a couple of weeks and often faster with treatment.

Scars, on the other hand, are often the result of extreme improper healing and manipulation run amok. Scars can also occur when an aggressive outbreak is not treated at all. Raised cold sore scars can potentially be the final result.

While cold sores are blisters that come and go in a natural cycle, what transpires during that cycle matters. The most positive news is that marks and scars are treated in essentially the same fashion. Although cold sore scars usually take more time to heal for the obvious reasons.

  • Cold sores can result in scars, but they can be removed through OTC products and natural remedies. Scar-reducing creams, such as Mederma Advanced Scar Gel, can be effective. These methods are not only for active cold sores but complete healing as well.

How to Heal Skin After a Cold Sore

The takeaways from this material are patience and action. More times than not even the most severe cold sore scar will vanish over time. While caused by HSV-1, it is important to realize that a cold sore is just a blister. And, just like any other blister, it will take a while to heal.

After dealing with a nasty cold sore, it is only logical to want it gone and gone fast. However, patience is still a virtue. Additionally, the patience required can be reduced by strong treatment measures. Being proactive can potentially speed up the healing process.

If you’ve waited several weeks and the red or pink markings aren’t going away on their own, taking action is a sensible option. Applying Mederma Advanced Scar Gel has worked well for many people with markings on their face. It’s much easier to remove scars when you treat them early.

To learn more about the effect of herpes virus on melanocytes, please see this study:

Lan J, Hong Y, Qi R, Zheng S, Gao XH. HSV-1 enters melanocytes and induces their apoptosis. Pigmentary disorders 3:246. 2016; doi: 10.4172/2376-0427.100246

Last update on 2019-03-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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