A cold sore and a pimple often look similar features and they both cause a little discomfort and pain. However, cold sore or a pimple, starting from their triggers to their treatments, are opposites. Therefore, let’s understand the difference between the two.

Cold Sore VS Pimple:

Before we diagnose whether you have a cold sore or pimple, let us understand what each of them is.

What Is A Cold Sore?

Cold sores are also often called fever blisters as they appear in the form of tiny blisters occurring together in the lower or upper portion of your lips. Before the cold sores form on your lips, you will experience extreme itching and burning sensation in the concerned area. It can occur in all age groups and more often than not, it goes away within four to five weeks.

What Are The Causes Of Cold Sores?

Cold sores are generally caused by a herpes virus, more popularly known as HSV. This virus is found in two different strains  as HSV-1 and HSV-2. The former causes cold sores on the upper or lower portion of your lips, whereas the latter causes cold sores near the genital region.

The herpes virus is considered to be a contagious virus that can spread easily with skin-to-skin contact. The spread can be aggravated if you indulge in sexual activities or sharing objects such as razors, towels, eating utensils such as spoons, beverages, lipstick, or lip balm.

If you are suffering from HSV, it does not necessarily mean that you will frequently suffer from cold sores. The virus will still be present inside your body and stay there forever. 

However, there are also other causes of cold sores which can be stimulated by hormonal changes, exposure to heat or dryness suddenly, stress, fever, skin infection, improper diet, poor hygiene, lack of sleep, fatigue, and a deficiency of the immune system.

What Are The Ways To Treat Cold Sores?

As mentioned earlier, cold sores are not serious unless accompanied by some other comorbidities. They can generally go away within three to four weeks. However, if you do want to get rid of them faster, here are some of the ways to do that:

  • Antiviral medications: You can use some antiviral medications such as some pills, supplements, or even ointments or creams which can help you get rid of them easily. 

You can consume some over-the-counter medications after consulting your doctor and apply the cream or ointment which are extremely helpful to reduce the intensity of your symptoms. If you are buying a cream, make sure it has lidocaine and benzocaine in it.  

  • Home Remedies: If you do not want to consult a doctor, you can still get rid of them by some of the home remedies such as using a cold compress and preventing direct exposure from the sun.
  • Other Remedies: Apart from over-the-counter medications and home remedies, you can use lemon balm, aloe vera gel, licorice, or even zinc to apply on the affected area. This can also help you reduce the symptoms of cold sores and relieve the pain and discomfort heralded by it.  
Tips To Prevent Cold Sores In The Future:

If you were infected with cold sores, chances are that you might be infected with them for the second time as well. Therefore, it is better to prevent it from happening. Here are some ways to prevent cold sores from happening:

  • Avoid skin-to-skin contact with people as cold sores are contagious.
  • Abstain yourself from sharing your items especially the ones from which you eat or drink, such as a spoon, cup, bowl glass, etc.
  • Make sure that you are washing your hands continuously and remember to not touch your face with your hands frequently.
What Is A Pimple?

Pimples, unlike cold sores, can happen anywhere on the body, be it arms, legs, face, or lips. They often occur with a red, white, or no tip at all. Sometimes, pimples are more likely to happen on acne-prone skin, which might make them painful and discomforting to touch.

cold sore vs pimple
Photo credits: Pinterest

Pimples are often caused by excessive build-up of oil called sebum and dead skin cells. While sebum is traveling to the hair follicles for providing moisture and nourishment, sometimes, it gets stuck under your skin along with dead skin cells where bacteria begin to grow, blocking the pores. It leads to a pimple.

As mentioned earlier, there are two types of pimples; a whitehead pimple and a blackhead pimple. The former is caused when there is swelling in the follicle walls, whereas the latter is caused by when the pores are clogged by the bacteria.

Although pimples are not contagious like cold sores, they can be aggravated by the following situations:

  • Excessive stress can encumber you with pimples.
  • Hormonal changes, especially when you are passing from puberty or adulthood.
  • If you are on medications such as corticosteroids, your pimples can worsen.
  • The situation of pimples can also aggravate or continue to surface if it runs in your family.
  • Chocolate cravings can be understood by us, but not by pimples. Dairy products can aggravate your acne.
What Are The Ways To Treat Pimples?

Generally, if you are suffering from mild or moderate pimples, they can be easily cured by over-the-counter medications and natural remedies. Some of the treatment ways include:

  • Make sure that you wash your face with lukewarm water and mild soap at least twice a day.
  • Generally, if you have greasy or oily hair, it can aggravate the situation of acne or pimples on your face. Therefore, make sure you wash your hair when they are oily.
  • You can also use tea tree oil, which is available in the form of soap and face wash.
  • If you want to use any cream or lotion for getting rid of pimples, remember to look for the zinc ingredient, as it helps in reducing the symptoms.

However, if things do not get better, you can consult a dermatologist for it.

Tips To Prevent Pimples:

To prevent pimples in the future, you need to keep your face clean and free from oil and dirt. Here are some ways to do just that:

  • Make sure you are washing your face twice a day and clean it after workouts.
  • Avoid touching your face with your hands and make sure your hair does not touch your face especially when they are oily.

Now that we know what are cold sores and pimples, it is easier to determine that between cold sore vs pimple, the latter sort can be easily dealt with whereas the former one, as they are caused by the virus, requires more care.