Is THAT a pimple or a cold sore?

You spot a small red bump on your face dangerously close to your lips. You start to stress and wonder, “Is THAT a pimple or a cold sore?”. Know the difference and treat them right.


Pimples and cold cores have completely difference causes. Cold sores are the result of the Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1, or HSV-1, which is spread via direct contact of broken skin or mucous membranes with the contagious area.

Pimples are the result of excess oil, bacteria or debris on your skin. Pimples are often associated with acne.


Before getting a cold sore, you may experience extreme tenderness or an unusual burning or tingling sensation on the skin. Cold sores appear in the form of one or more watery blisters, generally very close to the mouth. These blisters eventually burst, ooze, scab and heal without scarring within 10 to 14 days.

Pimples appear as red, raised spots, sometimes with a pus-filled tip. Pimples tend to be firmer than cold sores since they are filled with oils and dead skin cells and often present as a single spot rather than in a cluster. Pimples can also be tender but cold sores are generally associated with more physical discomfort including pain, burning and itching.


Cold sores usually clear up on their own and generally do not require medical intervention. You can use over-the-counter creams to ease symptoms and antivirus medication to speed up recovery. The most importance thing is not to pick at cold sores as this can rupture the blister and cause the virus to spread.

Pimples are best treated with a combination of active skin care and clarifying treatments like HydraFacial MD. Spot treatment with a cream rich in Vitamin A can also help to banish blemishes even faster.


LED Light Therapy can be used to accelerate healing of both cold sores and pimples. LED Light Therapy kills bacteria, calms inflammation and stimulates the body’s natural healing process.