A Cold Sore Through the Stages

A Cold Sore Through the Stages

Sometimes it’s hard to tell whether the blemish that’s appeared on your lips is going to be a cold sore or a spot.

So, how do you tell which one it’s going to be? To give you a bit of guidance, we’ve broken down the stages of a cold sore from start to finish, so you can spot it before it forms, know what to expect and how to manage it: 

Stage 1: The Tingle

There it is again, that familiar tingling feeling around your mouth. Sometimes it might be joined by a burning or itching sensation too. Chances are, a cold sore is forming, and it could appear within 1-2 days of the first sensation.

Stage 2: The Progression

After the tingle, a cold sore will start to form and normally start to blister around the edge of your mouth (or wherever they typically appear). The cold sore will then start to fill with a clear fluid on the surface of your skin. The skin around and under the blisters will also start to react, turning red and looking sore.

Once the blister breaks, the cold sore will be at its most contagious. Be mindful of washing your hands after touching the infected area, and avoid kissing people or sharing products that may come into contact with your lips, such as lip balms and cutlery.

Stage 3: Healing

Within 5-8 days of an outbreak, a scab will then begin to form. These are often quite itchy, so be careful as they have the tendency to crack open and bleed. This stage really requires patience so try and resist picking at the scab; otherwise it could be a never-ending cycle! Although the healing stage can be the most frustrating one, it does mean that the flare up is nearing its end. 

Stage 4: Resolution

Once the blister has healed fully (which normally takes 8-10 days), it will gradually start to flake away and your skin will return to normal. After the scab falls off, your skin may be pink or reddish for a while, that is normal, so no need to worry. 


Fortunately, using lipivir® makes it a lot easier to avoid a cold sore occurring again as it’s a preventative product. This means that it stops cold sores from forming even before you feel that very first tingle. For the best results, apply lipivir® twice a day – once in the morning and again in the evening. A little can go a long way, so only a thin layer is required.

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