How to Get Rid of Cold Sores When They Start to Scab

Written by christine lehman
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Cold sores are painful lesions on or around the lips. They are caused by the herpes simplex virus and are related to, but not the same as, genital herpes. As they heal, cold sores usually scab over. Treating these scabs can decrease healing time.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Medicated lip balm

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  1. 1

    Treat the cold sore before it begins to scab over. If you are commonly afflicted by cold sores, there are oral medications that can reduce the number or severity of outbreaks. These medications, called antivirals, are available by prescription and are most effective when taken as soon as you feel a cold sore developing. Lysine, an amino acid supplement available without a prescription, has also shown to be effective in preventing and halting the progression of cold sores.

  2. 2

    Keep the scab moist. Unfortunately, cold sores usually affect the lips which are especially vulnerable to cracking because they move so often. Using products such as Blistex, Carmex, Campho-Phenique will help protect the scab and keep it moist and more pliable (and less susceptible to cracking) during the healing process. These medications contain ingredients that relieve pain as well as a protective lubicant. Because you are still contagious at this stage, you should also use your own product and not share with friends or family members.

  3. 3

    Allow the scab to form without disturbing it. Having a scab on your lip can be annoying and although it is tempting to try to speed the process of having the scab fall off, it is important to let the healing run its course. Peeling the scab before it has healed sufficiently can increase the chance of scarring.

Tips and warnings

  • Avoid triggers that cause cold sores to develop. Ultraviolet radiation can cause cold sores, so using a sunscreen on your lips can help prevent their formation.

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