According to the National Institutes of Health, scabbing is the final stage of a cold sore, which is also known as a fever blister and is caused by the herpes simplex virus. It occurs after the blister breaks, leaving a weeping sore that eventually scabs over. This stage only takes a few days before the cold sore heals, but there are things you can do to support the process. Once the scab is completely gone, you can consider your cold sore cured.
Apply ice as soon as you feel the tingling or pain in your lip that means a cold sore is coming. The ice may reduce the severity of the cold sore, which means it will be smaller. The sore will not be as bad, which means that the scab won't be, either.
There are over-the-counter and prescription medications that can reduce a cold sore's severity. They come in a cream form that can be applied as soon as you feel impending cold sore symptoms. This will lessen the severity and duration of the score, which will result in a smaller scab.
When you have a scabbed cold sore, don't eat foods that might irritate it. These include salty foods and acidic foods such as oranges or tomatoes. Such foods will inhibit a cure by making the cold sore last longer.
Do not touch your cold sore scab. It will not be cured if you pick at it and pull it off, causing it to have to re-form. Using a topical pain relief medication such as benzocaine or lidocaine will promote curing because they will help you refrain from touching it.
Moisture helps to cure a cold sore scab. Using lip balm or petroleum jelly will keep the area moist and prevent any cracking that could inhibit healing. Apply the balm or jelly as often as needed to keep your scab moisturised and soft.
Hot or cold moist compresses help cure cold sore scabs in two ways. They provide moisture and relieve pain that could otherwise lead to a desire to rub or pick at the scab. This promotes quicker healing.