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Difference Between Cold Sore and Pimple

Cold sores and pimples, although look alike, hardly have anything else in common. How to spot the difference between the two? This article will throw light on the similarities and differences between the two.
One day you wake up and find a red pimple on your chin or near your nose. You watch your face closely in the mirror. You suddenly remember that cold sores are also formed on the face, nearer to mouth and nose. You wonder, is this a pimple or a cold sore? In order to identify it, you need to know the difference between cold sore and pimple. This article aims at pointing out the difference between the two, with respect to the causes, location, symptoms and treatment.
Cold Sore Or Pimple?
It is also essential to note that pimples and acne are not to be confused with each other. Although pimples are symptoms of acne; the term acne means a skin disease which is characterized by pimples and zits. Acne usually covers a large area, while a pimple can occur singularly. Both, cold sores and pimples are observed in men and women of any age group. Although, outwardly, cold sores and pimples appear similar, there are several differences between the two.
The following table will be helpful to know about it in detail.
Cold Sore Pimple
Location Cold sores occur at specific location. They are often seen near the mouth or the nose; i.e., only on the face. Pimples, on the other hand, can occur on any part of the body, where hair follicles are found. It should be noted that pimples never occur on lips.
Causes Cold sores are caused due to virus infections. The virus herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) is the cause of cold sores in people. Pimples are caused due to excessive oil production which leads to clogging of the skin pores. Pimples and acne can be caused due to a variety of reasons like stress, hormonal imbalance, diet, etc.
Contagion Cold sores are caused due to the HSV virus, which is contagious. Therefore, one can easily get cold sores by kissing a person already suffering from cold sores. On the contrary, pimples are caused due to excess oil production and hence, are not contagious.
Symptoms The person experiences pain, tingling and burning sensation before the cold sore appears. Secondly, when the sore ruptures, pus oozes out which can be painful. It should be noted that cold sores burst open on their own. You do not have tingling or itching before a pimple occurs. Secondly, pimples do not open or burst on their own.
Who Gets It Although anyone can get cold sores and pimples, cold sores are commonly found in toddlers and children. Pimples are commonly found in teenagers and youth. However, any person can get it.
Treatment Cold sores go away on their own and do not usually require treatment. However, the doctor may prescribe antiviral medications to reduce the severity of symptoms. Over-the-counter ointments may also be helpful for getting rid of cold sores. Pimples can be treated through medications like ointments, natural methods, vitamin supplements, etc. It is essential to find the underlying cause of pimples before looking for treatment.

When talking about the similarities between the two, it should be noted that squeezing cold sore or pimple can cause oozing and pain. Therefore, it should be avoided in both the cases. Pimples, when squeezed, can cause scarring which can be permanent if not treated immediately. However, scarring is not seen in case of cold sores.

Although now you know the differences and similarities, it is advisable to consult a dermatologist for proper treatment of either of these. Lastly, note that maintaining cleanliness and hygiene and following a balanced diet can help in prevention of pimples, acne and cold sores. Take care!

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