Our team of professionals and staff believe that informed patients are better equipped to make decisions regarding their health and well-being. For your personal use, we have created an extensive patient library covering an array of educational topics, which can be found on the side of each page. Browse through these diagnoses and treatments to learn more about topics of interest to you.
As always, you can contact our office to answer any questions or concerns.
- Acne and rosacea
- Bumps and growths
- Color problems
- Contagious skin diseases
- Cosmetic treatments
- Dry / sweaty skin
- Eczema / dermatitis
- Hair and scalp problems
- Itchy skin
- Painful skin / joints
- Scaly skin
- Skin cancer
- Basal cell carcinoma
- Dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans (DFSP)
- Imiquimod: A treatment for some skin cancers, genital warts
- Merkel cell carcinoma
- Sebaceous carcinoma
- Squamous cell carcinoma
- Skin cancer in people of color
- Skin Cancer Prevention
- Who's got your back
- Can you spot skin cancer?
- Skin, hair, and nail care
- Skin care
- How to Apply Sunscreen
- How to Shave
- Skin Self-Exam: How to Do
- Face Washing 101
- How to Apply Self-Tanner
- Get the most from your skin care products
- Dry skin relief
- Preventing skin conditions in athletes
- How to care for tattooed skin
- How to care for pierced ears
- How to Treat Diaper Rash
- Skin Care on a Budget
- How to Treat Boils and Styes
- How to Treat Dandruff
- How to Treat Shingles
- How to Treat Cold Sores
- How to Treat Hives in Children
- Wrinkle Remedies
- Hair care / hair loss
- Injured skin
- Nail care
- Skin care
- Other conditions
If you have a cold sore – small blisters on the lip or around the mouth – you’re not alone. More than half of Americans ages 14 to 49 carry the virus that causes cold sores. The virus stays in the body even after the cold sores clear. If the virus reactivates, or wakes up, you could get cold sores.
Cold sores are different from canker sores, which are not caused by a virus and occur inside of your mouth. Cold sores may appear just once in a person’s lifetime or return again and again.
According to dermatologists from the American Academy of Dermatology (Academy), many things can trigger cold sores, including:
- Stress, fatigue or being run-down
- A cold, fever or flu
- Exposure to the sun
- Hormonal changes, such as during menstruation or pregnancy
- Trauma, such as shaving, cuts, dental work, or facial or cosmetic surgery
Although most cold sores heal on their own, there are many things you can do to help manage your symptoms. To treat cold sores at home, dermatologists recommend the following tips:
- Slow the outbreak: Burning, itching or tingling may be the first sign that a cold sore is coming. When cold sores appear, apply an over-the-counter antiviral cream or ointment. Although this isn’t always effective, doing this may help slow the reproduction of the virus and relieve symptoms.
- Reduce pain: Consider taking ibuprofen or acetaminophen to help reduce pain.
- Avoid foods that contain acid. While you have a cold sore, avoid foods that contain acid, such as tomatoes and citrus fruits. These could irritate the skin and add to any pain.
- Cool the sores: Place a cool, wet towel on the cold sores for about five to 10 minutes. Do this a few times daily to help reduce the redness and irritation.
Cold sores usually heal in a few days to a couple of weeks, however prescription oral antiviral medication may be helpful for shortening the episode if taken within the first 72 hours. If you get cold sores frequently, speak with a board-certified dermatologist, as this medication may also be used for prevention.
Unlike canker sores, cold sores are highly contagious. If you have a cold sore, dermatologists recommend avoiding intimate contact – such as kissing – and sharing cups, towels, razors, toothbrushes and any other objects that may have come in contact with your cold sores. This will help prevent the cold sores from spreading to another person.