What are Cold Sore Stages?

The five stages of a cold sore outbreak

Whether you’re feeling the early tingle of an outbreak or the irritation of a dried out scab, it’s never too late to use Carmex® Cold Sore Treatment.

Stage 1

Tingle and Itch

You can expect a tingling, burning or itching sensation on the cold sore site. This is a good time to begin treatment. If you take a prescription antiviral medication, it’s most effective during this stage.

How Carmex® Cold Sore Treatment can help:

Aid itching and help relieve pain.

Stage 2

Blister

You can expect one blister or a cluster of blisters. During the cold sore blister stage, applying ice can help with the pain. Over-the-counter pain relievers can also help reduce the inflammation of your cold sore. Make sure to never squeeze blisters.

How Carmex® Cold Sore Treatment can help:

Dab on blisters to help relieve pain on the inside with benzocaine, and smooth and fill to make your cold sore less noticeable on the outside. It works on contact, so you see and feel results fast.*

Stage 3

Open Sore

You can expect the blisters to open, while reddish sores will turn gray in color. The open cold sore stage — also called the weeping stage or the ulcer stage — is the most contagious cold sore stage because there are millions of infectious viruses in the cold sore’s liquid. Wash your open cold sore blister with antiseptic soap and water to help prevent the cold sore virus from spreading to other parts of your body and wash your hands to help prevent spreading to other people. Avoid drinks and foods that are hot, spicy, salty or contain citrus.

How Carmex® Cold Sore Treatment can help:

On contact, the benzocaine immediately goes to work to relieve pain and itch. Our unique formula smoothes and fills to make your cold sore less noticeable.*

Stage 4

Scab

You can expect a crusty, yellow scab, bleeding, itching, burning and re-scabbing. To help the cold sore healing process during this stage, it’s important to protect your cold sore. Try medicated lip balms from Carmex® to moisturize dry, cracked lips. Do not pick at the scab or peel it off.

How Carmex® Cold Sore Treatment can help:

On contact, the benzocaine immediately goes to work to relieve pain and itch. Our unique formula smoothes and fills to make your cold sore less noticeable.*

Stage 5

Healing

You can expect pink skin as the scab starts to come off and you may notice some dry skin and swelling.

*For treatment of symptoms associated with cold sores. Product does not treat viral infections or heal cold sores. When used to help conceal, individual results may vary. For external use only. Use only as directed.