5 Stages of Cold Sore Development

Cold sores are fever blisters that appear on the corner of the mouth due to viral infection, and the culprit behind it is HSV or Herpes Simplex Virus. Their emergence greatly lowers self-confidence because they are visually quite displeasing. A cold sore has a total of 5 stages that takes a whole week or more to complete.

What Are Cold Sores?

Cold sores are crusty-looking blisters that appear on the lips. They may feel itchy or sore or may also give a burning sensation.

Cold Sore – Stages

Let’s discuss the cycle, starting with the early stage of cold sore growth, in detail.
First – Tingling Sensation on the Skin
During the early stage of herpes on the lip, a tingle is quite common, which persists for a long time, from a few hours to even several days. Moreover, burning and itching are quite common as well.

There is one catch with this; once you contract a cold sore virus, it will trigger crusty blisters at intervals throughout your life repeatedly.

Second – Blister Formation

You may expect the cold sore to move from stage 1 to another in a matter of a few hours on day 1. A crusty blister grows on the face or around the lips or mouth. However, you must know that cold sores mostly show up with a swollen lip with a crusty cyst or a center-filled bump with red-colored swollen skin.

Third – Ulcer Formation

On stage three, your cold sores pop and turn into a crusty blister around the mouth. You will notice the presence of a red circular inflammation in that affected area. This stage – the third one is most viable as the virus causing this issue can spread to people who come in contact with the infected individual.

It is a known fact that HSV – herpes simplex virus is extremely contagious and can spread via skin, eyes, or even genital contact. Therefore, one should never touch their blister, or even if they accidentally do, wash hands before touching any other part of your body.

Fourth – The Start of Scab Formation

By now, your cold sore is entering its healing stages. This starts off with the crust drying off, which leads to a yellowish-brown scab. Once your cold sore healing stage initiates, it cracks up the area, eventually leading it to bleed. In such a case, make sure you have creams, petrolatum, or glycerin to moisturize it.

Fifth – Healing

Once your cold sore reaches this phase, the crusty scab finally starts coming off, leaving some amount of swelling behind. The cold sore has finally healed and started revealing healthy skin underneath it.


You may not find any direct treatments for cold sores. However, if you detect them during the early stages, controlling the severity of symptoms is possible. Why don’t you reach out to dentists from Nimmi Shine Dental for more info? Feel free to call us at (858) 999-8550 to schedule an appointment.

Dr. Joseph Mara

Dr. Joseph Mara

For more than 19 years, Dr. Joseph Mara has been a leading dentist in San Diego, providing affordable, gentle, and honest dental care. Driven by a commitment to patient’s trust and satisfaction, he undergoes continuous education and specialized training in oral implantology and endodontics. At his practice – Nimmi Shine Dental, convenience and comfort are paramount. Utilizing advanced technology such as the Vatech PaX-i3D Scanner and Computer Guided Implant Surgery, the clinic emphasizes efficiency and overall patient well-being. Call us today at (858) 999-8550 to schedule a consultation with our expert dentist.


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