Some people think that acne and cold sores are the same. Nevertheless, both of these are skin conditions that have slight differences on symptoms, but they do not have any similarities when it comes to appearance, causes and treatments.
It may be hard to believe, but both cold sores and acne can be easily distinguished. An individual afflicted with cold sores may show signs of blister formation with the absence of pus. These fluid-filled, small bumpy structures usually appear clustered on the affected area. Aside from pain that may occur for 2 to 3 days prior to the onset of the blisters, fully developed cold sores can be quite painful. Acne, on the other hand, does not cause the same amount of discomfort although acne can cause mild, tolerable irritation. Aside from that, acne bumps are larger compared to cold sores. Acne lesions known as pimples contain pus and unlike cold sores, acne formation is marked by the formation of pimples that are filled with pus. However, remember that the term or word acne is not exclusive to pimples, as it could also be used to refer to small raised bumps found on the skin, such as blackheads or white heads.
Site of Occurrence
Clusters of colds sores usually appear around the lips. These are fluid-filled fever blisters that may occur right your lips as well. In the case of acne conditions, the pimples normally appear anywhere within the area of the face. Acne pimples usually appear on the forehead, cheeks and nose. Individuals who are prone to acne formation may also develop acne pimples on the back but rarely around the mouth.
The underlying cause is the most significant difference between these skin problems. Type 1 herpes simplex virus is known as the primary cause of cold sores. Acne formation, on the other hand, can be triggered by various factors, such as too much production of sebum that is often followed by the clogging of the skin pores, which makes it subsequent for bacterial growth. The sebaceous glands located underneath the skin are more concentrated within the facial and back area, and these glands are responsible for the secretion of sebum, which is an oily substance. Cold sores, nonetheless, is due to a viral infection while acne occurs due to bacterial invasion within the pores of the skin.
Since the underlying causes for both skin problems differ, the treatment is different as well. The use of topical anesthetics like lidocaine is recommended for cold sores to relieve the pain sensation temporarily. For severe cases of acne, however, consumption of oral antibiotics is often recommended. Because cold sore conditions are categorized as viral infections, the best treatment option for it is the consumption of oral antiviral medications, such as famciclovir and acyclovir.
In case you are noticing unusual bumps on your skin and you are confused if it is cold sore or acne, it would be best to refer to your physician for help. Your physician can help you identify the condition, thus making it easier for you to opt for the right treatment.