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"Can herpes come all over your face? "

ZocdocAnswersCan herpes come all over your face?


I have never had it before. But I am developing what sure look like cold sores on my cheek, forehead, and chin. None whatsoever on or around the lips. What gives?


I am sorry to hear that you have developed sore (that look like 'cold sores') on your cheek, forehead, and chin, and that it has you worried that you might have herpes all over your face. I am happy to give you some information about the herpes virus, and some of my initial thoughts about what might be going on, but ultimately I am going to recommend that you make an appointment with an ENT (Ear Nose Throat) physician, or a dermatologist to get evaluated. Either one should be able to take more of a history, and examine you which will give them a better idea about what might be going on. There are a number of different strains of the Herpes virus. The Herpes simplex virus (HSV) has two main strains that many people are aware of. Strain 1 (HSV1) is the one that causes most cold sores. Strain 2 (HSV2) is the one that causes genital herpes. It is possible that you have an infection with HSV1 causing cold sores, but usually these are located on the mucosal membrane surfaces (like in the mouth), and not necessarily on the skin. You may very well be infected with a different virus (called the varicella zoster virus) that infects nerves, and then flares up at times causing blisters on the face. Since it affects a particular nerve, the blisters respect the reach of the nerve and do not cross midline. The physician you see will be able to help determine if you have one of these viral infections.

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