ZocdocAnswersAre whiteheads on the lips the same as coldsores?

Question

Are whiteheads on the lips the same as coldsores?

I have two small whiteheads at the corner of my mouth. This has happened before, and usually they burst after I take a hot shower, and then heal up pretty quickly. Are these whiteheads the same thing as a cold sore, or is it acne? If it's acne I want to treat it but I know you can't really treat cold sores.

Answer

Unfortunately, skin conditions are not possible to diagnose without actually seeing them. Thus, to be sure what you have, you will need to be seen by a physician. It sounds like these lesions are on not exactly on your lip, which does raise the possibility that they are white heads. It would be very unusual for acne to develop on the lip because there are no hair follicles there. On the corner of the mouth, there are pores which can get clogged and form closed comedones (the technical term for white heads). Cold sores also can form at the corner of the mouth but are usually described as ulcers or blisters that can be associated with pain or burning in the area. Just like white heads, the blisters of cold sores have the potential to burst in the shower, so that fact does not rule in rule out one of the possibilities. If they are cold sores, they can be treated with the medication valacylovir (Valtrex) if patients desire to reduce the duration or frequency of their attacks. I suggest you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. He or she can take a look at your lesions and determine what they are. Only then will you know if what you have is treatable or not. Good luck.

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