It’s never fun having a cold sore, and some people suffer from outbreak after outbreak. As if the sore wasn’t bad enough in itself, and just when you start thinking you’re on the mend, an ugly yellow crust, or scab, forms. On most of your body, a scab means that the pain goes away. However, with a cold sore, there’s no such luck. Every time you move facial muscles or your lips, the scab can crack painfully. So what’s the best way to deal with cold sore scabs, and are there any tricks to try to make them feel better?
You want the scab to form, because that means new, fresh skin is forming under it. Of course, that also means that it’s going to start itching badly. Although the virus is retreating back to where it will lie dormant until next time, the area will still be painful and irritated. Some people give into the temptation of picking at the scab trying to get it to go away and leave them healed; however, it won’t go away naturally on it’s own until the time is right, and anything you do to try to remove it prematurely is going to do more harm than good. You can rip the sore open again and start it to bleeding which will make it take just that much longer to heal.
Picking at a scab can also cause more permanent scarring. Even when you leave the scab on until it falls off naturally, it can leave a temporary scab. The best thing you can do to help the scab heal and leave less scarring is to apply Neosporin or other antibiotic ointment three or four times a day until everything is healed up. Neosporin will help keep a scab from cracking as well as keep a cracked scab from becoming infected.
The scab itself is not contagious. Chances are very slim that if you kiss someone you’ll be able to pass the cold sore along to them once the area has completely scabbed over. However, if you don’t want to take any unnecessary chances, the only 100% positive way to keep it from spreading is probably to avoid kissing until the entire sore is gone.