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A 20-year-old female asked:

Can a cold sore heal without ever scabbing? if so, how do you know when it has fully healed?

2 doctor answers2 doctors weighed in
Dr. Robert Bader
Dermatology 27 years experience
Cold Sores: Cold sores are a herpes infection. You get such an infection from direct contact, such as kissing. Usually there is tingling of the skin followed by blisters which dry up, can scab, and then heal. Rarely, scarring may result. Unfortunately, there is no cure and the virus lives in the nerves forever. Therefore, the sores may come back--usually when under stress or there is sunburn.
Dr. Robert Kwok
Pediatrics 33 years experience
Officially, "no": If a person has a history of cold sores, and there is a tingling spot on the lip (maybe slightly swollen and/or slightly reddened), and she quickly takes antivirals which stop the cold sore from fully developing, then it may go away without scabbing (it may peel slightly). Since the blisters did not form, the "cold sore" did not truly happen. If the sore fully developed, there would be scabbing.

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Similar questions

A 39-year-old member asked:

When do you know for sure that a cold sore has healed completely?

1 doctor answer3 doctors weighed in
Dr. Heidi Fowler
Psychiatry 25 years experience
A cold sore is : Contagious in all stages. So, it has not healed until the skin looks normal again.

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Last updated Apr 3, 2019

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