Cold sores and scars, lasers and treatments that work.

I have scarring on my bottom right lip from cold sores. Is there any form of laser, treatment or medication that can get rid of the scars? I am 24

The short answer to this is YES!   Here’s a two-pronged approach.

You gotta prevent recurrences!

First, let’s talk about preventing these because more outbreaks will just cause more scarring. Cold sores are caused by the HSV virus reactivating in our bodies.  It can be HSV I or II.  HSV stands for herpes simplex virus.

  • Keep the sun/light off the area.  It triggers recurrences.  If you use high zinc (15-20%) sunscreen over the area every day and reapply when skiing, vacationing, swimming outdoors, etc.  it helps.  Here a good one for your lips and one for your face.
  • Make sure you have the oral (not topical it doesn’t work as well) medication with you at all times.  Travel with it!  Valcyclovir, famcyclovir, acyclovir all work.  Have your doctor tell you how to use it.  In 20 years of practice, I don’t remember ever seeing a side effect from these, when taken as prescribed.
  • Keep your immune system strong.  Healthy eating, sleep, stress reduction all help.

Treating scars from cold sores.

  • First, let the area heal completely and just use sunscreen or vaseline to keep it moist….if it dries out too much.  If it’s oozy, try to dry it out with a medical compress.  Ask your pharmacist to explain how to do this for you. You can buy it at the drugstore.
  • After healing, you can apply a silicone-based scar cream or gel (we like Silagen) and sunscreen to help it heal faster.
  • After it’s fully healed for a month, a laser like the fractionated CO2 or Fraxel, may be used to blend any scars.  It’s important that your doctor pretreat you with the oral anti-viral medication mentioned above because otherwise, the laser might trigger another outbreak.  Generally, more than 1 treatment is needed to blend these well.
Hope this helps,
Dr. Irwin
Founder, SkinTour
Director, Madison Skin & Laser Center
Follow my skin tips and travels on Instagram!
Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD

Ask me your skincare question!

Hi, I’m Dr. Irwin. I believe that consumers deserve a medically trained and unbiased skin care advocate.

  • All our content is written and researched by myself.
  • My medical office in Seattle has treated thousands of patients for 15+ years.
  • This site is not affiliated or financially tied to any product, treatment or device.
Ask Me Something
SkinTour Skincare
One of the best investments in your skin is your daily skincare. Why? Because you can prevent many problems with blotchy skin color, lack of glow, texture, some types of acne, and fine lines with good skincare products. You can also correct some of these problems with effective skincare products. Great skincare is often more expensive because quality ingredients are expensive. Some companies spend on research/development which benefits all of us and adds to the cost. Are they worth it? In general - yes! I have handpicked some of what I consider to be the best skin care products, and offer them for sale on SkinTour's shop. This is based on my team and I's testing and research at our clinic. Many of the products are in my own regimen. What could be better than using skin care products a dermatologist uses?!