Do Cold Sores Appear In Stages?

Your smile is the first noticeable feature of your face, and nothing makes it more unpleasant than the presence of a cold sore in your mouth. Their emergence can knock down all the sense of confidence because cold sores are visually quite displeasing. Cold sore appears in stages and take around a week or more to go away.

One of the positives of this situation is that they resolve on their own and do not require external treatment. These fever blisters emerge due to the herpes simplex virus and heal within a week or two. Let’s discuss what they are and the stages in which a cold sore grows.

Cold Sores

What does a cold sore look like visually? Cold sores or oral herpes are crusty blisters that grow on the lips. They may give the feeling of tenderness, tingle, and pain on the touch.

Cold Sore Stages

A cold sore on the corner of the mouth comes in stages and indicates its arrival as well. Let us start with the early stage of cold sore growth.

Stage 1 – Tingling Sensation

In the early stage of herpes growing on the lip, you will feel a tingling sensation that lasts from a few hours to several days. Along with that, burning and itching may be felt. One unfortunate situation is that the herpes virus stays with you forever once you contract it and may cause cold sores repeatedly.

Usually, the virus is not active and stays in a dormant stage until triggered; it responds with cold sore growth.

Stage 2 – Crusty Blister Formation

A cold sore will move stages in a few hours on day 1. A blister may grow around the lips, mouth, or anywhere on your face. However, cold sores commonly cause a swollen lip with a crusty cyst. A cold sore looks like a fluid-filled bump lined with red-colored swollen skin.

Stage 3 – Ulcer

At this stage, the cold sore pops and forms a crusty blister in the mouth. There is the presence of a red circular inflammation on the affected area. Stage 3 among all the stages is most viable as a cold sore virus can spread to people in contact.

HSV – herpes simplex virus is highly contagious and spreads easily through skin, eyes, or genital contact. Never touch your blister, and ensure that you wash your hands even if you before touching any other part of your body.

Stage 4 – Formation of Scab

The cold sore is slowly entering the healing stages, and it starts off with the crust drying off, creating a yellowish-brown scab. Once the healing stage starts, the cold sore cracks that area which may cause it to bleed. In this scenario, use creams, petrolatum, or glycerin to moisturize it.

Stage 5 – Healing

Your crusty scab finally starts coming off with some swelling behind. At this level, the cold sore is healed and shows up as healthy skin underneath it. There is no risk of scarring, so that is a plus.

How long do Cold Sores Last?

It is estimated that a cold sore takes around 1–2 weeks to heal completely. However, researchers say that the virus remains in the body throughout their lives.


There are no straightforward treatments for cold sores, but if you detect them in the early stages, there is a chance of controlling the severity of symptoms. If you are in this situation, reach out to dentists from Luxe Dental Arts. They are mouth experts and will surely fix you with the best method. Call (281) 969-7456 for an appointment.