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Can I Exfoliate My Face With a Cold Sore?

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If you’ve been noticing that your skin seems dull or could use a boost in terms of its overall appearance, you may get the urge to exfoliate. Who doesn’t want that fresh, polished look, right? But if you have a cold sore (which is caused by the herpes simplex virus), you might be wondering if you can exfoliate your face. Sadly, you probably need to think twice before you break out that scrub or brush.

“I would avoid exfoliating when a cold sore is active,” said Debra Wattenberg, MD, a New York City-based dermatologist.

Why the beauty regime may not be so wise? “Exfoliating increases the risk of spreading the infection to other areas,” said Dr. Wattenberg.

What Does Exfoliating Do to a Cold Sore?

Here’s why: you probably know that cold sores — which impact more than half the US population — can spread to other people, but cold sores can also spread to other parts of your own body and face. (Cold sores commonly appear around your lips, under your nose, and under your chin.)

And if you rub or scratch your cold sore (which is what exfoliating essentially does), then you could increase the odds of contagion — both spreading the virus to people you come in contact with and to yourself.

Also, the products you choose when you have a cold sore are key. “It’s best to avoid all irritating or drying products when you have an active cold sore,” added Wattenberg. And exfoliating products can be irritating and drying. So for the sake of your cold sores, you’ll want to avoid those irritating products.

Quick Relief For Your Cold Sore

To help heal your cold sore so you can actually start exfoliating, consider Abreva Cream. Abreva can help you get rid of your cold sore in 2 1/2 days1 when you begin using it at the first sign of a breakout!

1 When used at the first sign, median healing time of 4.1 days. 25% of users healed in 2.5 days.

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