Can a Lip Filler Trigger a Cold Sore?

The short answer from a board-certified dermatologist

Lip filler injection on woman's mouth

Q: Can a lip filler trigger a cold sore?

A: If you’re prone to cold sores (herpes simplex virus), you’ve probably noticed that certain things can cause the virus to flare up. Stress, weather, chemicals and injury to the lip can all awaken the virus in your body. But needle punctures can be particularly triggering for cold sores.  

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Your dermatologist should ask about your history of cold sores when scheduling or considering a lip enhancement (or any procedure done around the mouth). If you’re prone to outbreaks, you’ll likely be prescribed an antiviral medication, such as valacyclovir (Valtrex®), to start taking a few days before the procedure. This medication will help to prevent a flare of the virus (even if you don’t have an active cold sore at the time). 

You’re at the greatest risk of developing a cold sore from a lip enhancement procedure one to two days after injection.

Of course, you can be prone to cold sores, get a lip filler and have no sign of an outbreak. But it’s good practice to be precautious and minimize the risk.

Shilpi Khetarpal, MD

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