Patient Questions

QUESTION

Can Chemical Peels Cause a Cold Sore?

I often get cold sores and I was wondering if having a chemical peel can bring these out. I am thinking about starting a series of glycolic acid or possibly salicylic acid peels and need to know.

ANSWER

Chemical Peels can cause cold sores

Any trauma (including laser or peels) can cause reactivation of cold sores. It is important that your plastic surgeon or dermatologist take a complete history including whether you have had cold sores. If you have you may be at increased risk for reactivation. Typically medications can be started prior to your treatments that will minimize the chance of reactivation. I hope this helps! Steven Williams, MD

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