Most of us like to spend time soaking up the sun. During the summer, or while we’re on vacation, it can be hard to resist those warming rays that make us feel so good. Unfortunately, if you have the herpes simplex virus (HSV-1) in your system, you can get cold sores due to sun exposure.

Cold sores are ‘triggered’ by different events/factors. The virus lies dormant in a nerve in your system until something causes a flare-up. This could be due to hot and cold weather, stress, sickness, hormones, and dental work, to name but a few. They are all events that weaken the body’s immune system so that it’s less able to protect itself from HSV-1.

Direct sunlight may give the skin a ‘healthy’ bronzed look, but UV rays weaken the skin. This is the likely the reason why people get cold sores after sun exposure, sunburns, and using a sunbed. They may appear on the lips, nose, cheeks, and near the eyes, depending on where you’re normally affected, and where your skin has been compromised by sun damage.

In this article, we’re going to look at the reasons why people are prone to cold sores in the summertime. You’ll also find out how cold sores can be removed overnight, as well as some methods that could keep you safe.

Are Cold Sores Caused by Sun Exposure?

Cold sores are not ’caused’ by exposure to the sun. They are caused by the HSV-1 virus, sometimes known as facial herpes. This is a virus that can be contracted at any point in your life, even babies and children. The only good news about HSV-1 is that it’s usually in a dormant state.

The conditions that we’ve touched on above make it easy for the virus to emerge. When our immune systems are compromised, the virus can penetrate through the skin, resulting in the appearance of ugly fever blisters.

7 Reasons Why Cold Sores Occur During the Summer

  1. Sun-damaged skin. The skin’s ability to protect itself has been compromised by exposure to harmful UV rays.
  2. Chapped lips. When your lips become dried out, they may crack open. This allows the virus to emerge because you have sunburned lips.
  3. Fatigue. We may assume that a vacation is a period of relaxation, but it can also be tiring. Long flights, preparation, active days, etc. leave us weakened. That’s why you’re more vulnerable to cold sores from exposure to sunlight.
  4. Less sleep. Hot temperatures may mean that we don’t get a good night’s sleep, leaving us feeling physically exhausted.
  5. Colds and viruses. Getting a cold isn’t just something that happens during the winter. If you get a summer cold, you’re also weakened and more vulnerable to infection.
  6. Oily skin. If your skin has become greasy due to the application of sun lotions, this could block up the pores of the skin.
  7. Acidic foods. Perhaps you’ve eaten more foods that are high in acids, such as oranges and pineapples. Pay close attention to your diet.

Unfortunately, you cannot get rid of the HSV-1 virus once it’s inside you. Until there’s a complete cure for the herpes virus, that will remain. But, there are ways to treat cold sores. If you have flare-ups due to sun exposure, protecting yourself is a great place to start.

What is Ultraviolet Radiation?

Ultraviolet radiation is a direct by-product of the sun. The number of rays that are emitted is dependent on how close you are to the equator, the elevation of your location, and the level of cloud cover in the sky. The higher you are in the air (the closer you are to the sun), the more potent the UV rays will become.

It’s healthy to get a small amount of UV on a regular basis as it is essential for helping your body produce vitamin D. Too much can lead to a variety of health ailments, ranging from cold sores caused by sunlight to skin cancer. It’s known that overexposure to UV rays compromises your immune system, according to the World Health Organization.

Cold Sores Due to Sun Exposure

Protecting Yourself from Too Much Sun

Protecting yourself from the sun is important. The sun’s UV rays provide vitamin D, which is a good thing. We need some Vitamin D to stay healthy. A deficiency can cause us to become lethargic, or even sick, but it’s all about striking the right balance. You can have ‘too much of a good thing’ when it comes to sun exposure.

  1. While UV rays can provide us with essential vitamins, they can also be harmful. You likely wouldn’t go out to the beach on a sunny day without covering your body with a sunscreen lotion. Your protection plan should be no different when it comes to your lips, mouth, cheeks, and nose. Our skin tends to be much more sensitive in those areas, making it even more important to protect the skin from the sun’s rays.
  2. The warmer summer months can dehydrate the body, so make sure that you drink 4 liters of water each day. This will help to hydrate the body, as well as to prevent the lips and corners of the mouth from cracking open.
  3. Make sure that you get more sleep. We tend to do more things when it’s hot outside, which takes a greater toll on the body. Help your body to recover.
  4. Eat vitamin c-rich foods, such as strawberries, to give your immunity a boost.

Apply Lip Balm

  • Pro Tip: To protect yourself from UV radiation, be conscious of how much time you’re spending in the sun. Additionally, you should always apply a lip balm that contains sunscreen. This will protect you from UV rays and keep your lips moisturized, so they don’t split open.

Look for a lip balm that contains an SPF of at least 30 (preferably stronger) to help protect you from UVA and UVB rays. Your lips are constantly exposed to the sun. Even on cloudy days, the sun’s rays can do more damage than we might realize. So, if you have to be outside, and you’re prone to flare ups after spending time in the sun, protect yourself properly.

OTC Treatment

If you do experience a flare up after too much sun exposure, treating a cold sore quickly is essential. Left untreated, cold sores will typically run their course in about two weeks. The use of a good over-the-counter treatment can shorten that healing time.

  • HERP-B-GONE is a revolutionary formula that has been scientifically proven to get rid of cold sores due to sun exposure. Created by Hanna Yoseph, MD, HERP-B-GONE Cold Sore Cream gives your body relief from a variety of skin conditions including cold sores, herpes, and shingles. The formula includes BHT (Butylated Hydroxytoluene) to help reduce the prevalence of cold sores in most areas of your body.

How to Reduce the Risk of Cold Sores Due to Sun Exposure

Cold sores are caused by a virus and not the sun. The sun just weakens your immune system, tires you out, changes your activities, and dehydrates the body. When your body can’t fight against viruses and infections, cold sores can easily appear.

The good news is that you can reduce your risk of cold sores due to sun exposure with HERP-B-GONE or the Virulite Cold Sore Machine. They’re both FDA-approved treatments, so we know that they work well.

By avoiding most forms of direct sunlight, or protecting your lips with a high-SPF balm, you should be able to avoid this cold sore trigger. If you know that you’re prone to cold sore flare-ups after exposure to sunlight, use these preventative tips to lower your risk of infection.