Cold sores don’t look nice, especially when those nasty-looking scabs form. That’s why you need to use the best cold sore yellow scab treatment or find a way of hiding cold sores so that they’re hardly visible. The good news is that you do have many options.

Fever blisters start off as small skin lesions, filled with a clear fluid/liquid, on the lip, mouthchin, cheek or nose. They are caused by the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), which lives inside the trigeminal nerve tissue[1] (by the ear). Following the prodromal stage, which starts as a tingling sensation, the virus progresses rapidly through the five stages of the lifecycle. It’s typically all over within a couple of weeks.

We’re now going to take a close look at the safest and best ways to get rid of cold sore scabs. We’ll also look at how to hide cold sore scabs and reduce the healing time from up to two weeks to as little as three days with the FDA-approved Virulite Electronic Cold Sore Device.

What’s the Cold Sore Yellow Crust Phase? 

The yellow crusting phase is the natural progression of a fever blister. It is NOT a sign of infection. Taking on many colors, not just yellow, the scab stage is the final part of the lifecycle before the healing process is completed.

While scabs can be quite sensitive, the color of the scab is usually insignificant. Whether your scab is yellow or black due to dried blood, it is natural and not a reason for concern.

To summarize:

  • The yellow crust phase is a small portion of the natural scab stage. Scabs can take on a variety of colors. This is normal.
  • If a scab has formed, this is a good sign. This implies that natural and uninterrupted healing is taking place. The lack of a scab is more troubling than the appearance of an oddly-colored scab. The scabbing process will have concluded safely within days.

Why Do Cold Sores Crust Over?

Scabs crust over as a means of protection. By design, scabs are naturally crusty and flaky. They act as a “healing plate” that protects your cold sore ulcer from the open air and exposure to bacterial infection. This allows the new skin to form underneath while protecting the area from harm.

Although a crusty cold sore is not visually appealing, it is a normal part of the recovery process.

In the same way that a deep cut on your arm would form as crusty scab, fever blisters are the same. The blisters will grow, burst, drain, and then a crust will form over the ulcer. The best yellow cold sore scab treatment is one that stops the progression of the virus in its tracks.

To recap:

  • Cold sores crust over as a way of protecting the skin’s development. They will begin to crust not long after fluid drainage has taken place during the ulceration stage.
  • Although crusty yellowed scabs can be painful and unpleasant from a visual standpoint, scabs are necessary. The new skin that will soon appear will be a byproduct of scab coverage and protection against external factors (bacteria, germs, etc).

Is the Yellow Scab of a Cold Sore Contagious?

All cold sore scabs, regardless of color, ARE contagious! All outbreaks are highly contagious from the prodromal stage right through to complete healing. This means the scab stage is still active.

There is a common belief that a cold sore ulcer that is protected by a scab ends the threat of viral transmission. This is completely false! If a scab were to crack or peel, the area underneath would still be active, and transmission could potentially occur.

The scab stage is a protective stage that results in healing. That does not in any way change the fact that it’s contagious. It is but one portion of the lifecycle that signifies present viral activity. The good news is that you’ll be free of the herpes virus when the scab falls off on its own.

To summarize:

  • Cold sore scabs are contagious. The color of the scab is irrelevant.
  • Although a scab can act as a buffer between the open air and the ulcer, the virus is still active. Any peeling or removing of the scab early could result in direct transmission of HSV-1 to a third party.

How Do I Hide a Cold Sore Scab That’s Yellow?

While the use of makeup concealer is a favorite trick for covering fever blisters, concealers do not work so well on scabs. In fact, makeup could draw more attention to the scab. This is clearly something that you want to avoid at all costs.

The best way to cover it is through the use of a medicated patch. The Compeed Cold Sore Patch, although designed for blister use, can conceal a scab fairly well. The patch is invisible so the application will not garner outside attention. Don’t put any healing cream under the patch as it won’t stick properly.

No stage will typically last more than 72 hours. This can allow you to apply somewhat of a “quick fix” to your scab while knowing that it will not have to last too long. The use of a patch will not harm it. In fact, the Compeed patch is medicated and might work to your healing advantage.[3]

To recap:

  • Do not cover a fever blister scab with makeup. While this can work with a blister, the crusty texture of a scab will not provide the same results.
  • Use a medicated patch. You will not only receive the concealed look that you desire but also reap the benefits of medicated treatment. Don’t put cream under the patch as it is likely to come off.

What Do You Put on a Yellow Cold Sore Scab? 

There are a wide variety of ways that you can treat a yellow cold sore scab safely. Because an estimated 50-80% of the population within the United States carries HSV-1 virus[2], the market for treatment has never been larger.

It should always be your goal to find a proven OTC cold sore medicine and stick with what works. If you have discovered a quality product, it can help you to cope better with fever blister recurrences.


The best over-the-counter cream for treating a yellow cold sore scab is HERP-B-GONE Cold Sore Cream. It’s made from all-natural ingredients. It’s a topical lip balm that can be used every day to prevent cold sores from forming.

It is one of the best ways to get rid of cold sores fast as “it has been approved by the FDA and has a money-back guarantee.” The cream was invented by a doctor and contains ingredients that provide instant relief from redness, swelling, and pain.

It’s a treatment that cannot kill the virus, but it will prevent viral spreading. The ingredients include coconut oil, hemp oil, l-lysine, propolis LE, and eucalyptus oil, all of which have natural healing properties.

You may not have heard of this product, and you’ve probably tried many unsuccessful treatments over the years. Don’t let that put you off. We encourage you to use HERP-B-GONE as it’s helped a lot of people to recover from cold sore scabs faster.

Aloe Vera Gel

Complete with natural soothing and healing properties, aloe vera gel can reduce pain, itching, and burning that is often associated with a fever blister scab.[4] Serving to coat the scab and keep it moist, aloe vera gel can ensure safe healing and decrease the risk of your scab flaking off prematurely.

heal a yellow fever blister scab naturally


FDA approved, Abreva cream can heal cold sores fast. Penetrating the sore and preventing the virus from spreading, Abreva is both soothing and fast-acting.[5] With its ability to block the virus while also securing healthy cells, it can attack the virus head-on while also acting as a quarantine.

It contains an ingredient called Docosanol. If you apply Abreva during the prodromal stage, it is possible to heal your outbreak in less than half the time.

Zinc Oxide

Zinc-rich foods and oral zinc supplements can heal and prevent cold sores. Also, the topical cream, known as zinc oxide, can be beneficial.

Applied to a scab, zinc oxide can actively treat and protect the area. Zinc will promote faster healing and safeguard against external factors.

Although zinc oxide can potentially cause a bit of dryness, zinc used in combination with lemon balm can create much-needed moisture. Ultimately zinc oxide is quite similar to an OTC cream in many respects.

Petroleum Jelly

Although Vaseline petroleum jelly has no healing properties, it can moisten and protect your scab. These intangibles can allow the natural healing process to continue without interruption.

When a scab is moist and covered, there is a far less chance of it coming off prematurely. Because petroleum jelly is quite thick, you can cover your scab with ease. This is critical if you live in a harsh weather climate. Extreme heat or cold can cause a scab to become irritated and bleed.

Applying a thin coat of Vaseline will help you make it through the scab stage without complications.

Vitamin E Cream

Found in a variety of foods, beverages, and supplements, vitamin E can not only build your immune system but also heal cold sores. The addition of vitamin E cream can be beneficial if you are dealing with a scab.

Similar to many cold sore healing creams, vitamin E cream can be applied to your scab without issue. Helping to protect and repair damaged skin, vitamin E can restore your skin structurally while giving it a healthy appearance.

Applying vitamin E cream during the scabbing stage (and when your scab falls off) can rejuvenate your skin.

What if My Cold Sore Scab Accidentally Came Off Early?

  1. If your yellow cold sore scab has been removed early (intentionally or by accident), you should instantly cleanse the area.
  2. Wash your hands as soon as you’ve finished. An open sore, due to early yellow scab removal, is highly contagious. Any blood or fluid should be treated as a live carrier of HSV-1. Don’t touch other body parts or make physical contact with friends/family/colleagues.
  3. Reduce any swelling that has occurred. Through the use of ice or a cold compress, you can minimize swelling and numb pain.
  4. Apply an OTC treatment or skin-healing cream, such as Aloe Vera gel.
  5. Monitor the situation and look for visible signs of cold sore infection.

What Happens if My Scab Gets Wet While Showering?

Wet scabs are not an issue. The only concern is the pressure of the water peeling off the scab or removing it entirely during the drying off process. Getting the scab wet is unlikely to be a major cause for concern.

Just be mindful of your situation. Never place your mouth directly under the jet stream of your shower head. As long as you keep your face out of harm’s way, everything should be fine.

If you are concerned about your scab getting wet, you can apply a thick layer of petroleum jelly. This temporary safeguard will prevent water from having direct contact with your scab.

How Long Does the Scabbing Stage Last? 

The cold sore scabbing stage typically lasts for 72 hours. However, scabbing can be dramatically reduced with effective FDA-approved treatment.

No stage lasts for very long. Usually 2-3 days at the most. While the yellow scab stage is critical, it will pass quite fast. Once your scab begins to flake away naturally, you are on the road to complete healing.

Continue to treat the condition and avoid doing anything silly. Never attempt to pick at and pull off your scab.

Getting rid of a cold sore scab faster

How Do I Remove the Redness After the Scab Has Fallen Off?

During the healing stage, it is natural for the new skin underneath to have a pinkish red color. Minor swelling to occur is also commonplace.

The best way to remove or reduce redness is to continue treatment or apply a soothing agent, such as aloe vera gel. While ice or a cold compress can help, the right treatment is typically a healing ointment or cream.

Can the Yellow Scabbing Stage Be Avoided Completely? 

There is currently no cure for cold sores, but the yellow scabbing stage can be avoided if you treat your cold sore during the prodromal (tingle) stage.

Commencing treatment within the first 24 hours of symptoms with the Virulite Device can dramatically reduce the severity of the condition and shorten its duration.[6] Antiviral creams and medications work by interrupting the reproduction of the herpes virus. They are most effective when taken/applied as soon as you detect that the virus has been activated.


  1. Nicoll MP, Proença JT, Efstathiou S. The molecular basis of herpes simplex virus latency. Fems Microbiology Reviews. 2012;36(3):684-705. doi:10.1111/j.1574-6976.2011.00320.x.
  2. Giraldo D, Wilcox DR, Longnecker R. The Type I Interferon Response and Age-Dependent Susceptibility to Herpes Simplex Virus Infection. DNA and Cell Biology. 2017; 36(5):329-334. doi:10.1089/dna.2017.3668.
  3. Karlsmark T, Goodman JJ, Drouault Y, Lufrano L, Pledger GW; Cold Sore Study Group. Randomized clinical study comparing Compeed cold sore patch to acyclovir cream 5% in the treatment of herpes simplex labialis. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2008 Nov;22(10):1184-92. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-3083.2008.02761.x.
  4. Khan AW, Kotta S, Ansari SH, Sharma RK, Kumar A, Ali J. Formulation development, optimization and evaluation of aloe vera gel for wound healing. Pharmacognosy Magazine. 2013;9(Suppl 1):S6-S10. doi:10.4103/0973-1296.117849.
  5. Treister N.S., Woo S.B. Topical n-docosanol for management of recurrent herpes labialis. Expert Opin. Pharmacother. 2010;11:853–860. doi: 10.1517/14656561003691847.
  6. Ablon G. Phototherapy with Light Emitting Diodes: Treating a Broad Range of Medical and Aesthetic Conditions in Dermatology. The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology. 2018;11(2):21-27.

Last update on 2024-05-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API