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Smoking With a Cold Sore: How Cigarettes Can Irritate Your Outbreak

smoking with a cold sore

Smoking with a cold sore? You probably shouldn’t. Cold sores and smoking don’t mix any better than oil and water.

Smoking causes a domino effect of negative activity in the body that works against the healing process required to recover from a herpes outbreak. So if you want your cold sore gone faster, smoking isn’t a good choice.

Here's everything you need to know about smoking with a cold sore and how cigarettes can irritate your skin. Armed with this knowledge, you can take action to stay comfortable and heal quickly during your next cold sore outbreak.

How Can Smoking Irritate Your Outbreak?

Smoking with a cold sore is believed to irritate herpes outbreaks because it weakens the body’s natural healing response. Instead of gradually healing and fading, cold sores affected by smoking may linger for days or weeks longer.

In a healthy body, red blood cells transport oxygen through the blood. In a smoker’s body, carbon monoxide and other lethal chemicals debilitate red blood cells, making it difficult for the cells to carry fresh oxygen to vital organs.

Oxygen has a profound influence over wound healing; without it, the body can’t produce the energy needed for bacterial defense, regeneration, and other essential reparative functions. Every time you start smoking with a cold sore, you compromise your body’s ability to continue the herpes healing process.

Smoking can also increase the likelihood of a herpes outbreak since it depletes your immune system and leaves you vulnerable to infection. Every time you smoke, your body experiences a temporary increase in blood pressure, and the negative impacts to your cardiovascular health accumulate.

smoking with cold sore

None of this is good news for your wellbeing or your herpes outbreak. And it gets even worse.

Studies in mice suggest that HSV-1 and tobacco may act synergistically in the development of precancerous oral lesions and oral cancer. According to this research, two months’ exposure to tobacco and the herpes virus increased inflammatory cell activity and other signs of oral lesions.

Should You Smoke with Others While Infected?

Although herpes dies quickly outside of the body, it’s still risky to share a cigarette, vape, or other smoking item during an active herpes outbreak. Depending on the manner of sharing and the amount of saliva present, the herpes virus could spread from one person to another as if they had just kissed.

Chewing tobacco is also problematic, even if you’re not sharing it with others. This type of tobacco stretches the lip, causing cracks to appear and making it more likely that your cold sores will pop. When blisters burst, the healing time automatically increases.

What About Marijuana and Cold Sores?

Though marijuana still qualifies as smoking, there’s evidence to suggest it may actually be beneficial to people with HSV-1.

The medicinal properties of cannabis have been shown in anecdotal evidence and international research studies to support the cold sore healing process in multiple ways.

One research account from 1991 reported that THC reduced the risk of infection from herpes simplex by making the virus 80 percent less viable.

Other studies consistently indicate that that cannabinoids in marijuana decrease the pain and inflammation caused by herpes outbreaks. The body is equipped with a specific endocannabinoid system (ECS), a transmitter system with receptors throughout the body that control and modulate various brain, immune, and gut functions. Smoking marijuana activates the ECS for strategic therapeutic use against cold sores.

Overall, it’s possible that marijuana smoking with a cold sore may:

  • -Reduce outbreaks
  • -Slow the rate of infection
  • -Ease inflammation and pain
  • -Boost your immune system

Be sure to check with your doctor before self-medicating with marijuana for cold sores. Every person (and state) is different, and what helps one person may hurt another.

Smoking with a cold sore

What About Sharing Things Other Than Tobacco Products?

Evidence suggests that the herpes virus dies quickly outside of the human body, but it’s better to be safe than infected. Avoid sharing these items while you or someone else has an active herpes outbreak:

  • -Eating utensils
  • -Chapstick or lipstick
  • -Toothbrushes
  • -Razors
  • -Towels

If you're looking for a fast and reliable solution to your cold sore outbreak, try the Luminance RED. This FDA-registered device uses advanced LED technology to prevent future outbreaks, reduce healing time, and achieve pain relief.

In fact, clinical studies show that patients who receive treatment averaged 77% reduction in pain and 49% reduction in healing time. This safe and powerful treatment can help you overcome your cold sore outbreak and boost your body's natural healing capabilities.

The Bottom Line

Overall, the oxidative stress caused by smoking interrupts healthy blood flow and stunts your skin's ability to heal properly. This cumulative effect leads to aggressive cold sore outbreaks with painful irritation.

If possible, it's best to steer clear of cigarettes until your cold sore has completed healed. Resist the urge to share smoking products, especially when a cold sore is oozing and active, to prevent herpes transmission to someone else.

You'll thank yourself for your precaution later, when your cold sores heal without delay.

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