Humans are the natural host for eight of more than 80 known herpes viruses. Infections with herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) are ubiquitous worldwide and highly transmissible. Herpes simplex labialis (HSL) is the best-recognized recrudescent infection of the lips and perioral tissues caused by HSV-1. Facial lesions of HSL may be unsightly, frequent outbreaks unpleasant, and the infection itself more severe locally and systemically in immunocompromised people. This article highlights the pathogenesis, clinical presentation, diagnostic features and management issues for HSL.