There are two types of HSV, type I and type II. In general, type I, also known as herpes labialis, causes infections above the waist, most commonly as oral “cold sores.” Type II infections occur mainly below the waist, leading to genital herpes. However, both types of HSVs are capable of infecting the skin at any location on the body.

Herpes infections, no matter where they occur first, have a tendency to recur in more or less the same place. Such recurrences may happen often (for example, several times per year) or only occasionally (for example, once or twice a year).