Appearing as blisters, cold sores can be extremely painful and embarrassing at the same time. Cold sores appear on the surface of the skin around the mouth or on the lips, and they last up to 10 days. Suffering from cold sores for 10 days can be brutal, which is why many people find comfort in home remedies.
Before we go over to the home remedies, let’s explain the condition briefly. Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex type 1 virus, often appearing as a side effect of a cold or flu. If fighting cold and/or flu is not enough, cold sores only make matters worse. And don’t think for a second that you are immune to it. No matter how good your immune system is, chances are you have the virus. According to data, 90% of adults in the world carry the virus that causes cold sores; it is just a matter of triggering.
Cold sores are the initial symptom of the herpes simplex type 1 virus, and once established, cold sores can be accompanied by aches, pain, headache, sore throat and even fever. Stress, hormonal fluctuations, illness and sun exposure can also trigger the virus, cold or not.
With that being said, let’s take a look at some of the cold sore home remedies you can use to fight them off.
1. Lemon Balm
You can either purchase a lip balm with 1% lemon balm in it, or use a homemade compress. Brew some lemon tea and make a compress out of the solution. Just dip a cloth or cotton swab into the tea, and then apply on your mouth/lips.
Not much of a home remedy, but lysine is still better than over-the-counter medicines. Lysine is available in cream form and in supplement form. Taking supplements on a regular basis will prevent flares and cold sores from occurring.
You can use ice or a cold compress—it doesn’t matter, as long as you put something cold over the cold sores to soothe and relieve inflammation of the spot. The most practical way is to put some ice in a cool cloth and apply it against the mouth/lips for quick relief.
14. Aloe Vera
There isn’t a skin problem that aloe vera cannot heal. Widely available in gel form, you can also use homegrown plants. Apply the gel from the aloe vera leaves topically on your mouth, and speed up the healing process.
15. Petroleum Jelly
Vaseline or any other type of petroleum jelly is a powerful remedy for cold sores. Simply dip a cotton swab into Vaseline and then dab it over your sores. Petroleum jelly products provide soothing and quick relief of the spot. You can even combine petroleum jelly with some other topical product if you are averse to using Vaseline on its own.
16. Witch Hazel
Probably one of the easiest and quickest ways to get rid of cold sores is by using witch hazel. Every household should have this home remedy in its medicine cabinet. Often used as an after-shave product, witch hazel provides instant relief from cold sores and irritation.
As mentioned at the beginning, the sun can trigger cold sores, be it winter, summer, autumn or spring. Whether you have the flu or not, sun rays can trigger cold sores. Therefore, apply some sunscreen as a prevention, or a remedy, depending of the situation. Look for sunscreen with an SPF factor of at least 15.
The synthetic material from bees is available in almost every drug store or health market, and it is one of the best home and natural remedies you can use for cold sores. Simply apply propolis on the affected area, and the blisters will disappear within hours.
Aspirin is an over-the-counter medicine, but in this case, you won’t be taking it orally. Instead, you need to crush it and apply the powder topically on the affected area. Put a band-aid over the aspirin powder to hold it in place.
You’re not going to drink the milk, if that’s what you thought you should do. No. Instead, soak a cotton ball in milk, and then apply it against the cold sores. This will speed up the skin’s healing process, and the blisters will be gone soon.
21. Vanilla Extract
One of the best home remedies for cold sores includes vanilla extract, the pure spice people use for cooking. All you need is a cotton pad or swab and pure extract. Soak the cotton pad / swab in vanilla extract until it is thoroughly saturated. Then, apply directly to the cold sores for one or two minutes. Repeat four times during the day.
22. Hydrogen Peroxide
You probably know that hydrogen peroxide is not exactly a pleasant ingredient. But it is highly effective. Hydrogen peroxide helps you disinfect the spot, speed up the healing, and prevent recurring reactions. Soak a cotton ball in one tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide, and then press against your cold sores. Hold for just a few seconds, and then rinse with water.
23. Peppermint Oil
There isn’t a problem that can’t be solved with a little peppermint oil, a cotton swab and water. Peppermint oil is one of the household names in the home remedies section, and for cold sores, you can get instant relief in a matter of minutes. Start by rinsing the surface with water, eliminating toxins and making it easier for the peppermint oil to sink in. Dip a cotton swab in clean water, and then in the peppermint oil. The action will dilute the oil, but you want that. Press the cotton swab against your cold sores and let it stay there for few minutes. Repeat two times per day.
The best way to get rid of cold sores is by preventing them from happening all together. That might sound like a difficult task, but in reality, a few simple lifestyle changes will do the trick. Here are some tips:
- Reduce stress in your life. It might sound obvious and the hardest thing to do, but stress is really one of the biggest causes of cold sores. Try to reduce stress by relaxing at least 15 to 20 minutes during the day, all by yourself.
- Change your diet, or at least enrich it with some fruits and veggies. Multivitamin supplements can help you fight off cold sores once they appear, but you should also load up on vitamin C and vitamin E rich foods throughout year to prevent cold sores. Some vitamin C rich foods you can eat throughout the year include red and green bell peppers, berries, kiwi, broccoli, lemons, oranges, tomatoes, and spinach. For vitamin E foods, look for leafy greens, whole grain products, nuts and avocado.
- Change your toothbrush regularly. The moment you get cold sores and the blister has formed, you need to switch your toothbrush. But also make sure to change your toothbrush at least once every two months. Monthly changes are recommended, but every two months is good enough.
- Last, but not least, never pinch, pick or squeeze a cold sore. If you squeeze it, you might trigger a bacterial infection.