You have the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), and it’s causing cold sores around the mouth (herpes labialis). You need to start using the best cold sore treatment as soon as you spot the first signs! This will help to minimize the unpleasant symptoms that come with the virus so that you feel better and your body can heal itself more quickly.
While the primary attack is always the worst, recurrent cold sores are still very uncomfortable. There are some effective cold sore remedies, and no prescription is needed from a doctor. The best over-the-counter medicine will not only reduce the burning pain, but help the sore and scab to go away 1 to 2 days faster.
Cold sores cause pain, irritation, and look nasty. Not only do you have to deal with the intense burning, swelling, and itching, but you also have to put up with people looking at you when you’re out and about. While it only lasts for 2 weeks, it’s not a nice experience, especially if the cold sore gets infected.
If you want a medicated patch that will treat AND conceal a cold sore, look no further than Johnson Compeed Cold Sore Patches. This is an excellent solution for people who don’t want those staring glances when they leave the home.
The virus resides in a nearby nerve, called the ganglion. It’ll remain in a dormant state and then reappear in the same place when you experience an outbreak. Click on the link below for specific information on how to treat each area of the mouth/face:
It is estimated that up to 90% of people have had fever blisters at least once in their lifetime. There are many treatments available, so it can be a bit confusing when you’re trying to select the right product. We aim to make the decision easier.
Our reviews have identified a handful of superior products so that you can start using the top treatment. We aim to provide information about each product, enabling you to make an informed decision before you buy or seek further guidance.
Table of Contents:
- 1 Best Cold Sore Treatment – Top 3 Picks
- 2 What Are the Best Cold Sore Remedies?
- 3 Types of Prescription Medications
- 4 What Are the Main Causes of Cold Sores?
- 5 Cold Sore Prevention Advice & Tips
Best Cold Sore Treatment – Top 3 Picks
* Please note that pick #1 is a 100% natural remedy.
#1 HERP-B-GONE Cold Sore Cream Review
HERP-B-GONE is a relatively new treatment that was created by a doctor. It’s a topical lip balm that can be used daily to prevent cold sores from forming. This is one of the few ways to get rid of cold sores that has been FDA approved, and it comes with a money-back guarantee.
It contains natural ingredients that provide instant cold sore relief and faster healing. It’s a treatment that actually kills the virus so that you’ll feel better.
The ingredients in HERP-B-GONE will not cause any harm to the sore or surrounding skin, but it will drastically speed up the healing time.
The ingredients are 100% natural and organic. They include coconut oil, hemp oil, L-lysine, propolis LE, and eucalyptus oil. They are all known for their proven healing properties, and they relieve the common symptoms, such as burning, swelling, and pain.
There are not many things that can prevent an outbreak, but this does work. It’s one of the first of its kind to be able to block the virus!
Reviews have been very positive, awarding it an average of 4.3 out of 5 stars. And 70%+ of users have given it all five stars. If you’ve tried everything else without any success, you may be pleasantly surprised with HERP-B-GONE.
|Ease:||(5 / 5)|
|Results:||(4.5 / 5)|
|Value:||(5 / 5)|
|Average:||(4.8 / 5)|
Abreva is regarded by many experts as the best way to get rid of cold sores fast. Approved by the FDA, it aims to lessen the severity and shorten the time it takes for cold sores to heal.
Abreva has special ingredients that get to work right away, reducing the severity of the symptoms and cutting the healing time. Docosanol, for example, can stop a cold sore from getting any worse. If you get cold sores often, this ingredient can lessen the number and minimize the healing time.
Use this treatment when you see a small red bump or feel the ‘tingling’ sensation that warns you that a cold sore is coming. When you catch it at this stage, Abreva can stop the virus from getting worse, and it is able to heal it at this early stage.
Customers have left excellent feedback, awarding it an average of 4.6 out of 5 stars. More than two-thirds of people gave it all five stars. It’s arguably the best cold sore treatment in the opinion of many professionals. You can feel much better instantly.
|Convenience:||(4.5 / 5)|
|Results:||(4.5 / 5)|
|Value:||(4.5 / 5)|
|Average:||(4.5 / 5)|
#3 Orajel Single Dose
Orajel has been a household name for years. Best known for easing toothache and canker sores, they have now developed their best treatment for cold sores, and that view is shared by many professionals.
It has a touch-free applicator that helps to keep the affected area clean. This is to ensure that you don’t accidentally touch the spot and spread the virus to another area.
This good cold sore treatment is also a moisturizer. It’s a powerful remedy, but it won’t harm your lips or any of the surrounding skin. It gets to work immediately to penetrate the blister and kill the virus.
The moisturizer will provide you with continued relief, speed up the healing time, and reduce the risk of another cold sore developing.
It comes with two doses of treatment, but only one of them is needed to heal a cold sore. This is useful for people who get multiple sores a year, so that you will have the other one available so that you can stop it immediately.
The reviews for this product are very good. It has a 4.2 / 5.0 customer rating on Amazon. Customers have stated that it’s the easiest product to use and it gets results.
|Convenience:||(4.5 / 5)|
|Results:||(4 / 5)|
|Value:||(5 / 5)|
|Average:||(4.5 / 5)|
What Are the Best Cold Sore Remedies?
Tea Tree Oil
This is a healing oil that has natural anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral medicinal qualities. You’ll often find that the best cold sore treatments contain it. When you use the oil, mix it with another essential, like olive oil. This will dilute it, so it’s not as strong (doesn’t sting as much), but will retain its healing powers. You’ll need to apply it consistently 3 times a day until the condition clears up.
It’s an antibacterial ingredient that minimizes the time that it takes for a cold sore to heal. Research has shown that it dulls the pain and can prevent cold sores from returning. To treat a cold sore, put one or two tea bags in boiling water for about 10 or 15 minutes. Soak a cotton ball and place it on the cold sore. Do this 2 to 3 times a day. Alternatively, there are ready-made lemon balm gels that you may find more convenient.
Vitamins & Minerals
Nutritionists believe that taking lysine, vitamin c, honey, and zinc help keep cold sores away. If you have a cold sore, take 1,000 mg of lysine 3 times a day. As a preventative measure, take 1,000 mg of lysine, 500 mg of Vitamin C, and 50 mg of zinc per day. These supplements help to support the immune system and lessen the chances of them returning. You can apply Basic Organics lysine lip ointment when you’re not at home.
Types of Prescription Medications
It’s possible to treat cold sores with oral antiviral medications. You’ll need to apply them 4 times a day for the next 5 days. Options include:
They aren’t a cure for cold sores, but they will help to lessen the pain and discomfort.
Laser Treatment for Cold Sores
Some people have enjoyed good results with laser treatment (or photodynamic therapy). This delivers a narrow-band light to the area, which is the opposite of the UV rays that are found in direct sunlight. The narrow-band light travels through the tissues of the lip or mouth making it much more resistant to the HSV-1 virus. The device is held next to the area for 3 minutes and the process is repeated about 12 hours later.
Cold Sore Complications
- Herpetic whitlow. If you have a cut or graze on the hand, for example, the virus can enter that part of the body. You’ll probably observe some blistering on the fingers. Your doctor will prescribe an antiviral medication to clear up the condition.
- Herpetic keratoconjunctivitis. Your eyes can become swollen and inflamed by a secondary infection. This means that the virus has spread from your lips or around the mouth to the eye area. This can also be treated with an antiviral medication.
- Encephalitis. Although incredibly rare, this is a swelling to the brain that can result in permanent damage. When this occurs, antiviral meds are injected directly into the bloodstream so that they can get to work more quickly.
Canker Sores vs Cold Sores
While they both cause pain, they’re completely different medical conditions. A canker sore (or aphthous ulcer) appears on the inside of the mouth (typically the tongue, mouth, cheeks, or tongue). It isn’t caused by a virus, so it isn’t a contagious condition.
When Should I See a Doctor?
The Mayo Clinic stated that 90% of people carry the HSV-1 virus. You’ll normally find that cold sores clear up on their own within a couple of weeks. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Here are some situations where you should see a doctor:
- You’re unsure if you have cold sores. A doctor will take a sample of the fluid from a blister using a viral swab and send it off for analysis and diagnosis.
- Cold sores appear close to your eyes.
- If you experience any problems breathing or swallowing.
- A high or persistent fever.
- You’re immunocompromised, which means that your immune system is very weak. This would apply if you have AIDS or are getting chemotherapy for cancer.
- Outbreaks are becoming increasingly frequent.
- An outbreak is very severe or extends beyond the ‘normal’ 14 days.
What Are the Main Causes of Cold Sores?
Most people are born with the HSV-1 already in their system. Only about three-quarters will get one in their lifetime, and about half will get recurring cold sores.
The virus lies dormant in a cluster of nerves. When triggered, it travels down a nerve ending on your lip or near your mouth, causing a cold sore to form. If you notice the signs, applying a treatment can prevent it from developing
Different things cause them to appear, and they can be passed from person to person. Here are some of the most common cold sore triggers:
This is, by far, the most common trigger of the HSV-1 virus. When you’re under a lot of stress, your immune system loses the ability to fight off the virus. If you’re working too many hours or life is getting you down, it’s probably time to make some changes.
Different types of hormonal changes can trigger fever blisters. Pregnancy and menstruation are the most common culprits. You’ll know your cycle and can take preventative action by treating the area that’s always affected. This will minimize the symptoms and you’ll recover faster.
Sickness, Tiredness, & Fatigue
Your immune system is concentrating on fighting the illness, thus allowing the HSV-1 virus to get the better of your body. Cold sores also happen more frequently as we get older. The ability of our body to fight off cold sores diminishes with age.
When your body is fatigued, it loses its ability to fight off illness and other health conditions. You need to get more sleep, so go to bed a bit earlier. If your life is too active, slow down a bit. Fatigue is just your body’s way of telling you to take life a bit easier.
Extreme Weather Conditions
People get cold sores when their lips are exposed to really cold temperatures and sunny weather (ultraviolet rays). You can help to avoid a cold sore by using a chapstick in the summer and wearing a scarf in the winter. Stop using a sun bed because this is also a known cause of cold sores. Increasing your awareness will mean that you experience fewer outbreaks.
Weakened Immune System
If you have a medical condition that affects your immune system, such as diabetes, your body is less able to fight the virus. You’re more prone to cold sores when your immune system is ‘adjusting’, perhaps because you’ve just given up smoking.
Dental Treatment or Surgery
Having orthodontic work done puts you more at risk. If the dentist damages your lips or gums with his tools, it’s easier for the virus to enter the body. If you have a cold sore, you may still be able to go to the dentist. It depends on where it’s located and the severity. Your dentist will make sure that his/her tools are thoroughly sterilized.
Understanding the 5 Cold Sore Stages
Unfortunately, if a cold sore is left to heal on its own, it will last anywhere from 10 to 14 days, in most cases. There are different stages of a cold sore, and when you are aware of the early signs, you can apply a treatment that will cut the healing time.
- First Stage
The first stage is a burning or tingling feeling on the lip. It looks like a little red dot and is regularly mistaken for a pimple. The major difference is that a pimple cannot form on the lip because there are no hair follicles.
- Second Stage
This is when the blister will form. Some people only have one blister, big or small, and others develop a cluster of blisters. They look like bumps, but they’re painful, and they can sometimes be itchy. The sore will start to fill with fluid or pus. If you scratch it, you can easily spread the virus.
- Third Stage
This is when the blister pops and forms a sore. It’s painful, especially when on the lip. If you start treatment now, focus on reducing the pain.
- Fourth Stage
- Fifth Stage
This is when the scab will start to come off, and it will be itchy. The skin will turn a dark pink color, which will soon start to fade away.
Cold Sore Prevention Advice & Tips
- Apply a zinc oxide lip balm or sunscreen (SPF 15+) to your face to protect against ultraviolet sun rays.
- If it’s particularly cold, make sure that you put a scarf around your mouth to shield against freezing temperatures.
- Never use anything that’s been used by a person who has cold sores. This includes towels, razors, toothbrushes, lipsticks, and cutlery.
- Avoiding kissing and oral intimacy with someone who has cold sores.
- Wash your hands regularly, and try to avoid touching your face. Always wash your hands after applying a cold sore cream. This will help to prevent it from spreading to your genital area or near the eyes.
- Go to bed a bit earlier, so that your body can get sufficient rest. This will make you less susceptible to illness.
- Minimize stress by learning relaxation techniques. Even deep breathing can be enough to de-stress, but you may want to address your lifestyle.
- Don’t eat foods that contain acids, such as citrus fruits. You ‘may’ also experience fewer outbreaks if you stay away from chocolate and nuts.
- Know your body and apply a treatment when you’re most at risk. For example, when your period is due or if you’re feeling sick.
Always Try to Keep Cold Sores Moist
Try to keep a cold sore moist or it will continue to crack and ooze, taking longer to heal. Every time you open your mouth to talk or eat, the sore will tear, and become unbearably painful. You can apply some petroleum jelly to the area. This will moisturize it, ensuring that it doesn’t become overly dry and crust over.
You can apply some allow vera to the cold sore a few times a day. This will ease the pain, and because of its medicinal properties, it will help the blister to heal faster. If you are over the age of 16, you can apply some Choline salicylate gel to reduce the discomfort. If the pain is more extreme, you can use a local anesthetic gel called lidocaine.
How to Numb Pain & Discomfort
To ease pain you can take ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) or acetaminophen (Tylenol). Some people also apply ice to the area, to numb it.
Apply a treatment at the first sign of a cold sore. If you already have a blister, the best cold sore treatment, which we believe is HERP-B-GONE, will make the healing process more tolerable. You don’t have to put up with two weeks of pain if you take action now.