When it comes to cold sores, or fever blisters, there is good news and bad news. The bad news is that preventing cold sores from showing up isn’t always possible. What’s the good news? There are plenty of treatment options for the blisters that occur. One of the most popular treatment options is aloe vera, thanks to its soothing and healing properties. So, how does aloe vera for cold sores actually work?
First, it’s important to understand why cold sores happen. They are actually caused by the herpes virus, HSV-1. This is different from genital herpes. Typically, the virus will live dormant inside your system – you may not even know you have it once it’s contracted.
The cold sores that appear on occasion from this virus can flare up for different reasons. From stress to illness, or coming in direct contact with someone who has a cold sore, they can show up when you least expect them. Unfortunately, they come along with an unsightly appearance, discomfort, and even pain. Aloe vera is a strong solution that will help to lessen all of those unpleasant symptoms.
What is Aloe Vera?
This healing plant has been used for medicinal purposes for nearly 2,000 years. Aloe vera is actually the sticky gel found inside the aloe plant. It is commonly used (and has been for centuries) for things like cuts, burns, and other skin conditions. Its popularity today continues due to its antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial properties. It also works as a type of antiseptic. On top of it all, the enzymes, vitamins, and fatty acids within aloe vera help to ward off infection.
Aloe vera is also an anti-inflammatory, which helps to soothe even the most irritated skin. Or, in this case, cold sores that have burst open and are causing pain and discomfort.
Using Aloe Vera for Cold Sores
The characteristics of aloe vera help to clear up cold sores. As they burst open, they can become extremely painful. If they begin to bleed, they can become prone to infection. The properties found in aloe vera help to heal the sore faster, and provide relief along the way. Because of its moisturizing effects, it can also help to reduce the overall risk of the blisters coming open again and again. Once blisters burst, they tend to crust over. Depending on where your cold sore is on the mouth, it can be easy to split open. This is often due to dryness and cracking. A moisturizing agent like aloe can fix that problem.
- The Academy of General Dentistry has suggested that when applied directly to the mouth, aloe vera not only can help to treat cold sores, but doesn’t have any negative or adverse side effects.
Some over-the-counter (OTC) products designed to heal cold sores can’t say the same. In fact, though the OTC products may provide medicinal benefits, they can end up stinging or burning even more.
Other side effects that come from aloe vera can sometimes include things like a rash, or increased redness. This is most likely not due to the aloe itself. Most people who experience these symptoms have an allergy to the properties found within the plant or gel. It’s always a good idea to test out a small area with the gel first, to see how your skin reacts.
How to Use Aloe Vera Properly
Thankfully, you don’t have to have an aloe plant in your house to obtain all the benefits of its healing gel. While rubbing the gel from the plant directly onto your cold sore can work, there are plenty of options to choose from today for quick aloe vera healing.
The most common treatment option people use when it comes to aloe vera is through some kind of cream or ointment. There are many different varieties to choose from, and the extra benefit, again, comes from the fact that most of these creams also work as a moisturizing agent.
If possible, try to choose an aloe vera product with UV protection. Sometimes, the sun’s harmful rays can cause the symptoms of a cold sore to become even worse. Sometimes, it’s the sun that can trigger a flare up in the first place. An aloe vera lip balm with a powerful SPF can be the perfect solution.
Benefits of Ale Vera & What to Know
Again, there are plenty of over-the-counter products that heal cold sores. Many of them actually work well, and are easy to take with you wherever you go. The reason people usually go for something like aloe vera instead is to take a more naturalistic healing approach. As stated above, it’s easy to experience negative side effects from some medicated products. When it comes to aloe vera, the side effects are few and far between.
If you find a product containing this powerful ingredient that works for you, make sure it’s something you can take with you (like a lip balm, or a small cream). Because aloe vera is a natural product, it’s safe to use several times a day, as needed. Not only will it help to naturally heal your cold sore(s), but it can offer a bit of comfort along the way.
Because aloe is natural, however, keep in mind that you’re using it on your own terms. There haven’t been many tests done on the overall effectiveness of how aloe vera for cold sores works. Aside from a few studies here and there, most conclusive success stories are anecdotal. If you feel as though you might need something stronger, talk to your doctor about what you can do to make cold sore flare ups easier to deal with. Flare ups typically only last several days, and will go away on their own. But, introducing aloe vera as a treatment option can make the entire experience much less daunting.