What’s the Best Over the Counter Cold Sore Medicine?

Cold sores are painful and unsightly. While they will eventually go away on their own, many people rightly seek out the best over-the-counter cold sore medicine. This can be a huge help in getting rid of a cold sore fast, and with less pain.

When you can recognize the symptoms, you can start a treatment plan more quickly. Some over-the-counter (OTC) meds work well. That can help to alleviate pain and discomfort, putting you on the pathway to a faster recovery (perhaps in as little as 2  to 4 days)!

If you want to go straight to our pick for the best fever blister medicine, click here to find out more about HERP-B-GONE cold sore cream. It’s received some good customer reviews.

Start Using the Best Over the Counter Cold Sore Medicine without Delay

Cold sores go through stages. They begin with noticeable symptoms, which is when you can start using most over-the-counter creams. The next stages, however, are usually when most people seek out treatment because the pain and embarrassment becomes too much.

A cold sore will form as a blister. In a few days time, that blister will burst. After it bursts, it will begin to scab or crust over, which can be the most painful stage. Moisturizing and healing ingredients are most important when the blister has burst open and is exposed.

Again, you’ll likely experience the worst of these symptoms as the blister bursts open and scabs. However, the sooner you start treatment (as soon as you feel any symptoms), the better. It can help to reduce the impact and intensity as the cold sore progresses.

Best Over the Counter Cold Sore Medicine

Our Top 3 Picks

  1. HERP-B-GONE Cream
  2. Abreva Cream
  3. Orajel Single Dose Treatment

What’s the Best OTC Cold Sore Medicine?

Not all cold sore creams and gels are the same. Here, you’ll find some of the best on the market for treating and healing cold sores. Not only can they help with symptoms, but some may actually speed up the healing time. The sooner the symptoms of your blisters fade away, the better you’ll feel.

#1 HERP-B-GONE Cold Sore Cream

HERP-B-GONE uses essential oils and anti-viral ingredients to fight against cold sores. It was formulated by a doctor, using non-toxic ingredients to heal cold sores quickly. Many of the oils used have either antiviral, anti-inflammatory, or antiseptic properties.


Active ingredients:

  • Coconut oil
  • Lemongrass oil
  • Tea tree oil
  • Peppermint oil


  • Discreet packaging
  • Can be applied at first sign of an outbreak
  • 100% satisfaction guarantee
  • Promotes fast healing


  • Can cause irritation for people with allergies to certain natural oils

Overall, HERP-B-GONE is one of the best solutions for a cold sore. Not only does it receive high praise from nearly every review it gets, but the company itself provides a satisfaction guarantee. It works so well, many people claim to experience healing in just two or three days. Compared to the standard 10-14 days a cold sore typically takes to heal on its own, this natural solution is a huge value.

Check the Price of HERP-B-GONE Cream on Amazon!

#2 Abreva Cold Sore Cream

Abreva uses an active ingredient called docosanol. That helps to protect healthy cells around the infected area from becoming infected, too. As those cells stay healthy, they can better fight off the infected cells. This speeds up the healing time and helps to alleviate some negative symptoms.

Abreva Review


  • FDA-Approved
  • Heals cold sores from inside out
  • Available in multiple packages for use at home and on the go


  • Can use up to five times a day
  • Moisturizes
  • Dries clear
  • Odorless
  • Does more than just mask symptoms


  • Risk of spreading virus through finger application
  • Not good for sores near the inside of the mouth
  • Expensive

If you’re able to use Abreva as soon as you notice cold sore symptoms, you may be able to reduce the healing time significantly. The average healing time is 4.1 days while using the product, but some people experience full healing in just 2.5 days. It’s patented signature ingredient makes it a unique solution for getting rid of cold sores fast.

Check the Price of Abreva Cream on Amazon!

#3 Orajel Cold Sore Treatment

Orajel is designed to offer pain relief for the burning and discomfort that comes along with cold sores. It uses antiseptic and anesthetic ingredients to get rid of pain quickly. Because it penetrates the skin, a single dose treatment is often powerful enough to decrease the effects of the symptoms until the cold sore has healed.

Orajel Single Dose Cold Sore Treatment


  • A no-touch applicator


  • Applicator allows the area around the cold sore to be cleaned, so medication can deeply penetrate
  • Instant pain relief


  • Single dose may not be enough for everyone
  • Doesn’t bring down overall healing time of the cold sore

If pain is the biggest problem with your cold sore, Orajel is a great solution. Sometimes, the symptoms of the blister can be the worst part. While this particular gel may not help to speed up healing, it can get rid of the pain that makes the blister so bad in the first place.

If you don’t regularly experience flare ups, the single-use design is a wonderful value. However, it may not be the best solution if you’re someone who frequently experiences outbreaks.

Check the Price of  Orajel Single Dose Treatment on Amazon!

Benefits of Over the Counter Creams & Gels

Medications can help to make your cold sore less inconvenient. You can expect these treatments to do the following:

  • Speed up healing time
  • Reduce pain
  • Have discreet packaging
  • Prevent cold sore from spreading

Speeding up the time of healing for a cold sore is typically what most people are looking for when they seek out treatment. Getting rid of pain is important, but many people want to get rid of the visual that goes along with cold sores, too.

Even the top-rated treatments may not be able to completely heal a cold sore overnight. Typically, it takes anywhere from 2-4 days for the appearance of the blister to be significantly less noticeable. However, everyone reacts to certain products differently.

The best thing you can do to ensure a treatment works is to follow the instructions carefully. You should also do what you can to reduce the risk of spreading the cold sore. If a product suggests that you can use it several times each day, take advantage of that. The more often you use it, the more the medicated ingredients will be able to penetrate the infected area.

Cold Sores Getting Worse with Age

OTC Cold Sore Medicine vs. Prescription Medication

People who suffer from cold sores frequently may seek out prescription medication. Some are stronger in their dosage. That can be helpful for people who have frequent outbreaks. Or, if your cold sores are exceedingly painful. However, if you only experience flare-ups now and then, and they heal within two weeks, OTC medicine can be a great solution.

Not only are OTC medications more affordable, but they are more convenient. You don’t have to wait until a cold sore is at its peak to start using them. In fact, many suggest you use them at the first sign of a cold sore.

You should, however, see a doctor if your cold sores get worse. If the pain doesn’t start to subside in several days, even with OTC medication, it’s important to consult with your doctor for further treatment. If a cold sore is allowed to get worse, it can spread.

Additionally, cold sores don’t always occur around the mouth. Eye cold sores can also be extremely irritating and can cause other problems if not looked at by a doctor. Symptoms that last longer than 14 days, or get worse, should be treated by a medical professional.

For the most part, however, over-the-counter medication is a convenient solution for getting rid of cold sores quickly. If you have normal symptoms, and feel a cold sore coming on, you can begin using most OTC treatments immediately.

What Are the Possible Side Effects?

Side effects for topical cold sore treatments are rare. Most topical antiviral medications are considered safe for those on other prescription medicines, or women who are pregnant.

The most common side effects occur due to allergic reactions. If you’re using a cold sore treatment, see a doctor if you experience any of the following reactions:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Rashes
  • Hives
  • Excessive itching
  • Swelling of the lips, tongue, or face

Always use an OTC cold sore medicine as directed. Never use for cold sores around the eyes, or other areas of the face. If ingested, contact a doctor immediately. Also be aware of how you’re applying the medication itself. Some gels require application with a finger, allowing you to rub it directly into the skin. Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after applying, or you may increase the risk of spreading the infection.

Natural Ways to Treat Cold Sores

There are plenty of home remedies for treating cold sores. As you might expect, some work better than others. The best part about a natural treatment option is that it’s usually very safe, with few side effects to worry about. Some of the most popular natural ways to treat cold sores are:

  • Zinc: Zinc has been found to counteract the growth of the herpes simplex virus. You can take a zinc oral supplement every day or use a topical solution.
  • Lemon balm: It can soothe an inflamed cold sore, providing instant relief. It’s also been known to reduce the chances of cold sores coming back, and reduces redness and swelling.
  • Lysine: Taken as a supplement, or using a cream that has the amino acid lysine, can help to reduce the symptoms of fever blisters. If taken regularly, lysine can also reduce the frequency of cold sore outbreaks.

Do your research before starting any type of natural treatment for HSV-1 or the symptoms that go along with it. While the ingredients aren’t harmful, some people may experience allergic reactions to ingredients they’ve never used before. Don’t combine natural treatment solutions with an over the counter product unless you’re sure the ingredients won’t interfere.

Cold Sores Keep Spreading

How to Prevent Cold Sores

Unfortunately, once the herpes simplex virus is in your system, you have it for life. There is no way to completely cure cold sores. Each time you experience a flare-up, it’s a matter of treating the symptoms and speeding up the healing process.

Just as there is no way to cure cold sores, there is no way to 100% prevent them. Regularly using OTC medication can also help the virus from flaring up. But, it’s still not a completely preventative measure. However, there are things you can do to reduce the risk.

  • Reduce your risk of exposure. If you see someone with a cold sore, try to avoid coming in direct contact with their skin. Cold sores are most contagious after they’ve burst. Avoid kissing anyone with a cold sore at any stage. Also be aware of the food and beverages you share. The virus can be transmitted easily, so reducing the opportunities for spreading is important.
  • Practice good hygiene. This may seem like common sense, but frequently washing your hands can be a huge preventative help.
  • Reduce stress. As stated above, cold sores flare ups are triggered by stressful situations. It may be impossible to completely eliminate stress from your life, but try to find ways to unwind and relax, instead of staying stressed all the time.
  • Avoid too much exposure from the sun.
  • If you experience frequent outbreaks, ask your doctor about regular antiviral medication to prevent future flare-ups.

What’s Our Pick for the Best Fever Blister Medicine?

For a cold sore solution that gets rid of pain quickly, and helps to speed up healing, HERP-B-GONE is one of the best treatment options available. Because it uses natural ingredients, you can feel safe about using it multiple times a day. Plus, because of its discreet packaging, you can carry it with you wherever you go, and don’t have to deal with the embarrassment that typically comes with a cold sore flare up.

Whether you use the best over-the-counter cold sore medicines, or use a natural treatment option, fighting back against your cold sore can really help to reduce the negative symptoms. Not only will you likely feel less irritation, but the blister will go away faster. While you may not be able to completely prevent future outbreaks, take comfort in knowing fast relief is readily available.