Does Treating Cold Sores with Hydrogen Peroxide Work?

If you are searching for fast relief for a cold sore outbreak, hydrogen peroxide could be the right solution. Noted as a very popular home remedy, it is considered to have potent healing qualities.

While treating a cold sore with this chemical does work, it is important to be careful. This applies to the application process and placement.

In this post, you’ll find out more about this remedy as well as how it works. We will also provide a step-by-step cold sore treatment guide.

Once you understand the potential pros and cons, you can make an informed decision regarding whether it’s right for you. If you’re on a tight budget, hydrogen peroxide could be your go-to treatment. If you can afford a doctor-designed treatment, we recommend HERP-B-GONE cream.

Let’s take a closer look at whether hydrogen peroxide can remove cold sores:

What Is Hydrogen Peroxide?

It is a potent antiseptic. Primarily used on the surface of the skin, hydrogen peroxide has been used as a healing treatment for many years.

In addition to being used to treat cold sores, it is often used to heal minor cuts and burns. Hydrogen peroxide can also be used as an oral rinse.

How does it work? It releases oxygen when applied to the problem area. This will cause the wound to foam. This foaming action serves to sterilize the area and remove germs and bacteria.

To summarize...

  • Hydrogen peroxide is a healing chemical compound and popular home remedy.
  • In addition to treating cold sores, it can be used to treat cuts, scrapes, and minor burns. It can also be used as an oral rinse to fight germs, ulcers, etc.
  • It kills bacteria by sterilizing and drying out the area.

Should I Put Hydrogen Peroxide on a Cold Sore? 

If you do decide to apply hydrogen peroxide to cold sores, you may wish to talk with your physician first. The specific topic of side effects will be addressed shortly.

Regarding performance, it should be noted that hydrogen peroxide can heal cold sores. In fact, this chemical compound is one of the best alternative treatments available. With antibacterial and antiviral properties, it is quite possibly the most effective remedy.

Important takeaways...

  • Hydrogen peroxide contains many healing and bacteria-fighting properties.
  • Not only can it reduce healing time but it can also prevent existing cold sores from spreading. While subjective, this potent liquid can potentially eliminate cold sores in a matter of days.
  • It dries out cold sores and greatly reduces inflammation caused by the blisters.

How to Apply Hydrogen Peroxide to Cold Sores

While a variety of techniques do exist, we will cover the most straightforward way.

To execute this procedure, you will need a small bowl and a cotton ball, swab, or facial tissue.

Listed below are the detailed instructions:

  • Using 3% pure hydrogen peroxide, pour one tablespoon into a bowl.
  • Place your cotton or tissue selection into the liquid.
  • Locate your cold sore and delicately hold the saturated material on the area in a gentle fashion. Do not rub or apply harsh pressure.
  • Allow this technique to continue for no longer than 10 minutes. Rinse the blister area clean with water when you are finished.
  • Repeat this application method 3-4 times per day for the best results.

If you have extremely dry or sensitive skin, you could be burned. Dilute the compound with water before beginning the application. Using 3% hydrogen peroxide is very important. Any percentage higher could cause severe skin damage.

This water mixing process is also critical if you decide to use hydrogen peroxide to treat cold sores directly around the mouth. It is important to rinse with water orally after the treatment has been completed.

How to get rid of cold sores fast

Is it Okay to Put Hydrogen Peroxide on a Cold Sore Scab?

Yes. However, extreme caution and care should be used, or things could go wrong. Given the fact that you are so close to complete healing the last thing you want is a negative issue.

The reason applying hydrogen peroxide to a scab is so tricky is due to the scab itself. While a scab can provide a shield over the sore, scabs can be easily dislodged.

Think of your cold sore scab as a hamburger bun. While a bun looks firm, it does not take much to knock it off. If that example rings true, then you likely understand the cause for concern and care.

Cotton swabs, even with a gentle touch, can manipulate a cold sore scab. Just the slightest crack and peel can present a major problem concerning healing. This is not to mention the extreme pain.

Noted below are some important actions to be mindful of during the application process.

  • While it is okay to use hydrogen peroxide on your cold sore scab, you need to use extreme caution.
  • Avoid scab manipulation at all costs. Do not allow the scab to be moved in any way by the cotton applicator or the liquid.
  • It is strong. Never attempt to flush out the area. A tiny amount will be more than enough.

Does Hydrogen Peroxide Burn Cold Sores?

Yes. At least to some degree. Hydrogen peroxide is mild but can be quite potent. Especially when in contact with sensitive skin or an open sore. Burning and stinging sensations are quite common with this cold sore treatment method.

From a chemical standpoint, it is arguably more capable than most any home remedy. Thankfully, the typical household chemical contains 3% hydrogen peroxide and 97% water. This ratio can cause irritation and potential skin whitening but nothing too aggressive. Most “burns” or irritation areas can be flushed clean with cool water.

Regardless of the percentage, you should always keep hydrogen peroxide away from your eyes. Additionally, you should never consume this chemical compound. Ingestion can prove to be fatal in some cases.

  • Hydrogen peroxide can burn cold sores, at least to some degree. However, the burning is more of a sensation and irritation.
  • The traditional household ratio is 3% chemical and 97% water. Never use more than 3% to treat cold sores.
  • Keep it away from eyes and never swallow. Actual ingestion can be fatal.

What are the Side Effects of Hydrogen Peroxide? 

Although the percentage risk and consumption has been briefly mentioned, those are just two of many potential issues. While some are obviously more problematic than others, hydrogen peroxide can harm your skin. This is especially true if you misuse the product as it relates to the application.

Responsible use is paramount and here’s why:

  • There is potential for skin irritation and damage. This is why any application method should be done gently. Foaming of the area site and mild stinging is normal.
  • Consumption can potentially result in major health issues. Dizziness and nausea are the most common side effects. However, the consumption can also be fatal. Use hydrogen peroxide as an oral rinse. Never swallow.
  • Allergic reactions
  • Rash
  • Cold sores becoming large puss blisters. This is a sign of on-contact burning caused by excessive use.
  • General swelling of the infected area.
  • Extreme dryness. While this symptom is positive regarding the eventual healing process, dryness can cause your lip(s) to crack.
  • In some cases, hydrogen peroxide can bleach the skin. This can cause the cold sore to turn white as well as the surrounding skin. This type of discoloration can also cause the blister itself to be more apparent.

Does Hydrogen Peroxide Dry Up Cold Sores?

Rubbing Alcohol vs. Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide and rubbing alcohol are very similar. In fact, both can be used to treat cold sores although many of the same risks apply.

Let’s do some comparison shopping and point out the major differences and similarities.

  • Rubbing alcohol is flammable.
  • Rubbing alcohol cannot be used as an oral rinse.
  • Keep both away from your eyes and avoid contact with deep wounds.
  • Both can be used to treat cold sores although both require the same gentle care.
  • Rubbing alcohol is a powerful antiseptic and germ remover. Quite similar to its hydrogen peroxide counterpart.

With so many similarities you likely will not go wrong with either selection. Especially if all you want is fast relief without breaking the bank. Regarding application, the instructions for hydrogen peroxide are also advised for rubbing alcohol. Do not rush. Be very gentle.

Other Ways to Make Cold Sores Go Away Faster

In addition to hydrogen peroxide, many home remedies, as well as traditional OTC options, are available.

Ranging from better food selections to HERP-B-GONE cream, the choices are extensive.

Noted below are just a few of the most common ways to get rid of cold sores faster.

  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Immune-boosting foods
  • Vitamin supplements
  • Zinc
  • Lysine
  • Aloe vera gel
  • Peppermint and vanilla oil.

Hydrogen Peroxide Can Heal Cold Sores

All things considered, it is a better home remedy than most. This is largely due to the chemical’s reputation in the medical field. While many home remedies involve unfounded claims, hydrogen peroxide is a proven treatment.

As a cold sore sufferer, your main concern is to avoid skin irritation and damage. Although, that can be an issue with some home remedies. It is quite possible for the pendulum to swing in the other direction if you are not careful. The last thing you want to do is heal your cold sore while introducing new issues.

For that very reason, we encourage you to never turn your back on OTC methods. Many FDA approved cold sore treatments are documented on this site. Potentially healing your cold sore in less than 72 hours, HERP-B-GONE cream is a popular selection.

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