Cold Sore Remedies
As a sufferer of cold sores I know just how embarrassing they can be, and how they often tend to come up at the wrong times like on holiday or before a date! While creams like acyclovir can help particularly if applied as soon as you feel that pre cold sore tingle, I’ve found that cold sore remedies that can be made at home to actually be more effective, and often cheaper.
Having talked with friends, family and researched a lot on the internet it seems that different solutions work for different people. This is true of most home remedies but particularly for cold sores, so do try each one and see what works best for you.
Prevention is even better than treatment so after my remedies I’ll let you know the best ways to avoid getting colds sores in the first place!
Cold Sore Remedies Tips
For all cold sore treatments that involve applying something to the blister or blister area, use a q-tip (aka an ear bud) as this helps to insure that you are not getting any bacteria into the cold sore, or getting the virus on your hands. If you do have to touch your cold sore, wash your hands afterwards to avoid spreading the virus to other parts of your body and also to other people.
1. Cold Sore Remedies with Lemon and Apple Cider Vinegar
Yes, just a simple lemon can help a cold sore from even appearing and has worked for me many times. As soon as you feel the tingle, cut a thin slice of lemon and put it on the cold sore area, and leave it there for as long as possible, changing it often. Ok so this is not that handy if you need to go out or go to work, but you can at least use it when at home.
Lemon is really good for you generally when ill, and I often find I crave it when I have a cold or flu. Simply mix the lemon with water and drink about four times a day, and this will help all viruses go faster. If you mix this with apple cider vinegar it improves the strength of the mixture. Similarly apple cider vinegar applied topically can also really help reduce the blister time or even stop the cold sore completely.
Lemon Cold Sore Treatment Top Tip: Love the lemon home remedy but don’t want to walk around looking like a cocktail decoration? Try getting an atomiser (small spray bottle often used for perfume) and filling it with lemon juice so you can spray your cold sore away!
Word of Caution: This remedy should not be used if you have a blister that has burst or is open, as the acidity will be very painful and could actually inflame the blister, making it worse.
2. Cold Sore Remedies with Redbush Tea (aka Rooibos Tea)
My family are originally from beautiful Namibia in Africa, and so Redbush Tea has always been in our cupboards! As well as being really good for you to drink, you can also use the teabags to apply on your cold sore, and this has been effective for me. While I prefer lemon when the cold sore is in the tingling phase, if the blister has burst then Redbush teabags are much kinder to the skin and can dramatically reduce healing time.
3. Cold Sore Remedies using L-lysine
Ok time to get technical! Cold sores are caused by the HSV herpes virus – usually type 1 for oral herpes. One of the dietarty factors that has been identified in triggering herpes is the amino acids arginine/lysine balance in your body. Arginine basically allows the virus to replicate, but lysine reduces the arginine levels in your body, and you can try and avoid high argenine foods such as certain nuts, chocolate, coconut and caffeine. Find out more about lysine/argenine foods here.
I’ve found that cutting out chocolate and reducing caffeine intake helps, although I do enjoy green tea which has lower levels of caffeine than regular tea and is very good for the immune system. Similarly some nuts like Brazil nuts have a high selenium content which is great for the immune system and preventing outbreaks, so what you can do is at the first sign of a cold sore, get L-Lysene tablets and take three 1000mg pills a day until the outbreak is gone.
Whilst I don’t find this enough to stop cold sores by themselves, I do think it helps, and although I would say that many foods on the arginine list should not be avoided due to other health benefits they provide, cutting down on certain foods such as junk foods, chocolate and artificial sweeteners can really help you and your general health.
4. Cold Sore Remedies using Ice
OK this is simple and easy to do. At the first sign of a cold sore apply ice as often as possible. I hate the cold and don’t tend to like this one too much, but my friend Jim swears by it!
5. Cold Sore Remedy using Nail Polish Remover (acetone)
This is a particularly popular cure, working for a lot of people. I haven’t tried it yet, but I will do the next time I get one of these annoying blisters!
Get a q-tip and apply some nail varnish remover several times a day (approx every 1 and a half hours) for a couple of days. Hold the acetone on the spot for about 20-30 seconds each time.
Many people have found that using the nail polish remover shortens the cold sore life cycle by 1-2 weeks – with many people finding that by the second or third day all that is left is a bit of redness or small scabs, which is pretty amazing!
Note of caution: If you get cold sores very regularly I would recommend not using this remedy all of the time, try one of the more natural ones which will be kinder to your body in the long term! Also if you have sensitive skin this treatment may not be suitable for you, in that case, dab it just once or twice on the cold sore and wait till the next day to see if you have had any adverse reaction – its rare but it can happen!
6. Another Great Cold Sore Remedy
If you’ve tried all the cold sore remedies above and haven’t had any luck, or are looking for a way to stop yourself from ever getting them, I can point you in the direction of a really popular and successful cold sore programs,
Cold Sore Remedies – Discover your triggers!
If you’ve had cold sores for a while you probably know that there are various triggers. Some affect people more than others, here’s the top list:
- Extreme heat/cold
- Low immune system and having a flu or cold
- Lack of sleep (my biggest trigger)
- Eating foods such as chocolate and artificial sweetners (e.g. high arginine foods)
Once you know your triggers, you can help to prevent the sores in the first place!
Cold Sore Preventative Remedies
- Drink lots of fluids – non sugary is best!
L-Lysine – Take 500mg of L-Lysine a day or adjust your diet for low arginine intake and high l-lysine intake. If you indulge or think you have a trigger factor you could take 3000mg for a few days until it has passed.
- B Complex Vitamins – studies have shown that those with cold sores are often low in B complex vitamins, there is a link to stress. You can either take these as supplements, or even better, eat foods high in B complex vitamins – check this list for more info.
- Sunscreen – if sun is a trigger use a high factor sunscreen on your cold sore areas
- Lemon balm tea – tastes great and helps to inhibit the virus. I’ve heard cream recommended but never found it in the shops.
- Meditation – meditation is an excellent cure for stress and really improves your overall wellbeing, try it out!
Have you tried any of these cold sore remedies? Did they work? Or maybe you have a better one? Let us know!