No one likes the pain and embarrassment of a cold sore, but there are several cold sore remedies, from natural cures to over the counter medication, that can help ease the irritation of the cold sore and lessen its lifespan. Take advantage of a few of the lesser known methods here – set yourself up to be cold sore free again as soon as possible!
Over The Counter Cold Sore Remedies
First, there are the over the counter (OTC) medications – these are usually the first place people look when they’re looking for cold sore remedies. Abreva and Zilactin are two of the most well-known cold sore medications; they’re designed for speeding up the healing process or, in some cases, preventing cold sores entirely, but they’re only really effective if they’re applied early, when an outbreak is first detected.
If too much time has gone by for Abreva or Zilactin, you can also try Orajel or Anbesol, both of which help numb the area affected by the cold sore. These aren’t so much about cold sore prevention or removal as they are about managing the pain and itchiness associated with the cold sore – when they numb the area, they reduce the user’s sensitivity to pain and help them manage the cold sore better.
Another way to manage the pain is the tried and true ibuprofen or acetominophen, pain dullers that reduce the user’s sensitivity to pain but don’t necessarily treat any of the root causes of that pain. This is the case with cold sores, too – when you use these methods, you’re preventing or mitigating the sensation of pain, but not the cause of the pain. Ibuprofen and acetominophen will not decrease the duration of a cold sore outbreak.
Natural Cold Sore Remedies
There are some natural cold sore remedies beyond OTC medications that many people swear by – while their effectiveness isn’t always backed up by extensive scientific research, their folk medicine quality is worth a look at the very least. Lemon balm, in the form of chapstick with lemon balm in it or lemon balm infused tea, can help cold sores last for less time as well as prevent them in some cases. Aloe vera can also help ease the pain at the very least and has been shown to help treat other lesions similar to cold sores. Zinc oxide, available in creams or sunscreen at the local drug store, can help manage the pain and itchiness of a cold sore, as can licorice powder made into a cream. Finally, ice in a bag helps nearly any swelling or pain on the body, and it’s no different with cold sores – ice can certainly help ease the pain and itchiness. All of these natural cold sore remedies are also inexpensive, so they are worth a try.
Do some research before choosing your cold sore remedy and find out which one sounds the most appealing and most effective to you – and remember, don’t rush in and combine everything right away without doing some reading first, in order to make sure nothing you’re putting on the cold sore will inflame your skin or react with anything else you’re adding. Above all, don’t limit yourself! Try something you’ve never tried before – you never know what might work perfectly for you.