Cold sores are painful, unsightly small blisters that happen around the mouth and mostly on the lips. Common symptoms of cold sores are itching, pain, redness, and burning sensation. Other common names for cold sores are fever blisters and Oral herpes. Most of the people feel itching and tingling around their lips, one or two days before you can see cold sores on lips. Once you feel that uncomfortable feeling, you should act quickly to ease the pain and for a speedy recovery.
There are five stages of cold sores.
Tingling: This is the first stage where you may feel symptoms like itching, swelling and soreness around the lips
Blistering: At this stage cold sore blisters become fluid filled and therefore more visible.
Rupturing: Now cold sores will start to burst and become exposed and will be more painful.
Scabbing: It is the stage when actual healing starts and you may feel little itchiness, bleeding, and flakes on cold sores, which is natural. But make sure you avoid touching it with your hands.
Resolution: The final stage, where scabs will fall off and your body will start defending against the HSV.
Now you know the different stages of cold sores, next you need to understand is
What causes cold sores on lips
The cause of these blisters is Herpes simplex virus (HSV) and surprisingly 90% of adults worldwide have this virus in their body and some may not even know about it. So, that means the virus is incredibly common.
Herpes viruses remain inactive in the body until something triggers an outbreak and the most common triggers for cold sores are: Weak immune system, Stress, cold, sunlight, and hormonal changes.
Cold sores are transmittable, and you can get one if someone who has it, touched their sore and then touched you. It can be transferred by sharing utensils, by kissing, and touching.
Now if you have questions in mind like, how do I stop getting cold sores?
Answer is, Strong immune system.
To avoid an outbreak of any viruses in the body, it is important to have a strong immune system. Week immune system is one of the reasons you may have cold sores on lips.
There are so many herbs like Ashwagandha, Moringa, Tulsi, Ginger, Garlic, and many others that are great natural immunity boosters.
Best treatment for cold sores on lips
Having Cold sores is a painful and frustrating experience that takes time to heal completely. However, you can make the healing journey easy for yourself by taking medication and creams available in-store, but I know like me, you also prefer to take the help of natural remedies.
I know it seems easy to take pills but remember they come with some toxic effects. So, it is better to follow natural treatment.
How to treat cold sores naturally?
Here are 6 effective natural remedies for cold sores on lips
1. Aloe Vera:
The anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties of aloe vera make it an effective ointment for cold sores on lips. According to a study, aloe vera gel significantly represses the growth of the HSV virus and suggested it is a useful topical treatment for oral HSV-1 infections without any significant toxicity.
Apply Aloe Vera gel directly on cold sore several times a day.
2. Turmeric and honey:
It is well known now that turmeric possesses antifungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral properties. Curcumin compound present in turmeric is an effective antiviral agent against the herpes simplex type 1 virus. There is one research that results, Curcumin diminishes HSV-1 infectivity and slows HSV-1 replication.
Both honey and turmeric have antibacterial and healing qualities, which makes it the best treatment for cold sores on lips. Honey provides a protective layer that stops bacteria to make it worse by drying and cracking. Make sure the honey you use is raw because only raw honey has anti-viral properties.
Mix 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder in 1 teaspoon of honey to make a paste and apply it to the cold sore. Apply it more often to minimize the effect of the outbreak.
3. Black tea:
There is a compound named tannins in tea that has suppressed effects on the herpes virus. The concentration of tannins compound varies between different tea groups. Black teas are assumed to have the maximum concentration of tannins and green tea with the lowest concentration.
So, black tea is an easy and effective remedy for cold sores on lips. When you first feel the tingling on the lip, it is better to start giving compresses of warm black tea bags on the lips. More frequently you do this in the early stages, more effective this remedy will be to suppress the cold sore on lips.
L-lysine is an amino acid, a building block for a protein that body cannot produce on its own. So, it is important to get it through your diet. In some studies, researchers have found that consumption of L-lysine can reduce the number of occurrences of cold sores as well as shorten the time it takes to heal.
Here are best natural sources of L-lysine you can try:
- Legumes such as chickpeas, kidney beans, lentils, black beans, etc.
- Soy products like tofu, tempeh, soy milk
- Dairy products such as milk, cheese, yogurt, buttermilk
- Seeds such as sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, sunflower seeds
5. Ice compresses:
Using ice compresses in the early stages of cold sore helps in reducing swelling, redness, and pain. Do not use ice directly on the affected area, wrap 2-3 ice cubes in a paper towel or cotton cloth and give compresses for at least 10 to 15 minutes. Do it 2-3 times a day. It will surely reduce the pain and fasten the recovery process.
6. Essential Oils for Cold sores on lips
Essential oils are concentrated natural oils obtained from plants, and they smell amazing. There are different essential oils that can be beneficial in treating many health issues including cold sores. As the oils are concentrated, they are not meant to be consumed directly. The better way to use them would be diluting them with other oils like Almond oil, Coconut oil, or aloe vera gel. I will list down a few combinations of essential oils & other carrier oils that can help to treat cold sores.
Why are essential oils helpful?
Essential oils have a number of therapeutic properties which make them so useful. Here are some of the properties:
- Antiseptic – to keep the blistered area clean and free of microorganisms.
- Antiviral agent – to weaken or kill viruses.
- Antibacterial – to prevent bacteria from growing, especially on open sores.
- Anti-inflammatory – to reduce inflammation, redness, and soreness.
- Analgesic – to relieve pain and discomfort.
- Improve the Immune system – to keep your body strong and resilient.
Peppermint Essential Oil
The antiviral & antiseptic properties of peppermint oil make it a great remedy for healing cold sores. The cooling action of peppermint, plus the taste and scent make it a great choice. One of the research shows that peppermint oil had the potential to calm the symptoms of an activated herpes strain.
You can apply peppermint oil diluted with milder oil, like organic cold-pressed coconut oil or almond oil to the fever blister on lips.
Vanilla Essential Oil
Vanilla essential oil or extract has anti-inflammatory properties which is a good option to reduce the pain and discomfort due to cold sores. Applying few drops of vanilla oil in the initial stage of cold sores on lips will speed up the healing process. Apply vanilla oil or vanilla extract using a cotton ball and hold it at the infected place for 1-2 minutes. For good results repeat this process 3-4 times a day.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil has great anti-viral, antiseptic, and antibacterial properties that can be really useful to treat a cold sore. The tea tree oil can also be used in gel form, apply it at the earliest to stop the infection at the beginning itself. Alternatively, apply diluted tea tree oil directly to your cold sore using a clean cotton swab, but make sure you dilute it with a gentle carrier oil like almond or coconut, so you don’t irritate your skin. To avoid any skin irritation, don’t use tea tree oil more than twice per day.
Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Eucalyptus oil due to its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties can help to minimize the severity of cold sore. Eucalyptus oil has a calming scent and a soothing sensation on the skin when it is applied. Dilute eucalyptus oil in a carrier oil like almond or coconut before applying it to the skin to avoid irritation and limit it to 3-4 applications per day. Eucalyptus is a known allergen, one should make sure before using it.
How to get rid of cold sores on lips fast
As I told you before, when you first feel that tingling around your lips, it is better to start applying natural remedies to get rid of cold sores on lips fast. It is also possible that you might not even face the blistering stage.
However, if your cold sore has already broken out, remedies will still be useful in helping it to heal faster, reduce pain and protect it from further infection.