How to get rid of cold sores: 4 natural home remedies  

Woman treating a cold sore in front of mirror

Lots of us have had that sinking feeling when a seemingly innocent tingle turns into a cold sore. They can be a pain, but while they can be uncomfortable, they’re very common and will usually go away on their own.

The good news is you can speed up the healing process with clever natural remedies, along with a little help from Cushelle toilet roll. Let us take you through these below, delving into what causes them in the first place and how long cold sores take to heal.

What is the cause of cold sores?

Before we get onto home remedies for cold sores, it’s important to identify the causes. Cold sores are usually a symptom of herpes simplex virus (HSV-1), though HSV-2 can also cause them.

Once you contract the virus, the first flare-ups will appear within a few days. They are usually accompanied by a few different symptoms like:

1.       Fever

2.       Sore Throat

3.       Aches and pains

4.       Headache

However, the virus doesn’t leave the body after the first flare up and it could return at any time. Usually second bursts are triggered by:

1.       Stress

2.       Hormonal fluctuations

3.       Fevers

4.       Sun exposure

5.       Illness

That’s why and how they occur, now let’s move on to see how long they usually last for.

How long do cold sores take to heal?

Cold sores take around 7 to 10 days to heal as there are roughly 3 steps from when cold sores first appear to when they start fading:

1.       Itching and tingling: before the outbreak you could feel a tingling, itch or even burning sensation around your lips.

2.       Blisters: small blisters form on the border of lip and skin, sometimes on the cheek, and sometimes on the nose.

3.       Crusting: sometimes the small blisters gather together and ooze a little, eventually crusting over.

However, there are lots of home remedies that will help make the virus less painful and speed up the healing process. See below for the best cold sore treatments.

Home remedies for cold sores

1. Lemon balm

Lemon balm is a powerful essential oil that could actually kill the virus. It’s one of the most effective natural remedies for a cold sore on the lip and it’s very easy to apply.

Simply administer a couple of drops of lemon balm when you feel the tingle, and then hold an ice cube on the area. Finally, apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly to help prevent it cracking.

2. Milk compress

Who’d have thought milk could be a cold sore treatment? A home remedy with a real household staple, a compress with milk is easy to apply and usually readily available.

Simply grab a couple sheets of Cushelle Quilted Tubeless toilet roll as they are soft on your skin as well as strong. Use them to make a cold compress soaked with the white stuff. Milk contains antibodies that help fight the virus whilst also speeding up the healing process. That’s how to treat a cold sore at home with milk, and by drinking it regularly you can help prevent them too.

3. Liquorice

Love it or hate it, liquorice is another of the best home remedies for cold sores. This isn’t an excuse to run out and grab a bag of liquorice sweets, though! You will need liquorice root extract or powder for this.

Mix equal parts petroleum jelly and liquorice, spread over the affected area, and leave for the best overnight cure for cold sores. The anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties make it a great, fast home remedy.

4. Aloe vera

Aloe vera’s anti-inflammatory and antiviral characteristics will have inhibitory effects to help you soothe your cold sores. You can dab some on the affected area and you can even keep it in the refrigerator for an additional soothing sensation.

How to prevent cold sores

Now that we’ve covered how to cure cold sores, let’s focus on how to prevent them from showing up in the first place.

There’s a few steps that you can take for cold sores prevention, we’ve put together a short list here:

Use sunscreen

Sun can cause cold sore flare ups due to ultraviolet radiation which is why is very important to wear sunscreen when affected by cold sores. Not only will it protect your blisters but it will also help to prevent future flare ups. 

Take vitamin C and E

Take vitamin C and E as they help to inactivate the herpes simplex virus which is what causes cold sores.

Avoid intimate contact with people affected by cold sores 

If your partner or someone you’re close to has cold sores, you’ll need to avoid kissing them and any intimate contact. Avoid sharing with them towels, lipsticks, razors, cutlery etc at least until they’re recovered.

Wash your hands

This one sounds like a given, but always wash your hands before touching your lips, eyes or genitals as you never know what’s resting on your hands.

How to avoid cold sore scars

Cold sores don’t usually leave scarring. However, there are a few steps that you can take to make sure to prevent scars:

1.        Don’t pick the blisters.

2.       Moisturize them.

3.       Keep your skin clean.

There you have it, four of the best home remedies for cold sores. The next time you feel a tingle or catch a glimpse of a blister, jump into action and stop them in their tracks! However, if your cold sore doesn’t go away, book an appointment with your doctor for some professional advice. Now that you know how to treat cold sores, you might want to check out our home remedies for colds too.


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