Cold sores defy medical science in that we still aren’t sure how to stop them or fully get rid of them. Through centuries of experimentation, however, we do know that some remedies work better than others. If you’re struggling to cope with an outbreak of cold sores, here are just a few tricks for a faster recovery time.
1. Vanilla Extract
You’ll need the good stuff for this, so avoid anything cheap or generic at the grocery store. Buy pure vanilla extract instead, and dab it on a cotton swab before thoroughly covering your cold sore. The vanilla should help to reduce the redness of your outbreak and soothe some of its irritation.
2. Lemon Balm
Lemon balm is a plant that has a variety of household and medicinal uses, including the treatment of cold sores. It’s a member of the mint family, so it might feel a little sharp and cool as you apply it, but it’s worth the sting.
This is a quick fix for cold sores that many people don’t know about. Licorice contains glycyrhizic acid, a compound with anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties that will fight off the very virus that gives you cold sores. Take that, blisters!
4. Zinc Oxide
Oh no! You just looked into the mirror and spotted a cold sore. If it’s been less than 24 hours since your outbreak, run to the supermarket and pick up some zinc oxide cream. It will help to lessen the stay of your untimely visitor.
It may sound strange, but some people swear by milk when they’re having trouble with cold sores. It might be because of the immunoglobulins found in dairy products, or it might be because a cold sore being treated with a milk compress is one that isn’t being picked at with dirty fingernails. Who knows? It’s worth a shot.
If you have frequent breakouts of cold sores, you might consider lysine supplements. They’ve been shown to reduce both the frequency and intensity of viral outbreaks, so they can help you stop cold sores before they start.
These are just a few common remedies for cold sores. If none of these work for you, the problem may be more serious than you thought, and it might be worth your while to consult a doctor or dermatologist. Good luck!