Cold sores are painful blisters that are usually caused by herpes simplex virus (HSV) type 1. Having it can be uncomfortable and unsightly, and it can show up anywhere on the body. It can be on the nose, cheeks, and fingers but it usually occurs on the outside of the mouth and lips.
Cold sores are often acquired early in childhood. Once you have the cold sore virus, it lies dormant until something triggers an outbreak and they are reactivated. Not everyone’s cold sore is triggered by the same thing, but the common trigger factors that can cause an outbreak are a stress, illness, cold weather, excessive sunlight, fatigue, dental trauma, a weakened immune system, and hormone changes. So, the best way is to avoid things that trigger it.
Cold sores can also be obtained when you come into contact with people that carry the virus, even from kissing someone who is infected. Or you come in contact with things that has the HSV by using shared eating utensils or towels and razors which have been used by HSV infected people. It is also contagious and is easily passed along through close personal contact, like sharing lip balms or drinks. The cold sore virus is transferable by touching, so be sure to wash your hands after treatment.
They usually clear up on their own from two weeks up to three weeks. But if you would like it to heal as soon as possible, there are many topical products available over-the-counter.
Prescription Creams and Ointments
There are prescription medicines that may slightly shorten the duration of cold sores for just 1 to 2 days.
- Penciclovir cream an antiviral cream that reduces healing recovery by 1 to 2 days if the cold sore was triggered by sunlight exposure. It reduces pain, itching, and burning of cold sores. It has a side effect like mild pain or stinging feeling when applied.
- Acyclovir ointment or cream works best when used at the first symptom of a cold sore. It may include a side effect such as mild pain or stinging feeling where it is applied. It may also cause temporary skin irritation. Acyclovir was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) to treat repeated cold sore in people older than age 12.
Nonprescription Creams and Ointments
Nonprescription topical products on the other hand, may speed recovery by just a few hours or a day when used frequently for every 2 hours at the first sign of an outbreak.
- Topical pain medicines it relieves pain and itchiness of cold sores. Common topical medicines are benzocaine and camphorated phenol. Benzocaine should not be used for children under 2 years of age.
- Docosanol 10% should be applied at the first sign of a cold sore outbreak. This is the first nonprescription cold sore medicine approved by USFDA.
- Benzyl alcohol a gel that relieves the pain of cold sores. It also helps shorten healing time when used as soon as a cold sore begins to form
- Dimethicone it moisturizes lips and protects from the sun. It also reduces pain and itchiness of cold sore, and prevents cold sores from occurring again.
Over-the-counter products are more convenient because you can get them without the need of a doctor’s prescription. There are many options to choose from when it comes to over-the-counter products to treat cold sores. To help you choose the right products, we listed the best ointments and creams that will surely be effective in eliminating cold sores.
Although it is not a cream or an ointment, we still included it in the list because it works really great. Virulite focuses on an FDA-approved light technology that will stimulate your immune system to focus on that particular area. It helps your body to speed up the healing process and naturally reduces pain. This may not be a medicine but it has been used by medical professionals for years. It went years of clinical studies having an effective result for getting away of cold sores in a short amount of time.
This cream was formulated by a doctor using non-toxic ingredients to heal cold sores quickly. Herp-b-gone is made up of essential oils which are anti-viral, antiseptic properties, and anti-inflammatory ingredients that fight against cold sores. It promotes faster healing and can be applied at first sign of an outbreak. People usually benefit from its healing properties in just two to three days. They also offer a money back guarantee if you’re not satisfied.
Docosanol is Abreva’s active ingredient, which helps protect healthy cells around the affected spot from becoming infected. It speeds up the healing time and helps relieve the symptoms. It heals cold sores from the inside out. Abreva penetrates deep into the skin to the source of the spreading virus. It is odorless and moisturizes the skin. The average healing time when using the product is from 3 to 4 days.
It is one of the most powerful natural and herbal remedies for cold sores. With regular use, outbreak frequency will be lessened. It soothes cold sores and is a drug-free alternative. It is safe for children to use since it is 100% natural made. And it has an amazing scent.
Lemon balm is best used by applying a tiny bit of the product to the infected area frequently. It relieves pain and burning sensation while promoting fast healing of tissues. A stick and a roll-on variety is now available.
A gentle formula with therapeutic ingredients such as lysine, zinc, eucalyptus oil, cotton-seed oil, lemongrass, and peppermint oil. Serex eliminates pain, itch, skin irritations and burning sensations. It offers immediate relief as fast as 24 hours. It also comes in a 100-day money back guarantee.
Cold sores are not generally serious but can be complicated to those who have weak immune systems. It can easily be passed from one person to another, therefore, to avoid obtaining it, make sure to always be clean and try to avoid sharing personal things as well as drinks to other people. Remember, prevention is always better than cure.