16 Ways to Prevent & Get Rid of Cold Sores

cold soresA cold sore is not welcome on your face, or anywhere else, for that matter. Not only are they cosmetically unappealing, they can be downright painful. Let’s get over the fact they’re caused by the herpes virus. We all know it, and that aspect gets far too much attention. Defining cold sores simply for what they are, they are small, fluid filled lesions that pop up generally on or around your lips. The blisters often group together, and after they break, a crust forms over the resulting sore. There is no true cure for the virus, or the cold sores. The bright side is that there are preventative measures you can take that lessen outbreaks, severity, and duration. If the bothersome blisters do show up, there are a decent number of home remedies for cold sores that may ease your discomfort, and help diminish their appearance. Just because there is no cure, doesn’t mean you’re stuck using irritating prescription face creams or having a cold sore that hangs around for an eternity.

16 Cold Sore Remedies- and ways to prevent future breakouts.

1. Enjoy vanilla

Vanilla extract, the real, good, pure, vanilla extract, is a natural cold sore remedy some people swear by. The thought process is that its alcohol based, and running along those lines, makes it hard for the virus to thrive and either wipes it out or lessens the severity and length of the outbreak. If you do use vanilla, try and get it organic, and try to start using it the second you feel the tingling set it.

You will need…
-a cotton swab or cotton pad
-pure vanilla extract

Soak cotton pad or swab in vanilla until thoroughly saturated. Apply directly to sore, holding the swab or pad in place for a minute or so. Do this four times daily until no longer needed.

Dab It with Some Vanilla

2. Snag some licorice

One of the more random natural remedies for cold sores that you can use is licorice. Glycyrhizic acid, an ingredient in licorice root, has been shown in some studies to stop the virus cells in their nasty little tracks-or at least counteract the symptoms of them. This is thanks to its anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties. A way to glean something positive from this isn’t to go munch on a bunch of licorice whips, but rather get some licorice powder, and make a cream. You can also try drinking licorice tea daily, though that doesn’t seem as effective as topical treatment.

You will need…
-1 tablespoon licorice root powder or extract
-1/2 teaspoon fresh water OR approximately 2 teaspoons petroleum jelly

Mix one tablespoon of licorice root powder to ½ teaspoon of fresh water, or however much you need to get the consistency of cream you want, making sure to add in small increments. Another option is to mix it with petroleum jelly, which on its own can help speed up the healing process of cold sores. If you opt for this, start with a teaspoon of the petroleum jelly and mix it with the licorice root. You can work your way up to your desired consistency from there. Gently dab (a cotton swab is handy for this) a thin layer over the sore, making sure to get it completely covered. Leave it on for at least several hours, or overnight if possible.

3. Toss your toothbrush

Throw out your toothbrush after the blister has formed, and toss it once the sore has cleared up. A toothbrush is the perfect vessel to carry the virus, and you can end up triggering an outbreak in yourself if you re-use the same toothbrush again and again. This is a preventative measure, since it can stop an outbreak or cut it short, it’s well worth doing.

4. Hands off

It may sound obvious, but it can be near an impossible to resist picking at that crusty little (or big) patch by your mouth. Almost subconsciously you can end up bothering it, or very consciously, you just want to peel it off and be done with it. Whatever your motive, resist touching the sore-even just reaching up to touch it and see if it somehow shrunk-as those actions can cause a bacterial infection. That’s the last thing you need. They are also so highly contagious that even touching your sore and then accidentally rubbing your eye, or somewhere else on your body, could cause them to spread (they aren’t confined just to the mouth, you know.)

5. Get milk

Putting a whole milk compress on your sore can help speed up the healing, and ease pain. The reason? Milk contains proteins known as immunoglobulins, which are essentially anti-bodies that fight off and prevent viruses-like herpes. It also contains l-lysine. L-lysine helps inhibit the wicked work of an ammino acid called arginine, which has been shown to cause outbreaks, and may help speed up the healing process as well. In short to prevent outbreaks, drink whole milk and get your dose of l-lysine. To help cold sores that have already erupted, make a whole milk compress to soothe the pain and fight off the virus.

You will need…
-1/2 cup to 1 cup of whole milk, plus a tablespoon or 2 extra
-cotton balls or cotton pads

Soak a cotton ball in approximately 1 tablespoon of milk, and apply it directly to the cold sore for several minutes. Before doing this you can either let the milk come to room temperature or, if you prefer, you can apply it cold. Use a clean towel moistened with water to dab off the milky residue at the end. If you feel you need it, apply a dab of petroleum jelly.

Milk Remedy for Cold Sores

6. Wipe it out with hydrogen peroxide

Anyone who had a parent that put hydrogen peroxide on a scrape knows that it’s not exactly pleasant. The good news is that it’s a lot less traumatic to use at your own will, nor does it seem to hurt as bad now that you’ve grown up a bit. Love it or hate it, the solution can be an effective cold sore remedy. It disinfects, healing up speeding, and makes it hard for the surfaced sore to spread or worsen. The blister is already bothered and infected, at the very least virally, and keeping it clean can ultimately make it go away faster.

You will need…
-1 tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide
-cotton balls, cotton pads, or facial tissue

Soak a cotton ball in 1 tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide. Use more if you feel it isn’t saturated enough. Place the cotton ball directly on your sore-it’s probably going to sting-and hold it there for a few seconds, or dab it around. Let it be for 5 minutes or so, allowing it to do its job, before rinsing off.

Hydrogen Peroxide

7. Be minty fresh

Peppermint oil is thought to have properties that directly kill virus particles outside of your cells, like the ones floating around an erupted cold sore. It won’t help to ingest peppermint oil because it only attacks the virus escaped from your cells. What we mean by it being “outside” of your cells is that herpes simplex virus usually resides beneath the skin, lurking and waiting for a trigger to make it rear its ugly head. When its’ erupted, its accessible to treat with the oil. When applied directly to a cold sore, people have found that the sore healed faster than usual-especially when applied at the very first sign of one.

You will need…
-Good quality peppermint oil
-1 cotton swab
-a bit of fresh water

First, use a bit of water to rinse the surface of the cold sore. Doing so gets away some of the surface gunk that would make it harder for the oil to really sink in and do its best. Then, dip a cotton swab in clean water and then dip it into the peppermint oil. This is to dilute it a bit, making it less likely to irritate your skin. Try this twice daily until it is no longer needed.

8. Take Echinacea

There are a couple of people I am quite close to who drink Echinacea tea religiously and swear by it. Every time I come down with a bug they give me the “I am not sick now am I?” look, with a meaningful nod at their mug of tea. The reason they get away with their smugness is because Echinacea bolsters your immune system and its defenses, making it harder to catch bugs, and shortening how long you are affected by them. While not yet proven it may help prevent cold sore outbreaks which often show when the immune system is weakened.

You will need…
-1 bag of Echinacea tea
-1 cup freshly boiled water

Place your bag in a mug and pour boiling water over it. Cover-a plate works well-and let it steep for 10 minutes. Squeeze the juice out of the bag when you remove it to get all the extra good stuff.

9. Load up on vitamins E and C

Vitamins are good for us, and for our cold sores-and by good for our cold sores, I really mean bad for them. Vitamin C has been shown to boost white blood cell count, and white blood cells are the body’s defenders. When something like an infection sets in the brave little cells head into battle, and having more of them means you’ll be more effective at fighting off the infection, which in this case is herpes. Vitamin E, when applied topically, has been found to relieve the irritating and painful discomfort of cold sores, as well as minimize scarring. You can get the vitamins through an oral supplement, oil (in the case of vitamin E) and-the best way-through your diet.

Vitamin C rich foods include
-red berries
-red and green bell peppers
-spinach (little did Popeye know he was onto a cure for cold sores)

Vitamin E rich foods include
-leafy green vegetables
-whole grain

10. Cornstarch paste

If you’ve worked with cornstarch before you’ll be familiar with its fine, almost silky, texture-it seems like it could be soothing to a cold sore, doesn’t it? I would say so, and it can indeed help relieve the itchy burning pain of a sore when directly applied. The less obvious reason as to why cornstarch makes a pleasant home remedy for cold sores is the fact that it neutralizes the pH of the sore- the virus thrives in an overly-acidic environment-and creates an alkaline state (alkaline is the opposite of acidic.) To seek relief, and shorten the duration of your cold sore, simply whip up a silky-smooth cornstarch paste.

You will need…
-1 tablespoon of cornstarch
-1 teaspoon of fresh water to start

Measure out 1 tablespoon of cornstarch and place in a small bowl. Mix in 1 teaspoon of fresh water. Add more water slowly until you achieve a paste-like consistency. Put a dab on your cold sore before bed, and rinse off gently with water in the morning. Do this nightly until cold sore is gone.

Homemade Cold Sore Cream

11. Dab on some witch hazel

The leaves and bark of North American witch hazel have been used medicinally for years, namely by Native Americans, and have now become quite commercialized. Nowadays you don’t have to worry about tracking down a plant and stripping off its leaves and bark since you can find a bottle of witch hazel, or witch hazel hydrosol, at just about any pharmacy or general store. Since it does not produce enough oil to sell as an essential oil, the hydrosol is a distilled liquid version. It has been shown to help with a number of maladies, particularly in skin care, with emphasis on acne, bruises, insect bites, blisters and, if you hadn’t guessed by now, cold sores.

You will need…
-1 teaspoon of witch hazel
-cotton swab or cotton pad

Soak a cotton pad or the end of a cotton swab in witch hazel. Dab directly onto your sore, and leave on. Do this 1-2 times daily as needed.

12. Grab some aloe gel

The go-to for soothing minor skin irritations, aloe vera gel can provide quick relief from the pain of a cold sore once it blisters. It also fights off bacteria that may be irritating the sore more, and may make it go away faster. Being so dependable, aloe is often touted as being one of the best natural remedies for skin problems there is. The best way to benefit from it is to have an aloe plant. They’re not hard to come by, they’re hardy (I got one when I was five and it managed to survive my care for years,) and best of all, they’re useful and inexpensive. If you cannot get an aloe plant, find a good gel sold in stores.

You will need…
-1 aloe plant OR ½ teaspoon of aloe vera gel

Break off the end of one fleshy, succulent, leaf. Directly apply the gel to your sore. If you absolutely cannot come by a plant, dab a cotton swab in roughly ½ teaspoon aloe vera gel and apply directly. Leave on.

Aloe Vera Gel

13. Ice it

Looks aside, cold sores hurt. They can really, really hurt. Think about what they are-little fluid filled boo-boos that burst, blister, and form a crust. Kind of like constipation, they aren’t taken very seriously. If you complain about constipation pain-which can land you in the E.R., by the way-all people think is “poop” and then they tune out. With cold sores, most people think “herpes” and then move on-especially since cold sores are so common. To numb the pain that some people just don’t understand (and the injustice of it all) try holding an ice cube directly on the sore for as long as possible, and then put on a dab of petroleum jelly. The jelly will help keep bacteria out, and will lessen that tight, skin-splitting sensation that sometimes happens when a blister gets too dry, as it might after using an ice cube. It’s along the same lines of how licking chapped lips makes them worse.

You will need…
-1 to 2 fresh ice cubes, or an ice pack
-A bit of petroleum jelly

Take a nice chilly ice cube, which would be most of them, and hold it on your sore for as long as possible, or use an ice pack. When you’ve finished, pat any obviously remaining water gently from the sore and apply a dab of petroleum jelly.

14. Wear sunscreen-even on your lips

Exposure to light, namely UV light, seems to be a very contributing factor in outbreaks. When you hit the beach, or even just go for a summertime stroll, apply sunscreen to your face, and apply lip balm with an SPF value of no less than 15. Indeed it may take you longer to get a crazy tan, but it’s a very, very, small sacrifice to make when you think of the painful cold sores erupting, and damage to your skin.

15. Wash it all away

You don’t have to go dump every single thing you own when you get a cold sore, but like your toothbrush, its best to get rid of some things that come in contact with your lips/mouth area-such as lip balm, or make up tools. In addition to this, wash your hands each and every time you touch, or even think you touch, your cold sore. While you’re always contagious, it’s easiest spread the virus when there’s an open blister and you may keep causes outbreaks if you continue using contaminated items.

16. Quarantine right away

The moment you feel the tingling sensation that precedes a cold sore flare up, start your treatment. Since there is no “cure” sometimes preventative measures work best, and nipping it in the bud seems to help boost the effectiveness of the treatment afterwards well as shorten the sores existence.

When it all comes down to it at the end of the day, you have a virus that will never go away completely until a true cure is found for herpes simplex. That being said, your world does not have to come to a crashing halt when a sore pops up. Use common sense, try to get to it in the beginning, and patiently treat it, keeping in mind that the remedy that works best for you will probably take some trial and error. Since you’ll probably be living together for a while, it’s good to remember that the less you bother your cold sore (i.e. picking at it or using unnecessarily harsh chemicals) the less it will bother you.

Wet…or dry? A word on cold sore living conditions

There are generally two chains of thought when it comes to treating cold sores. One is to dry them out, while the other is to keep them moist. Some people say the virus festers in a moist environment, others say it makes no difference and you’ll be uncomfortable with a dry, cracked, split, scab.

There isn’t much official research done on this, but from personal experience, I’d have to toss in with the “wet” lot. Putting a dab of petroleum jelly on a sore is a life-saver. The pain of a dry scab ripping open again and again is too much for me-not to mention I WILL pick at it if it’s all crusty. Perhaps with a bit more clout is the Mayo Clinic which, according to their website, also endorses the moist route for treating cold sores.

You may also like our list of 14 Remedies for Nausea & Upset Stomach

We Want to Hear from You! Let us know which remedies work and do not work for you, ask a question or leave a comment:


  1. nottelling says:

    Cold sores are embarrassing, plain and simple. I am willing to do whatever I can to get rid of them faster but haven’t tried any natural remedies before. Do these really work?

    • Mandy Bouchier says:

      I find that Spirits of Camphor works really well.
      As soon as you feel that tell tail tingle, rub some on with an ear bud and hold it there a few seconds. Keep doing that till the tingling stops.

    • julie says:

      Nail polish remover. Cotton swab. Hold it on there as often for as long as you can. It decreases it by days.

      • a says:

        Does it really work because. I hate them soo much

      • Edris says:

        I tried the nail polish remover. Clean the affected area with a swab with peroxide then hold a swab of cotton ball with the nail polish remover on the sore for about 5-7 minutes. It will sting but you will be pleased with the result. You may want to put some tea-tree oil on the area after this treatment. My results were great hope yours will be too! Ps: wish I knew this earlier; have been trying different remedies for the last three days without success.

    • Bel says:

      I tried abreva and it did not work at all. Nothing worked previously for me, though I have not tried every remedy listed here. I knew how good antibiotic ointment is for healing skin, and the last time I had a cold sore I used antibiotic ointment at the end of my two-week ordeal to heal my skin and it healed within a day. I decided to try antibiotic ointment the next time I had a cold sore (the virus had laid dormant in my system for 2 decades before flaring up again!). I just had a break out 3 days ago and immediately used antibiotic ointment. It never grew any worse and has only minimized with each day. I never had any pain or burning or dryness and it is barely visible. This has been the most pleasant experience with a cold sore I’ve ever had and is a near cure. Not every body is alike and this may not work for everyone, just like how abreva works for some people. The only way to find out if it works is to try it.

      • Toya says:

        What antibiotic ointment did you use? Neosporin??

      • RED says:

        What antibiotic ointment did you use ?

      • Lisa says:

        Antibiotic works only against bacterial infections, it has no effect on viruses.

      • haveadamnsoldsore says:

        What kind (brand name) of antibiotic ointment did you use for the cold sore? today is the first day I felt that tall tale sign of the dreaded tingle/itch. I had some old camphor ointment. I need to buy some more medicine. I am researching now for something that really works. I paid $16 for abreva that did not work for me. I thank the girl I kissed when I was 16yrs old for my life long dilemma of contacting herpes on my mouth. She had cold sores hidden with lipstick. big Sighs I will try just about anything to get rid of this damn curse.

        • double033 says:

          Try not using open utensils, example open straws at restaurants that people put there hands on trying to grab one staw. Get simple cold sore medicine and apply to your lips once a month. If you feel your getting sick, apply to your lips everyday till you feel better. I have no sore for 2 yrs.

    • terry says:

      take a quarter teaspoon of turmeric and a dash of black pepper mixed in a small shot of water every day and you will never have cold sores again.

      • Muju says:

        Do you drink this or apply to cold sores?

      • Angie says:

        I take turmeric everyday and STILL have one now…. granted I don’t have many but this one is a doozy.

      • Dj says:

        That’s not true. Viruses live in the spine and work alone nerve channels when immune system is suppressed. What you have to do is stay away from foods high in arginine and eat foods high in lysine because it looks just like arginine to the virus. The virus will pull it in and the lysine will deactivate it. It will help it stay dormant, but their is no cure for herpes simplex 1. Build up your immune systems

    • Bryan says:

      I spent so much time on this. Everything from Valtrex to bleach. I would do anything to get them to go away. I’m not saying it will work for everyone but this is what worked for me. After realizing that the main culprits were L-lysine (the good one) and L-arginine (the bad one) I found that making sure whatever you do that your L-Lysine intake should be way greater than your L-arginine intake (stay away from foods like yogurt, nuts, supplements, chocolate) . Doing this I reduced my outbreaks tremendously. Next I checked more information on L-lysine. Found the max dose to be around 3000 mg a day . (Check this for yourself) So .. I set out on a 3-6month process to take the max dose. I did so using the cheap l-lysine from walmart. That was 2 years ago. Since then I have not had a single outbreak. Let me tell you. I still freak out every time I get sunburn or feel a tickle on my lip.. but to my surprise not one yet. I don’t know if this will work for everyone..but it was cheap.. relatively easy.. and.. I”m not trying to sell you anything.. you can get the stuff cheap anywhere.. Good Luck.. hope it works for you.

      • Crystal says:

        I have tried the L-Lysine and it has worked wonders for me as well. You need to be diligent in taking it or your cold sores will creep back in. I took the max dose for a while to build up my system and then tapered down to the normal daily dose of 1gm/1000mg a day and I was cold sore free for 3 years, when I was originally getting them almost every month.

        Right now I havn’t been diligent for about a year now and I seem to get these boogers about every 2-3 months now. If I have an outbreak I start taking the L-Lysine right away and take up to 4g/4000mg a day and it helps to either shorten and make the outbreak less intense, and other times it stops the outbreak right in its tracks.

        I do have a comment on the Vanilla Extract. I decided to try this earlier today as sometimes I will use stright rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball to help dry out the sores depending on what type of outbreak I’m having. A little history about myself, I have very sensitive skin and I tend to get severe side effects from many medications. Acutally a lot of medicines cause me to also get cold sores and sores inside my mouth as well. Either way, back on track now, I tried the Vailla Extract on a cotton ball and held in place for about 5 min. Within 10-15 minutes my cold sore had duplicated and was 10 times worse. I had more sores and they were bigger. So for me this option did not work and actually made my outbreak worse. Who knows, maybe I’m allergic to using vanilla extract topically.

        So to help I have been taking the L-Lysine and using straight rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball and holding over the cold sores for a max of 5 min and it is helping to take the pain, there is pain while holding the ball in place, away and making the sores smaller. Right now the cold sores are all along my entire bottom lips. My lymph nodes also want to burst out of the underside of my chin and neck so if anyone has any suggestions on how to help with that I would appreciate it. Good Luck!

    • Helen says:

      Hi, I got a coldsore this morning. I put ice on it, took a lot.. I mean a lot of lysine and put witch hazel on it. Then i put abreva on it. I have prom in 4 days (friday) I need help!!! Any suggestions??

      • L says:

        Put acetone on it. I used nail polish remover and it worked for me. Take a qtip and dip it in there and put it on the sore as long as you can. I did this every two hours and saw some great results. Some say earwax is great for helping the sore heal.

  2. C. Kroll says:

    I’ve had fewer cold sores since taking half a lysine tablet on a regular basis. But if I feel that familiar tingle that says I’m going to get a cold sore, Iup the lysine dose to two tablets a day (not taken at one time). Really seems to help. so does avoiding too much chocolate or nuts, which contain arginine and seem to bring on cold sores for me.

    • Sandy says:

      This works for me as well.

    • Lily says:

      This is so extremely true it hurts. I had coldsores my entire life, from the time I was a baby (and badly at that), and I never figured out a way to prevent them and or make them go away faster. While I usually got them multiple times a years I haven’t had one in over three years because of l-lysine. I keep a cute little bottle in my purse at all times with some in there. While I don’t take it everyday, any time I feel even a tickle from my hair brushing against my lip I will load up. Last night I was at dinner and felt the 100% unmistakable, this is not a drill, tingling so I looked in my purse to grab that cute little bottle with a cork in the top and, low and behold I was out of l-lysine! Luckily, there was a Walgreens right across the street. I immediately ran over bought a bottle of water, some l-lysine, echinacea, and garlic pills for good measure. I took 6 l-lysine all at once and then the next hour another 2 and then again right before bed. Low and behold, no coldsore! While other things do help, water, no caffeine, ice on the area, things to dry the area up, this is the ONLY way I have ever found to fully stop one in its tracks. The key I have found is to drop whatever I am doing and get some in my system within a few minutes so that the panic of potentially getting one doesn’t make it come on stronger. This is such an annoying virus and has such a terrible stigma, I hope this helped someone else!

    • Jay says:

      Went to Walgreens for some Abreva and they were out. The lady was helping another guy, who swore by L-Lysine. I bought some and now use it every time that tingling starts. It must be taken right away. Loading up on 3 to 6 grams a day is safe short term. It has stopped all of my outbreaks except this one because I was away from home and took it too late. Camphor Phenol seems to help reduce swelling and accelerate the healing.

      Since there was a breakout, I came here looking for more ways to dry this up or heal faster. Think there is some good ideas here and will try a few. Thanks!

  3. cj says:

    L-lysine supplements help a great deal, but when that all-too familiar tingle appears, I nip it with a colloidal silver spray. I’ve been using colloidal silver for years and it works like a charm. Look for a higher concentration at any health food store.

  4. LBennett says:

    I use Spirit of Camphor…it’s what’s found in small doses in the over the counter remedies. Cheaper to buy a bottle, use a cotton swab and dab the area. Numbs it for pain, helps dry it up and then add a dab of petroleum jelly.

  5. HGould says:

    When I went to my doctor about 5 years ago and asked him about prescription medications, he laughed and told me he could do one better. He said to just mix 1 part liquid Benedryl with 1 part liquid antacid and dab it on the sore a few times a day. If I do it as soon as I sense a sore forming, it cuts the pain and development of the sore dramatically and healing time down to about 3 days. It’s great!

  6. Tammy Castleberry says:

    You had some great tips, some that I had never heard of, but you missed 2 main “tips” that I figured for sure you would have.
    I have suffered from these since I was 2 yrs old!
    Tip 1: L-Lysine, the best supplement out there for cold sores. I have found from personal experience that the brand Quantum Physics works best for me. They even have a lip cold sore treatment that I add to my treatment plan when I feel that first tingle. Combined with the Lysine supplement it does seem to speed up the recovery process.
    Tip 2: Camomile Tea! I basically make a camomile tea compress for my cold sores. Only use this if you are not allergic to it!!
    Just follow the directions for tea, there is no need to add any sugar, honey or what have you. Get a washcloth and put the tea bag on the washcloth and make sure when you take it, you have strained it so it won’t be sopping wet. Remember it should be very warm, so don’t burn yourself, and simply press it against the cold sore. It seriously relieves the pain. I do this as often as I need while I have my sores.
    Good luck!
    I hope this helps!

  7. Robin says:

    you can also use a product called Lysine+ ,have always found it at walgreens relieves the inching and and and crusty feeling.Also can shorten the duration,of sore if you start applying it when you feel the first tingle.Plus sometimes prevents the blister from forming,thus shorting the healing time

    • Crystal says:

      I have also tried this product and I wish it worked for me like it did for you. It, like the vanilla extract, actually made my cold sore worse and I noticed the product was very sticky. It may not have worked for me due to my sensative skin and medicine issues so please keep this is mind while reading my comment. Please try at your own discresion and not based on exactly how my body reacts. I just want someone who may see this and have the same issue to know that they are not alone.

  8. Kim says:

    Also learn your triggers for what cause them. For my oldest son as soon as he starts getting dehydrated I can see it starting to form. I make him drink extra water & watered-down juice. He can have blisters just starting to form and in a day of extra fluids they will be pretty small or even gone. I react to dehyrdation the same way, but I also get them with stress & sickness. Since I have had my tonsils out in 2004 I have rarely gotten sick, but when I have had something I get a cold sore. I don’t get major symptoms, just a cold sore & mild symptoms. I also started using Manuka Honey on our cold sores if they do blister really bad. My nieces & nephew use it for cuts from gymnastics, other family to help with stomach bugs, bed sores, etc. I also use it for my son’s eczema daily to prevent & to get rid of the now rare bad outbreak. It’s our all around healer. I put it directly on the sore.

  9. Aly says:

    Bee Propolis is the only thing that works for me. It’s a tad expensive, but it knocks my cold sores out immediately.

    • JMT says:

      May I ask you: do you apply the extract directly to the cold sore? Or do you consume capsules? I’d like to try your method but I’m not sure which of the two types to purchase?! 🙂

  10. Marie says:

    I know this sounds crazy. But I have had cold sores since I was a teenager. I am now in my mid 30’s. When I first feel that tingle…I take 2 Tums Ultra 1000 tablets, double up on my Valtrex from 1 to 2 pills and use some Abreva. I take the tums 3 or 4 times a day. I also take the Valtrex 3 times a day. My cold sores never break and never look bigger than a pimple. Works great for me and I got the Tums tip from a friend who swore by it. I always seem to get cold sores right around when my cycle is due, when I am stressed or when I have a cold. And since at least 1 of those happens on a regular, I keep all those handy at all times

  11. Cynthia says:

    Lemon juice for dark spots but doesn’t work for my hair but thank you so much for all information with home made remedies.

    Thank you and have a wonderfull day and weekend.


  12. Jennielynn Plaufcan says:

    I found that tomatoes are my cause, they are a zero calorie snack and a great tool in helping me lose weight. Anytime I feel hungry, I reach for tomato. But I ended up aggravating my cold sores. The best thing I found in speeding up the healing process was to take a sterilized needle and a tissue and slowly pop the cold sores like you would do with a blister, leaving the surrounding skin intact. It drains out the water and keeps them from popping our their own. After that I put salt directly on them daily, and several times a day, anytime I feel they are getting to moist. A cold sore that would take two weeks to heal is better in a week. For the pain I don’t know what to do for it though. I will try anything, except more drugs. I wish there was a way that I can continue to enjoy my zero calorie snack without the after effects.

    • Lily says:

      This is because tomatoes are one of the highest foods in l-arginine (the opposite of l-lysine) which speeds up your bodies production of the virus, or so I’ve heard. All I know is to avoid l-arginine rich foods if you have a coldsore or are about to. I love tomatoes but am careful when I enjoy them! Maybe you could try some l-lysine to help counteract the affects!

    • Jackie says:

      I did the popping with a sterilized needle for years. I find now that I have scar tissue on my lips from that. I don’t do that anymore. I also read somewhere that an abundance of eggs or chocolate can be a factor, Which us ladies when stressed never eat, right? 😉 ice helps with pain and inflammation, acyclovir prescribed by a Dr, deals with it from the inside out. Taking care of my cold sore in 4-5 days verses 2 weeks of dabbing on abreva. I’ll try these other suggestions too, as well as the tumeric/pepper that claims to prevent! Godbless,

    • Frank says:

      Tomato’s are highly acidic. If you notice the remedies everyone are listing are all higher in Ph. Increasing your own bodies Ph help to improve healing time , and also help in in preventative maintenance. While your tomato diet is helping you to lose weight its making your body very acidic. If you run or workout a lot, then your increased CO2 levels within your own blood stream cause you to become acidic as well. Drink lots of water to help neutralize yourself, and increase your own Ph with lysine, or eat Kale or other high in Ph foods.

    • D says:

      I do the same thing… as soon as i feel the tingle, i apply salt directly to the sore. then when it looks like the blister is full of water i take a sterilzed sewing needle and pop it. i apply salt one more time after that (10min). the last step i take after the salt is… I apply some castor oil with a q-tip to the affected area. castor oil is a natural anti-inflammatory. (just do not ingest to much, because it is also used as a laxative, lol) hope this helps… please post more homeopathic remedies.

  13. Candalyn says:

    I have found in the past that abreva and the lysine jelly, plus icing were always my best bet, but only if I could get to it immediately after the tingling started, and continue for days. I recently started using tea tree oil, applied directly. It cut it down to just two days– really only one uncomfortable, but not painful, day– and kept it from every being apparent or obvious to anyone else. Heaven! And so much more reasonably priced than abreva. Now I have little bottles in my car, my office, and my home for the next time I feel one comin gon.

  14. Lynn says:

    Agree with others about Lysine. Currently have a cold sore (hence why I checked out this article) and have been taking Lysine internally and putting Tea Tree Oil on externally and after two days it’s almost gone. That’s the quickest I have ever had a cold sore appear, blister, burst, and scab in my life.

    I also caution against using Petroleum Jelly as it comes from oil drills and I wouldn’t want it near my mouth.

    • Cherrie says:

      What kind of Tea Tree oil? Where do you get it from? PLEASE HELP ME! I NEED THIS THING GONE!

      • Jaime Lynne says:

        Hi Cherrie – The only company that can GUARANTEE the patented “SEED to SEAL” process is YOUNG LIVING! Try Malaleuca (Tea Tree) Oil from there. I am an Independent Distributor and am struggling bc I tried another brand and it had a bad rxn. ALSO ~ NEVER use Essential Oils in combination with PETROLEUM! EO’s break down the Petroleum, and the reaction then happens on your skin! NOT what we need, going through an outbreak! 😉

        I am using “Thieves” by Young Living – 1 drop, neat, 5 times a day, plus “Peppermint” oil by Young Living, and Coconut Oil or Honey for the “moist” part 😉

        Independent Distributor # 1178393

        HTH’s!!! 😉 ~ JL

      • Julie says:

        Tea tree oil is great…just dab onto area neat with a cotton bud! Use as needed…great for spots and infections too, one of only essential oils you can apply neat!

    • Chris says:

      Yes!!!! I recently discovered the miracle of tea tree oil! My last cold sore was the first one I tested it on and I can’t believe it. My cold sore was GONE in 2 days! They usually take 1-2 weeks to clear up even with lysine and some of the other home remedies I would do. I currently have a gigantic one now and the tea tree oil is working its miracle once again!

    • Kelz says:

      I wholeheartedly agree. L-Lysine pills coupled with Tea Tree Oil stops cold sores in their tracks if you catch it soon enough. I’ve had several that have never had the chance to really grow or “blossom” and all evidence was going in 2 days or so. This last bout (3 places!) sprung up overnight, so it was a little too late when I woke up; but the pills and TTO are keeping it from getting worse…and trust me, I’ve had worse.

  15. Donna says:

    White tooth paste works great.

    • Liv says:

      It’s the mint… I use peppermint oil, extract or lip chap when I feel the tingle of a cold sore and it knocks it out… Also it is great with keeping the pain of the cold sore at bay and it heals it faster… Burt’s Bees is great as well, and I once used a Dollar Tree lip chap made with bees wax and mint and it worked wonders on my cold sore/s. If I can catch the sore as soon as I feel it and apply the lip chap or extract all day and for over night I won’t even have a glimmer.. If I happen miss and the sore starts forming the lip chap or extract keeps it from getting huge and it is gone by day three… Just so advice since toothpaste works for you 🙂

    • Katie says:

      Mixing toothpaste and salt and applying it for as long as possible helps dry them out quicker!

  16. Natishia says:

    The best thing that I have found for sores are, L-lysine ointment and/or an ointment with Lavender, beeswax, Calendula

  17. h says:

    i got a cold sore fore a very stupid reason and i went YEARS without a cold sore then the past year i got 3 in a row….i started take lysine this year to prevent out breaks. does it really work?? i have valaclovir just in case….i need suggestions on how to keep it back bc i am in the service industry and hate that nasty thing on my face while talking to people

    • h says:

      oh i got to mention i constantly have tingling on my chin so im constantly looking at the mirror and need to stop OBSESSING looking at my chin

    • BB says:

      Yes, lysine works! As soon as you feel the heat or tingle, double the dosage they recommend and take again in the morning on an empty stomach. It works!
      In service industry too so I know what you mean. Throw away any chapstick or products you use on your mouth/lips. If you’ve gotten that many in that short a time you are probably reinfecting.

      • Jessica says:

        My problem is for some reason i dont get that common tingle before . my cold sores just happen with no warning

        • Kat says:

          Same here- more often than not I’ll wake up with a huge, swollen, itchy wet blister on my top lip, along with seriously dry facial skin and cracked lips. Although I have felt the warning itch a couple of times throughout my life, I generally only become aware of it once it’s starting to swell and by then, I just have to (not) grin and bare it (I’m about 80% sure that mine are brought on by high stress, so I average about one or two cold sores a year). I always try to keep a small tube of anti-viral around though, because as much as I love my natural treatments, the pain and the terror of spreading it on to more ‘delicate’ areas always keeps me reaching for the standard OTC stuff. And they really are horrible things for such small wounds. Lucky are those who have never contracted the virus.

          • Kelz says:

            Lol @ “spreading it onto more ‘delicate’ areas.” I understand! Lol, I wash my hands like a maniac when I have one…If I so much as think that my wrist maaay have touched or even grazed the sore, it’s “off to the sink!”

  18. George says:

    i hate cold sores there is no reason why they exist but misery, i get them every now an then usuakky when am losing weight or stressed out or have a fever i can never get rid of mine faster them a week , try’ed everything , the only thing that really cures it is time

    • Dawn says:

      I am the same 🙁 i always get them when I am stressed! I have tried everything and yes i agree only time heals them no matter what stage you start treating it. Getting cold sores are unfortunately just a part of who i am haha! 🙂

      • Rupert says:

        People will tell you not to do this, but I get cold sores 2-4 times a year and they never get to the ugly blister stage with this method and go straight to the scab/healing stage in 2-3 days you can’t even see it anymore… you decide if it’s worth it just follow my instructions:

        you will need:
        – safety pin
        – cotton swab/paper towel/q-tip
        – rubbing alcohol
        – salt
        – lighter

        When your cold sore is just visible take your safety pin/lighter and heat it up till the end is glowing red hot to sterilize. Cool off in water or rubbing alcohol and having a cotton swab ready, lightly puncture the sore. Fluid should leak from the sore so dab it with the cotton swab. This is the idea, we want to drain the fluid from the sore. People will tell you this will definitely spread the virus, but I have never had that happen… the rubbing alcohol we will apply next just kills everything and dries up the sore and is incredibly effective. Take a small dish and add salt and rubbing alcohol, and apply the salt/rubbing alcohol mixture onto a cotton swab and apply to the sore. This will burn like hell, but it’s worth it if you want this thing off your face ASAP. Leave the mixture on or re-apply if necessary for the next 15 minutes or so. Continue the process until the sore no longer produces any fluid when punctured. Just remember to wash your hands.

        The sore will turn into a small scab the very same day, just put some Neosporin on it and sometimes as soon as the next day you can’t even tell it was ever there. I always see comments about not puncturing the cold sore, but the fluid within the sore is the virus duplicating and causing your sore to get bigger and thus take more time to heal. The alcohol kills the virus and with the salt mixture dries up the sore. I was skeptical the first time I did this, but it works and I would recommend at least trying it the next time you get a cold sore. My cold sores used to be MASSIVE and last for weeks, but now they only last a couple days and do not even look like cold sores after I’ve “worked” on them. I used to be so self-conscious when I got a cold sore, now they hardly affect my mood and are more of a slight annoyance for a couple days. Good luck to you all and I hope someone will benefit from this as I have.

        • Jill B says:


          You give excellent advice. I have done a similar method like this for years. I use aftershave instead of Alcohol, saying this aftershave does have alcohol in. When I have passed my method on people think I’m crazy. Thank you for the extra tip about salt.

    • Billy-Jean says:

      Well that makes perfect since ive been using hydrogen peroxide!! And I have tried everything !!!! As well and your right in reality only time and constant applying the supplement of choice will heal a cole sore !!

  19. bqhqor says:

    Comprehensive advice offered (with nuggets of wisdom), but ‘nuts’ (under number 9) shouldn’t be mentioned as an alternative for cold sores. Yes they are high in Vit E, but also contain excessive Arginine – an essential building block in the cold sore virus. For that reason, nuts should actually be avoided during outbreaks.

  20. Fran says:

    Can you use these on canker sore also or what is best for canker
    thanks Fran.

  21. Diane Foust says:

    I don’t get the cold sores on my lips, I get them inside my nostril. Do any of these work for that location?

    • shannon says:

      Same here Diane, I sometimes get them inside my nostril or just outside them. It’s awful and I haven’t found anything that works. I’m going to try the tea tree oil suggestion.

  22. Jan says:

    Have you tried this mixture? Does it work?

    • Alex says:

      in one night I did the witch hazel, vanilla, milk, peroxide and cornstarch and my cole sore was gone the next day. Milk is definitely the most effective. I’ve used it alone previous to finding this website and it does speed up the process. but it should be combined with other remedies to get rid of it quicker.

  23. Kristen says:

    I can never catch cold sores before they form. I seem to get the tingly feeling just hours before they’re completely broken out. Then there are other times where I think I feel tingling so I use Carmex for cold sores and it turns out to be nothing but my paranoia.

  24. Leanne says:

    I work in a cold warehouse and I am getting alot of big coldsores. Wats the best thing to use plz

    • Liv says:

      Try lip chap/chap stick with mint as the main ingredent for soothing… mint and bees wax together does well too.. This way your lips stay hydrated and the mint fights the virus on the surface of your lips

      • Bran says:

        leanne..livs method may work for her but in the past anytime i already have a cold sore and i put on any type of chap stick type medication it makes the sores spread across my entire lips…makes sense to me if your touching something contagious and then spreading it around it will spread them…my biggest help has always been fighting from the inside out….first l-lysine, daily up to 3000mg…second when and if they do break out you need an anti viral prescription from a dr…its a virus no other otc bs is going to work since it is a VIRUS…if you cant get to a dr or no insurance abreeva and alcohol…then maybe once it is a solid blister with NO redness around the outside maybe some otc stuff…but do not and i repeat do not spread it all over the area use a qtip and put it directly on the scab only!!!

  25. Connie says:

    Grandma’s tried and true cold sore eliminator…rub your finger behind your earlobe and rub on the cold sore every time you think about it. It will be gone in a day! Apparently, it is Vit D oil and you can’t get any more natural than this! Many friends and family do this and it does work even if it sounds a bit gross.

    • Roz says:

      Connie!! It’s you! I can’t thank you enough for telling me this. I have been cold sore free since I read this in Jan of 2015. God bless you and your grandma. Thank you!! I put my earwax directly on my lip whenever I feel a tingle and also whenever I am sick or stressed out and I haven’t had a cold sore pop out in record time for me. I hope it works for the rest of my life.

  26. Dianne Boulton says:

    I recently healed up a coldsore using straight lavender Oil and Coconut oil. When It first starts I put on the lavender oil straight then after a couple of minutes smooth on Coconut oil. The lavender dries up and kills the virus and the coconut oil softens the skin and is also anti viral. I usually only use the lavender for 2 days then just use the coconut oil. It never fully developed into the cracked sore version only had the tingling and irritation for about 4 days.

  27. Melissa says:

    Oganic Neem Leaf Capsules work for me. At first onslaught take 2. I ran out my medication one day and flelt it coming on. I took 2 capsules knowing that its great benefit is it is a blood cleanser and kills viruses. The tingling and and bump were gone within the hour. Good bye Big Pharma! You can get it on Amazon organic for app. $10.50/bttl with free shipping if you have Prime or any health food store should carry it. Also try to reduce/avoid stress and boost your immune system as too much stress and a low immune system trigger the outbreaks.

  28. S says:

    Baking soda. Totally works. You start getting a cold sore — mix baking soda with a tiny bit of water and dab it on. Leave on for a few minutes, don’t get cold sore. It’s pretty awesome.

  29. Riss says:

    I have had trouble with cold sores in the winter and sun poisoning in the summer on the same areas around my mouth and nose all of my life. The minute I get the feeling I’m breaking out, I grab yellow mustard! Yes, good old French’s Mustard.

    I keep it on and usually the bubbling, oozing and drying up lasts maybe one to two days, depending on how aggressive I am with keeping the mustard on the eruption.

    There are healing components in mustard. I have read that it was once used for burns.

    The aftercare is important. I agree. Keep it moist!

  30. Anna says:

    I have been gettin cold sores since I was 12. All my mom did was give me Carmex …that made it worse and spread it even more.
    I have done years of research and understanding and documenting my own triggers. I may only now have a breakout once every year. I take my LLysine pills and I also have cut wheat out of my diet. Wheat has the amino acid arginine that the cold sore virus feeds off of. I have to find my fibre in other ways. So now I am 34 and I only get an outbreak because I am stressed and I have learned to cope with that by exercising. One outbreak a year is better than every two months in my teenage years and 20’s.

  31. lynette says:

    you failed to mention the number one thing. The first thing you do when you feel the tingling or the sore coming on is the load up on Thousands of milligrams of lysine!! if you catch it in time the Sore will go away and It’ll never come out.

  32. Kyshana says:

    I’m very surprised no one mentioned this but bentonite clay works great! I will never use another product again. It pulls everything out and dries it up. I felt the tingle, applied it that night by putting a little water on my lips and sprinkling a little clay over it. The next day, gone. I was happily surprised.

  33. Dee says:

    I was told and have used ear wax on the cold sore, it will start to heal rather quickly (It can get messy, but it works. It actually burns a little when you put the ear wax on the cold sore )

    • Dee says:

      Ear wax works!!! I have not had a visible cold sore in over 15yrs. As soon as I feel that tingly sensation I apply ear wax and it never surface. If it begins to show it is gone in a day!!

  34. Aida says:

    Here is what i used and i havent seen one in 3 years, Lemon Balm extract read about it, it is a healing power….. I tried almost everything

  35. Jen says:

    You forget the easiest and most effective cure for a cold sore APPLE CIDER VINEGAR! I have dealt with “cold sores” my entire life and tried just about everything and ACV is the fastest and most effective treatment. The last time I had one it didn’t even blister just kept putting the ACV on it and in a day there was no sign of it.

    • Dany says:

      Have you tried Abreva? Just curious! I love ACV by the way, it’s amazing for almost everything.

    • Mn says:

      I also use ACV but I add a little salt to the mix and dab. Dries it out and it’s gone in a matter of days. If I catch it early enough doesn’t even last over a day. A remedy my mother taught me when I was small and I swear by it.

  36. Dany says:

    Abreva as soon as I feel the tingle & I will NOT even have a breakout. I’ve had these ever since I can remember, with 30 years of experience , abreva has been the only thing that works (for me at least).
    My sister on the hand says abreva does not do the job for her. She uses an ointment prescribed by her doctor.
    Good luck! I hate those pesky little things.

  37. kathy says:

    ok, sounds nuts, thought my friend was nuts telling me this, but it was dead on….. You take a stainless steel butter knife, I use two, put them in the freezer. (the knives are thicker in bulk so they stay frozen longer) No, you are not going to cut off your lip, when you feel the tingle, take the frozen handle end of the butter knife and stick it to the sore….. sounds nuts, i know, but let it stay there until it thaws. I freeze two so i can do it often… it works…. IT WORKS!! it really breaks down the virus and they won’t spread!!!! It also keeps them from swelling and ewwww. Do this as often as you can….. I keep two in the freezer just for when I need them…. but the key is catch it early!!!!

  38. nicole says:

    I’m so upset! I’ve literally become a hermit…. I actually got infected from my son who had bad cold sores erupting from an illness. Well, the mom in me took over and I obviously got too close because I ended up with my first cold sore at age 33. Anyway, since that 1 sore, I have not been able to get rid of them totally on my lips, now in my nose, and an unknown scaly bacteria infection on cheeks, nose, etc. Doc gave me herpe meds and antibiotics. Months later, NO CHANGE! I don’t wanna miss out on my life. Any suggestions or advice, please. I guess a dermatologist is on my list, huh?…..thanx

    • Cindy says:

      It sounds like you have a severe case, as I do already for many years.
      In Europe we have a salve called Fucidin. There is also a crème but I find the salve (zalf) works best and has saved my skin from any kind of scarring…in fact, people tell me that my skin looks great!
      If you Google it, perhaps you can order it online.
      The first attack I ever had was the worst, it spread very quickly over my entire face and Fucidin saved me from losing my sight, for if the virus gets into your eyes it’s damaging. Now I keep several tubes of the salve on hand to only use when necessary because it’s an antibiotic so you mustn’t overuse it. It keeps well in the refridgerator, long past the expiry date…years past, also I keep a tube with me because if I get tired or stressed it can flare up very quickly.
      I always dab some around my eyes because I’m susceptible to that already for many years and have no idea how I became infected in the first place.

    • Holly says:

      I saw this type of blistering on my daughter and it turns out it was from her using toothpaste with fluoride. I switched her toothpaste to Tom’s mint toothpaste without fluoride and it disappeared within just a few days and hasn’t returned.
      Good luck to you and I hope you get cleared up soon!

    • Lia says:

      Nicole, I got something like that 20 years ago when I was 20. First the blister on my lip, then another one and one in the corner of my lips, then on my cheeks. It got so bad, I was literally hiding out in my room. Since we just moved to Washington state, it was easy because I didn’t know many people. Also I didn’t had health insurance and couldn’t go to a doctor which maybe was a good thing because I just let it be. It ran it’s course and start clearing out and after a month I was looking like myself again. Since then I was getting one on my lips about once a year. I figured out what triggers it and was able to avoid them for a while. Yesterday I got one after a night fever and was able to treat it with suggestions on this site because I don’t want to use Abreva. I use tea tree oil and propolis on the sore and zinc lozenges and my usual cup of fresh organic vegetable juice and it is almost gone. Also whatever illness virus I cought, it’s almost gone. From all research that I did, immune system is the key to a good over-all health. Avoiding sugar, processed foods, all chemicals and putting your ph balance in alkaine — that’s what helped me to be in best health of my life. I only get slightly sick if I catch a virus and it is almost nothing comparing to what others are going through.

    • RIley says:

      what you’re describing sounds kind of like impetigo. its a series of sores around the nose/mouth as is pretty difficult to heal up.

    • Jessica says:

      Does it itch? I had emphitigo once. Not sure that is how its spelled but its kinda crusty like the cold sores can be but it itches bad. I got it on my face and its contagious

  39. Cristen says:

    I have been prone to cold sores since I was a probably about 5 or so. I’ve tried carmex, camphor, abreva, lysine and even putting plain salt granules directly on the sore in desperation and nothing really seemed to work. In my experience, abreva was a waste of money and while carmex was definitely soothing and hydrating it didn’t really do anything for healing. I was recently given a sample of eucalyptus oil with a list of uses for it and cold sores were on that list. I felt that infamous tingle and figured I didn’t have anything to lose so I gave it a shot…I put a couple drops on a cotton ball and held it on there for several minutes several times a day adding more oil as needed. Yes this sounds like a lot but in this case I felt like more was better….I just wanted this thing gone. I must say that in the 25 years or so that I’ve been getting these things, this was the smallest, fastest healing and least painful sore I’ve ever had….never progressed further than just a small pinkish irritation…smaller than a pimple. Now, i don’t know the science behind it but I think I FINALLY found my cure.

  40. Janice says:

    I’ve found Oregano Oil to be really effective in clearing up a cold sore. BUT, make sure you get the type that is already deluted – do not get full strength or you will end up burning your lips. You can find it at any health food store.

  41. Wallyatcha says:

    Really confused about this because I have read many other places that you shouldn’t eat nuts, broccoli, tomatoes, or spinach and this is suggesting them as sources or Vitamin C and E (#9). I’ve also read that you shouldn’t drink too much orange juice because an overly acidic balance can trigger an outbreak.
    Anybody else find a lot of conflicting opinions on the internet about cold sores?

    • Alex says:

      I find so many conflicting opinions but I just do trial and error. I try out the things recommended if I have the product and go from there. this page has good remedies. last month I used witch hazel, milk, peroxide, vanilla and the corn starch mix all in one night and my cole sore was gone the next day. I also have a prescription for valtrex from my doctor that I take the second I feel the itchy tingle. your doctor is the best source though

  42. J says:

    Ear wax. A doctor told me years ago to take the q-tip from my own ear and dab it on my lip as soon as I feel the pain. It woks and my soar is gone in 2 days without bursting.
    I know that sounds gross but it works.

  43. o says:

    I’ve read not to eat any nuts, gelatin or chocolate. That ear wax thing I never heard off but I will try it. Can I put Lysine on my lip or is milk better?

  44. Tammy says:

    I have to deal with cold sores in my nose every change of season. Finally, I have found away to stop the pain and heal the sores quickly. I had to deal with is the congestion that is caused by the sores in my nose. I wouldn’t even be able to sleep a night due to the congestion. So now I have found relief.
    I use abreva and get a prescription for Valtrax 500mg. I start as soon as I feel tingling or burning pain. I( have tried so many remedies but finally with in 5 days all my sores are gone and the pain is no longer a issue. The worst issue I had to deal with is the congestion that is caused by the sores in my nose. I wouldn’t even be able to sleep a night due to the congestion.

  45. Melissa says:

    I got my first cold sore a few days ago at 34. I’m so angry! My ex husband whom I divorced 7 years ago has genital herpes. I don’t know if simplex is the same strand, but it’s funny that I NEVER had a cold sore until now. It’s probably stupid thinking, but still…

  46. Irene says:

    Applying Excedrin, or any over the counter generic version of it, as a topical treatment stops a cold sore in it’s tracks. Just hold a tablet briefly under running water & apply to the infected area. It will stop it from spreading & immediately start the drying-out process (moisture extends the process). I’ve suffered for years & this is the only remedy that has worked to instantly stop a cold sore from fully manifesting and/or spreading (3-4 days instead of 7-10). No more embarrassing days at work!

    • dooda says:

      I agree that moisture lengthens the outbreak. Once the swelling subsides I start moisturizing. I will have to try the excedrin trick! Thanks!

    • Alex says:

      you aren’t really supposed to use peroxide that often. just in the beginning when a sore first opens to clean it out. but after the first time that’s it. my mom always yells at me for overusing it, I just like the cool white bubbles it leaves on a wound to show it’s working. but once or twice, definitely enough

  47. Sandra says:

    local raw honey…. i dabbed some on my cold sore and the next day it was dried up and smaller and the next day it was almost gone and the 3rd day it was gone.
    i have become a huge fan of local raw honey for so many reasons. it started when i was researching natural and homemade remedies for allergies and it works! since then i have read a lot about it’s many healing properties. Dr. Edward Group wrote “A salve made of honey, for diabetic ulcers, has been proven effective when other topical ointments are not well tolerated. It can be applied to eczema, canker sores or bleeding gums”

  48. dooda says:

    Half my lip was swollen over my bottom lip for two days. I heated a needle and poked wholes to try and relieve pressure. May not be a good idea, but whatev. I did the peroxide daily, did a cottonball of aloe twice (not consecutive), and cottonball of vanilla extract (burned real bad so I did it once., Also tried the lemon and even pineapple but I think that enflamed it more. Two days later swelling went down and I only did peroxide after other attempts above. What I can say is get a good sweaty workout in after hydrating well, chapstick is your bff, after swelling goes down keep using peroxide and use neosporin (or neosporin lip balm) as often as you can. Started saturday and tuesday night it is almost healed. Third time this happened to me and I believe it is oveworking yourself, not hydrating enough, but mostly stressing very hard. Get some relaxation time in and sleep an extra hour when you feel the low coming on before the lip starts to tingle and take daily vitamins (mutli, fish oil, b-12). I hope this helps. Just remember to keep it moist after swelling goes down. I iced and heated throughout also. Heating felt better and I also took ibuprofen noon and night.

  49. Loren says:

    I recently had an experience with someone and was left sick for a few days after. Literally couldn’t move out of bed and had a canker sore. Finally saw my physician when I felt well enough and told me to look into some vitamins, foods and herbs.

    He gave me a list of vitamins and foods to make part of my daily diet. Once I started looking into these vitamins and herbs that boost your immune system, I found this product called instant immunity. Along with my proper diet and daily intact of that instant immunity supplement, I’ve been ok and have had one outbreak so far. For anyone that’s in the same predicament, I would recommend that course of action as it’s helped me get through this.

  50. Sandy says:

    I would not recommend peroxide for a fever blister. I did this several years ago and now have a permanent scar on my lower lip. It made the fever blister soft, but it never scabbed over and lasted double the amount of time that it should have lasted. It was a really bad mistake on my part. Now, when I’m out in the sun I have to use heavy duty sunscreen on my lip or I have another huge fever blister in the same area!

  51. Ellie says:

    Zinc tablets. I get mine from health food shops (25mg minimum) and double the dose if a blister appears. My most recent cold sore lasted three days – and they used to last about two weeks. It’s a good article, but I’m amazed it doesn’t mention zinc! I started using it because of Internet advice and it is like a miracle cure. Felt I had to share.

    • Laura says:

      Hi Ellie,
      You mentioned “Zinc tablets. I get mine from health food shops (25mg minimum) and double the dose if a blister appears”…I’m assuming these are tablets you ingest/swallow, is that right? Or unassumingly, I wonder if the zinc could be applied topically?

      Thanks to Claire and her Everyday Roots blog for this and many other invaluable information/tips!

  52. RB says:

    I tried the pure vanilla extract. It really burned at first but soon after it had a numbing effect that brought much needed relief. Thank you for the helpful tip!

  53. Gail says:

    I always use essential lemon oil, or orange oil. When I feel that tingle. I rub it in. I rub it in when ever I go to the bathroom. Most of the time it never erupts. But if it does. I keep putting the oil on it. It is very rarely sore. And clears up in a matter of two days. Dries out and is gone.. I have used this for years. And it has never let me down…

  54. Heather says:

    Where do you get your cold sores? I actually get a cluster under the lips, closer to my chin and even more bizarre, on my temple a protruding cluster and quite red. Very embarrassing! Only when run down or coming out of an illness like a cold. Thanks in advance

  55. Jaime says:

    Tea tree oil many times daily. Reduces by 50%

  56. mc says:

    Ive been sick and now have an outbreak on the side of my mouth 🙁 i usually apply abreva everyday but i guess not having been too aggressive didnt help. I read Jaime Lynne’s advice & remembered i had samples of YL & washed off the abreva and applied the EO she mentioned. My skin feels tingly and tighter which probably means its drying out 🙂 x’ing my fingers. Let’s hope this works quickly..

  57. Crystal says:

    Hey, im a Teenager… Im actually 15 . And i always get these eince i was 12 they are soo embarrassing , i hate them so much!! I need it off ill do Anything, hopefully i can get it of by Tuesday afternoon i have a photo shoot at 1 pm im so sad ive had this ugly thing since friday i need it off As soon as possible

  58. Aimee says:

    I’ve been getting cold sores ever since I was a small child. A couple of years ago was by far the worst where I ended up getting two outbreaks a MONTH.

    Since then, I have only had one minor outbreak which bypassed the blisters, crusting, etc. What did it was cutting out all SOY from my diet: soybean oil, soy lecithin, soy flour, soy sauce, edamame, etc.

    Seriously, once I did that my cold sores pretty much stopped. I have to read the ingredients of any foods that I purchase and I take a benadryl and lysine if I’ve accidentally ingested soy. It’s takes some effort but is more than worth it IMO.

  59. Pamela says:

    I have gotten cold sores several times a year since I can remember. They either pop up on the bottom left side of my lip, on one or both sides of my nostrils or smack dab on the end of my nose. I’m incredibly embarrassed by the nose sores especially. Is there a good way to cover them or make them less noticeable? Makeup seems to make them look worse. My doctor prescribed acyclovir that I take 4 times a day during an outbreak but they still seem to stick arouns over a week. I never feel the tingling sensation that precedes an outbreak. Currently I look like Rudolph the red nosed reindeer with a sore that started yesterday on the end of my nose. It’s at the blister stage but hasn’t started to ‘weep’ yet. Someone please… I’m begging you…how can I gey this thing gone before the weekend? I have a date. Im tired of struggling with these unexpected outbreaks every couple of months. Please help!!

    • Mitesh Chauhan says:

      I have the same issue as yours but I am a young boy i am also sick up with cold sore and tried to many ways to get rid off as early as possible but failed each and every time it takes more than a week to get better but this time i found some where in any blogs that Peppermint oil is best and good remedies and I tried it and it works for me within 2 days it almost gone and peppermint oil also didn’t let them bigger or grow up
      hope fully it works for you as well

  60. Amanda says:

    I have a massive cold sore erupting from the corner of my mouth and has spread about and inch straight down. I am trying aspirin crushed mixed with alittle water made into a paste. So i will post how it works. Got the idea from a friend

  61. Mary says:

    I’ve always used mint toothpaste to dry out a cold sore and it does numb the pain. .. or at least it has for me

  62. Deb says:

    Thanks for the useful tips. The Vanilla extract really helped to reduce the swelling on the first day.

  63. moe says:

    Goat milk is your best bet within 2 dayz u will be good to go. I promise u it really works

  64. Amy says:

    I have gotten cold sores since I was little girl. Once a very long time ago, I had a huge fever blister while at the beach..I noticed after being in the ocean my fever blisters disappeared much quicker than normal. Now if I get one, I pop the blister and place a piece of paper towel sized to fit blister size that has been moistened with water and salt. It dries over the blister over a few hours. You must moisten it to remove it as it is dried but the throbbing will stop and it will heal much faster. I know people will say not to pop the blister etc however you need a way for the salt water to enter the blister. Whatever you pop blister with wipe with alcohol first..It is amazing. Takes days off blister time..The salt water will burn at first but worth it.

  65. Jensee says:

    Peroxide isn’t pleasant nor is it unpleasant. Why do people have an issue with peroxide? Aside from that, why does it stink when I pour the peroxide on?

  66. tammy says:

    So I read this post early this morning when u felt that “tingle”
    I have tried herpicin, and abreva with no luck.
    I tried the very first one with Vanilla extract , and I have to say….I’m not upset with the results so far. Along with desperately trying not to touch!
    By now I would be blistered, and in pain…but I have one small bump, and that’s it so far…no better…no worse.
    Try it! What can in hurt?
    I should say I’m putting a saturated piece of wet paper towel on it for 20 minutes.

  67. Ash says:

    I have been getting these things since high school. I am now 31. Abreva never worked for me. I literally would just use vasoline and even neosporin so it wouldnt scar. mine last two weeks typically and it literally makes me stay inside and so insecure. My doctor prescribed valtrex and i dont think it worked but i also dont think i got the prescription right away. i woke up this morning with one on my top lip and one on my bottom!! it hurts to eat and talk, i tried vanilla today, didnt see a difference, also used a milk compress, and ice (the ice does help the irritated feeling). but after reading all of this i went out at 1 am and got tea tree oil and lysine. PRAYING this works or I will have these for christmas 🙁

  68. Ryan says:

    I have had my cold sore for 3 days. I have been applying campho phenique nonstop but this is a huge cold sore. It has taken up 1/3 if my lip. I’ve read nearly all the comments and I was wondering if anyone had any advice on what to do after you get it and it’s in the blistering stage. I usually catch it when I full the tingle but I guess this time I couldn’t stop it. Please help me!!

  69. A says:

    I usually get horrible outbreaks in what seems like the change in weather, although I haven’t yet discovered what triggers mine, I have tried almost every remedy I come across and am finding that some work better than others.

    Yesterday I had an outbreak on my bottom lip and since have been using peroxide, vanilla extract, and gum. Last night I slept with minty gum over the sore and upon waking up this morning, I noticed that it hasn’t progressed as it usually would have overnight without the gum. I’m trying peppermint oil later today because I find the mint from gum works well for me so I will comment tomorrow to update on how the progression is using the remedies I have listed

  70. carolyn says:

    Alcohol! as soon as you feel it coming, get a cotton ball and soak it in alcohol and place the cotton ball on the cold sore. Keep it on as long as possible. Trust me. it works.

  71. Laurel says:

    For me, Lysine, abreva and diet changes has been my secret weapon. Currently having my first actual cold sore in I don’t even know how long…years. Before I discovered the lysine abreva combo I would have cold sores multiple times a year. I do not take lysine regularly. I take lysine 1000mg daily at the first hint of a tingle and until it is gone. Sometimes that is enough and the cold sore never even makes it past the tingle stage. If it’s not and I can start to see it form (I’m talking the very beginning stages, just a little redness, maybe slightly raised. Once it’s formed blisters it’s too late) I immediately apply abreva. Like I said, it’s been years and I haven’t had a cold sore live out a full cycle until now and that’s only because I did not have access to l-lysine or abreva. Here’s the thing about abreva…you need a lot of it and it is expensive. You don’t need to apply a lot of it a time, more so that you need to apply it many times a day. I believe the company says 5 but that wasn’t enough for me. It’s white so I couldn’t get away with applying it a lot in public but once I got home it was ALWAYS on the cold sore. As soon as one application disappeared I would apply another. Probably closer to 10-15 times a day. The cold sore would be gone in a couple of days. I would also start chugging milk (although now I’m lactose intolerant, nothing to do with drinking milk, more like genetics) and immediately cutting out any trigger foods until the cold sore is gone.

    My fault for getting too comfortable and not having l-lysine and abreva readily available anymore. Now I get to pay with this lovely cold sore. Now it’s looking into remedies for ACTIVE cold sores. Treatment is never as simple as prevention.

  72. Tom says:

    I went a very long time without having an outbreak and yesterday I just got one. It helped me finally realize what caused it though and it was the sauna in the GYM! I normally go into the sauna after every workout but only for 5 minutes and then I’m out but the day before my outbreak I was in the Sauna much much longer and in the morning BAM a cold sore. I KNOW that’s what triggered it because the last time I had a cold sore was about 9 months ago and the day before I was in the sauna for a long time.

    Right now the Cold sores are just about in the scab stage already! What I did was something most people swear never to do but I said screw it, it can’t get any worse lol I got some Q-Tips, some rubbing alcohol, and some Toothpaste and last but not least a needle….

    I washed my hands and face, soaked the needle in the rubbing alcohol and popped the blister very early on before it got really huge, I right away soaked the Q-Tip in the rubbing alcohol and then pressed it against the sore. Next thing I did was dab some Toothpaste over the sore.

    Besides that I took about 3,000 MG of L-Lysine so far today and before bed I will take one more 1,000 MG because I can really see it’s helping.
    I’ve had the day off today and the rest of the week plus the weekend so today has been very easy for me to wash off the toothpaste and apply rubbing alcohol to the sore throughout the day and then cover up with the toothpaste.

    My cold sore is already scabbing and dry which is the best phase that I remember before would take like 4 days to reach and then another 3-4 for the scab to go away.

    POP THAT SUCKER but just remember the liquid inside will come out and spread the virus if you allow it to get on your skin. (The sooner you pop that sucker the better because it’s small and not much will come out)

    Good luck everyone =D

  73. Coconut oil says:

    I get 0-3 cold sores a year. I have been trying different things but I’m currently using coconut oil. To do this, you will will need coconut oil and a q-tip. Get a glob of the oil on the q tip and apply to the cold sore twice a day. It will let it dry out and shorten the lasting time.

  74. Darla says:

    I have suffered with cold sores for a long time and the only thing that ever works for me is to apply Salicyclic acid chap stick to my lips every night and be vigilant for the eruptions as I always get a bump before I feel the tingle. When I see one starting I take famiclovyr 500 mg and leave it alone for several hours until it starts to pulse and feels very big, then I take a hollow needle and drain the blister and dab just the cold sore with alcohol and an antibacterial cream. The most important thing is do not touch it because you may carry the virus to another part of you lips or skin. Most cold sores erupt in “usual” spots. This is where the virus hides in the nerve endings. My sores usually last only a day or so before scabbing and rarely ever get more than one or two small blisters. I know my triggers are orange juice and pineapples and being dehydrated so I never drink acidic fruit juices and when my lips get dry I know to start drinking more water.

  75. Agni says:

    I’ve stopped cold sores from breaking out by drinking lots and lots of water as soon as I feel a tingle.

  76. Roz says:

    I felt the tingling slightly after midnight on New Years Day. I did the milk, the baking soda, neosporin, acyclovir, hydrogen peroxide and I also went out and bought the liquid Benadryl and liquid antacid and mixed and applied a few times each day as mentioned in a prior comment and this combination worked beautifully. It is barely noticeable today and it hasn’t even been 48 hours. This is by far the best I’ve treated a cold sore and I’ve had them for years and years usually only one, maybe two, outbreaks a year but I’m 6 months pregnant and this is the second one in 3 months. I got super stressed out and it came out immediately. If you try this combination as soon as you feel the tingle and see the redness you can prevent the pussy like boils that usually pop up and scab over. When I applied these things I’d say I left each on for several minutes maybe 5 at the most with exception to the acyclovir which I would put on with a little neosporin after using all the other methods. I really think it was the Benadryl/Pepto mix that made the big difference in th size and pussiness that usually occurs. I’m happy with the results, I think it should be completely gone by Monday!

  77. Sandra says:

    I started using vicks vapo rub and it appears to work

  78. Dave says:

    I’ve suffered cold sores my entire adult life. I get them on my upper lip. After years of trial and error, I came upon a simple cure that absolutely WORKS. Quickly.

    The secret is only put ONE thing on the blister: Hydrocortisone Cream 1%. Five dollars at a drug store. Blister gone in three days. That’s right, three days. Apply Hydrocortisone Cream 1% immediately at first sign of irritation or blister, and keep applying every hour…all day every day til it goes away. It will be gone in three days.

    The key to this is don’t get it wet. Keep the blister completely dry. If you get it wet the blister will harden into a bloody scab. Adding another four or even five days before it fades. Ugh! So don’t get it wet. Drink through a straw. Don’t shower. The blister will absorb the abundant moisture in a hot shower. A quick waist down lukewarm or cold shower is the most you should risk. When you wash be very attentive not to get your blister wet.

    Also, don’t aggravate the blister. Don’t try to pop it, or peel it off. Don’t touch it (except to apply HC) or put anything else on the blister, like Chap stick, or vaseline, or lipstick or any petroleum based balm or oil (if you must continue using such products be extra careful not to get any on the blister).

    It’s a simple formula:

    1. HC cream every hour (carry the HC around with you to apply it throughout the day)
    2. Don’t put ANYTHING else on the blister
    3. Don’t get it wet

    Trust me this works so much better than ANY other remedy, especially “Abreva” and other ointments. Nothing works as well as simple HC 1% cream.

    Perhaps you’re wondering why something that works so well is not better known? Well actually it is. One of the most effective (and expensive) prescription anti-viral cold sore meds on the market is called Xerese. It is a combination of acyclovir and…you guessed it, hydrocortisone. Yet you don’t need the anti-viral ingredient to get effective relief. The hydrocortisone by itself is incredible at speeding healing. And it costs five dollars.

    I promise promise promise HC 1% will knock your blister out so fast it will change your life.

    You’re welcome.
    P.S. Don’t get it wet.

  79. Bluesy says:

    I get a massive cold sore in the same place once a year. Today I’ve tried the tea tree oil and some stuff called blisteze.

    I think the tea tree oil is having the greatest effect and really smashing it.

  80. Martin says:

    Has anyone got any medical evidence that support the cures above? It seems the chemist creams are limited in curing / reducing the effects of a cold sore. So if these work better it would be great to see a double blind type review that supports the methods above.

  81. Alice says:

    Thank you for all of the great suggestions! I have suffered these stupid things since childhood, and none of the conventional treatments have worked for me. I am always at the mercy of time, usually 2 weeks minimum, to heal them. Abreva only brings them on faster and makes them blister up worse, and camphor does absolutely nothing to help. I have heard of most of these treatments with the ice and milk technique working best to reduce inflammation and duration, but the vanilla, peroxide, peppermint oil, and alcohol are all new to me. I have had a drastic reduction of outbreaks over the years, but I still get one if I get too stressed, sunburned, or sustain any injury to my lips. Currently my lip has been itching like the devil for almost 2 days with no blister forming so I immediately started a prevention regime using some of the new suggestions. I must say that the vanilla made the itching stop immediately. Hopefully I can incorporate several other things to boost my immunity and thwart an outbreak this winter.

  82. Alice Green says:

    In my family we always used alum on cold sores and canker sores. It is a cooking spice. You put it on the sore. It has a bitter taste but you wake up in the morning and its gone. I have never found anything that works faster. My grate-grandmother was full of stuff like this.

  83. Judy says:

    I take 4-6 vitamin E pills when I very first get the feeling one is coming on at least 3 or 4 times a day. It will be gone the next morning.

  84. Alecia says:

    I have been getting them on my lip since I was 19 and just recently started getting them on my chin at the age of 36. I have tried everything. I know this is terrible but I started using a q-tip soaked in bleach. It kills it instantly. Then I use petroleum jelly to keep it from drying up. It’s gone within days instead of weeks. Bleach is not supposed to be used on your skin but it’s the only thing I’ve found, besides Thieves oil, that kills the virus instantly.

  85. Lia says:

    Just got a breakout last night in a new place, right under my nose and above my lip. As usual I don’t get the tingling sensation that they talk about, I just felt a bunch of tiny bumps, and because they weren’t in the usual spot it took me a couple of hours to figure out what it was. Since I have been breaking out more frequently in recent years, I always carry a prescription of valacyclovir which I take immediately. If I had the tingle, I don’t think I would ever actually break out, but I do think it reduced the entire process. I also usually take 4000 mg of l-lysine a day, which I know sounds like a lot but my diet is higher in argnine, lately I have been lax and bingo two outbreaks in a month.

    I applied rubbing alcohol last night when I cleaned the area and decided to see if the valacyclovir would stop it in its tracks as it sometimes does. Woke up this morning and I had multiple tiny bubbles. I spent some time here reviewing suggestions and decided to apply some apple cider vinegar with some cotton balls. The result was that all the little fluid pockets popped, I didn’t have to use a sterilized needle, the ACV simply must have eaten through them. Maybe it was the magnifying mirror but they looked like craters. Because the skin is on my face and not my lip as it usually is they seemed deeper. I then took a clean washcloth to rinse off the ACV. I applied some hydrogen peroxide to clean and then got some rubbing alcohol again and applied with a cotton ball (it stings). I then applied some witch hazel to sooth the area down. I took some very sharp tweezers and removed the skin around the “holes” that were created. I applied neosporin and took a look in a regular mirror versus the 50x magnification side I used before and although there are pin prick sized red dots it looks fairly good. I think I will be able to cover it with makeup if I have to. I have also pricked them in the past and was happy to see I wasn’t the only one doing this. I am going for the moisturized healing versus letting it dry out and peeling. I did this once before and it was three days from start to finish, other times have been less successful and it took a little longer. Considering it was 8pm last night when I first saw them and it’s not even 8am and I look almost normal I would say that is pretty good, but the process isn’t fully over yet. I just wanted to let others know. I think a variety of the suggestions listed above will work, but as someone said prevention is the best way, the problem is, after you go a while without a breakout you can get lax in taking the l lysine or doing what you need to, to prevent an outbreak. I took my lysine and will take the second dose of valocyclovir. I will keep the area moisturizer and see how it goes. Best of luck everyone, I know how frustrating and embarrassing this can be.

  86. JD says:

    Not all cold sores are caused by the herpes virus. Mine are caused by the peppermint oil in toothpaste and dental floss. I switched to Pepsodent and have not had a sore in 8 years. Passing on the info for others who may have allergies and not made the connection.

  87. hatecoldsores says:

    Use preparation-H. I know what everyone is thinking but I am telling you it works, and quickly. When you think of it , what does preparation-H do? It shrinks inflamed tissues and stops the itch.

  88. Jeremy says:

    I’ve always used Abreva right away, so I keep it everywhere in my cars and in my bathroom to use right away when I feel it. Usually only get one once or twice a year, thankfully. But I wonder if I used Abreva daily, like a lip balm, if that would prevent it from ever forming on the outside, because I know it’s under the skin where it starts. Anyone have any thoughts on that or experiences?

  89. Mary says:

    i haven’t had one for a loooong while. then got fired, so stressed and one came, left, then came another, and then i felt a 3rd one coming on. read these posts, couldn’t afford the tea tree oil but found rubbing alcohol with wintergreen oil in it. THAT worked. i can’t believe it. i still put a bit of abreva also, but the rubbing alcohol with the mint took the itching feeling away so just kept re-applying almost every hour or so. it healed the 2nd one and the 3rd one never popped out. i bet the vanilla will work also. i once complained to my doctor so he would give me some acyclovir or the denavir cream and he said, “why do you need that? it’s just a little thing, it’s not like your paralyzed or something” sigh. all of us that get them know we need the relief as they are painful as well as embarrassing! for heavens sake, do not pop them with a needle!

  90. James says:

    Thanks for sharing all this information. Me and my dad always get cold sores and the one I have right now is as big as a marble. It’s gross and I hate it when my friends ask what it is. thanks again

  91. Freespirit says:

    I found this website today because I woke up with two cold sores on my top lip. I have gotten cold sores since I was a teenager and I always seem to get them at the worst possible time. I have a very important presentation on Monday and feel pretty desperate to get rid of them quickly so, not having many of the options mentioned in my house, I thought I would try the pure vanilla extract option and it seems to be working very well!I soaked a cotton swab in pure vanilla extract and put it on the cold sores for about a minute I’ve done this three times today already and I’ve noticed that the cold sores have been reduced significantly. I’m excited to see what happens tomorrow and will post another update. I can’t believe this is actually working! I hope this information helps someone else.

  92. Marco says:

    Making your body alkaline is the key. I started getting the nasty cold sores since age 16, I would get them once every 3 to 4 months. It was horrible. I would use Preparation H at the first sign of infection and it wouldn’t let it grow, or expand, and I used to be ok with the results.
    For the past 2 1/2 years I haven’t gotten any because of something so “effortless and meaningless” I started doing every day. First of all I limited the amount of animal protein I ate, and second of all the real trick “I drink a 8 – 10 oz glass of purified water with lime juice and a pinch of baking soda” every single day. I have done this for the past 2 1/2 years to neutralize the heart burn I used to suffer from, the heart burn is gone as well as the nasty cold sores.
    Try it I hope is works for you as well as it has worked for me.

    • Bob says:

      The water yes, but not the limes. I was drinking water with lemon and limes in it earlier today, and I feel that was one of the triggers…making my body more acidic.

      Thanks for all the suggestions. Trying the tea tree oil now, and seems to be working much better than camphor. I have a big one on my chin. I have gotten several on my chin in the past and it is AWFUL. Thank God it is Memorial Day weekend. I even called in sick today just so I wouldn’t have to show everyone at work.

      It’s amazing this crazy virus has been around so long, and from all the responses, we will try anything to get rid of cold sores.

      I’ve had them since I was 16, and found that what is bad for the cold sore is good for you! I’ve done the following lately, and the side-benefit was mitigating the virus from reappearing:

      1) Sleep. Very important! Stress is one of the triggers. Ample sleep alleviates the stress in your body.

      2) Exercise. Again, another great stress reliever. If you are not sweating, you are not exercising. 3-5 heavy times/week is ideal.

      3) Diet. One of my goals 4 years ago was to eat a salad/day. Variety is key. I’ve always felt that eating a vast variety of vegetables, the better your immune system will be. If you miss a vitamin one day, you have the ability to make up for it with a new food the next day. Kale, celery, avocados, broccoli are all great foods to include on your salads.

      My Food Exceptions
      * Tomatoes (love them, but never eat them)
      * Raisins
      * Chocolate
      * Soda/coffee
      * Eating too many nuts (some for moderation is okay).
      * All acidic juices….especially grapefruit (which I personally love, but NEVER drink)
      * Processed meats cause inflammation and acid buildup (bad). These are hard to avoid, but moderation is key.

      4) Water. Drinking it is good for your skin and helps flush the acid out of your system.

      5) Limit your sun exposure, and use sunscreen and especially lip balm w/ sunblock in it.

      These are preventive measures that have helped me. Cold Sores, well, ‘suck’, but maybe there is an underlying motivation for keeping yourself healthy.

  93. Sara says:

    I decided to try the Tea Tree Oil remedy and took 4-5 lysine and I can’t believe I’m saying this, but it worked!!!! I felt that horrible tingle and I saw it was the size of a pimple and went online to find something else to try to get rid of it (since I’ve tried EVERYTHING). I read all the comments and went with the TTO and after two days it’s gone. This site just saved me from weeks of embarrassment and pain. You need to try the tea tree oil!

  94. Karen says:

    Cornflour and water mixture

  95. chaz says:

    I got the flu this year even after getting a shot. Thankfully, it only lasted for approximately 36 hrs. probably due to the fact that I got the shot in the first place. I can’t tell you the lat time I had the flu at all — it’s been years — but it came on very fast and went just as quickly. My cold sore outbreaks had remained dormant for a few years as well thanks to modern medicine. As soon as I felt a tingle, pain if I touched my whiskers around my lip area or would see that small pimple-like-lump forming above my lip I would immediately take my prescription of Valtrex. I can usually knock out the cold sore with 2 gms. per day for 2-3 days; sometimes less if I catch it in time.
    My problem is this: While my flu was subsiding, it left me exhausted. I slept for about 14 hours one night. I woke up with the cold sore already in full bloom — the lump was already on my lip and a blister was even about to burst wide open. I immediately took the Valtrex and loaded up on single dose of 1500 mg of L-ysine (I took another dose, same amount, when I went to bed that night). It seemed to be working and felt less severe.
    I was wrong. I woke the next morning only to discover the thing was even worse because by now, several blisters had formed and it was leaking alot of fluid. It was also very painful even to dab it with a tissue to catch the fluid from running. This time I didn’t catch it in time because it formed while I was sleeping. It’s almost as if the virus built up enough strength from me catching it in time so many times that it could now erupt into the mother of all cold sores.
    I am currently typing this in pain and with full on cold sore. I am out of Valtrex so I need another fix fast.
    I’ve read alot of the home remedies for treating a cold sore when it is just tingling or how to heal the scabs when it is almost over, but my question is this: What can I do about it when its in this state right now? What can I do to shorten this outbreak? Anyone have a proven remedy for me to to try?
    Thank you in advance for any help with this. It is greatly appreciated!

  96. Katya says:

    I have been getting cold sores since my toddler years. I learned to deal with them in several ways:
    1. At the onset of a coldsore, given I am home, I place RAW Organic honey on it and it never actually “blooms”, if I kept applying honey. Hoey has antiviral properties.
    2. If I am away…and the coldsore develops, as soon as I can get some rubbing alcohol on it, I do. Using a q-tip, I just keep it on the coldsore for as long I can. It burns a little in the begininng and then it stops. I find that this method significantly shortens the duration and the size of the coldsore.
    3. Besides all the supplements suggested here, taking L-Lycine is another one that has scientific reasons for it. L-Lycine mimics the virus, which stops the viral cells from proliferation (reproduction). For this to work, it should be taken daily.
    Good luck!

  97. anitaB says:

    My nine year old grandson gets horrid cold sores on a regular basis, and woke up with a whopper this a.m. It had already burst, and is quarter-size. His grandfather told me to get on internet and find a cure. We’ve tried L-lysine in the past with no results. Campo meds and prescriptions haven’t worked either. I’ve wrote down his diet from past 2 days, and lack of water, plus whole wheat buns and chocolate may have been his triggers. I am definitely going to try several remedies I’ve read on here. Some I remember from childhood, some are new to me. I’m also going to make sure he’s well hydrated. Thank you all so much for sharing. I have a good feeling about this!

  98. Brandy says:

    I tried almost all of these remedies and just made my cold sore worst….idk maybe my lips are sensitive I had one a week ago and I left it alone and it didn’t get bad just a lil sore and it was gone. Now I have 2 more I don’t know what to do???

  99. Ellen says:

    Desert Essence makes a tea tree oil lip balm that I always slather on when I think I’m getting a cold sore. I’ve never had them get to the crusty stage.

  100. caz says:

    I have suffered from cold sores for over 30 years now. Unfortunately my symptoms have escalated over the years. I now have to contend with the following – painful blisters all around my mouth, swollen glands under my chin, bruising around my jaw line, pain in my ear and eye, raw skin on the inside of my mouth and nose and hyper sensitive skin on my face and scalp. I also feel generally unwell and out of sorts. Anyone else have these symptoms.

  101. Linda says:

    I recommend the L-lysine. My Mother would get cold sores all over her lips. It was a constant problem. They were painful and looked horrible. After she took the L-lysine pills, she never suffered with sores again. She attributes this to the pills.

  102. BLZFAN says:

    This post is for recent help from Dave and the suggestion to use the hydrocortisone. Truly a life saver! I’m a cold sore sufferer for years and this absolutely worked. I have tried everything. I was 24 hours in to this one and it still worked. Cold sore never got big/pussy and therefore never scabbed. I really just wanted to thank him for this miracle cure!!! You have no idea how happy this made me!!

  103. JMT says:

    Thank You SO Much 🙂 I truly appreciate all of your helpful information!! 🙂

  104. tanya says:

    I find vics works great, it has a high dose of campor, which is almost always present in the medications to treat cold sores. it doesn’t need to be the brand name vics I find the vaporizer cold rub works better

  105. Nancy says:

    Eating yogurt daily keeps them away. I used to eat 1 or more cup a day and did not suffer from cold sores.
    Unfortunately, I can no longer eat yogurt. Should I break out, tincture of benzoin(ask pharmacist) applied w/Q-tip held until stops tingling helps reduce time.
    I found cider or regular vinegar is just as effective in shortening the duration. Apply for a min. or so.

  106. K says:

    I found that most over the counter topical meds like Abreva or Campho. , burned and sometimes, left scars. We now use a natural topical product called SUPER LYSINE, made by Quantum. Amazon sells it, as does Whole Foods and other natural health food stores. It’s amazing at relieving pain and reducing the length of the sores. My 6yr old gets cold sores like her Mom and this is the only thing that doesn’t bother her and works. I also orally take Lysine supplements but I crush them and give them to her, as she hates swallowing pills. I highly recommend the Super Lysine.

  107. Heather says:

    Has anyone gotten them on their gums? I’ve never had cold sores, but now I have one on my lip and all over my gums. I went to the doctor and they told me I have strep throat and gave me antibiotics. It’s not getting any better and I don’t know what to do. It’s so painful to eat, brush my teeth, and my teeth are killing me. I guess I’m going to the dentist soon! Please help if you can. Thanks!

    • Mike says:

      I think you may have canker sores and yes those do suck. I have a prescription for those as well: Acyclovir. Will go away in about 5 days if you have a prescription you can take orally

    • Heather says:

      The same thing happened to me in February and I initially thought I had a gum infection from an irritated wisdom tooth. I went to the doctor and found out I was having an HSV 1 outbreak (which was surprising to me because I also had never had a cold sore before). The doc prescribed acyclovir and I also rinsed with oxygenated mouth wash (contains a safe, diluted amount of hydrogen peroxide. You can purchase this at walgreens) it cleans out the bacteria helping it heal a little faster and it soothes the pain a little bit. Make sure you don’t eat or drink anything with citrus (orange juice, sprite, etc.) this is sooo painful and aggravates it further. After starting acyclovir the inside of my mouth healed up in about 5 days. I just developed another cold sore this morning on my lip (after about 2 months of being clear), however, the sores on the inside of my mouth thankfully did not return. Best of luck to you, I know it sucks!

  108. Courtney says:

    I had chronic cold sores – up to 2 or 3 a month – so my doctor prescribed me Acyclovir. I’ve been taking it twice a day for about 4 months now and haven’t had a single cold sore. However, I made the mistake of missing two doses and got a cold sore 🙁 I HIGHLY recommend going to your doctor and asking about Acyclovir. Good luck!!

  109. Carol says:

    I have been bothered with this for years and funnily enough have NEVER tried half the products/supplements mentioned on this page apart from Acyclovir cream and it still takes the cold sore at least a week and a half to heal up! I have just ordered L-lysine tablets and Tea Tree Oil and the L-Lysine lip ointment and I hope I can start to see a difference with using all of the above. Do you take L-Lysine supplements everyday? I also bought some Zinc supplements but was going to take these every few days rather than every day?

  110. Mike says:

    I’ve been dealing with these things ever since I was a baby and I found that pure almond extract works when you have no other medication. However I’ve got prescriptions for them. One is an ointment Zovirax that really cuts the healing time down and the other are pills which I’m sure your doctor or even dentist will prescribe you. I take both of these when I feel or have a coldsore and it heals in about 4 days completely no yellow scab even when I apply the ointment

  111. Melissa says:

    At the first sing of tingling, grab the Carmex and lather it on the area. It works wonders! It’s cooling sensation will prevent the blister from forming.

  112. EB says:

    Note about L-Lyseine. use: Lyseine only works from within the body by blocking the virus from creating certain proteins that help it thrive. topical lyseine won’t speed healing; what you’re getting there is the soothing properties of the balm that contains it.

    Note about Abbreva: it worked for me but only if I applied it very frequently throughout the day. casual application will be worthless. I know it’s tempting to use it sparingly due to the small size tube but frequency, not quantity, works wonders.

  113. Jessie says:

    Interesting article. Just wanted to ad.. I would not suggest putting Aloe straight from the plant on your lip, I got the tinest amount on the tip of my tounge( yes we tend to lick our lips) and the taste was the most disgusting I ever had, it made me salivate exteremly and burned my throat.
    It might work because it is natural but I would not ever put it near my mouth again.

  114. Christine says:

    Oil of Oregano and L-lysine!!

    I have been plagued by cold sores for years and can’t stand them! The last time I felt one coming on, I took extra doses of L-lysine and applied oil of oregano to the cold sore throughout the day. It never progressed! Never erupted! It just went down and went away. Yay!

  115. Denise says:

    Came on here looking for a remedy as felt a cold sore coming on… u know the feeling! Tried tea tree oil and hey the cold sore never came to anything… that was 8 hours ago. I have applied it 3 times. So far so good. Great ! Thanks so much for the tip. When I lived in Australia, the Tea Tree plantation was just around the corner and their products are fantastic, shampoo, shower get, all kinds of lotions, even toothpaste. Wonderful stuff. NZ Manuka is the New Zealand tea tree (different from the Aussie one) where we get Manuka honey. Wonderful stuff for wounds, bites, ulcers etc.

  116. Bonnie Baylor says:

    The best remedy ever is to take a capsule of lactobacilus acidophilus. The virus is all the way down to your intestines. Avoid eating preserved foods like hotdogs & ham. Also jewelweed plant leaves squashed between your fingers and applied onto the soar works wonders. Do this once or twice a day for about 3 days. I used to be plagued by cold sores as a teenager. My whole lip would swell.

  117. Kiki says:

    Abreva works great for me, but only if I use it right away, at the first sign of that tingling feeling. Later than that, it doesn’t help me at all. If a bump already starts forming, here’s what I do:

    Salt: wet a paper napkin, sprinkle it with some salt, and press it gently but firmly against the sore. I keep it there for about 5-10 minutes, twice a day.

    Red wine: dab a little red wine on the bump and let it dry. Repeat several times during the day (yippee!)

    I don’t know why, but doing these 2 things cuts the time the thing lasts down to just a few days. This is true for me, anyway. Oh yea, remember to keep your hands clean until it clears – don’t spread it!

  118. Hailey says:

    Hydrogen Peroxide has been my life saver when it comes to cold sores. I just apply it as many times as I feel necessary with a Q-Tip and it works like a charm. I got a cold sore a few days ago and had nothing to put on it, so of course it became bigger and just yesterday I went and bought some Hydrogen Peroxide and from 5 o’clock yesterday, it’s just about gone.

  119. Dacaveman says:

    I seem to get them when the weather changes from fall to winter and from winter to spring but what works for me the best is using either finger nail polish remover or rubbing alcohol and one other thing I do which does work for me if I don’t have one of the two (meaning polish remover or alcohol) as long as it hasn’t show its self yet but I feel the tingling feeling going on I press as in it with my finger and hold it for a long time I do this for much of day one, day two I do the same, it will start getting a small bump but none of the yellow puss looking crap by day three it doesn’t get any bigger and starts to go away I keep it as dry as possible, I found the dryer the better, oh and I also take lysine but before I ever knew about lysine I fid my finger trick but if you don’t wanna try that I’d go for the finger nail polish remover but it must have acetone, take a cotton ball and soak it and hold it there for as long as you can do this frequently but this is what works for me everyone is different

  120. Kelly says:

    I have literally tried everything for cold sores. I have been getting them forever! Finally I was so desperate I tried orange oil and I could not believe how well it worked, my cold sore literally shrunk within hours, then at the end when you have the gross skin still on you lip when it’s trying to heal I put it on again and I didn’t scar and it went away so fast! I hope this helps someone!

  121. Sally says:

    This may sound extremely gross, but if you take a cup of your own urine and dip a q-tip in it, dab on the cold sore 3-4 times a day (I do it in the morning, lunch and before I go to bed) it will clear it up within a day in a half-two days! My mother used to get them a lot and told me this secret.. trust me, it works!

  122. Corrie ann says:

    Sea salt soaks and vanilla extract= best thing ever! I’ve had them all my life and yesterday my entire upper lip developed in huge cold sores due to sunburn… I’ve never tried this before but for some reason I did and it took the swelling and pain any in a day and it’s almost gone already… I’ve soaked my lip many times in the last 2 days and I can barely see the sores anymore! Best thing I’ve ever tried and I recommend a torn who gets them to try it!!!!

  123. Jordan says:

    I don’t read get cold sores often but when I do they are very bad. I do normally use abreva, but it takes a few days any other faster ways???

  124. Anne says:

    I don’t get the warning tingle, they just sprout and half the time I don’t notice till I look in a mirror and see it forming. I got one 2 days ago, I start a new job on monday so I was desperate to get rid of it. Which is what brought me to this article. I got my normal prescription for valacyclovir (2 pills, 3 times a day), then I tried switching between tea tree oil, hydrogen peroxide(dries out the skin and makes it more noticeable for a half hour but really seems to help with swelling), a whole milk compress and Lysine+ lip cream, one treatment once an hour. By last night the swelling was down and today it’s not noticeable!

  125. Megan says:

    I woke up with a massive cold sore on my upper lip this morning, my lip was swollen and it was so painful. I tried the pure vanilla extract trick, and 6 hours later it’s almost completely gone, you can’t even see it anymore! It immediately reduced swelling and helped with the pain, I put it on every couple of hours which is more than is recommended. It does dry your lips out, but it’s definitely worth it to get rid of a cold sore quickly. Definitely try this trick!

  126. Gloria says:

    I use preparation H. This works the best. The swelling is gone with in a day. Preparation H also helps numb the affected area. I have used this for 16 years now.

  127. Lucy says:

    I was told this old remedy that is supposed to prevent one from getting a cold sore. Eat two hazel nuts a day and you will not have a cold sore again. There’s no harm in trying this as it doesn’t cost the earth.

  128. Lucy says:

    This preventative method eating two hazel nuts a day to keep away cold sores was from a lady of over seventy years of age who used that method and hadn’t had any more cold sores herself since starting it herself. She didn’t mention how long she had used that method.
    I have had many cold sores over the years and will start the method myself as I have nothing to loose but, may have much to gain.

  129. texasgirlfarfromhome says:

    I have cold sores on occasion in the past, and I notice that there is a slight swelling and tenderness on the lip area where they always want to break forth. I found that Moringa oil applied in a salve form every few hours with a ear bud will prevent the sore from blistering and bursting. If I am faithful to keep the area moist with the Moringa oil salve not only will the blister not form, but the entire area will return to normal within 2 days max.

  130. RJOHN says:

    I Had no idea this “cold sore” nightmare affected so many people. This has been my worst nightmare for a number of years now and when it appears i’d do pretty much anything to get rid of it immediately. Over the years, i’ve been using Abreva to fight the retched eye soar and its worked for the most part. My issue with abreva is that as soon as you apply it to the area, its noticeable immediately that something isn’t right. I hate people staring at me because of this, but because I’ve to be in the public for work and school, there’s no way to avoid it.
    No here’s the reason i’m making a comment. I recently had/have an eruption and i needed a more effective remedy than my usual. I decided to try the “alcohol/ salt remedy” and to my surprise, it really works. Not sure how it would work in the initial stage of tingle, but if there’s a blister, and you use something to pop the blister, drain and clean the area and apply the alcohol/ salt mixture; which by the way will burn a little but nothing to kill you. Then apply some tea tree oil, and the result is almost immediate. Im actually checking the mirror as I’m typing to make sure its indeed working and I’m very happy with the results. Rubbing alcohol and salt is a household item everyone should have, and the tea tree oil isn’t expensive compared to Abreva.
    Sin has certainly messed up our bodies and we inherit and contract all kinds of terrible things that has us miserable! Cold sores is one of these things. But no need to be discouraged. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Try whatever remedy you feel would be best for you and hope and pray God puts His hand in the process to make it effective for you.
    God bless!

  131. ColdSoreFree says:

    When I feel that slight tingle… I throw out my tooth brush and tooth paste…and get a mint tooth paste…a white one… NOT a clear, blue,or green one… I then apply it directly to the affected area with a cotton swab… do not double dip the swab and let it dry out… reapply for the next few days keeping it dried out you will look funny but it really works.. apply a larger amount at night b4 bed… take off. If u have to go out in public…. this is a jailhouse remedie…. glad I could help n share

  132. Roz says:

    If you didn’t read every comment like I did you missed the one that someone’s grandma told them to rub earwax on the spot where you normally get the cold sore and they will not pop up. It’s true!! It’s been working for me for almost a year and a half now no outbreaks. Either use your finger or a q-tip and rub the area if it ever tingles or do like I do and rub it on at least once a month. It’s gross when you taste it so probably best to do it at night so you’ll be asleep when you do taste it but whenever or however you apply your ear wax to the affected area it will work to keep the outbreaks away. Thank you to the person who posted that and God bless them and their grandma because this has saved me a lot of embarrassment.

  133. Sheila says:

    Tea Tree oil at the first tingly sensation several times a day on a cotton swab followed up with Lysine Ointment IS AN AWESOME REMEDY THAT WORKS! Not the $25 Abreeva. ..a waste of money.

  134. Dana says:

    I’m curious to know if anyone else is less concerned about the actual sore itself and has more issues with the effects of the actual virus? Almost every time the virus flares, I feel terrible. My lymph nodes are swollen and painful, my throat feels raw, I have a low grade fever and ache all over, I’m exhausted and the nerves in my face feel inflamed and on and on with the symptoms. I never hear anyone else mention this. Am I the only one?

  135. Heath says:

    My cold sore is pretty much gone, however, the skin on my lip is still red and irritated. At night it tends to dry out and then it is worse in the morning again. How can I make this go away as soon as possible?

  136. Jimmy says:

    Coconut Oil. Nothing works better. Nothing. Virgin, cold-pressed, non-refined coconut oil. Two tablespoons every day with juice. If one starts to form, dab some on with a swab and watch it disappear in a matter of minutes. It’s the miracle cure. You can thank me later =).

  137. Tanya says:

    Some of the suggestions are good to use for cold sores outside of the mouth, but what about those that develope inside, on the gums? Most of the suggested items are not to be used “internally”. Sounds like I need a prescription and deal with them from the inside?

  138. Sara says:

    I’ve been getting cold sores for over a decade. This is what works for me. At the first sign I begin taking Lysine tablets. Up to 3000 mg a day. I also put rubbing alcohol and tea tree oil to dry it out. Both of these in conjunction with each other help tremendously. I also have a perception that I take as well. Once the cold sore has started to heal I use vitamin e oil. Stay away from foods high in arginine as this will make it worse. Hope it helps.

  139. Anet says:

    Reach for alcohol wipes pressing firmly for 15 minutes GONE!!!!!!!

  140. Cecille says:

    I’ve just discovered, by sheer dint of necessity, probably the best treatment bar none: virgin coconut oil. As soon as you feel the eruption, dab on coconut oil on the area. Then soak a bit of cotton in oil, tape over the area, leave overnight. Never goes to the yucky, crusty stage, and shrunk to almost nothing after three days. Then of course it will scab slightly, but keep the area moist with more coconut oil and it should be gone after about four more days. The BEST remedy ever.

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