Cold sores are a horrible thing. Caused by the herpes simplex virus, these blisters are painful, unsightly, and also embarrassing.

To make matters even worse, there is no cure for cold sores. The good news, however, is that there are many things you can do to make your outbreaks less painful and to reduce their frequency.

In fact, we’ve done our research to bring you the 10 most effective cold sore remedies. That way, the next time you have a cold sore, you’ll know how to handle it.

How We Chose Our Cold Sore Remedies

How We Chose Our Cold Sore Remedies

Before we dive in and share our remedies with you, you’re probably wondering why you should trust us.

Well, rest assured that we’ve put countless hours into researching different cold sore remedies. We’ve scoured the internet, medical studies, and looked at different commercial products as well. Our goal, through our research, is to offer you the very best options for treating your cold sore.

Our goal is not to sell you any one particular product or to make you think any particular way. Instead, we simply want to provide you with all of the information you need to choose the best possible remedy to meet your needs.

So, with all that in mind, we invite you to sit back and check out our suggestions for the best and most effective cold sore remedies.

First Off, Is It A Cold Sore?

First Off, Is it a Cold Sore

Before you check out or try our remedies, the first and most important thing is to be sure that you’re actually dealing with a cold sore.

Often, people think they have a cold sore, only to find out it’s an inflamed pimple, a wart, or some other issue affecting the mouth.

Unfortunately, the only way to be 100% sure that you’re actually dealing with a cold sore is by going to a doctor and getting tested for the virus that causes them.

However, you can usually tell, even without a doctor’s help, what you’re dealing with. The key is to know the warning signs of a legitimate cold sore and to be on the lookout for them.

Some common indicators that you’re dealing with a cold sore include:

The blisters go away but eventually come back. True cold sores are recurrent

The blisters break and ooze puss

The blisters are painful and/or itchy

The blisters spread if you scratch or pick at them

The blisters last for a week or longer

Once you are sure that you’re dealing with a cold sore, then you are ready to start looking into the best remedies available.

10. Lemon Balm

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One of your best defenses against a burgeoning cold sore is lemon balm.

While lemon balm can’t cure a cold sore- as mentioned, there is no true cure for this condition- it can definitely help to get rid of redness, pain, and inflammation associated with a cold sore. Some people also find that it helps the sore to heal more quickly.

You can buy straight lemon balm from a natural goods store and apply it as a compress. Or, you can purchase a lip balm infused with real lemon balm. However you use it, lemon balm can help to reduce the pain and discomfort of a cold sore and may even cause your cold sores to come back less frequently.

9. Abreva


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One popular product for treating cold sores is an over the counter cream known as Abreva. Its active ingredient is Docosanol, so if you can find a cheaper off-brand product with the same active ingredient, it should work just as well.

This product, whether you buy the name brand or the generic, is very affordable and surprisingly effective at getting rid of cold sore pain and shortening the outbreak period.

Your best bet is to keep some onhand. Then, the second you feel that first little “tingle” of a cold sore, apply it. The sooner you apply it and the more frequently, the more likely it is to be effective for you.

8. Washing Your Hands Frequently

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We know it might sound kind of basic and overly simplistic, but we swear by this simple tip as one of the best cold sore remedies. Washing your hands regularly can, first of all, keep you from getting a cold sore in the first place.

Many people suffer from cold sore outbreaks when their immune system is weakened by some virus or illness. If you wash your hands frequently, you are a lot less likely to get sick as often, thereby reducing the likelihood that you will get a cold sore in the first place.

And, if you do already have a cold sore, washing your hands regularly, especially after you have touched the cold sore, can keep you from spreading the virus and worsening the problem.

So, as simple as it may seem, get yourself some strong antibacterial soap and commit to being a very regular hand washer.

7. Ice

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Another simple treatment that is surprisingly effective is a little bit of ice.

Whether you want to apply ice directly to the cold sore or use a cold compress, ice can go a long way toward reducing the swelling and pain that often accompany cold sores.

And, if your cold sore isn’t as painful, you’re less likely to scratch or pick at it, thereby making you less likely to spread and worsen the virus.

So, as you can see, a little ice can go a long way towards improving your cold sore experience.

6. Cold Sore Products That Contain Alcohol


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As you have probably noticed, especially if you’ve suffered with cold sores for a while, there are all kinds of different cold sore remedies on the market today.

However, some of the best are those products that contain alcohol. While some people argue that alcohol is bad for cold sores and the skin in general, many people have experienced great relief through the use of products containing alcohol.

That’s because alcohol dries out the cold sore and the oozing puss that can spread the infection and worsen pain. Therefore, getting a product with alcohol in it, especially if you have a problem with your cold sores spreading, may well be your best option.

5. Use Sunblock Regularly

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Another little known trick that also doubles as one of the most effective cold sore remedies is to use sunblock every time you go out. Even if it’s overcast or the middle of the winter, wearing sunblock regularly can significantly reduce your risk of having a core sore attack.

Just as many people are more prone to getting cold sores when their immune systems are weakened, many people are also more prone to cold sores when they have been exposed to the sun for prolonged periods of time and/or are suffering from sunburn.

Thus, by regularly using sunblock and reducing your risk of sunburn or other negative reactions to heat exposure, you also greatly reduce your risk of developing cold sores and speed healing when you have an outbreak present.

4. Lysine

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People regularly disagree about the effectiveness of using Lysine, a natural ingredient, to prevent and treat cold sores. And, while results do vary, it is worth mentioning that many people have had great effects from using Lysine.

People often report that, whether they take it in supplement form or rub a lysine-containing cream onto their cold sores, they experience reduced outbreaks, lessened severity, and other positives.

The good news is that Lysine is completely natural and has no negative effects. So, even if it doesn’t work for you, it won’t harm you. Therefore, we think it’s well worth trying.

3. Get Rid Of Old Products That Touched Your Lips

Get Rid of Old Products that Touched Your Lips

One of the reasons that people will regularly get cold sores is because they keep accidentally re-infecting themselves with the virus.

Sometimes, this happens by touching a cold sore and then touching another part of the body. Other times, though, it happens by continually using products that contain remnants of the cold sore virus.

The most common culprits are things like lipsticks, lip balms, and water bottles- basically anything that regularly comes into contact with the lips.

By throwing out these items, especially if you used them while suffering from a cold sore, you can keep from re-infecting yourself over and over again.

       2. Aloe Vera

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Another very natural, very safe option for reducing cold sore pain, inflammation, and spread is aloe vera.

Aloe vera is a natural, soothing gel that can be bought in many forms or even applied straight from a cut aloe vera leaf.

No matter how you apply it, you will likely experience great relief by choosing to use aloe vera.

1. Propolis

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While, as you can see, there are all kinds of remedies for cold sores available, we would have to say that our top pick is definitely Propolis.

This one is our favorite, to start with, because it’s completely natural. It’s actually a form of beeswax.

We love its healing properties, its cheap price tag, and the fact that it can greatly reduce how long a cold sore outbreak lasts.

All in all, if you want an easy, affordable option that will definitely work, this one is it.

Buyer’s Guide - Preventing Cold Sores And Treating Them

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While we have offered up a plethora of option for cold sore remedies that work both to treat and to prevent cold sores be aware that, as mentioned, there really is no true cure.

Thus, no matter what you buy or how great it’s promises, you will likely still suffer outbreaks from time to time. The good news is that, for most people, these outbreaks greatly reduce in frequency and intensity the longer you have the virus.

Our best suggestion, then, is to never get sucked into buying any expensive product that promises some end-all, be-all cure for the virus. Instead, try affordable products that make realistic promises. Try a variety of them too since what works for one person might not work as well for another.Aside from that, we advise striving your best to live a healthy lifestyle in general. Eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and drinking plenty of water can improve your overall health, which in turn, can improve your resistance to cold sores.

Work, too, to reduce stress in your life. For many people, cold sores are likely to pop out during times of extreme stress when the immune system and the body in general is worn down.

In addition to all of that, see a doctor if your cold sores are overly frequent, overly severe, or spread to other, more sensitive parts of the body, like the eye. In some rare cases, cold sores can indicate a much more serious issue for which you will need and want professional medical help.

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Follow Our Advice To Ease Your Cold Sores

While we may not have the cure to cold sores- no one does- we have provided you with some excellent advice that can really help you as a cold sore sufferer.

By following this advice, you may be able to experience less frequent cold sore outbreaks and/or less severe cold sore outbreaks.

As long as you follow our advice, take care of yourself, and take care not to spread the virus to others, you can live a long, healthy, and wonderfully fulfilling life even with the virus that causes cold sores present in your life.