Cold sores are a type of viral infection that cause redness, blisters, and crusty patches around your lips. While they’re harmless and usually clear up on their own, they can be unsightly, so you’ll probably want to get rid of them as quickly as possible. Cold sores can be tricky to treat because the virus that causes them, herpes simplex virus (HSV-1), can’t be cured. However, some essential oils have antiviral properties that could prevent the virus from spreading.
Get lemongrass oil for an effective treatment.
One study found that lemongrass oil was an effective antiviral and prevents the herpes virus from spreading. Try this oil for the best chance of reducing your cold sore. Lemongrass scent is also associated with mood boosting and relaxation, so you might also improve your mood by using lemongrass oil.
Use peppermint oil to relieve the cold sore and headaches.
Peppermint oil works similarly and inhibits the herpes virus, so it could effectively treat your cold sore. Peppermint oil could also relieve tension headaches, making this a good choice if you regularly experience headaches.
Reduce inflammation with tea tree oil.
Tea tree oil might be an effective antiviral, but it also works as an anti-inflammatory. This could reduce the redness and swelling around the cold sore while it heals. Tea tree oil is a common treatment for skin ailments like acne because of its anti-inflammatory properties.
Once you’ve chosen the right essential oil, then applying it is easy. First make sure the oil is diluted, or dilute it yourself, so you don’t experience any irritations. Then rub the oil directly onto the cold sore with a cotton swab daily for 4-5 days to see if you notice any improvement. If not, then you can ask your doctor for more treatment options.
Dilute the oil to 3% if it isn’t already diluted.
If the oil isn’t diluted, add 3 drops of essential oil per teaspoon of carrier oil like olive of jojoba. This produces a 3% concentration that’s safe for use on your skin. You could also use water if you don’t have a carrier oil, but shake the mixture well before you use it.
- Check the label to see if the oil is diluted. If not, it will say “undiluted.” If it is, then it will show a percentage that the oil is diluted to, which is usually somewhere between 2 and 10%. If you can’t find this information on the label, then don’t buy the product.
- Don’t use essential oils on your skin if they aren’t diluted. Undiluted oils are too strong and could irritate your skin.
- In general, oils diluted to 3-5% are safe for use on your skin. However, since your lips are sensitive areas, stick with 3% to avoid any irritation.
- Read our article if you want to know more about the dilution of essential oils by clicking here.
Rub a dab of diluted oil directly onto the cold sore.
Dip a cotton swab into the oil mixture. Then rub the mixture onto the cold sore and let it soak in.
- Always wash your hands before and after treating your cold sore to avoid spreading the virus.
- Most studies show that essential oils don’t protect cells that aren’t already infected with the virus, so rubbing the oil over large areas won’t prevent the cold sore from getting larger.
Remember that cold sores are contagious, so take steps to avoid spreading the virus during an outbreak. Wash your hands whenever you touch the sore and don’t kiss anyone until the sore is gone. Also don’t share any items with others, like utensils, towels, razors, cups, or anything else that might touch your mouth.