Embarrassed by ugly cold sores? Use tea tree oil... it really does work!
Anyone who’s ever suffered from painful cold sores knows how embarrassing they are. Cold sores are a result of the oral herpes simplex virus that occurs in over 80% of the population. It’s quite common for cold sore sufferers to have more than one outbreak per month.
Cold sores will usually start with a tingling or itching sensation that lasts a day or so, then a fluid-filled blister (or blisters) will form, leaving the area swollen, red and very tender. Recurrent cold sores can typically appear in the same place - complications may occur in people who have a weakened immune system.
There are many commercially available treatments to help with cold sores but a lot of them will only work when the cold sore is at that ‘tingling’ stage. They generally don’t work very well to heal the cold sore after it’s appeared.
How can tea tree oil help cold sores?
Tea tree oil offers a natural remedy, as it dramatically reduces the duration and discomfort of cold sores. Tea tree oil contains antiviral and antibacterial properties and when applied topically has a tendency to ‘dry out’ the skin, making it an ideal treatment for cold sores.
The oil is distilled from the leaves of the Melaleuca alfernia tree native to Australia, and has been used for thousands of years by the Aboriginal natives of Australia to treat many ailments ranging from cuts, burns, stings, bites and fungal infections.
Cold sore treatment using tea tree oil
It’s really simple to treat cold sores with tea tree oil - you can find the oil in most health food stores, large discount stores or drugstores. You can also get it online, but make sure it’s 100% essential oil.
At the first sign of a tingling or itchy sensation, here’s what to do:-
- Apply tea tree oil directly to the tingling area using a cotton swab. Use the oil at full strength, unless you have sensitive skin in which case you should dilute it with one part water, one part oil.
- Remove any loose, crusty skin from the cold sore by patting or rubbing very gently with a face washer or cloth. Always re-apply tea tree oil after doing this.
- Tip: As tea tree oil has a ‘drying’ effect, keep your lips moist with lip balm during your treatment so the healthy skin on your lips doesn’t dry out.
By following the above steps using tea tree oil for cold sores you can reduce the severity and duration of an outbreak to as little as a couple of days. Typically, a cold sore will take 1-2 weeks to heal completely using over-the-counter treatments.
Benefits of using tea tree oil on cold sores
The main benefit of course is that tea tree oil is 100% natural. It’s also quite inexpensive to buy when compared with common cold sore over-the-counter ointments. And, the healing time when using tea tree oil is often half that of chemical treatments.
Important things to remember when treating cold sores with tea tree oil
If you suffer from any adverse skin reaction to using the oil, perhaps try a diluted solution (half oil and half water). Never ingest tea tree oil as it can be toxic, resulting in dizziness, vomiting, diarrhea and sometimes coma. If you have any concerns at all about using tea tree oil, consult your healthcare professional before you begin treatment.
I’ve used tea tree oil for cold sore treatment, how do I stop getting cold sores?
Most people catch the HSV-1 virus that causes cold sores during childhood or early adulthood. Once you have caught it you have the infection for life. However symptoms don’t usually occur at the time of the primary infection, they are usually triggered by factors such as:-
- Feeling run down or tired
- Wind or sun exposure
- Injury in the mouth area
Here’s a few tips on how to avoid the cold sore virus and future outbreaks:-
- Use a good quality lip balm with sunscreen
- Avoid tanning booths and excessive sun exposure
- Try and get plenty of rest
- Keep stress under control - learn some effective stress management techniques
You should also:-
- Never share razors
- Don’t kiss a person who has a cold sore, or allow them to kiss your child or baby
- Don’t share eating utensils or drinking glasses
- Wash your hands frequently (golden rule!)