Tea Tree Oil for Cold Sores

It is never easy to deal with cold sores, but they are among the most uncomfortable, frustrating, and common skin infections. Not only do cold sores cause severe pain, they look quite unsightly too. This makes them socially and emotionally debilitating as well. It is important to take steps to treat cold sores because they can be extremely contagious. While there are several natural remedies available, many people trust tea tree oil for cold sores. Does it really work? Should you try tea tree oil to treat cold sores? Keep reading to learn more.

Does Tea Tree Oil Really Work for Cold Sores?

Alternative medicine practitioners believe that tea tree oil proves quite effective in the treatment of cold sores. Many people who have tried it also say positive things about it. While tea tree oil does not produce immediate results, it does play a role in accelerating the natural healing process. It also has healing and antiseptic properties that help prevent further infection.

The fact that tea tree oil is naturally astringent implies that it will prove an effective remedy against bacterial infections. It helps kill bacteria, sterilize wounds, and prevent the spread of new bacteria. It also proves extremely effective against the herpes simplex virus that causes cold sores. Regular use of tea tree oil will you get rid of cold sores in a few days.

How to Apply

Now that you know tea tree oil for cold sores is an effective remedy, it is equally important to understand how to use it.

  • Take a cotton swab and apply some tea tree oil on it. Use it when you notice any itching or tingling sensation on your skin. While the oil is not that strong, you may want to dilute it by adding some water to avoid damaging your sensitive skin.
  • Continue with the same procedure several times a day. Be sure to apply the oil to the outbreak before bed – you have to do it until the scabs finally disappear. Regular application will help prevent a cold sore outbreak and the process of swelling, ulceration, and scabbing may end in just a couple of days.
  • Be sure to remove the crusty material that forms during the ulceration of cold sores. Simply take a damp washcloth and rub it gently on the affected area to get rid of crusty material. Apply some tea tree oil after you remove the loose material from the cold sore.

It is important to ensure that you do not apply tea tree oil on healthy areas of your skin. You may want to use lip balm as well to keep your lips moist. Just do not go overboard with the idea of applying lip balm or it may hinder healing.

Other Treatments for Cold Sores

While tea tree oil for cold sores definitely helps in many ways, you can get better results from standard prescription medicines. Here is what you need to know:

  • Valtrex, Zovirax, Famvir, and other oral prescription drugs work quite well and interrupt virus replication, which in turn lets your immune system to take charge of things and clear the infection in a short time.
  • Whether you try oral prescription drugs or use tea tree oil, you will benefit a lot from using antibiotic ointments along with other cold sore treatments. Polysporin is a great choice because it prevents bacterial infections, especially when the cold sore's blister breaks. You need to apply this antibiotic ointment after applying the cold sore medication.
  • What's more, you may want to stick to a regimen of low-dose antiviral drugs if you have chronic cold sores and get more than one outbreak every couple of months. Be sure to talk to your physician before taking any of these drugs.

Precautions to Take

Dealing with cold sores can be a debilitating and rather annoying experience. While tea tree oil for cold sores definitely helps, you will be better off taking steps to avoid getting those cold sores in the first place. However, if you have already developed one, it is important to ensure that you do not spread it to others. Here is what you should bear in mind:

  • You usually do not need to worry about spreading the infection when your cold sore is not yet visible. Viral particles are present only when a blister forms.
  • Avoid kissing and any skin-to-skin contact while you are treating a cold sore.
  • A cold sore remains contagious until it is healed completely, so be sure to take proper steps to avoid spreading it.
  • Avoid sharing straws, drinking glasses, lip-care products, toothbrushes, and utensils until your cold sore is healed completed.
  • Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after applying tea tree oil to it or using any other ointment for that matter. Do not touch other parts of your body after touching a cold sore or you will develop an infection on other areas as well.
  • Make sure to not pick at cold sore scabs. It is not easy though because it itches a lot.
  • Use a lipstick or lip balm for protection even when you do not have any outbreak. Do not use any lip balm that you may have used while you had an active cold sore.
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