Last Modified on Mar 27, 2016
Treating cold sores involves avoiding common triggers, maintaining proper hygiene and applying or taking natural remedies to treat infection. Natural treatment options commonly function to treat sores from the inside out offering healing from the infection causing the sore. Additionally limiting stress, chocolate, artificial sweeteners and other exacerbating conditions may also prevent and treat cold sores.
What is a Cold Sore?
Cold sores can be described as small, blister-like lesions that occur around on the mouth and lips. The sores are typically filled with fluid, which eventually break and leave behind a rough crust.
The initial symptom of a cold sore most often involves a slight tingling or itching in a localized spot around the mouth. Once the sore has developed additional symptoms may occur including fever, sore throat and swollen glands. Cold sores are caused by herpes simplex 1 virus or herpes simplex 2.
Natural Remedies for Mouth Sores
Cold sores can often be treated by avoiding exacerbating conditions and allowing the lesion to heal on its own. Natural remedies can also be used to speed healing time and limit the negative effects of lesions. Some of the most effective treatments include vitamin C, l-lysine and myrrh oil.
Applied as a topical treatment and taken orally, vitamin C can speed the rate of healing of cold sores. Vitamin C helps eradicate infection and boost immunity. Additionally, taken regularly vitamin C can prevent the further onset of sores.
L-lysine is an amino acid or an essential element of protein. Taken as a cold sore treatment, l-lysine helps eliminate the herpes simplex virus that causes the condition. The treatment may be taken by mouth or applied to the skin for effective treatment.
Myrrh oil is another effective treatment for mouth sores and other skin ulcers. Myrrh helps to relieve agitation, soothe skin and eliminate infection. Dabbed on the lesion, myrrh oil shortens the duration of sores and relieves associated pain.
Cold sores can be painful and unsightly lesions found around the mouth. Natural treatments, however, relieve the pain of the ulcers, shorten healing time and prevent future development of the condition.
Remedies for Cold Sores
The Popularity of Cold Sores Remedies - Full List
90 User Reviews
| 50 YEA
| 4 NAY
| 3 WARNINGS! Treatment
[YEA] I have suffered from cold sores ever since I was in elementary school. I am currently 20 years old. I usually get cold sores once a year. But this past year (2015), I got two of them. To top that off, I got one at the beginning of the new year. These are the WORST. I have tried nearly everything. This past time I had a cold sore, I read on the internet that nail polish remover really works. And man was that right! I caught mine before it got too bad.
I put the acetone on it once every hour of the day. Hold it for 20 seconds, IT WILL BURN! But it works. The next morning, my cold sore was almost gone. It wasn't even noticeable! I continued the process of applying acetone every hour of the day until it was gone.
It also helps to take the vitamin L-lysine. I also drink plenty of milk when I have cold sores, because milk also contains lysine.
I hope this was helpful!
[YEA] Acetone worked very well for me. I get cold sores about once a year, usually in the Fall, when my lips start to chap from the cold. I didn't hear about Acetone soon enough to prevent the outbreak of my first cold sore this year - I was already on day 3 after the blisters had broken when I discovered this remedy. I started using it then - and it did speed healing greatly! In fact, it worked so well that I figured I didn't need to use it anymore, that my cold sore would be nearly gone by the next day or so, so I stopped using it. Unfortunately, when I stopped, it got worse the next day. I had to start using it again to see improvement. It made a huge difference in the speed of healing and that was with spotty/very late use!
Also - normally when I have a cold sore outbreak I get at least one or two, sometimes up to four in a row. Sure enough, I started getting not one but two more as the first began healing. I hit them with the Acetone on a cotton swab, pressing it into the newly forming bump/blisters, for at least 30 seconds, at least once every two hours for one day. By the next day - both were completely gone - they never continued forming!
A couple of days later, I started getting yet another, right next to where the first one was. I put Acetone on about every two hours or so, all day long. The next day - the swelling, bump and forming blisters are GONE! Completely! I feel confident that I will never have another cold sore again as long as I catch it in time and always have 100% pure Acetone on hand.
Replied by Ed
Posted by Anon (Anon) on 11/09/2015
[YEA] Acetone is working really well. Had the worst cold sore of my life a month ago and now a month later another one. I felt the tingling and immediately started with Hydrogen peroxide. Later read on here that acetone works very well too so I started using that. It has dried out the cold sore better than the HP. The cold sore is barely visible and has not swollen huge or burst or anything. it is Just red and a little swollen, It is very dried out and seems to be going straight to scabbing, although you cant really see a real "scab" its just dried out and dry skin but you cant tell unless you look real close in the mirror. This sore is in the same spot as the really bad one a month ago but also spread down the lip even more than the really bad one. I feel that if I would not have used the acetone this sore would have been the worst one ever. The first day I felt the tingling I used HP. The next day no sign of a sore but still put HP on it for about 10 min twice that day. Day 3 I woke up and the sore started to pop up like normally, reddish and a glossy bump. It wasn't too big, yet! It was about the size of Lincolns head on a penny. Immediately started to soak with acetone. It went down in swelling and dried out quick. Still red though. Next day, day 4, which is today, I woke up and it looked really good. swelling down still, still dried out, still a little red. Soaking in Acetone again this morning. Worked all day and it barely noticeable, barley swollen, barely red. Applying again tonight. I'm hoping that it continues to go down and not have a brown scab. Hopefully just dry crusty skin scab that you can't really see like it is now. So it should be healed within a week hopefully. which is amazing because before it would be a week before it even scabbed and then at least another week with bleeding nasty huge scab on my lip.
This is a GOD send, helping soo much. I am truly grateful!
Posted by Rick (Des Plaines, Il) on 11/30/2014
[NAY] Sorry, for me acetone didn't seem to help even least. The only thing that has shown any evidence of helping me reduce the growth of a cold sore (especially if started early) is Lactoferrin (taken orally).
Posted by Sabrina (Toronto, Canada) on 11/26/2014
[YEA] OMG!!! God bless the founder of this miracle. I AM ABSOLUTELY GRATEFUL IT WORKS. I woke up yesterday to the most disturbing painful sore on my lip. I used a warm green tea bag every 3 hours and pressed it against the cold sore for about 20 minutes. Later in the evening using a cotton swab I applied 100% pure Tea Tree Oil. (Please dilute with equal drops of water if you have sensitive skin) I searched the web for another home remedy and stumbled across this blog. To my surprise using the acetone for 5 minutes every 30 minutes dried up the remainder of the sore almost immediately. I felt the burning sensation but it was worth it. Thank you for this magical remedy.
Posted by Ems (Uk) on 10/31/2014
[YEA] Felt the tingling early and thought I had stopped it with Zovirax but woke up this morning and it was huge. I burst it with a disinfected needle and have been pressing a cotton bud with nail polish remover into it and in 3 hours it has gone down in size by a third.
Replied by Rachelle
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Posted by Mia (Formerly Of Lyons, Now Syracuse) on 12/17/2013
[YEA] I have been using Retin-A for wrinkles. Problem is that everytime I use it, I break out in a cold sore. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.
I am sick of it and was driven to try the nail polish thing again so I bought some today because taking L-Lysine wasn't touching this one. My lip was so swollen it wasn't funny. Then, another started to pop out in a different after I started to use the nail polish.
I had to use it more than a couple times. I have been putting it on with a cotton bud every hour or so by dabbing it until the cotton ball dries out . I haven't just let it sit there for five minutes because I don't really want to breathe the fumes in. So I dab it, breathe, dab it, etcetera until it dries out and then I do it again a bit later when the thing tries to moisten back up.
It is working because I am diligently attacking it.
The thing is already crusting over after one day and normally it would take five days to get this stage. I will definitely keep putting the acetone on until it is all dried up and gone.
I am also taking L-Lysine, which wasn't really working that well, along with Vitamin C. I am planning to continue to do both as a daily preventative.
Replied by Thehandyman1947
Posted by Lisa H. (Santa Barbara, Ca) on 11/18/2013
[YEA] Thank you - Earth Clinic folks. The acetone works miracles! I awoke with that dreaded tingling feeling and tried using an 11 month old tube zovirax to no effect for the first half a day the cold sore just kept growing - and getting redder and itchier.
Then I jumped on earth clinic - and remembered the acetone trick. Thank goodness, the tingling stopped, it dried out and started to recede within 48 hours. It is taking a while to heal but is continuing to get smaller and smaller.
Chocolate is my #1 cold sore trigger. Each outbreak I have had in the past few years can be traced back to the effect of an overindulgence. Well THIS time I have learnt my lesson for sure.
Replied by Clare
Posted by Josephine (Uk) on 10/20/2013
[YEA] Just wanted to say that acetone for nose ulcers work very well. Just just a cotton bud dipped it into acetone and applied to the sore for one minute. I did this every moring and niht for two days.. The tinggling sensation went after the second application. Thank you Earth Clinic.
Posted by Fmb (Vancouver) on 08/09/2013
[YEA] YEA Acetone really does work - it's amazing. I wanted to explain a few details I experienced with the acetone treatment.
I've been getting cold sore outbreaks for about 15 years now - I'm 39 - I found that taking 1000mg Lysine daily has kept me free of outbreaks for 4 years - I ran out, didn't take lysine for only 2 days and BAM my upper lip had the start of BIG nasty large vesicles - Couldn't believe it - no prodrome tingling, no warning. It was slightly obsured by my moustache so I didn't really notice it right away. This one just by the initial size was gonna be a major disaster.
I read all the miracle stories about it, so I tried the acetone on a cotton swab placed directly onto the sore for 5min at a time every 30min for the first day. To stop evaporation I used clear packing tape to press the swab right onto the sore. Don't be afraid to PRESS the acetone into the sore - it will burn bad but it's like you can also feel the acetone destroying the HSV inside.
The next morning I woke up and I thought Lisa Rinna's plastic surgeon had snuck into my bed and plumped up my lip with silicone - It was HUGE, I actually laughed in the mirror because it looked so ridiculous. However, the sore had gone directly to scab healing stage.
The following morning the swelling had almost completely gone and after my shower the scab had worn off and the final pink healing scab remained. So literally 48 hours from the start of what was to be a colossal large sore on my lip it's already to the point of what normally takes about 10 days to get to.
1000mg Lysine daily is the long-term cure you want to get on - but if you miss a Lysine and one pops up Acetone is what you need 100% - Do not even bother with anything else and start it as soon as you see or feel one coming on.
Acetone is also totally safe for your skin - read up about it on wikipedia - It's even used as a food additive!
Posted by Ed (Kent, Wa) on 06/16/2013
[YEA] Acetone works. I am 59, and have suffered from cold sores all my life. The last 2 years were the worst. I get irritation in the right eye, then irritation around the nose as the early signs of a virus attack when my body immune system is week. One never knows the status of one's immune system, but sometimes there might be early signs.
I take Famciclovir when the irritation starts and apply apple cider vinegar to my lips at work, or Acetone with a cotton Q-tip at home. I figure the complicated use and smell of Acetone at work might draw the attention of co-workers.
Here is what I have learned,
1- Stress life is present all the time.
2- Acidic foods help virus activation.
3- Do not eat fruits or too much meat. Meats including fish and specially shell fish are very acidic. Fruits are acidic and have lots of sugar that contributes to virus activation and growth.
4- Do not drink coffee or tea. Do not eat chocolate.
5- Do not eat animal products more than 3 times a week.
6- Eat green leafy and root vegetables.
7- Lime or lime juice is the best. Include a lime in your daily diet.
8- Eat a cucumber and a tomato every day, or make a cucumber, tomato and onion salad with a fresh lime juice and some cayenne pepper part of you daily diet.
Posted by Lilli (Kenmore, Wa) on 03/15/2013
[YEA] My thanks for another wonderful and effective remedy from the Earth Clinic forum.
Every time I have a cold I get a runny nose. From all the wiping and irritation I develop a cold sore... In my nose!!! They are always painful and last a long time. I tried all the OTC products, they only cover up the sore and keep it moist; the exact opposite of what I should have been doing.
A few days ago, I took a q-tip and swabbed all the small blisters in my nose with acetone. I did this once an hour for 3-4 hours. The first thing I noticed was that the throbbing pain went away. I continued to apply the acetone throughout the day. Before bedtime, most blisters had dried up. I applied it once more before I went to bed. Then next day there were no more blisters.
Three days later, the skin is a bit red and needs to heal. I am using a combination of 100% aloe covered with antibiotic salve because I still have the cold and want to protect the area.
Thanks again for the great advice!
Posted by Gracie (London, UK) on 12/02/2012
[YEA] Acetone really works! I wanted to share all the info I have with cold sore sufferers as I know how detrimental they can be to the quality of life.
I have been suffering for years and years now from cold sores. My immune system is weak to them and I suspect my partner carries the cold sore virus without any symptoms and infects me every time he eats lots of chocolate and nuts. Sometimes these cold sores are around my nose, on my cheeks, on my chin or above my mouth and I have had some terrible scars in the past from cold sores that became huge and lasted for weeks. These scars sometimes took over 6 months to disappear.
This used to be the bane of my life. It really ruined my existence, to the point where I did not go out for weeks as my face was marred with huge weeping sores or large crusty scabs sometimes several nasty cold blisters would spread in a line across my cheek and they were so painful. It was one of the worst periods of my life and lasted over 2 years during which I felt ashamed and disgusting. People would look at me with horror and no amount of make up could conceal these terrible sores.
Thank goodness for acetone. I cannot believe this works but it really does! The minute I feel a sore coming on or itchiness I swab the area with acetone several times, often the skin turns a little red. Then on top of that I put some cream containing acyclovir like zovirax. I keep repeating every couple of hours. Usually the next day the sore is gone or on its way out.
Just to give advice to others out there, there is a link between foods and cold sores especially sugars, processed red meats (avoid these like the plague) and foods containing lysine and arginine to my break outs. If I eat foods high in arginine like nuts, seeds, chocolate, soya, shellfish etc. then often a cold sore will come up, it is important to balance this out with either foods containing lysine or a lysine supplement.
Foods highest in lysine are chicken, tuna, cod, grouper, pollock, haddock etc. Foods highest in Lysine and lowest in arginine are plain yogurt, most cheeses, milk, kefir and many fishes.
Sticking to a good ratio of more lysine than arginine in your diet plus the acetone trick should mean no more cold sores!
I wish everyone well and no more cold sores, ever!
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Posted by Jenny (Central, Nj) on 08/24/2012
[YEA] At 33 years old I, for the first time developed a cold sore which started in the corner of my mouth but after a few days increased to the size of a silver dollar on my face. Desparate to make it go away I scoured the internet and found this page. Against my husbands wishes I tried the nail polish remover on a test section of the sore by applying twice within an hour to a small section of the sore. To my surprise I woke up the next morning and it was dried up and left a very small scab in that location. I was shocked so of course I did this to the whole sore by washing it with peroxide and then applying nail polish remover after with a cotton swab. Even though it stings, it was well worth it because the next morning it was all dried up and left small scabs. I followed it up with another treatment of nail polish remover that evening just to make sure the sucker was dead. The next morning I put first aid ointment on a few times and in two days later all scabs are gone and I am back to normal.
My best advice is to apply the nail polish remover instantly and not wait the five agonizing days that I did before I found this wonderful site!!!
Replied by Serina
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Posted by Yessssss (Ft Lauderdale, Fl) on 04/20/2012
[YEA] So started getting a tingle on my chin and I immediately started applying cream it did nothing by the morning my whole chin was covered I read this post around noon it is now 4 and holy crap they're almost gone!!! Got a needle gently pricked each lump then got the nail polish remover soaked them for 5 min since every hr I have been applying a bit and it's almost gone awesome thanks guys
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Northeast, Florida, Us
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Myrtle Beach, Sc