Cold sores or fever blisters are among some of the common mouth disorders. This condition is characterized by small blisters that develop in and around the mouth. Cold sores are often confused with canker sores, but, both are different. While cold sores are caused by virus (herpex simplex virus type 1), canker sores are mainly caused by bacteria. Canker sores develop inside the mouth, whereas cold sores are found in and around the lips.
Cold sores may also develop on the chin, cheeks and even nose. Apart from being unsightly, these sores can be painful and sometimes cause fever too. It is a highly contagious condition that lies dormant, with occasional outbreaks. The worst part about this skin condition is that there is no cure for it. However, there are various remedies that include over the counter treatments as well as home remedies.
How to Use Tea Tree Oil for Cold Sores
It is a common fact that cold sores cannot be cured and it recurs over and over again. These sores start as small blisters that transform to crusted sores that may take around two weeks to disappear. As there is no cure for this condition, the affected people are left with no choice, but to try the remedies and over the counter preparations. It has been observed that effective remedies are very few, as far as cold sores are concerned.
Among the home remedies, tea tree oil is said to be effective. This essential oil is derived from the leaves of the Melaleuca alternifolia, is said to have antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties. Even though, there is no conclusive evidence to prove the antiviral activity of tea tree oil, it is said that use of tea tree oil for cold sores results in reducing the healing time to almost half. It is also believed to be good for preventing the outbreaks, if used at the very onset of symptoms.
- First of all get good quality tea tree oil from a health or beauty store. One of the important points to note is that this oil is meant for external application and not ingestion, which is toxic for both humans and animals.
- In order to treat cold sores, this oil is applied on the sores with a cotton swab, for at least two times a day. This oil is said to speed up the process of healing to a great extent and prevent spreading of sores.
- You may also use tea tree oil to prevent cold sores. For this purpose, apply the oil, as soon as you experience the onset of symptoms (like tingling and burning sensations).
- While it can be used in undiluted forms, diluted forms too work well. In some people, use of undiluted versions may cause skin irritation and in such cases, it is better to use the diluted form of tea tree oil.
- If you are worried about allergic reactions, go for a patch test, before using this product on the affected area. Usually equal parts of the essential oil and water are used for diluting the former.
- You must continue with the application of this oil till the crusts disappear and new skin is formed. Every time you apply tea tree oil for cold sores, use a soft damp cloth to remove the crusts gently and pat them dry, beforehand.
If you are searching for a potent cold sore remedy, then, you may try tea tree oil. Apart from that, you may also apply ice packs on the area, to reduce the intensity of the condition and to prevent a severe outbreak. You must also make sure to avoid touching the sores and consumption of acidic foods. Other cold sore remedies include toothpaste, mouthwash and used tea bags.