How to Heal Cold Sore Crust

Thứ bảy - 27/04/2024 01:11
Cold sores are a frustrating flare-up around your lips that form due to the herpes simplex virus. These blisters are filled with fluid, but dry out and form a scab, or crust, along the edge of your lip after a few days. While cold sore...
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Cold sores are a frustrating flare-up around your lips that form due to the herpes simplex virus. These blisters are filled with fluid, but dry out and form a scab, or crust, along the edge of your lip after a few days.[1] While cold sore scabs will heal and go away on their own, you can try a few different remedies to make the healing process more comfortable.

Method 1
Method 1 of 2:

Treating Your Cold Sore

  1. Step 1 Cover your cold sore scab with a cool compress or ice to reduce swelling and speed up healing.
    Soak a clean cloth or paper towel in cool water, then wring out the extra water. Fold the cloth or towel in half and drape it over your scab for a few minutes to reduce pain and redness.[2]
    • Do this on an as-needed basis, depending on how often your cold sore bothers you.
    • This can help reduce any temptation to scratch or pick at your scab, which can make the healing process a lot longer.
    • You can also suck on ice chips to help alleviate burning or itching.[3]
  2. Step 2 Dab petroleum jelly over the crusty area.
    Scoop up a pea-sized amount of petroleum jelly with a clean cotton swab and apply it directly to the scab. Spread the jelly over the entire scab and the surrounding area to hydrate dry, cracked skin.[4] Try doing this once a day, or whenever your skin feels dry.
    • You can find petroleum jelly at pharmacies or any store that sells beauty or first aid supplies.
    • Don’t use your finger to apply the petroleum jelly, as you don’t want to spread germs. If you do use your finger, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly before using the jelly.
  3. Step 3 Cover your cold sore with an over-the-counter ointment so it doesn’t last as long.
    Pick up a cold sore ointment, such as ABREVA, at your local pharmacy and apply it over the surface of your scabbed cold sore. Check the instructions to see how often you need to apply the ointment.[5] Over a few days, you may notice your cold sore scab healing more quickly.
    • You can apply most of these ointments up to 5 times a day.[6] Dab a small amount onto your cold sore to get relief.
    • Cold sore ointments don’t have a drastic impact on the healing process, but you may notice a positive difference.
    • ABREVA contains the only over-the-counter ingredient (Docosanol 10%) approved by the FDA to shorten the healing time and duration of cold sore symptoms.[7]

    Tip: Look for antiviral creams and gels containing “aciclovir” or “penciclovir.” If you take these within 24 hours of showing symptoms, you may be able to speed up the healing process by about 1 day and can prevent blisters and scabs from forming. Apply these medications every 2 to 3 hours over 5 days.[8]

  4. Step 4 Talk to a doctor about taking an oral antiviral medication.
    See if your doctor would be willing to write you a prescription for an antiviral tablet or if they have another treatment suggestion.[9] Mention any medication allergies or ongoing medical conditions you’re dealing with so your doctor can make an informed decision.
    • Call your doctor as soon as you notice a burning or tingling sensation on your lip. Oral medications are most effective when taken at the first sign of symptoms.[10]
    • If you suspect that your cold sore is infected, see if a healthcare professional can prescribe you some antibiotics to help.[11]
  5. Step 5 Manage your pain with over-the-counter medications.
    If your cold sore is causing you a lot of pain or discomfort, medications like aspirin or Tylenol (acetaminophen) can help. Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or naproxen (Aleve) can reduce pain, redness, and swelling.[12] Follow the directions on the package and never take more than the recommended amount.
    • These medications are safe for most people when taken correctly, but talk to your doctor if you have any health concerns. For example, you may need to get your doctor’s advice if you use blood-thinning medications, have high blood pressure or heart disease, or have problems with your liver or stomach.[13]
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Method 2
Method 2 of 2:

Protecting Your Skin

  1. Step 1 Apply sunscreen and protective lip ointment on your cold sore crust if you’re going outside.
    Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water so you don’t spread germs on your crusty cold sore. Lightly cover the sore with a layer of lip ointment or balm with SPF, which may keep you from getting new cold sores.[14]
    • Like any other part of your skin, you don’t want to leave your cold sore unprotected when you go outside. Since cold sores can be triggered by sunny or windy weather, you want to protect yourself as much as possible.

    Tip: Check that your sunscreen has a minimum SPF of 15![15]

  2. Step 2 Wear lip balm daily to protect your lips.
    Get in the habit of putting a thin layer of lip balm on once a day or whenever your lips feel dry. For extra protection, look for lip balms with an SPF of 30 or higher built-in.[16]
  3. Step 3 Avoid picking at the scab with your fingers.
    Scabs can get bothersome and itchy, but avoid the temptation to pick, peel, and scratch at the edges of your crusty cold sore—this might spread the infection and delay healing.[17] If your cold sore is bothering you, take a painkiller like ibuprofen or acetaminophen.[18]
  4. Step 4 Don’t eat foods that may irritate your cold sore scab.
    Adjust your diet if you’re a big fan of spicy, acidic, salty snacks, and hot food or beverages.[19] Switch to simpler, more subtly seasoned food while you wait for your cold sore to heal completely. If your cold sore gets irritated, it may hurt more.[20]
    • For instance, instead of eating buffalo chicken, switch to chicken lightly seasoned with salt and pepper.
    • Stay away from acidic drinks, like citrus juices and sodas.
  5. Step 5 Don’t kiss or share drinks while your cold sore is scabbing.
    While cold sores aren’t that harmful, they are contagious if you share drinks, kiss, or do anything that causes your cold sore to touch another person. Even if your cold sore is scabbed over, avoid sharing food, drinks, straws, lip balms, or lipsticks until the cold sore heals completely.[21]
    • Sharing drinks may expose you to other germs, which may cause you to come down with a cold or other contagious illness.
    • Don’t share personal items, like eating utensils, towels, or razors, with other people while your sore is healing.[22]
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  • Don’t have oral sex with your partner until your cold sore is completely healed. Even if it’s scabbed, you can still risk spreading the herpes simplex virus.[26]
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  • Avoid sharing any lip makeup with your friends and family members, as this could spread the virus.[27]
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Things You’ll Need

  • Petroleum jelly
  • Cotton swab
  • Cool compress
  • Ice
  • Water
  • Cloth or paper towel
  • Sunscreen lip balm
  • Cold sore ointment
  • Painkillers

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