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How to ease cold sore pain

Cold sore outbreaks are experienced by 20-30% of the British population. There is currently no cure for this condition but, thankfully, there are a variety of ways you can ease a cold sore's unpleasant symptoms, such as the associated discomfort.

The pain of a cold sore is usually at its most severe during the blister stage and normally does not completely subside until a crust has formed and the outbreak has almost fully healed. Without treatment this pain could mean up to twelve days of soreness, so it is well worth finding a remedy which works for you.

Herstat is clinically proven to be effective in reducing cold sore pain, but the same cannot be said of all treatments. Here we have listed some other remedies which sufferers may be tempted to try. Not all of these methods have been scientifically tested and we do not recommend  trying these methods without first consulting your GP.

None of the topical treatments mentioned should be used in conjunction with Herstat.

WARNING: Always seek your GP's advice before using a product for the first time.

Anaesthetic products

If you are suffering from cold sore pain, a topical anaesthetic cream, ointment, or gel could help cool and numb the area.

These types of treatments usually contain ingredients such as lidocaine, tetracaine, benzocaine, and prilocaine. If you are allergic to any of these, you should carefully read the product's label and avoid purchasing anything you might have a negative reaction to.

In addition, you should always follow the instructions provided by the manufacturers. For example, anaesthetic products should advise you that applying too large an amount can result in lowered blood pressure, health problems such as irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia), and seizures. These are life-threatening side effects, but are rare.


This might seem obvious but, when you are much more used to using oral painkillers for problems such as headaches or joint pain, you might forget that pain relievers can also be used for conditions such as cold sores.

There are a variety of different brands available without prescription and most contain paracetamol (Acetaminophen), ibuprofen, and aspirin (Acetylsalicylic Acid). Do not use these products if you are allergic to any of the ingredients.

If you have used these products before without incident then it might be worth comparing leading brands with own-brand pain relief tablets. Often they contain exactly the same ingredients, but cost a great deal less than the well-advertised brands.

Home remedies

One effective home remedy for cold sores is applying ice to the blister. If you plan to try this treatment, it is best to make sure you wrap the ice in a hand towel so that it is easier to hold, and so that the freezing temperature is less unpleasant - plus applying ice directly to the skin can cause a burn.

A cool compress of milk is also reputed to be an effective way to get rid of cold sore pain. It's possible that it helps because milk contains proteins called immunoglobulins, which are antibodies that can help fight off viruses, such as HSV-1 which causes cold sores. In addition, milk contains l-lysine, which can inhibit arginine (an amino acid known to cause outbreaks).

Not only might a cup of tea help to reduce your stress and potentially boost your immune system, but used tea bags (suitably cooled) are also considered by some people to help towards reducing the sensations of pain felt during an outbreak.

The tannin (tannic acid) contained in tea – and in many other natural foods, drinks, and spices such as apricots, walnuts, beer, grape juice, cinnamon, coriander and vanilla – has been used for centuries for medicinal purposes.

Avoiding certain foods

Spicy and acidic foods can aggravate an outbreak and also enhance the pain of blisters and lesions. Although avoiding these types of food will not reduce the pain of a cold sore, it will help prevent an increase in the pain you experience.

Use Herstat

There is a wide range of non-antiviral products available which can help to reduce the pain of the blisters caused by a cold sore outbreak, but none of these treatments will speed healing.

Thankfully, for those who are allergic to any of the above treatments, find them uncomfortable, impractical to use, are looking for something more effective, or want to reduce the duration of an outbreak as well as the pain, Herstat Cold Sore cream can help.

Herstat is a clinically proven cold sore treatment which can be applied at any time during an outbreak and, will not only lessen the sensations of pain, but prevent dry skin, diminish redness and swelling, and significantly reduce the length of an outbreak.

By using this ointment, which holds many similar benefits to the natural remedies above, you could find yourself free of cold sores and pain within seven days. It has also been found by many users to work several days faster than other well-known brands.

If you would like to learn more about this cold sore relief, please browse the rest of our website.

Click here to purchase a tube of Herstat (for use during outbreaks), or the LipCare Stick (for use in between outbreaks).