If you're one of the up to 30 percent of people who suffer from cold sores, chances are you'll try almost anything to cure those painful blemishes. Fortunately, there are natural ways to speed up the healing process.
We scoped out three simple treatments free of harsh chemicals. The next time you feel that telltale tingling, consider one (or all!) of these remedies:
1. Tea bag. Black, raspberry, sage, peppermint, and licorice tea contain tannic acid, a proven healing ingredient, according to Jeanette Jacknin, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist and author of Smart Medicine for Your Skin. After steeping your mug, she suggests placing the warm bag over the sore. Bonus: Licorice tea has antiviral and antibacterial properties; try swishing the beverage in your mouth twice a day.
2. Vitamin E. Jacknin recommends dabbing the oil from a capsule onto the lesion to help the skin rebuild itself.
3. Lemon balm. Studies show that applying lemon balm extract three or four times a day reduces the duration and severity of cold sores. Tieranola Low Dog, M.D., author of Life is Your Best Medicine, suggests picking up a lemon balm ointment from your local health food store or grocery to use during your next outbreak.