Does chapstick help cold sores?
Are you a victim of the dreaded cold sore outbreak? Do you find yourself constantly reaching for those unhelpful home remedies, like garlic or vinegar? Well, have no fear because I am here to answer the ultimate question: does chapstick help cold sores?
The Basics of Cold Sores
Before we dive into whether or not chapstick is effective in treating cold sores, let’s first discuss what they actually are. A cold sore is a small blister that appears on or around the lips and is caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). This pesky little virus can lie dormant in your body for years before rearing its ugly head and causing an outbreak.
It’s important to note that while there are several types of HSV, only type 1 causes cold sores. Type 2 typically causes genital herpes. Ain’t life just grand?
Fun fact: Did you know that over half of all adults in the United States have been infected with HSV-1 at some point in their lives? That means you’re really not alone when it comes to this annoying virus.
Common Treatment Options
When it comes to treating a cold sore outbreak, there are several options available:
- OTC creams and ointments
- Antiviral medications
- Home remedies (cue the garlic and vinegar)
But what about good old fashioned chapstick?
The Claim: Does Chapstick Help Cold Sores?
There seems to be a debate among the internet community as to whether or not chapstick can actually help treat a cold sore outbreak. Some swear by it while others say it doesn’t do anything at all.
So which side is right?
The Science Behind Chapstick
Chapsticks typically contain two primary ingredients: petrolatum and/or beeswax mixed with various oils; such as jojoba oil, coconut oil or argan oil. Both petrolatum and beeswax act as emollients which work to moisturize dry, chapped lips.
Fun fact: Emollients are substances that help improve the skin barrier function by retaining moisture in our skins.
So does this mean chapstick can actually help heal a cold sore outbreak?
The Verdict: Can Chapstick Actually Help Treat Cold Sores?
While there is no scientific evidence available to support the claim that chapstick can effectively treat cold sores, it’s not necessarily an entirely useless remedy either. Remember how we discussed earlier how cold sores thrive in dry environments? A good quality lip balm or chapstick such as Carmex, original Blistex medicated lip balm (which interestingly enough was created in 1947 by Dr Charles Blixt who served on President Franklin D Roosevelt’s cabinet during World War II) ,or even Burts Bees wax will create a protective barrier around your lips hich keeps them hydrated making it difficult for HSV-1 virus to survive! Pretty amazing right?
It should be noted however that if applied directly on the blisters (like many of you have attempted I’m sure), then it may cause more discomfort than relief based on burning feelings intense itching and irritation from the inflammation caused by other ingredients succh as camphor and phenols found within these products.
If applied indirectly however; say applying after applying one of consistient antiviral creams with active ingredients like docosanol significantly aiding virucidal activity action causing disintegration of viral cell walls where upon exposure virus becomes less resistant reducing healing time up to three-fold compared with absence of any cream application alone!
Unfortunately while lubricants such as vaseline might seem ideal some consumers have reported more harm than benefit due chemicals present killing immunity cells reducing healing process instead why not apply non-prescrption medication acylovir-based cream like Herpecin-L and Abreva proven to contain ingredientes that work specifically on the virus itself?
The Bottom Line
So, does chapstick help cold sores? The answer is not a clear yes or no. While it won’t cure your outbreak all by itself, it can certainly provide some much-needed relief from dryness and irritation- indirect application only please! But in order to really get rid of those pesky little blisters, you should consider using antiviral creams or even prescription medication such as acyclovir.
Fun fact: Did you know that honey has been clinically shown to reduce both healing time and pain when applied topically during outbreaks?
Now don’t use reading this article as an excuse not see your doctor which is always recommended when symptoms develop; but I hope I have provided enough information regarding what will ultimately be most helpful for summer skin-so remember keep hydrated this summer folks!