Is apple cider vinegar good for cold sores?
If you’re unlucky enough to have experienced cold sores, you know just how uncomfortable they can be. These little blisters on and around the lips are caused by the herpes simplex virus, which can cause pain and embarrassment.
As with any ailment, people often search for natural remedies that might help alleviate their symptoms. One of those remedies is apple cider vinegar (ACV). But does it actually work?
The Science Behind ACV
Apple cider vinegar has been touted as a cure-all for everything from high blood pressure to weight loss. While there’s some truth to these claims (spoiler alert: it may actually aid in weight loss), let’s focus on its ability to treat cold sores.
One reason why ACV might be helpful is that it contains acetic acid (AA). AA has antimicrobial properties that can help kill certain bacteria and viruses. Additionally, when applied topically, ACV may help dry out the cold sore faster.
How Do You Use ACV for Cold Sores?
There isn’t exactly a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to using apple cider vinegar as a treatment for cold sores. However, here are some methods that others have found effective:
- Soak a cotton ball in undiluted apple cider vinegar.
- Dab directly onto the affected area(s).
- Leave on for 5-10 minutes before rinsing off with water.
- Repeat 2-3 times per day until the blister disappears.
Diluted Solution Spray
- Mix equal parts water and ACV in a spray bottle.
- Spray this solution onto your cold sore several times throughout the day.
It’s important to note that raw or undiluted apple cider vinegar should not be used on open wounds as this could cause more irritation.
Another way to use apple cider vinegar for cold sores is to orally consume it. Drinking a teaspoon of ACV mixed with water once or twice daily has been shown to aid in overall gut health and immunity, which can help prevent the recurrence of cold sores.
The Stinky Truth
While there are many claims about the benefits of using ACV as a treatment for cold sores, be warned: it doesn’t smell great. Using this topical solution might cause others around you to avoid sitting too close (unless they don’t mind inhaling fumes like some sort of weirdo) .
So before you embrace apple cider vinegar as your go-to remedy, consider whether you’re willing to put up with its distinct aroma.
Other Cold Sore Treatments
If apple cider vinegar isn’t your thing (which we totally get because nobody wants their friends running away from them due an unpleasant odor), there are other treatments available that may work better for you:
- Acyclovir cream (Zovirax) and penciclovir cream (Denavir) are prescription antiviral creams.
- They work by interfering with the virus’s ability to replicate.
- Apply directly onto the affected area several times per day
- Use a lip balm containing sunscreen whenever possible.
This will protect your lips from harmful UV rays and keep them moisturized.
There’s no cure for the herpes simplex virus itself —once infected, you’ll always carry it in your body. But there are steps you can take that may reduce your likelihood of experiencing outbreaks.
Some healthy habits include :
- taking good care of yourself (duh) including getting adequate sleep every night; eating nutrient-rich foods; staying active
(dancing like nobody’s watching)
reducing sugar intake;
avoiding skin-to-skin contact with open sores;
washing your hands frequently.
It’s important to remember that everyone experiences cold sores differently. What works well for one person might not work for another (just like the fact that some people are ticklish and some aren’t – no judgment).
The Bottom Line
There’s likely no harm in using apple cider vinegar as a treatment for cold sores (as opposed to something harmful like feeding yourself glass shards), but there is little scientific evidence available proving its effectiveness. So if you’re on board with testing out this topical solution, go ahead and give it a try (maybe just stay away from enclosed spaces until the smell wears off)!
As always, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional before trying any new treatment methods or introducing anything new into your diet.
So the next time you want to say goodbye (or at least “see ya later”) to those painful blisters, try out these options(or maybe choose another method altogether because why listen to what someone wrote in an article when different things work for different people). And don’t forget: above all else, be kind to your body by getting enough rest and nourishing it properly(seriously though, take care of yourself sometimes).