I use Longs Protective Lip Balm. I didn't respond before because I don't think you have Longs Drug Stores in Canada? The ingredients it has are: menthol,camphor,alum,salicylic acid, and phenol. It comes in a small jar not a tube. You may be able to find a product with those ingredients. And I'll tell you, it really works. Not only does it get rid of cold sores quickly, but I use it as a preventive by applying it everyday. I haven't had a cold sore since. My dad who is going through chemotherapy broke out with bad cold sores after treatment. The next time he went through chemo I gave him some of the lip balm and he didn't even get one cold sore. Good luck.
There's an over the counter product called "Herpicin" which is made specifically to help heal cold sores. It also contains allantoin which keeps the skin soft. If it gets hard and cracked that's when the fissures get very deep, bleed, open up and won't heal.
You may want to take the amino acid L-Lysine on a routine basis. Cold sores are the herpes virus and you will have the virus forever. That's the way viruses work. You may never break out again, or you may break out periodically but the virus will remain in your body for life.
The way that L-Lysine works is similar to the prescription drug Valtrex. They work as anti-virals, and if taken regularly they can help to prevent breakouts. If you only take them when you break out, you need to increase the dose. Example: If you regularly take 1 500mg capsule of L-Lysine daily as preventative measures, or 1 500mg tablet of Valtrex, - then during outbreaks it's quite common to take a 500mg tablet of Valtrex twice per day, or to take two 500mg capsules of L-Lysine 2-3 times per day.
Stay away from L-Arginine containing foods, such as nuts, peanut butter, chocolate, tuna fish. Avoid alcohol, tobacco, and other stimulants. Stay out of the sun, and yep, avoid stress or anything that may stress the skin around your mouth. Be sure to switch tooth brushes when you're healed as well. This is contagious, even when it is not weeping, and you can transmit this virus to another person.
Any product that contains phenol, camphor or menthol does not heal the cold sore. It just helps you to "feel" better because it creates an alternate source of sensation over the sore.
The BEST and only FDA approved topical product available over the counter is called "Abreva" and it contains 10% Docosanol.
Spicy foods will irritate it and can prolong healing.
If you greatly increase your intake of L-Lysine you can generally begin the healing process within 24-48 hours, and within 72 hours you will notice the weeping stopping and the swelling should subside.
WOW! Thanks so much for all these words of wisdom.
When I first broke out, my lip started swelling up. It looked like someone belted me in the mouth. So, I put ice on it. Then I did a search on cold sore home remedies and read a bunch of them...
lemon & salt
So was wondering what worked for others.
I put ice on it to help the swelling. Then I put rubbing alcohol on a tissue and kept it moist and on the sore for about 10 minutes. Afterwards, I put polysporin on it. The next evening, I went out and bought Lip(some-thing or another) in a tiny 3g tube. Bloody well cost me 10 bucks! But the swelling is almost entirely gone and the sore is already scabbing over. I'm not sure if it was one of teh above mentioned remedies or a combination of them all... but hopefully I'll be able to get my picture taken tomorrow with my kids for Christmas.