There are certain words that even the very mention of them can strike fear into those who hear them. Cold sore has to fall into this category. The discomfort of the cold sore itself is easily equalled by the shame felt at sporting one there on your face for all the world to see. Not that it’s something you have to feel ashamed of, it’s just that we as humans really don’t like anything on our face that we feel shouldn’t be there. Surely this has to be due to the fact that our face is our most public physical attribute. Not sharing it would mean significantly isolating ourselves, so when something pops up that impacts upon our appearance and we have very little control over it, understandably, this can leave us rattled.
If a cold sore has popped up for you, you might be wondering where it sprung from. Sadly, the virus that causes cold sores is highly contagious. The cold sore itself is a viral infection that presents as tiny fluid-filled blisters on or around the edge of the mouth. The blisters usually group together in patches, providing that often cylindrical shape. The cold sores are at their most contagious when the blisters are oozing because the virus easily spreads through any contact with infected body fluids. Having said that, the virus doesn’t need the blisters to be oozing to spread. Kissing is obviously the major hazard here but even just the sharing of your utensils or other objects that may come into contact with these fluids, and then be shared, pose a risk. Both types of the viruses that cause cold sores can also infect the genital area so oral sex poses a high risk if the virus is present.
When it comes to skin infections, viruses are just one type. There are four main types to be aware of:
Bacterial Skin Infections
These often begin as small red lumps that slowly grow in size and can range significantly in severity. Some of the common types of bacterial skin infection include cellulitis, impetigo, boils and leprosy. In these cases, different antibiotic options are needed for treatment.
Viral Skin Infections
As the name suggests, viral skin infections are caused by a virus. Similar to bacterial infections, the severity can range significantly. Shingles, chickenpox, warts, measles and the focus of this article, cold sores, either HSV1 (Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1) or the far less common HSV2 (Herpes Simplex Virus Type 2) are all types of viral skin infections. Whilst cold sores do not have a specific cure, there are a variety of cold sore cream products that can provide relief that will be explored later in this article.
Fungal Skin Infections
Fungal skin infections involve fungus growth on the skin. This is why they tend to pop up in damp areas of the body, such as feet and armpits. Many fungal infections are not contagious at all and pose no real threat to your overall health. Common versions of fungal infections include athlete’s foot, yeast infections, ringworm, nail fungus, oral thrush and diaper rash. Antifungal treatment options come in a variety of forms.
Parasitic Skin Infection
Parasitic skin infections don’t have to be life-threatening but they do have the potential to spread beyond the skin to the bloodstream and organs, making them an infection that needs to be monitored carefully. Common versions of parasitic skin infections include lice, bed bugs and scabies. The key to treating parasitic skin infections is to ensure that you remove the source of infestation and can then use topical or oral medication to treat the infection.
When it comes to cold sores they will typically completely heal up within two to three weeks. Whilst they are present though you are definitely going to want to treat the area itself, to limit the discomfort and, ideally, limit the severity and longevity of the cold sore. This is where cold sore cream comes in. Here are a variety of quality cold sore creams that can be purchased over the counter in Australia:
Vectavir is a cold sore cream that is designed to be applied directly to the surface of the skin, on the problem area. It’s designed specifically for the treatment of recurring cold sores in adults and children aged 12 years and above.
Zovirax Duo is a cold sore cream designed to be applied at the first sign of a cold sore as it can reduce the progression of the cold sore by minimising the ulcerative lesions, which serves to minimise the healing time of the cold sores themselves. It is also suitable for immunocompetent adults and children aged 12 years and over.
Quantum Lip Clear
Quantum Health offers a few different cold sore products. Quantum Health Lip Clear Lysine and Cold Sore Treatment Ointment, as well as Quantum Lip Clear Lysine Plus Ointment. The ingredient referenced heavily in the name, lysine, is an essential amino acid, which promotes a healthy immune system. Thanks to its characteristics, lysine has the potential to significantly trim the healing time of your cold sore.
Dynamiclear Rapid Cold Sore Treatment
Dynamiclear offers swift pain relief, with an accelerated healing time of up to 48 hours, in some cases. It can be applied at any stage and helps to dry up the blisters faster. Another great benefit is that only one application is needed for an outbreak so you don’t need to keep reapplying throughout the healing process.
Blistex Antiviral Cold Sore Cream
Blistex utilises the ingredient Aciclovir. Its antiviral properties prevent the virus from replicating. The major benefit of this is that it can significantly reduce the severity of an outbreak and hence provide a swifter recovery time, which is really what you are gunning for when it comes to cold sores.
Virasolve Cold Sore Cream
Virasolve draws upon three main ingredients to fight against the virus. The first is Idoxuridine, which is an antiviral agent that if used early enough can actually prevent oncoming lesions. The second is Lignocaine hydrochloride, which is a local anesthetic, helping to provide relief to any pain or itching associated with the cold sore. The third is Benzalkonium, which helps to control bacterial infections once the cold sore blisters have broken. It can be applied at any stage of the cold sore.
Although you can’t make the cold sore magically disappear, any of the above cold sore creams will help to provide relief and most ideally, speed up the moment when they do disappear. This at least provides you some control over your face’s unwanted visitor.