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5 Abreva Alternatives To Heal Your Cold Sore Fast


A close-up of a cold sore on someone's lip while a blue-gloved hand applies an Abreva alternative.


If you've ever had a cold sore, you know the tell-tale tingling or burning sensation that precedes another outbreak. And you want to treat the cold sore early, before it causes more pain and itching.

Abreva is perhaps the most well-known non-prescription cold sore cream. But is there an Abreva alternative? Let's take a look at what exactly Abreva is and five Abreva alternatives to help heal your cold sores fast.

What Is Abreva?

Abreva is the brand name for docosanol, a topical antiviral drug. Topical antivirals are a class of medication that can be applied to the skin or mucus membranes to treat viral infections.

Abreva works to block the herpes virus that causes cold sores from entering into more healthy cells in the body. It also prevents the herpes virus from replicating itself further. However, Abreva cannot prevent future outbreaks of cold sores — it can only treat a current outbreak.

When taken at the first sign of a cold sore, Abreva heals cold sores in an average of four days, and sometimes as little as two and a half days.


5 Abreva Alternatives for Cold Sores

However, Abreva isn't the only product available to provide relief from cold sores. Here are five Abreva alternatives to consider the next time you feel a cold sore coming on.

5 Abreva Alternatives To Heal Your Cold Sore Fast Infographic

1. Orajel Touch-Free Cold Sore Patented Treatment

From teething to canker sores, Orajel is well-known for a range of effective pain relieving oral care products. Orajel Cold Sore is an Abreva alternative that uses benzalkonium chloride to disinfect the skin and kill germs, and benzocaine to treat cold sore pain.

To use Orajel Cold Sore, first make sure to remove any lipstick or beverage residue from your lip. Saturate the applicator tip with the medication and place it against the cold sore. Allow the sore to numb, and then rub the rest of the medication in firmly. Do not touch the medication with your fingers, and be sure to keep the vial out of reach of children.

Orajel Cold Sore can be applied up to three times a day, but shouldn't be used for more than one week without speaking to your physician. Fortunately, the majority of cold sores should be well on their way to healing in that time frame.

We also discussed Orajel for the treatment of cold sores in this past article.

2. Lip Clear Lysine+ Ointment

Lip Clear Lysine+ Ointment is another Abreva alternative and uses a combination of natural ingredients to treat and soothe cold sores.

  • Menthol works to quickly numb cold sore pain.
  • Olive oil and propolis moisturize affected skin.
  • Calendula is an anti-inflammatory botanical that soothes inflamed skin around cold sores.
  • Beeswax, echinacea, honey, and lysine encourage healing.

Lysine, one of the other main ingredients, is an essential amino acid, a type of protein building block that contributes to body tissue healing. It can support the immune system and help the body absorb vital nutrients like iron, zinc, and calcium. Lysine also suppresses arginine, an amino acid that the herpes virus needs in order to replicate.

Most people can handle up to 3 grams of lysine per day without negative effects. So, if you'd like to supplement your Lip Clear Lysine+ with dietary lysine, try adding these foods to your day:

  • Fruits like apples, apricots, pears, and mangos.
  • Legumes like black beans and kidney beans.
  • Buckwheat, amaranth, and quinoa.
  • Fish (especially flounder, cod, and sardines).
  • Yogurt and cheese.
  • Meat and poultry.
  • Spirulina powder.
  • Fenugreek seed.

As an added benefit, lysine can help with canker sores as well.

3. Compeed Cold Sore Discreet Healing Patch

The Compeed Cold Sore Discreet Healing Patch is a different type of Abreva alternative in the form of a patch that aids the body's natural healing processes. The hydrocolloid gel soothes the skin and provides a germ-free environment where the cold sore can heal. Compeed patches also protect against contamination and further infection.

Compeed patches should be applied to dry skin so they can adhere well. To apply the patch, carefully peel away the protective paper, being careful not to touch the adhesive surface. Using the applicator, press the patch firmly against your cold sore. Then gently pull the applicator away.

You can apply lipstick or foundation over the patch to maintain a more natural look. A single patch can stay in place for up to 12 hours. You can use a new patch every day until the cold sore heals completely.

4. Herpecin L

Herpecin L offers two lip balm products to complement each other in the battle against cold sores.

Herpecin L Everyday is intended to help prevent cold sores from forming. It's sold in a tube, much like any other lip balm, and contains lysine, lemon balm, and vitamins C, B6, and E. It also contains sunscreen with an SPF of 30 to prevent sun damage.

Herpecin L helps protect the lips from common cold sore triggers such as harsh sunlight, wind, and chapped or cracked lips. It can be used daily.

Its sister product, Herpecin L Pain Relief, is more of a true Abreva alternative and is intended to provide relief once a cold sore strikes. It contains lidocaine, a topical anesthetic that numbs pain and itching, as well as allantoin and benzethonium chloride to protect the skin and cleanse the area. It also contains lysine and bee balm to encourage healing.

Herpecin L Pain Relief is sold in a squeeze tube and can be applied directly to the cold sore up to three times daily.


5. Low-Level Red Light Therapy

Low-level red light therapy is a completely chemical-free Abreva alternative to consider. This treatment shines medically optimized wavelengths of red light onto the skin to decrease inflammation and encourage healing. Research indicates that red light therapy can successfully help sufferers to manage cold sore outbreaks.

In one study, for example, red light therapy reduced the healing time and pain severity of cold sores compared with prescription and placebo treatments. Patients experienced pain relief immediately, and their healing time shortened by nearly 50%.

Another study showed that red light therapy could significantly delay future cold sore outbreaks. Patients in the treatment group received light therapy treatments daily for two weeks, while patients in the control group received placebo treatments. Patients were followed for one year after treatment. Participants in the placebo group experienced an outbreak every three weeks on average, while patients in the light therapy group averaged 38 weeks between outbreaks.

The Luminance RED Lip Sore Treatment Device is an FDA-registered device that uses red light therapy similar to that used in these groundbreaking medical studies. It is also free of any chemicals that can cause unpleasant side effects.

The Luminance Red can be used in conjunction with other treatments for cold sore outbreaks, including Abreva. While researchers haven't specifically studied the use of red light therapy in conjunction with Abreva or its alternatives, no evidence suggests that they would interact poorly. In fact, they may prove to be an effective combination in the battle against cold sores.

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