Red Light Therapy for Cold Sores: Does it Work?

Red Light Therapy for Cold Sores: Does it Work?

Cold sores are an awful nuisance, often taking at least two weeks to heal completely. Until then, you'll experience the discomfort of these painful blisters when you eat, drink, and brush your teeth. While various topical and medicinal treatments are available for cold sores, red light therapy may provide non-invasive help, relief, and quicker healing time.

What Causes Cold Sores?

Cold sores are one of the most common viral infections. They originate from the HSV-1 or herpes simplex virus type 1 or HSV-2, another variant, type 2. They spread easily from close contact, and while there’s no cure, they tend to clear up within a few weeks.

Prescription medication is often the first consideration for treating these outbreaks. However, natural techniques, such as red light therapy, topical creams, and less invasive options, can reduce the healing time and alleviate discomfort.

What symptoms do cold sores produce? You’ll notice an itchy, painful spot in or around your mouth, lips, or near your nose or cheeks. These blisters are small, with a tingling or burning sensation, before they burst.

Why Red Light Therapy Works: The Benefits

Red light affects the mitochondria, your body’s cells, by giving them more energy. This helps accelerate their various functions, including healing and regeneration. What’s the result? A renewed boost in cellular growth helps heal and rejuvenate skin. When your skin absorbs certain wavelengths of light, including red light, your cells are stimulated to work harder and more efficiently.

What does red light do for you? The effects on your skin and body include increased collagen production, greater skin elasticity, strength, and resilience. For this reason, red light therapy is commonly applied in anti-aging treatments. Fine lines and wrinkles, age spots, scars, psoriasis, eczema, acne, and other skin conditions may be treated with red light therapy and other natural and medicinal treatments.

How Red Light Therapy Can Accelerate the Healing Process

Exposure to red light can reduce the symptoms of cold sores and speed up the overall healing time. You'll want to treat the affected area consistently by applying the light for at least three minutes daily. You'll notice the sores will fade or disappear completely several days or up to one week earlier than expected.

If cold sores are a regular occurrence, red light therapy can reduce or shorten the number of times you see these symptoms, which may lead to reducing or even eliminating this condition.

Are There Drawbacks to Using Red Light Therapy?

Healing red light therapy session

Do you know the biggest advantage of using the red light treatment? It’s generally safe and isn’t likely to cause any side effects. Dermatologists often recommend it because it doesn’t contain ultraviolet or UV light, which can cause adverse effects on your health. Red light therapy should be used according to professional instructions from a qualified cosmetic specialist based on your skin conditions.

Red light treatment is best used short-term and only for the time required to treat cold sores. You’ll need to protect your eyes and skin to ensure they are not overexposed to this therapy, as there may be long-term effects on your body that have yet to be discovered. So, overall, there is no significant risk to your skin or health, provided you use this form of treatment carefully and take all necessary precautions.

What Are Additional Cold Sore Treatments to Consider?

Are you looking for additional cold sore treatments that are natural and may work with red light therapy to speed up the healing process? Lip balm with real lemon extract as one of the ingredients is a great option, as it can successfully reduce the size and nuisance of cold sores.

Instead of looking for a product that offers a lemon flavor, make sure there is real lemon as an ingredient so that the properties of this citrus fruit work in your favor! When you use any topical cream, lip balm, or similar treatment, never share it with anyone else, as this can spread the infection.

Soaking a cotton pad in lemon-infused tea or lemon juice is another great way to treat the affected area. As with some treatments, you may find that this may sting a little, depending on the size of your cold sore. To see the desired outcome, you’ll need to press firmly with the pad or cotton ball for two to three minutes, around three times daily.

Many topical creams and ointments containing extracts or dried leaves from sage, rhubarb, and other medicinal ingredients can further increase the healing time. You’ll also enjoy relief from the agitation of cold sores, which is also beneficial during recovery.


So, is red light therapy worth using at home or a portable device? Considering its gentle, safe, and effective results, red light treatments are a great option to consider when reducing the discomfort of cold sores and related skin conditions.

Hooga Health specializes in red light therapy products to treat various conditions, including reducing the impact of skin irritations and viral infections while improving your overall well-being.

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