Cold Sores and Light Therapy

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Most people don’t realize that the herpes simplex virus (HSV) is very common. 

There are two types of herpes simplex virus: type 1 (HSV-1) and the less common type, herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2). Both types of viruses are fever blisters—tiny, fluid-filled blisters that form around the mouth or genitals—that scab and take weeks to heal. 

But having a viral infection isn’t what concerns people; instead, it’s the appearance of herpes. When inflamed, they’re not a pretty sight and can seriously affect one’s self-esteem. 

What’s worse is that aside from there being no cure for herpes, outbreaks can happen at one’s most vulnerable moments, including when they’re stressed, tired, or going through hormonal changes. The individual will feel a tingling or itching sensation before blister occurs and then starts to ooze and scab over. 

How does one contract herpes? Well, the virus is passed from one person to another through microscopic tears in the skin within the mouth. A person who has herpes may not show any signs but have the virus sitting dormant within. So, sharing drinks, kissing, using lip balm and razors are examples of how the virus transfers from person to person. 

Unfortunately, when it comes to the herpes virus, there is no actual cure. 

So, the treatments used today are based on reducing the symptoms and appearance of the outbreak. Most over-the-counter treatments involve a topical cream on the affected area or antiviral drugs from a doctor. Other people who prefer non-pharmacological treatments go for home remedies to relieve the area. But none of them really do the trick. 

But there’s a new gold standard for treatment, and it’s red light therapy. 

How can light therapy help cold sores?

While we say that light therapy works wonders, it’s important you know exactly how light therapy can help cold sores. Firstly, it’s crucial to understand that not all light is created equal. Sunlight or UV radiation is not intended to be used for cold sore treatment. Red light therapy is particularly designed for healing, regenerating, and reducing inflammation in the skin. Red light therapy uses a combination of red wavelengths and near-infrared (NIR) wavelengths to accelerate the healing of herpes.

Red light therapy stimulates human tissue, working at the cellular level to promote photochemical reactions in the cells. Through the use of red light, energy production is stimulated inside the mitochondria. Once stimulated, the cells work to repair and rejuvenate cells at a faster pace. And it’s working wonders on improving recovery time with cold sores. 

A study in 2009 found that using red wavelengths showed an improvement of mouth ulcers in 69 patients after one treatment. A large-scale, long-term study of 232 patients used light therapy to heal mouth lesions. The five-year study found that via light therapy treatment, there was a significant time-span between flare-ups. 

A 2013 study looked at herpes around the mouth area. They divided the patients into two groups: one group being treated with infrared wavelengths and the other with a placebo. The healing time was significantly reduced for patients undergoing infrared therapy as their healing time was an average of 129 hours, compared to 177 hours for the placebo group.

Lastly, a 2018 review of three clinical studies provides that red light therapy sped the healing time and reduced pain from oral herpes lesions.

Understanding how light therapy works and the evidence showing it works is the first step in determining if light therapy is right for you. Kayian Medical produces some of the best light therapy devices for cold sore treatment, whether it’s for clinical or at-home use. Our devices are MDA-certified and FDA-approved, ensuring that you’ll get the best treatment without any side effects. Kayian’s red light therapy devices are not only easy to use, but allow people everywhere to take charge of their health using the power of light.