Tea Tree Oil For Cold Sores | Does It Help?

It is worth learning about tea tree oil for cold sores.

Don’t miss the important details we are going to discuss here.

Warning: While starting any new treatment or diet, seek advice from your physician or any other qualified health provider.

As you might already know, ‘cold sores’ are a common health issue faced by most of us at one time or another.

The drug store near you has several OTC and prescription medications easily available for treating this infection.

However, it is possible and better to get rid of cold sores or fever blisters with simple natural remedies at home.

Among the many natural remedies, tea tree oil (TTO) is extremely valuable for treating cold sores.

This oil has several benefits.

It is useful to know the advantages of using essential oils as remedies for viral infections like fever blisters.

This article will give you important details about cold sore treatment with tea tree oil.

What Are Cold Sores?

Cold sores are fluid-filled blisters in a red or pink color that usually appear on lips and around the mouth.

For some people, sores might also appear on any part of the face, nose, fingers, or mouth.

These sores mostly appear in patches and clumped together.

This infection may last up to 2 weeks, and then it subsides.


A cold sore is caused by a common virus known as herpes simplex type 1 (HSV-1).

This virus partially destroys the skin tissues as they reproduce and multiply. Because of this weepy sores keep appearing in the infected area.

The hyper-activism of the virus is triggered by stress, exposure to sunlight, fatigue, dental work, pregnancy, menstruation, insufficient sleep, winter weather, lotions, medications, foods, or allergic conditions.


Are cold sores contagious? Yes, they are.

This virus infection can spread from one person to another via close physical contact like kissing or by sharing clothes and utensils.

Even the sores that remain hidden in the skin tissues are potentially contagious.


It is good to define a fever blister or cold sore.

The onset of sores is marked by a slight tingle or even burning sensation on the lip. The small clusters of blisters will appear after the initial signs.

The blisters are filled with fluids which will eventually burst and form scabs. The scabs will flake away when new skin begins to appear.

Blisters may become painful and itchy.

Other symptoms that may accompany cold blisters are fever, headache, swollen lymph nodes, and pain in and around the mouth.


Regular treatments for cold sores are:

  • ointments and creams like penciclovir (Denavir) and Docosanol (Abreva);
  • oral antiviral medications, such as acyclovir (Zovirax), valacyclovir (Valtrex), and famciclovir (Famvir);
  • home remedies such as petroleum jelly, Witch hazel, essential oils like tea tree oil and peppermint oil, or Aloe Vera.

Tea Tree Oil Facts

Tea tree, also known as melaleuca is well known for its potent anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties beneficial for treating wounds.

Tea tree oil (TTO) is extracted from the Australian native plant Melaleuca alternifolia.

The indigenous people of Australia had been using this oil for thousands of years as an important ingredient in folk medicines.

According to some reports, this oil has antiviral, antibacterial, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory properties that are useful for treating common infections like herpes, sores, and others.

Benefits of Tea Tree Oil For Cold Sores

Essential oils are one of the best natural remedies for managing cold sores or fever blisters.

The antiviral and antibacterial ingredients in EOs can help in containing the virus which causes cold sores.

According to a Mayo Clinic report, TTO contains antiviral compounds that are beneficial for treating common skin infections.

Tea tree oil may not produce overnight results in entirely healing the sores, but can effectively relieve its symptoms.

TTO accelerates the natural healing process and helps in suppressing the herpes simplex type 1 (HSV-1) virus that causes the infection.

The astringent qualities of the oil reduce the appearance of sores.

Most importantly, tea tree oil can eliminate and suppress the herpes simplex virus that is responsible for sores and blisters.

How To Use Tea Tree Oil For Cold Sores?

Many people have reported positive results from using tea tree oil for managing cold sores.

The diluted oil can be easily dabbed onto the affected area. It is the simplest way to use the oil effectively.

Within a few hours after you use the oil, you will begin to experience a significant reduction in the symptoms of the disease.

If you use the TTO wrongly, it might produce adverse results instead of healing your sores.

Here are the few simple steps involved in using tea tree oil with the best results in getting rid of the sores fast:

Choose High-Quality TTO

It is important to make sure that TTO you buy is 100% pure and original.

Only if you use pure TTO, you can achieve the desired result from the treatment.

There are many brand names such as Young Living, doTERRA, Edens Garden, or Rocky Mountain that sell essential oils. Some of these brands are known for selling the best quality essential oils.

Beware that many little-known brands are selling essential oils. Those oils are not necessarily the original products.

Local Application

You can simply dab the diluted TTO with a cotton swab on the affected area.

If you have recurring cold sores, you already know about the impending cold sores going to occur.  It causes a tingling or itching sensation on the lips and skin around the mouth.  Start using TTO at the initial stages of the disease itself.

Always dilute the tea tree oil with water or carrier oils like coconut oil or olive oil; dilute the oil in a 1:9 ratio.

The strength of the oil can be increased if you have highly tolerant skin.

Repeat the Treatment

You have to reapply the diluted tea tree oil up to 5 times a day to draw maximum benefit from the oil.

You could continue with daily application of the oil until the scabs disappear and new skin grows in.

Usually, it takes more than a week for the complete healing of cold sores.

Dressing the Cold Sores

You should gently remove the loose and crusty material that comes up during the ulcerating stage of the cold sore.

To remove the crust, you can use a damp washcloth to gently rub the crust out.

You can repeat the application of TTO after dressing and clearing off the crusts caused by cold sores.

Use Moisturizer

The application of tea tree oil on sores can make the lips or skin dry up. After 10 minutes of applying the TTO, you can moisten the lips or skin with petroleum jelly, Shea butter, or Aloe Vera gel.

Use the moisturizer only if your skin or lips are drying up or scaling after using TTO.

Use Tea Tree Oil Lip Balm

Prevention is better than cure.

If you have recurring incidences of cold sores, you can regularly use tea tree oil lip balm to prevent the future occurrence of cold sores.

Side Effects, Warnings, and Precaution

You can get fast relief from the symptoms of cold sores or fever blisters by using tea tree oil properly.

Here are some of the important tips and warning that is worth following:

Use Diluted Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil contains highly potent chemical compounds that might burn or irritate sensitive skin.

Before applying the oil on cold sores, the oil must be diluted in water or carrier oil. Coconut oil or olive oil is suitable carrier oil for diluting the TTO.

Reduce the strength of the TTO according to the toleration level of your skin.

Do Not Ingest Or Use TTO Inside Mouth and Nose

Do not apply the tea tree oil on the sores and wounds inside the mouth.

Also, do not drip the oil inside your nostrils as the mucus membrane in the nose may not withstand the chemical compounds in the oil.

Use TTO for treating fever blisters or cold sores that appear on the lip or around the mouth or skin.

Do not ingest TTO as it contains toxic substances that can cause health problems that may require medical intervention.

If you use TTO to treat the sores in the mouth, the oil may get mixed with your saliva which then goes to your stomach.

Tea Tree Oil for Cold Sores while Pregnant

Pregnant women have delicate physical conditions.

The hormone changes in the body may alter the looks of the skin and cause cold sores.

Powerful essential oil like the TTO may not be tolerated by the delicate skin conditions of pregnant women.

However, pregnant women may try to use TTO in reduced strength for treating cold sores. The use of TTO should be stopped if you notice any side effects after using the oil.

How Can I Prevent Cold Sores?

A cold sore is a contagious infection; proper care and attention are required for preventing the spread and recurrence of cold sores.

Here are a few tips for preventing cold sores:

  • Replace your toothbrush after healing the disease;
  • Always wash and disinfect your hands after touching cold sores;
  • Avoid kissing and other physical contacts with cold sore patients;
  • Do not share utensils, clothes, razors, or stationeries used by persons with cold sores;
  • Avoid touching the genital area after touching the cold sores as this might lead to genital herpes;
  • Do not touch eyes after touching cold sores as it can cause herpes infection in the eyes;
  • Protect your face and lips with sunscreen lotion before prolonged exposure to the sun;
  • Replace your lipstick or lip balm after the infection.

The Bottom Line

Tea tree oil for cold sores is one of the most reliable natural remedies worth trying.

It is important to dilute TTO before dabbing it on cold sores.

If you do not get significant relief from the symptoms of cold sores after using the oil for 2 to 3 days, then you need to consult a doctor.

It is better to use TTO as an addition to the regular treatments prescribed by your doctor or in combination with other natural home remedies.