Red Light Therapy

Red Light Therapy to Treat Cold Sores

They are contagious. They are painful. And worst of all, these seem to appear out of nowhere at the most unwanted times! Fever blisters, a.k.a. cold sores, are a kind of viral condition that’s caused due to HSV-1 (herpes simplex virus type-1, or less usually known by HSV-2 (herpes simplex virus type 2. However, these sores have no particular cure, and they sometimes even take weeks to fade or clear away.


They are contagious. They are painful. And worst of all, these seem to appear out of nowhere at the most unwanted times!

Fever blisters, a.k.a. cold sores, are a kind of viral condition that’s caused due to HSV-1 (herpes simplex virus type-1, or less usually known by HSV-2 (herpes simplex virus type 2. However, these sores have no particular cure, and they sometimes even take weeks to fade or clear away.

Most home remedies for cold sores are not very effective; all these home treatments can do is reduce the swelling or numb the pain. Although prescribed antiviral drugs might help to some extent, these may even have sudden side effects.

But there’s one clinically proven home treatment that can surely help for cold sore----it’s light therapy!!

So, in this article, we’ll be discussing the light therapy treatments for cold sores. But one thing that you need to know is light therapy cannot get rid of your fever blisters forever!!

Lights That Can Make Cold Sores Worse

Yes, light therapy can be a remedy for cold sores, but not all lights are suitable for this condition.

So, if you want to get rid of cold sores and prevent them from flaring up, you must avoid these two types of light.

  1. Sunlight/ UV light

Natural light is indeed made up of many wavelengths, both visible and invisible. In many ways, all these wavelengths from the sunlight can undoubtedly be beneficial to the human body.

For instance, sunlight can be one of the most effective treatments for SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) and depression. And this is only possible because of the increased production of serotonin ( mood-effective neurotransmitter).

Moreover, sunlight can even benefit the health of your bones because of the increased production of vitamin D and even helps with the regulation of the circadian rhythm (body’s inner clock). So, with this, the insomnia issues can be cured.

But these UV radiations might not be good news for your lips as most of the fever blisters (cold sores) form on the lips. Our lips are far different from our skin, as it’s fragile and doesn’t contain melanocytes (responsible for melanin production). So, the absence of melanocytes can make your lips vulnerable to UV rays damage.

Moreover, the herpes virus can even cause lesions on your lips and affect the eyelids and corneas. Research has been found that exposure to UV for more than eight hours each week can result in HSV outbreaks.

So, it’s always suggested that you wear a hat or even use sunscreen to avoid these fatal HSV outbreaks. And not cold sores; too much exposure to UV radiation might also lead to skin cancer!

2. Blue Light

Blue light has a mixture of effects on our skin. If we consider the positive sides of the positive impact of this light, it is antibacterial; this means it can effortlessly eliminate any bacteria found in the oil glands of the skin. This makes light therapy one of the best acne treatments.

Another benefit that users can get from this therapy is it can help with the circadian rhythm. This is why the morning exposure to the sun is so refreshing and energizing.

But unfortunately, not most of the blue light is from the sun; instead, most of these are emitted from electronic devices and gadgets. So, the artificial light from this device can lead to interference with sleep patterns and can have a detrimental effect on the body’s circadian rhythm.

Moreover, it can also damage the eyes and also the skin. Studies have found that these artificial lights can indeed cause oxidative stress, which can eventually lead to slow healing and premature skin aging, resulting in wrinkles and skin linings.

Even if someone’s suffering from HSV (Type 1 or Type 2), these blue lights getting emitted from mobile phones and computers can eventually worsen the situation. And even worse, it can entirely slow down the healing process.

Red Light and Infrared the Ultimate Treatment for Cold Sore!!

RLT (Red light therapy), also known as LLLT ( Low-Level Light Therapy) and photobiomodulation, is well known for skin regeneration, healing, and anti-inflammatory characteristics.

In a 2018 review, it has been confirmed that red light therapy elevates healing and even reduces any pain from oral HSV lesions.

Most of the research has focused on LED therapy and laser treatments on labial HSV (lips) and orofacial HSV (mouth and face) using wavelengths that range from 660nm to 780nm.

In a 2009 study, it has been found that using wavelengths that range from 650nm to 680nm showed drastic improvement in mouth ulcers of around 69 patients in just one treatment.

How RLT Contributes to Cold Sore Healing?

Both near-infrared and red light promote what’s called biostimulation in the human tissue.

Biostimulation is a process that starts at the cellular level, and this implies a photochemical reaction in the body’s cells.

Red light therapy not only addresses specific symptoms or diseases but even the root causes. This is what makes RLT such an effective treatment for chronic conditions like fever blisters or cold sores.

This is how it works:

  • Provides Energy to the cells
  • Reduces Inflammation
  • Increases the collagen production
  • Improves the blood circulation

In short, we can say that red light therapy is one of the best treatments for cold sore issues. But make sure that before proceeding with the treatment yourself, consult with your dermatologist as he can provide you with the best and authentic suggestions.

Bottom Line

The frequent flare-ups of cold sores can indeed be very painful and annoying at the same time. In such cases, no home treatment might be effective, and taking medications might have sudden unwanted effects.

In all these cases, near-infrared and red light therapy might be the optimum choice you can have in your arsenal. All you have to do is be consistent with this therapy and ensure that you don’t get over-exposed to sunlight without specific facial protection.

I hope this article will help you know how red light therapy can treat cold sores and make your lips stay healthy again!

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