Why Do Cold Sores Come Back?

HSV usually becomes active and appears when triggered by certain things. For some, the virus remains inactive and does not manifest.
Why Do Cold Sores Come Back?

Last update: 24 November, 2018

Many people suffer from recurring illnesses which affect organs that are already weakened because of genetics, bad habits, nutritional deficiencies, etc. One of the most common cases is cold sores. However, they are not a serious threat to your health, but instead more a problem of appearance.

In this article, we’ll explain why those who have cold sores usually suffer from them every so often and how you can deal with them naturally.

What are cold sores?

Cold sores are a small ulcer or blister that appears around the lip as a result of herpes virus simplex 1 (HSV-1). You may have this virus but no symptoms until the cold sores appear.

Although they are more common in the areas around the lips, they can form on any part of the body. For example, you may see them on your cheeks, nostrils, or on your chin.

They usually begin with a slight tingling or itching and after a little while, they turn into a blister causing more itching and even pain. Also, you may experience a burning sensation. So you know, cold sores usually last between 7-10 days.

cold sores on the lips of a woman

Why do they come back?

There are a few people who only experience the symptoms of this virus once in their lives. However, it’s more common for cold sores to appear from time to time because the virus remains in the body.

In general, the HSV-1 virus is spread by close contact and contracted in childhood. It enters the body through the skin and permanently locates itself in the nerve cells.

When certain triggers are activated, the virus is activated and a cold sore appears on the lip. Other people who have it may not experience symptoms as the virus can stay inactive or dormant.


It is still unknown what exactly causes the triggers of this virus. However, some factors can assist in activating the virus:

  • Stress: Stress causes imbalances in the body and attacks the body’s natural defenses. In the majority of cases, an outbreak doesn’t occur during times of stress, but just after. This is usually when the body is relaxing and trying to restore its natural rhythms.
  • Infections and fevers: These are caused by other pathogens, including those in other parts of the body.
  • Medication: Taking certain medications, especially antibiotics, can weaken the immune system and activate the herpes virus.
  • Hormonal changes: The most common hormonal changes are those associated with menstruation or pregnancy.
  • Extreme weather: Exposure to solar radiation or extreme, sudden changes in temperature, can increase the chances of a cold sore developing.
  • Food allergies/intolerances: Sometimes the body doesn’t digest certain foods well, like gluten, lactose, soy, certain fruits, etc. These types of cases can be difficult to detect because the reaction is not always immediate.
  • Intestinal disorders: According to some researchers, cold sores may be a sign of inflammation or ulcers in parts of the intestinal wall.
possible triggers for cold sores

Natural Remedies

It’s important to analyze these trigger factors to determine which ones might affect you. By learning to fight these triggers, outbreaks will occur less frequently.

Here are some natural remedies to help prevent and treat outbreaks:

  • Brewer’s yeast: This supplement functions as a skin detoxifier and also helps balance the nervous system.
  • Echinacea: This medicinal plant is most known for its ability to strengthen the immune system. It can be taken during the times of the year when you’re more likely to get sick or during the changing of the seasons.
  • Propolis: Propolis is a natural antibiotic that increases natural defenses and strengthens the body. You can apply it directly to cold sores or take it by mouth.
  • Psyllium (plantago psyllium): If your outbreak is related to intestinal problems, this vegetable fiber can regulate and facilitate digestion without irritating the intestine.
natural remedies for cold sores

You should also pay attention to your diet and consider having a food allergy or intolerance test done.

If you can eliminate the foods that your body cannot digest, not only will you prevent future outbreaks, you’ll also notice an improvement in your health.

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