Cold Sore Treatment

Cold sores are annoying and unsightly and last about a week. We can help reduce the duration of the outbreak and the pain associated with a lesion by using a diode laser's energy. The process takes approximately two minutes and is painless.

Outbreaks of cold sores tend to happen when the immune system is weakened: during or after an illness, during menstruation, when an individual is under stress or their lip is sunburned or injured. There are several topical treatment options available over-the-counter and  prescription strength to hasten healing and lessen pain. It is also possible for a person to have the herpes virus without visible cold sores.

Do lasers really work on cold sores?

Yes they do! Evidence demonstrates the efficacy of laser use in the treatment of herpetic lesions. In a double-blind study, Brignardello-Peterson6 used a low level laser on 60 patients; the control group received no laser therapy. Results showed a reduction of healing time for participants receiving laser treatment for a herpes labialis lesion. Participants reported less pain and a reduction in lesion size, compared to the group that did not receive laser therapy.

In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 50 participants with herpes labialis lesions, De Paula Eduardo et al9 found a significant reduction in healing time and a decrease in the recurrence of herpes lesions.

Namar et al8 reported a reduction in microorganisms post-laser therapy, resulting in faster healing. It remains unclear whether healing time improved due to exposure of the actual phototoxicity or the indirect thermal changes. The researchers suggest that healing time will vary depending on the use of longer or shorter settings on the laser wand.

What type of laser is used on cold sores?

A Diode laser is used to treat cold sores.

How does a diode laser treat cold sores?

The heat energy from a diode laser breaks down the virus and allows for healing to occur within two days. The laser energy kills the surface virus, thus inactivating the lesion. In this process, nerve endings are cauterized, allowing the patient’s symptoms to resolve. The reduction in healing time is due to the process of photo biomodulation (PBM), a form of infrared light therapy at a specific wavelength that stimulates cells to produce natural healing and reduce pain. Wound healing is increased by the formation of fibroblasts, motility of human keratinocytes, promotion of early epithelization, and enhancement of neovascularization.

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