When I was working on my Masters degree, I studied in a field called ‘biophotonics’.
“bio-faux-what”, you ask?
In a nutshell, I used expensive lasers and even more expensive microscopes to take pictures of and study mouse brains.
Now, I’m not an expert on the physics/engineering side of lasers. I was more on the biology side of things.
But my time in this field has given me a decent understanding of how lasers work and how they affect living tissues.
So, when I come across people using laser therapy to get rid of their cold sores, my ears perk up.
I know lasers (a little), and I know cold sores.
Which is why the following question from a cold sore sufferer about laser therapy piqued my interest:
“I got one yesterday (Sunday) and immediately called my dentist this morning for laser treatment. They couldn’t get me in until tomorrow morning. Is it still worth going even though it’s not the first day!!?”
It’s weird how being unable to treat your cold sore from the start makes it feel like a lost cause. As if if you don’t catch it right away any treatment you use will be utterly ineffective.
It doesn’t work like that, fortunately, but it can sure fell that way.
Now, to be honest, I’ve personally never tried cold sore laser therapy.
But what does the science say?
According to multiple studies, laser therapy for cold sores is effective, period.
For example, one study found that daily laser therapy reduced the time it took for the cold sore to heal by over one day when compared to acyclovir cream.
That’s remarkably effective.
However, this study grouped people who were anywhere from 0 to 36 hours into their outbreak together. So, while almost all participants reported positive results, it’s hard to compare the effectiveness of laser therapy based on how long since the cold sore has started.
But given how laser light breaks down the virus on a molecular level, it’s going to be effective no matter when you use it.
Of course, the earlier you catch it, the more effective it’ll be (just like any other treatment).
That being said, there’s a lot of variables that go into treating cold sores with lasers. For example:
What’s the wavelength of the laser?
How powerful is the laser?
What frequency pulses does the laser emit?
Do all dentists use the same lasers that operate at the same wavelength/power/pulse frequency?
Then there the issue of price.
A single laser treatment session can run upwards of $300. That’s pretty expensive for fighting a cold sore.
And on top of that, understand that the patients in the study I mentioned above got DAILY laser sessions over 3 to 6 days.
Which means that it can cost you upwards of $1000 just to shave off one day from your outbreak.
Is it worth it?
All I know is that having to take an appointment and shelling out around $300 bucks is a heck of a lot of hassle to get rid of a cold sore.
I’d rather make sure I DON’T get a cold sore in the first place.
Because that way I don’t have worry about finding the ‘best’ treatment (whatever that means).
Nor do I need to panic when I get a surprise cold sore and don’t have any treatments on hand.
And I certainly don’t have to take an appointment (or multiple appointments) and fork over 300 bucks to some dentist for a treatment that takes like 10 minutes.
Instead, I follow a few simple diet/lifestyle guidelines that keep the herpes virus in a deep state of latency.
That way, a cold sore isn’t even possible.
If you’re tired of rolling around in the mud with cold sores and want to PREVENT them from happening at all, you need to figure out why you keep getting them in the first place.
Take the Quiz at the link below to get started:
No appointment needed.