Cold sores are the lesions that commonly first appear on the lip as a blister that erupts, dries and leaves a scab. The lesions are unattractive and somewhat painful. The herpes simplex 1 virus is responsible for causing the problem. Once an individual becomes exposed to the common virus, the pathogen lies dormant in the body. Fevers, menstrual cycles, stress or sun exposure bring the microbe to the surface where lesions commonly form around the mouth region. While OTC preparations help resolve the problem, severe outbreaks may require a prescription for an antiviral medication. However, an old folk remedy using earwax is once again being popularized by alternative and natural health enthusiasts.
While the thought of using earwax on the face may seem disgusting to some, others having used the remedy swear by the technique's effectiveness. Treatment should begin at the first indication that a cold sore is forming. Before coming to the skin's surface, individuals typically feel burning, itching or a tingling sensation caused by an irritated facial nerve. When the signs begin, use a cotton swab and retrieve a slight amount of earwax or cerumen. Rub the substance over the tender area and leave overnight. The wax can also be applied to the sore once the lesion appears or has ruptured. At any stage of formation, simply repeat the application process as needed. The earwax method causes the sore to disappear, reduce in size or dramatically shorten the length of time that the lesion is visible.
What is Earwax?
Earwax contains dead skin cells, hair and the excretions from ceruminous and sebaceous glands. The chemical compounds include alcohols, fatty acids and squalene, which is a compound needed to make cholesterol and hormones. The fatty acid known as lysozyme is believed to be the active ingredient that gives earwax anti-microbial properties.
Laboratory tests performed in the 1960s and the 1980s first uncovered the anti-infective properties of cerumen. However, the findings did not convince many in the medical community who repeatedly doubted the validity of the research results. Nevertheless, more recent studies conclude that the former scientists were correct.
The tests involved diluting the earwax into three percent concentration levels and putting the samples in petri dishes containing agar mixtures and various bacterial strains. The dishes were then covered and allowed to sit undisturbed for a period of 24 hours at body temperature. Upon retrieving the dishes, researchers found that the cerumen dilutions effectively killed anywhere from 17 to 99 percent of seven different species of bacterial colonies. In addition to having antibacterial properties, lysozyme is also known to have antiviral properties.