Feb 12, 2001

The Bottom Line Camphophenique helps with the pain and discomfort of cold sores and assists with speedier recovery.

You feel it on your lip. A tingling that starts out to be a slight annoyance but quickly becomes downright bothersome! You know what the tingling signals, and you dread what’s coming next: an invisible hard spot that quickly blossoms into an ugly oozing blister. You’ve had it with this problem, but nothing you do will make it go away! You and I know all about it, but we sure do not talk too much about it. The cold sore.

Ugly, awful and painful it seems to take a long time before it goes away. Cold sores seem to pop up at the least convenient times, like just before family photos…or a big presentation before work. Why do we get them? What causes them? How do we make them go away?

Evidently, we are not the only ones worrying about these unsightly, embarrassing blisters. The grocery convenience stores are bombarded with new products for cold sores every day. Now that cold sores are “out of the closet” we should have that long time we’ve been promising for so long.

What the heck is a cold sore?
Cold sores are a form of herpes. There, now that I got that off my chest, I feel so much better. Technically it is called: “the herpes simplex virus - (HSV-I).” Although a larger percentage (some sources say seventy percent while others say eighty) of our population carries HSV-I, only about twenty percent have cold sores. The virus lies latent until there is a disturbance in the body’s immune system.

Is this like genital herpes? This is a question that has been repeated many times, but usually in a very discreet voice. It is a form of herpes, but not the same form of genital herpes and can be spread through kissing, etc. (I have heard that intimate oral contact with someone who has a cold sore can lead to complications in that area. I am not sure if that would then be genital herpes or cold sores in the genital area?) Since my husband and I both get cold sores (we started getting them er, individually long before we met) when one of us gets one we avoid kissing each other or the kids as well as drinking after each other as a precautionary measure. ( I was told by my doctors that cold sores can be spread through direct contact with the sore and through contact with the fluid from the virus.)


Doctors degree on the causes, but most agree that stress, fever, allergies, serious illness, sunburn, or a lowered immune system can cause or contribute to cold sores. (My husband and the pharmacist both use the phase “compromised immune system.”) Whenever something compromises the body’s immunity, that mean old latent virus snaps to attention and grabs onto a lip! (Or a nostril, sometimes on the roof of your mouth! Yuck!)

I have found that Camphophenique offers the best over the counter remedy for my cold sores. Speaking friend to friend here, I believe that several of the other remedies (over the counter) that I have tried do more to keep the sore moist than dry. I have tried herpicin and liked it, but like I said…it kept my lips more moist…so it seemed to take longer for the cold sore to go away.

Apply camphophenique to the blister 1 – 3 times daily, starting with the first symptoms of cold sore.

Keep the area clean by washing blister.

Make sure to wash your hands every time you touch the blister or apply medicine to it. I can not stress how important this is friend.

As an extra safety measure, I apply camphophenique with a q-tip.

Be VERY careful with your contacts if you have an active cold sore. I have also been told that the virus can spread to the cornea area in some instances. (I took a break from my contacts during the time that my cold sore was not scabbed over, so that I would decrease my chances of infection.)

Usually the process is ten days to two weeks.

More about Camphophenique
Camphophenique is a clear gel that is applied directly to the sore and affected area. It contains a type of alcohol (Camphorated phenol (camphor 10.8% and Phenol 4.7%) that helps out with the pain of cold sores. It also has a light mineral oil to keep cold sores from cracking. It numbs the area, similar to ambesol’s affects on the gum but not as severe. It also helps prevent the spreading of the infection (which is important as a cold sore can quickly become cold sores if you are not very very careful!) It smells peculiar, with the eucalyptus oil smell or something. Let’s just say that the smell is unique.

Other not so fun uses for camphophenique!
Bet you thought I said just about everything I could say on the subject, hey? This is an excellent product for scrapes, burns, insect bites like chiggers, mosquitoes, and those sand fleas. (The same ingredients that are in the cold sore remedy are in the gel and the gel for insect bites, scrapes and burns. Three different products and they all the same ingredients. I just use one and apply with either a cotton ball, finger or q-tip (like I said earlier, I use a q-tip with cold sores.)

The gels are available in the following:
Original cold sore fgel 0.23 ounces (I paid $4.69 for it.)
Insect bites, scrapes and cuts formula 0.5 ounces.
The liquid is available in two sizes:
0.75fl oz and 1.5 fl oz.

Resources on line:


A new product (I have not tried it yet) that offers tons of information on cold sores through its website:

Toll free resource lines:

Herpes Resource Center at 1-800-230-6039

National Herpes Hotline at 1-919-361-8488

Leave a comment and let me know what you think of camphophenique and any other cold sore remedies! Thanks!

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