I first learned to use bleach, and generally cover the sore and my entire upper and lower lips once, let it dry, and reapply in 20 minutes or so. It works great for me, unless the sore, in one case thus far, is on the skin near my lips. Seemed to help, but more slowly. I've experimented with vinegar, it works, as will tea tree oil. I've used mustard and wine vinegar, and they worked reasonably well. I suppose in my case, the cold sore viruses are simply not too tough, maybe?
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