A Recent TikTok Hack Claims Perfume May Cure a Cold Sore — But Are Dermatologists on Board?

Keely McGrath showed off a quick hack on TikTok to cure a cold sore by using perfume. But is it a medically proven method that people should follow?

Emma Saletta - Author

Sep. 30 2023, Published 2:36 p.m. ET

The Gist:

  • Keely McGrath currently has over 23,000 followers on her TikTok handle @lordkeely and she is serving up a new idea.
  • Her cold sore hack currently has more than 12 million views.
  • This hack may be unreliable, as Keely is not a licensed medical professional.
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TikToker Keely McGrath recently showed off a new way to get rid of cold scores on her TikTok handle, @lordkeely — but is it as (painfully) reliable as it appears to be on the video?

The cold sore beauty hack Keely tried made her shake and appear to be in pain, which may have unfortunately all been for nothing.

The influencer is not in dermatology and may have tried this perfume dab for the very last time based on her reaction. Remedies to cure sores both store-bought and homemade may come with a bit of pain, but is this particular one endorsed by medical professionals?

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The cold sore TikTok hack uses perfume that may include special ingredients.

Several blogs have written about the perfume remedy for cold sores over the years, one of which is the now-abandoned blogspot, The Vintage Perfume Vault. The key to this method lies within the ingredients found in the liquid rather than the perfume itself.

"Bergamot and linaloo are just a couple of potential healing ingredients contained in just about any perfume, as well as denatured alcohol and essential oils," stated a blog post from February 22, 2009.

"In fact, perfumes are positvely packed with vitamins and phytochemicals and it turns out, they might just pack a powerful healing punch."

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It is unclear what perfume Keely used in the TikTok video, but she did admit to a commenter that the method actually worked! However, other users weren't fully convinced by the cold sore hack, and gave their own suggestions on treatments that will do the trick.

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"Do some research on lysine pills," one user suggested. "They help reduce the cold sore and healing time is quicker than usual!"

Another TikToker commented, "Try tea tree oil! I’ve been using it for years and it works all the time (and it doesn’t burn)."

Have dermatologists endorsed the cold sore perfume hack?

We didn't spy any dermatologists or other medical professionals who commented on Keely's TikTok video. However, many have spoken up about cold sore curing methods, with no one notable suggesting perfume.

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Miami-based dermatologist Dr. Lucy Chen discussed methods for getting rid of cold sores fast in August 2023.

"Cold sores are caused by a highly contagious herpes simplex virus that many are exposed to in childhood," she explained to InStyle. "If you tend to get cold sores frequently, it's wise to keep antiviral topical or oral medications on hand to keep the virus from replicating."

People who aren't up for medications can try at-home remedies instead. Products such as petroleum jelly and ibuprofen can help soothe the sore. You can even apply a damp washcloth on the affected area for relief.

"Rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide can help dry out the sore and speed up the healing process as well," Chen also recommended.

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