Product Type: Boots in Health Misc
Newest Review: ... be used for, as there is nothing printed on the actual device, aside from the familiar Boots logo and ambiguous 'For Personal Use Only'... more
This Treatment Left Me Cold, Still Sore and Slightly Poorer!
Boots Advanced Electronic Cold Sore Treatment
Member Name: jo1976
Boots Advanced Electronic Cold Sore Treatment
Date: 11/02/13, updated on 15/08/13 (438 review reads)
Advantages: Drug-free treatment, portable, no side effects, minimal running costs
Disadvantages: No noticeable impact on length of attacks or recurrence, no money back guarantee, expensive outlay
I've suffered from unsightly, painful and regularly recurring cold sores for years and have tried most mainstream remedies with little or no resulting benefits. I have even been to see my GP about the condition, such was the frequency with which I was experiencing cold sore attacks, but found no more relief from prescription treatments either. Over the years, I had read increasingly positive reviews of a new way of treating cold sores using infra-ray light so eventually decided that it had to be worth a try and purchased this Electronic Cold Sore Treatment from Boots.
This small electronic device claims to utilise a therapeutic technology involving infra-red light. This supposedly has the ability to prevent an emerging cold sore from appearing or to speed up the healing process. Anecdotal evidence also suggests that repeated use of this treatment helps to lengthen the period of time between cold sore attacks by helping to improve the immune system's response.
This is actually a relatively unassuming little gadget, simply packaged and with pretty straightforward operating instructions. The machine is battery operated but fortunately comes with the necessary battery ready supplied. This is very useful as it takes a single 'PP3' alkaline battery which isn't the sort that most people tend to have to hand for everyday use. These large rectangular batteries are still fairly readily available, however. I've subsequently purchased replacements from both Morrisons and Wilkinsons without any difficulty.
The hand-held device is made from a fairly nondescript white plastic and is quite a compact and slim rectangular shaped gadget, so could conceivably be carried about in a bag for use at any time. (In all honesty, I'd be too embarrassed to carry a battery-powered gadget around with me, just in case people were wondering just what it was!) At first glance, it really wouldn't be clear what this would be used for, as there is nothing printed on the actual device, aside from the familiar Boots logo and ambiguous 'For Personal Use Only' printed on the underside, to reveal what this actually as.
The operating instructions for the machine are easy to follow, with numbered steps and a diagram to indicate correct usage. This includes guidance on keeping the device clean before and after use which is crucial to avoid cross-contamination and further spreading of those nasty cold sores. I tend to wipe mine with an anti-bacterial cleaning wipe shortly before each use so maintenance is pretty simple.
Essentially, this has a single button at the front which activates the all-important infra-red light for a set three minute period. The rim of the gadget then simply needs to be held directly over the affected area, in contact with the skin, where 'light emitting diodes' (which just look like two larger round LED lights) release the infra-red rays directly on to the emerging cold sore. Whilst the machine is 'doing its business', there is a flashing green LED light also at the front which provides some reassurance that 'something' is happening. This is quite useful as the device doesn't actually make any noise during use (aside from an initial beep and a final beep to indicate that the three minutes are over.) This design isn't entirely perfect, however, as when the gadget is pressed up against the lip I struggle to see the flashing LED (without making myself go cross-eyed.) I have also discovered that, as the battery starts to run out, the gadget will often start to flash and then just decide to switch itself off partway through the cycle. This is the only indication that the battery needs to be changed and is more than a little annoying!
The good thing about this method of cold sore treatment is that it has no ongoing running costs (aside from replacement batteries which generally last a year, based on my experience.) The treatment is entirely silent and pain free and the device is small enough to be used anywhere and it doesn't interfere with other activities. (I have been known to sit and watch TV whilst having this held to my lip, although it does really irritate my other half, who thinks I'm trying to communicate with extra-terrestrials!) As this is a chemical-free treatment, there are no potential side effects and there are no risks of over dosing. Recommended usage is pretty vague, with the general advice being to use this as soon as the tingling starts and 12 hours later. It is perfectly safe to use this several times a day, at much shorter intervals without any risks involved.
One of the main reasons why I avoided purchasing this little gadget for so long was the high initial purchase price. I picked mine up a couple of years ago now and paid around the £30 mark, although the price has slowly crept up and it is currently selling for £34.99. Whilst this would no doubt be excellent value for money over the years, compared to the ongoing costs of ineffective creams and patches, I was initially put off by the fact that the device doesn't come with any kind of money back guarantee. Given that the medical claims and the techniques utilised by this device seem pretty vague, I would have expected a company as large as Boots to offer the reassurance of a money back pledge. This would have given me the reassurance that Boots really do believe that this small piece of kit really can deliver everything that it claims.
I did decide that this had to worth the risk, hoping that even if it didn't help to provide any relief from the pain and discomfort that accompanies a typical cold sore, that it might at least speed up the overall healing time. Sadly, I discovered that using this machine didn't have any impact on the level of discomfort nor did it ever have any noticeable effect on the length of time the cold sore lasted for, no matter how quickly I was able to use this device when I noticed the cold sore first appearing.
My other hope was that repeated use would strengthen my own immune system and, over time, help to reduce the frequency with which I experienced cold sores. This was the main reason why I continued to use this machine several times a day during a cold sore attack. In all honesty, I can't say that using this has made any difference whatsoever to the frequency of attacks. I still find that I go through periods when I am continually suffering from cold sores, as they just seem to relocate from one side of my mouth to the other. I can then go for a period of time without suffering from any, before the cycle of repeated infections begins again. Using this device regularly throughout (or in anticipation of) an attack hasn't had any noticeable impact whatsoever, much to my great disappointment.
I've owned this for around two years now, it may even be longer, so I've certainly given this ample opportunity to have some impact but have found it to be totally ineffective. There are examples of other people who have found this to work miracles, however, which is where I feel the reassurance of a money back guarantee would be ideal as this clearly does not work for everybody, as my experience bears out.
Sadly, I have found that cycles of recurring cold sores have more to do with my own physical and mental health and the use of this device makes absolutely no difference to the length of time a cold sore lasts or to the period between recurrences whatsoever. The only benefit is that this is a drug-free treatment so can be used alongside other methods of treatment without any concerns about side effects. For anybody considering this, this could well be an incredible £35 investment that quickly recoups the initial outlay or, as in my case, money down the drain for no noticeable benefit. It is, essentially, a gamble and one that didn't pay off for me.
Summary: £35 is a lot to pay for something that has no effect on my cold sores whatsoever