Shingles is a skin condition that can be caused by the chickenpox virus, which is also known as the varicella-zoster virus. Shingles typically occur on one side of your body and are made up of fluid-filled blisters that burn, itch, or sting. Shingles is not contagious and cannot spread from person to person as chickenpox can. However, the virus lives in your nerve roots and can come out of remission for a multitude of reasons, such as stress or a weakened immune system. Shingles can also lead to other complications such as pneumonia and encephalitis, so it’s essential to treat them quickly and efficiently.
One way you can ease the symptoms of shingles is with soothing cream for shingles! We’ve compiled a list below of some creams we think to work well for this purpose:
- Topical acyclovir, lidocaine, or capsaicin: Soothing shingles cream typically provide pain relief, anti-itching, and a numbing effect. Acyclovir is an antiviral drug that can help reduce the severity of viral infection.
- Topical calamine: This can be used on open lesions to reduce pain and pruritus
- Topical creams containing antihistamines: Antihistamines have anti-inflammatory properties which can reduce itching and redness
- Topical application of creams containing essential oils such as chamomile oil, eucalyptus oil, and tea tree oil: These are natural ingredients that are said to have anti-inflammatory properties
- Witch hazel cream: Witch hazel is said to reduce inflammation and itchiness
What other types of treatment are there for shingles?
Topical creams are but one of many treatment options available for shingles. Treatment options can be classified into a few categories, including medical treatment that a doctor may typically prescribe, alternative therapies such as using natural ingredients or folk medicine, and lifestyle changes. We’ll discuss these different types of treatment so you can make an informed decision about which one will work best for your needs!
Medical treatment of shingles include:
- Medicines commonly used for their antiviral properties such as acyclovir, valacyclovir, and famciclovir help to reduce the length and severity of the infection. The efficacy is greatest when treatment starts within 3 days of the rash.
- Antibiotics, which may be administered if the skin or rashes are infected by the bacteria.
- Painkillers such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and naproxen
- Anticonvulsants, tricyclic antidepressants, corticosteroids, or numbing agents to help relieve pain (Stankus et al., 2000)
- Applying a wet compress to the area of skin that is experiencing pain and inflammation
- Oral intake of antihistamines to relieve the itchiness
In addition to the above medical treatments, there are also several alternative treatments for shingles that can help with relieving symptoms.
- Traditional Chinese medicine, such as acupuncture (which involves the insertion of very thin needles into your skin at specific points) and heat therapy, such as moxibustion and cupping, supposedly draws out toxins. These treatments may be done in combination
- Adding colloidal (or ground) oatmeal or baking soda to cool bath water to moisten the skin and to soothe sensitive and inflamed skin
- Manuka or clover honey that can be directly applied to the skin
- A mixture of liquid dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) and idoxuridine, an antiviral drug, may reduce swelling and the number of blisters.
- Chlorophyll (which is the chemical that gives plants their green color) can be used directly on the rash as a cream or saline solution (Pathak, 2021)
- Vitamin supplements such as vitamin D, vitamin C, zinc, and selenium to improve immune function
- Consuming a herbal formula of Gentiana scabra, a blue or purple flower occurring throughout North America, which is said to have a positive effect on pain relief in shingles while also decreasing the likelihood of postherpetic neuralgia (Crichton-Stuart, 2018)
Finally, some lifestyle changes can be implemented alongside other treatments:
- Keeping the rash clean and dry, covering the inflammation with loosely bound dressing for protection, and wearing loose-fitting clothing to reduce discomfort
- Using cool water to bathe to keep sores and blisters clean, as well as to relieve soreness and itchiness
- More food containing carotenoids such as lycopene, lutein, zeaxanthin, and provitamin A improves immunity. Orange foods such as carrot, pumpkin, and apricot, red foods such as watermelon, red pepper, grapefruit, and cherry, and green foods such as kale, parsley, spinach, melon, lettuce, and endive are said to be high in carotenoids.
- Quitting smoking and reducing stress, which will help to boost immunity and improve the healing function of the body
Shingles is a serious condition, and one should seek treatment as soon as possible for better outcomes. In this article, we have covered several treatment options for shingles. These can be classified into a few categories, including medical treatment that a doctor may typically prescribe, alternative therapies such as using natural ingredients or folk medicine, and lifestyle changes. One of the treatment options involves topical creams. The best cream to put on your shingles rash is one that provides antiviral activity and relief for symptoms such as redness, pain, and itching. However, it is advised that you check with your doctor or pharmacist to make sure that these will not interact negatively with your existing medication before applying them.
Crichton-Stuart, C. (2018, June 14). 10 natural treatments and home remedies for shingles. Medical News Today
Pathak, N. (2021, August 11). Shingles treatment, medication, & prevention: Pain relief, antiviral. WebMD. Retrieved September 12, 2021
Stankus, S. J., Dlugopolski, M., & Packer, D. (2000, April 15). Management of herpes Zoster (Shingles) And Postherpetic Neuralgia. American Family Physician