As we've mentioned, keeping the infected areas dry is important to promoting healing. And powders have long been used for their drying properties. Two such powders — baking soda and cornstarch — serve a variety of around-the-house purposes, from brushing teeth to drying out oily hair. The powders can also help dry out genital herpes sores [source: Grayson].
You can apply either powder — both of which are common, inexpensive and available at your local supermarket — to the sores with a cotton ball or cotton swab to help dry them out and reduce itching. Just be careful not to double dip: You don't want to contaminate the unused baking soda/cornstarch [source: Grayson].