Covering a cold sore

How to Hide a Cold Sore

Cold sores have a habit of breaking out when you have a cold, but they can be also caused by stress. That’s why you might discover a cold sore on your lip or around your mouth when you least want to deal with it.

Whether you’re going to a wedding or a big job interview, it’s hard to feel your best with a cold sore on your face. Using makeup such as concealer may help, but the timing can be tricky. “I wouldn’t recommend trying to cover a cold sore if it is not partially healed or scabbed over,” says Denise Gevaras, a professional makeup artist in Toms River, N.J. “Most cold sores will ooze in the beginning, and trying to put makeup on them will not only draw attention to them but can probably prevent them from healing properly.”

“It’s hard to conceal a cold sore when it has blistered and is still weeping,” agrees Danielle M. Miller, MD, a dermatologist at the Lahey Clinic in Burlington, Mass. “But you might be able to use a concealer safely when cold sores are in the healing stage. You also might be able to use an antiviral medication to prevent a cold sore from breaking out or to make it heal more quickly.”

Concealer to Hide a Cold Sore

Once your cold sore has begun healing, you can use makeup to lessen its appearance. “To cover a healing cold sore, I would recommend using a highly concentrated heavy concealer,” says Gevaras. “I have done this often in the past with clients having a breakout right before their wedding.”

Gevaras recommends these steps to best conceal a cold sore:

  • Use a concealer with a creamy texture, not a liquid. These concealers are usually sold in small jars, tubes, or compacts, and are very concentrated.
  • Only a small amount of a heavy concealer is needed — a little goes a very long way.
  • If you have a lot of redness, you may benefit from using concealer in two different shades: a yellow-based concealer to neutralize redness and a concealer that matches your skin tone.
  • Dab on the yellow concealer using a disposable makeup sponge. Start with a very small amount and build it up, if necessary, to avoid cakiness.
  • After the yellow concealer is applied, top it with a very light dusting of finishing powder. Pat it on lightly to avoid disturbing the concealer.
  • Next, gently dab on the concealer color that matches your skin tone and use a stipple motion to blend.
  • Apply another light dusting of finishing powder to set.

“Because cold sores are contagious, to avoid contaminating makeup products, use only disposable sponges and brushes, even if the cold sore is scabbed over,” warns Gevaras. “Never ‘double dip’ in the concealer or powder with the same makeup sponge or brush.”

Getting Rid of Cold Sores Sooner

While there is nothing you can do about an active, oozing cold sore, you might be able to shorten the life of the cold sore or even keep it from showing up.

“In many cases, symptoms of numbness and burning around your mouth or lip are early warning signs of a cold sore,” explains Dr. Miller. “Taking medication at this stage may suppress the blistering phase and shorten the duration of cold sores.”

If you commonly get cold sores or you have the early warning symptoms of a cold sore, ask your doctor if a prescription antiviral medication can help you.

Don’t worry, I don’t really want to look at pictures of me with a cold sore either.

But! If it helps women who are fed up with having their face hijacked by these vile offenders to look and feel better, then it’s obviously worth it. Now please excuse me while I adjust my halo.


Ensure you have destroyed your cold sore thoroughly, using the artillery and techniques listed here.

Obviously the best case scenario is that you avoid events and outings until your cold sore has hit the dry, flaky healed stage (and remember: you must wear those Compeed patches until then, if you stop using them too early, it will scab and then every dingus and his dog will notice your big, red cold sore. The patches stop the scab from occurring, that is their magic), but this isn’t always viable because often we have jobs and a life and need to buy groceries or attend birthday parties or pan flute class.

So, here’s what to do in the meantime, here is a tried and tested, friends-have-done-it-too-and-swear-by-it way to completely conceal your cold sore, which I sincerely hope works for you.

NOTE: Some people prefer to just apply a paw paw cream to the cold sore and a lot of shiny nude lip gloss when they go out, and look, in the past I have recommend playing up the eyes and leaving the lips nude so as not to draw attention to them/that area/the sore, but over the past few years I have much favoured the technique below, which is a dark long-last lipstick with bronzer and fresh, wide-awake eyes. I feel more confident, and I feel like the cold sore is far less visible. To the point of invisible, in fact. Try it out anyway, and see if it suits you.

Remove your patch and allow the sore to dry off. Apply some nail polish remover to some tissue and press on the sore for 10-20 seconds. Yes, really. This will further dry it out, which is what you want before applying this kind of concealing sorcery (and going without your patches for several hours.)
Apply a pure lip balm to your lips to hydrate them – crucial when you wear a long-last lipstick as they’re generally pretty drying. Apply foundation all over the face.

Grab some creamy concealer – I used Maybelline NY Fit Me concealer- and apply a small amount to your index finger.

Gently press the concealer onto the cold sore. Do a few layers if required.

Once it’s completely covered, go on and press concealer over the lips.

IF you prefer to play up your eyes, or are not one for bright lipstick, you could realistically stop here. Keep in mind though that the lips will crack and flake soon, (they will likely already be dry and cracked because lips that harbour cold sores are always fucking dry and cracked for some reason) and will need more balm and concealer.

The magic product! Revlon Colorstay Ultimate Liquid Lipstick in Top Tomato. Is a lovely warm red lipstick that DOES NOT MOVE FOR HOURS AND HOURS and is fantastic as a stand alone product, but since it has saved my arse many times in cold sore situations (I never travel without it for just this reason) I have come to fondly think of it as my Cold Sore Wizard.
Revlon must be so proud.

Apply using a cotton tip, a disposable lip brush or the applicator if you are CONVINCED the cold sore is dead/you need a new tube and this will be its last use as in my case. We all know about cold sores and spreading them via lip products, toothbrushes, etc…

Be sure to take the colour right into the corners and do the entire outline of the lips. This is acting as camouflage, remember: it needs to be thorough. Spend time ensuring you cover any portion of the cold sore on the lips properly and neatly, and work fast cos it sets quick. I do two layers.

Now take a waxy, long-last hard concealer – I use Revlon’s PhotoReady Concealer – and apply a small amount to your index finger.

Gently press the concealer over the site of cold sore with your finger to set it, and ensure it is thoroughly concealed. Do this around the entire mouth so it is uniform, ensuring you still have a fetching sharp red lipstick line. if you like, you can set with a touch of loose powder too, although I find powder can sometimes exacerbate any of the flakes/bumps.

What cold sore? NO cold sore. Well done, you clever bastard. You have completely concealed that thing.

As perfect as it looks now, and as steadfast as that lipstick and concealer is, it will need maintenance and for you to keep your eye on things. So, after eating, drinking (not a problem if you use a straw) or just a couple of hours,
I would lightly conceal and lipstick again.

…. And there you have it! How to make your own baked ricotta cheesecake using only your microwave and a pair of dice.

It hurts. It’s unsightly. It’s…the cold sore that crops up twice a year because of some mystifying configuration of your wonky hormones, recent travel, stress levels, sun exposure, and the Dow Jones industrial average 17 days before you started ovulating. Our bodies, ourselves, etc. But who even cares *how* when there’s the question of “What’ll it take to get this damn thing off my face, I can’t just go into hiding until it clears up?”

Well #AMA, because one such bugger emerged on my lip over the weekend, when I was meant to give a semi-important presentation. True, the audience was mostly several feet away and down (while I was onstage), but all the same, Bay Area makeup artist Asal made a valiant effort that resulted in me looking and feeling normal enough to not do the whole thing with the top half of this pink guy over my head. Here is what we—okay, she, mostly—did, as told in the only song of ice and fire you’re going to read for a very, very long time.

View this post on Instagram

Pirochan & Bugkun getting cozy by the fire in the Chateau Marmont penthouse. #Fendirumi #LosAngeles

A post shared by Fendi (@fendi) on Oct 30, 2016 at 1:09pm PDT

Ice, or the Only Bit I Played Any Part in (Aside from Growing the Cold Sore)

Because I’d felt blisters coming on before I boarded my flight, I’d had enough foresight to be like “Oh, @$%^, better bring this tube of Abreva along, even though the pump is definitely manufactured to release way more product than you’d ever need at once so you’d have to buy more faster.” As I treated and cursed the twisted ingenuity of Big Pharma, I also went to the hotel ice machine, filled a bucket, and promptly held cube after cube to the sore spot. (Do not wrap in a towel, because that’s just asking for further contamination.) By the morning, the swelling will have gone down, providing a flatter surface for coverage.

An Interlude About Safety

In addition to being ugly and exasperating, cold sores are contagious. Which means you must take precautions against ruining everything in your makeup bag because you weren’t careful. After applying medication (this one dries clear), dip a clean finger in concealer to pick up enough to do the whole job, and transfer the product onto the back of your hand. Then, using a disposable sponge or doe-foot applicator—Q-tips can drag on bumps—carefully spot-correct, making sure to feather out the edges. Set with powder.

Fire!, or the Name of the Musical I Am Destined to Write

Meant more in the 🔥 sense, or as much in the 🔥 sense one can feel when one has pustules growing on one’s upper lip. However, if you’ve properly concealed, there is nothing preventing you from 🔥, except, perhaps, your own insecurities about how others perceive you. Now is the time for a diversion, the unlikeliest, most badass of which would be…a bright lip. Nothing too matte or fluorescent, of course, but pretty, poppy pink? Yes, please. The texture will be off where your friend has taken residence, but it’s not like you’re going to let anyone you care about get that close—not until it scabs over, at least.

Follow Marie Claire on Facebook for the latest celeb news, beauty tips, fascinating reads, livestream video, and more.

Chelsea Peng I’m Chelsea Peng, the assistant editor at

Cold sores: they’re one of life’s annoying plights. Not only are they itchy and painful, they’re a pain in the butt to cover. Considering you’ve clicked on this article, we’re assuming you already know what they look like. What you’re here for, of course, is finding out how to get the pesky thing to go ASAP, and in the mean time the best possible ways to hide a cold sore like a pro.

So, we did some research, spoke to some experts, and got all the answers you need:

Cold sore causes

We know, you know, but it’s a good idea to recap a few things so that you can spot the warning signs. Cold sores are small blisters that develop on the lips or around the mouth, they’re most commonly caused by the herpes simplex virus HSV-1. According to the NHS, “the herpes simplex virus – or “cold sore virus” – is highly contagious and can be easily passed from person to person by close direct contact. After someone has contracted the virus, it remains inactive (dormant) most of the time.”

You might not have symptoms when you are initially infected with the virus, so an outbreak can happen at any time. They also go on to note that, “some people have frequently recurring cold sores around two or three times a year, while others have one cold sore and never have another. Some people never get cold sores at all because the virus never becomes active.”

Typically, they crop up in times of heightened stress and tiredness (make sure you’re getting those 8 hours, people), but can also be caused by, “sunlight, fatigue, an injury to the affected area, and, in women, their period.”

They’re extremely contagious, so refrain from kissing, sharing toothbrushes or anything that has touched your mouth. The NHS says that: “cold sores are at their most contagious when they burst (rupture), but remain contagious until they’re completely healed. Avoid close contact with others until your cold sore has completely healed and disappeared.”

How to treat a cold sore

Although they will usually heal on their own after around 2 weeks, they can be uncomfortable, so you want them to disappear as quickly as poss. Over the counter antiviral creams containing penciclovir or acyclovir tend to work the fastest. “To be effective, these treatments should be applied as soon as the first signs of a cold sore appear – when you feel a tingling, itching or burning sensation around your mouth. Using an antiviral cream after this initial period is unlikely to have much of an effect,” states the NHS. You’ll need to keep applying them 4 to 5 times a day for about a week.

If you’re cringing at the thought of going about your daily life with a big chunk of white cream on the corner of your lip, cold sore patches are your guy. Not only are they invisible, they foster the perfect environment for super speedy healing, and act like a shield, reducing the risk of contamination to others. Plus, you can pick them up on the high street.

In-between outbreaks, it’s imperative to keep your lips in tip-top condition. These balms and ointments contain anti-inflammatories and natural ingredients proven to clear cold sores, so don’t leave the house without one.

Best lip balms for cold sores

Everyday Lip Solve Bullet BASE £7.50 Liquorice Lip Balm Hurraw! £4.99 Cold Sore Lip Balm Herstat £9.95 Everyday Lip Solve Tube BASE £7.50

Alongside this, it’s important to boost your immune system, so make sure you’re getting a lot of rest, eating allll the fruit and veg, and just generally taking a bit of me time to chill tf out. There are a handful of savvy supplements specifically targeted to powering up your immunity, so it’s worth looking into if you’re feeling run down.

Best supplements for cold sores

Vitamin B6 100 Tablets Holland & Barrett £9.69 L-Lysine 1000mg Free Form 50 Tablets Solgar £9.39 Dlux 3000 Vitamin D Oral Spray BetterYou £7.99 Beta Glucans Immune Complex 60 Capsules Solgar £18.49

How to cover a cold sore

After chatting to celebrity makeup artist Jo Freeman, we got the low down on the dos and don’ts of expertly concealing cold sores…

When to cover up a cold sore

“You should take care not to apply makeup to a cold sore until the scab appears during its final stage. As hard as it is, try to avoid applying makeup during a cold sore’s early stages and apply an invisible preventative treatment that can help reduce the life span of the cold sore.”

How to hide a cold sore scab

“I’d recommend layering your makeup on top of a clear cold sore cream, so you don’t have to deal with any white marks. I then hide redness with a neutralising green concealer and blend the edges so that they feather out seamlessly into the skin. Once I’ve applied the concealer I go over this with foundation or regular concealer, and finally, I set the area with a fine loose powder to ensure that the makeup doesn’t move throughout the day.”

The best tools for covering a cold sore

“I would advise using disposable applicators to minimise the risk of spreading the virus. Small makeup sponges will help achieve a better finish than cotton buds as the scab, plus moisture on the skin can encourage little bits of cotton to stick.”

All.About.Face Beautyblender £37.00 Airbrush Flawless Foundation Charlotte Tilbury £34.00 123 Perfect Stackable Concealer Bourjois £9.99 Light Reflecting Setting Powder NARS Cosmetics £30.00 Related Story

Follow Gabrielle on Instagram.

Gabrielle Dyer Senior Beauty Writer Gaby is the Senior Beauty Writer here at

How To Cover Up A Cold Sore When It Gets In The Way Of Your Makeup Look

Unfortunately, there are quite a few skin and cosmetic issues that accompany winter. While the gorgeous snow and perfect fashion are definite pros, the dry skin can be a real pain. Then, there are cold sores. If you get one though, you can learn how to cover up a cold sore in a jiffy right here. Just because you’ve developed the pesky little bump doesn’t mean you need to stick a bandaid over your mouth and call it a day. There are actually quite clever ways to hide a cold sore.

Cold sores are tricky animals, and it’s important to understand the life cycle of one before you decide to cover it up. One important thing to know is that it’s never a good idea to place a makeup product over an open sore. Usually, during days two through four, that’s what your cold sore is going to be. So, while using products to hide your blister is possible, being hygienic and healthy about it is equally as important. As gross as it sounds, you’ll need to wait until the wound has begun to scab and heal before figuring out how to cover it up.

If you’re past that stage though, here’s how to perfectly cover up a cold sore.

Grab A Precision Application Tool

Real Techniques 102 Triangle Concealer Brush, $9, Amazon

You definitely won’t want to slather foundation and concealer all over the cold sore. Instead, you’ll want to be meticulous about your product application. Plus, you’ll want a product that you can easily clean to get rid of the bacteria. Placing your foundation brush over a cold sore and then reusing it over the rest of your face? Not a good call.

Apply Petroleum Jelly To The Sore

Vaseline, $2, Amazon

Not that it’s news, but scabs don’t look great under makeup. Apply a little petroleum jelly to the area to lessen the dryness.

Cover With A Heavy Duty Concealer

Boi-ing Full Coverage Concealer, $16, Benefit Cosmetics

A heavy duty concealer will cover redness and dryness much better than a more liquid formulation. Using the precision tool, lightly apply concealer over the area until hidden to your likeness, but don’t go too heavy or the sore will appear obvious.

Use Foundation As Usual

Estee Lauder Double Wear, $40, Sephora

Apply foundation as usual, and use a sponge or other clean, disposable tool. Again, you don’t want to spread the infection.

Apply A Light Dusting Of Powder

Bobbi Brown Sheer Finish Loose Powder, $40, Bobbi Brown

Apply a light wash of powder over the area to set the concealer and foundation. Don’t wipe, though. Only tap the powder onto the face. You don’t want to smudge your hard work away.

Apply A Natural Lip Color

Dior Addict Lip Glow, $33, Sephora

Using a naturally hued lip color will allow you to keep attention away from you mouth. While you can totally rock a bold lip, natural may be better for now.

Want more beauty tips? Check out the video below, and be sure to subscribe to Bustle’s YouTube page for more hacks and tricks!

Bustle on YouTube

Images: Courtesy of brands; Unsplash

Using the Lip Clear Cold Sore Bandage to Hide Cold Sores

For many cold sore sufferers, a lip sore can cause embarrassment and self-consciousness.

Now there’s help. The Lip Clear Invisible Cold Sore Bandage from Quantum Health can help hide cold sores so that they become almost invisible. Priced at around $7.99 for 12 bandages (or patches as they may be called), the product is rated a best buy.

Used by itself, the bandage does an effective job of hiding cold sores for men or women. However, women who use makeup can hide the cold sore so that it is almost impossible to see. In addition, the Lip Clear Bandage covers the cold sore helping to stop contagious spread and protecting the cold sore from contamination and irritation.

If cold sores make your life difficult, you’re not alone! According to a poll conducted for the Lip Clear brand by Harris Interactive®, the emotional impact of a cold sore can be extremely demoralizing.

  • Almost half (42%) report being embarrassed by cold sores
  • Overall, 33% try to hide their cold sore(s), with 41% of women reporting this
  • 42% report that a cold sores typically appears at an inopportune time
  • 27% avoid being in pictures if they have a cold sore
  • 19% avoid going out in public during a cold sore outbreak
  • 11% have cancelled plans or a date due to a cold sore
  • 14% believe people stare at their cold sore
  • 30% worry that they may give the cold sore to someone else

The Lip Clear Bandage is a hydrocolloid patch that attaches directly to the sore. Hydrocolloid is a “moist bandage” technology. In addition, the Lip Clear cold sore patch provides a clean, hygienic surface to which make up can be applied.

Here’s how to hide a cold sore using the Lip Clear Cold Sore Bandage.

As you go through this process remember to wash your hands before and after touching your cold sore, and don’t contaminate the makeup – if possible, put the makeup you intend to use on the back of your hand.

First, apply the cold sore bandage as directed on the box. Then apply a base foundation or tinted moisturizer over the bandage. Then use concealer where needed. Pat in with fingertips to blend into the patch and surrounding area. At this point you can apply a lip gloss and if you like the result, leave it at that.

To make it last even longer take an additional step and set the color by placing a tissue over the area and gently brush or press the loose powder in to seal the first layer of color. Pat again with a tissue and apply another layer of color for all-day protection and concealment.

NARRATOR: Eight of 10 people

in the US have the virus that

causes cold sores.

These painful blisters can make

you self-conscious,

but don’t let them ruin

your day.

Here are three things to help

you hide a cold sore.

Number one, ice.

It’s a fast way to reduce

redness and swelling

so the cold sore is less


Wrap a few pieces of ice

in a clean cloth or towel, place

it on a sore for five to 10

minutes several times a day.

Not only will it help get rid

of the redness,

it’ll feel better too.

Number two, cotton swabs.

Forget your ears.

These can be used to apply

makeup to cover a cold sore.

And since a cold sore is

contagious, you can throw it out

afterwards instead of ruining

more expensive sponges

and brushes.

They’re handy for makeup,

medicine, or even an itch.

But remember, no double dipping.

Number three, cold sore patches.

If putting makeup right

over the cold sore

isn’t working, try a clear patch


You’ll find these

at your local drugstore.

They cover the cold sore

while it heals.

You can apply makeup

over the patch and you’ll barely

notice it’s there.

Even better?

You’ll forget

about the cold sore too.

And there you have it.

Three things to help

hide a cold sore.

It’s time we stop shaming people with cold sores

(Illustration by David Yi/Very Good Light)

The last time I got a cold sore was about a month ago when I was visiting NYC for a week.

I was staying at a friend’s apartment when suddenly, at 1 a.m., I felt that tingling sensation, the same that feels as if there’s carbonated soda water bubbling beneath you skin. Immediately, I panicked and got TF out of bed. I was in town for business and the last thing I needed were lips that screamed “HERPES!!!” to the general public. I asked my friend if she had any Abreva, the cream that supposedly treats cold sores. The brand claims it can treat cold sores at first sight and stops the virus from developing into a bigger cold sore. Of course, Abreva has never actually helped any of my cold sore outbreaks, but using it helps me at least think I’m doing something to combat it.

Perhaps the biggest mistake that I made was actually assuming she’d also had cold sores. Mortified and disgusted, she turned to me, her upper lip quivering, and screamed: “OMG! THAT IS SERIOUSLY GROSS!”

I ran myself to the CVS around the corner and looked at my options. Panicked and feeling shamed by my friend’s unexpected reaction, I found only three options: Abreva for $29, a generic form of Abreva, or this new brand called Aubio. I chose the latter, as Abreva never worked. Of course, like any other cream, Aubio really didn’t do anything (except maybe moisturize my cold sore??).

In the upcoming days, I couldn’t hide my cold sore from my friend and I felt super insecure whenever I saw her. These mixed feelings of guilt and embarrassment made me want to hid from the world. Having a cold sore, I realized, was as if having a temporary Scarlett Letter stamped onto you, one that was meant to shame and alert others to stay away.

I realize in retrospect, that it’s completely unfair to put this burden on anyone who experiences cold sores (and maybe that I REALLY need to reevaluate my friendships). It wasn’t fair for my friend to make me feel like some diseased monster. After all, cold sores are almost as common as the common cold.

According to Young Men’s Health, 90% of Americans carry the cold sore virus, HSV-1. Others carry the genital herpes strand, HSV-2, something that’s more common in women than men (also 1 in 6 people have it). With most people experiencing cold sores and its symptoms, why is it so unfairly judged? I get that it’s incurable and it’s a virus, but so is the common cold?

I’ve concluded cold sores and its negative stigmas stem from a lack of education and resources. Because of this lack of information, our culture has blamed those with cold sores and judged them as somehow being reckless, careless or in some weird way, um, promiscuous. It’s obviously far from the case. Cold sores are so commonplace now, that there are new companies catering to this problem, like Aubio, brands like Releev that treat the first-day symptoms and men’s healthcare startups like Hims, which just launched its cold sore treatment program.

Here are some facts below that make cold sores less scary.

What is a cold sore?

A cold sore, or “fever blister,” is caused by the herpes simplex virus. A person has either HSV-1, which causes oral cold sores, or HSV-2, which is genital herpes. It bubbles into small little bubbles that are pus-filled, dry out and scab. It’s not pretty, for sure, but totally common.

How common?

According to Young Men’s Health, close to 90% of the population has the cold sore virus. Others estimate it to be closer to 70%, which is still the majority of the population. People usually get cold sores twice a year or, for some, once a month.

What are the symptoms?

It’s called a fever blister because some believe cold sores are triggered by environmental conditions. There have been studies conducted that cold sores are triggered by specific conditions. Some experts say this can be from: exhaustion or fatigue, stress, anxiety, a weakened immune system, sickness like the flu, among others. Symptoms usually start as a slight tingling sensation and then morph into a breakout. According to Healthline, there are five stages of a cold sore:

  • Stage one: Tingling and itching occurs about 24 hours before blisters erupt.
  • Stage two: Fluid-filled blisters appear.
  • Stage three: The blisters burst, ooze, and form painful sores.
  • Stage four: The sores dry out and scab over causing itching and cracking.
  • Stage five: The scab falls off and the cold sore heals.

How do you get cold sores?

Cold sores are pretty contagious. So much so, that some people will say that sharing even a towel with someone with an outbreak will pass the virus on. The genital kind can come from oral, vaginal or anal sex with someone who has had an outbreak. While some people do contract it this way, kissing or sharing drinks can do this as well. But most people contracted the virus in their childhoods. According to Healthy Children, most people will get the cold sore virus in their childhoods thanks to undeveloped immune systems, kissing and sharing items like straws, drinks, etc.

Can it be CURED?!

Short answer, no. Much like the common cold, the herpes virus is forever. Yes, it’s unfortunate, but there are many ways to treat cold sores and to make them disappear.

How? Glad you asked.

Valtrex is your BFF. The best and only way that I’ve been able to treat my cold sore outbreaks has been a doctor prescribed drug called Valtrex, a valacyclovir. Literally, after taking four pills (two in the morning, two at night) my cold sore was gone the next day. It’s a wonder pill. If you’re not into Valtrex (it’s expensive without insurance!), there are definitely generic options. One is from Hims, which is offering its generic version for $50 (after membership, doctor and quarterly subscription fees). It may seem a little expensive, but if you don’t have insurance this is a steal.

Get the generic kind. Other than valacyclovir, there’s real science that says taking Lysine supplements helps the immune system. Lysine isn’t readily found in the human body and is an amino acid found in nuts, dairy or meats. It fights the effects of arginine, another amino acid that helps the herpes virus clone itself. Sometimes I’ll overdose on Lysine if I feel a cold sore coming along, taking 3,000 mg of tablets. My parents take these tablets every day and say that they haven’t experienced symptoms in a long time.

Patch it up. If you’re trying to get the oozing, pus-filled bubbles to go away, using a hydrocolloid patch will do wonders. If that sounds familiar, it’s because it’s the same that’s better known as pimple patches. Hydrocolloid is literally just a dressing to help treat wounds. Simply stick these on top of your outbreaks and the next day, you’ll see that the pus as gone away. Be prepared: the sticker will be gnarly – lots of goopy, yellow pus.

Self-care. Because cold sores are symptoms that your immune system is compromised in some way, you need to combat this by treating yourself better. This means to take a day off just for self-care. Sleep. A lot. And also practice decompressing but practicing meditation, yoga, or taking deep breaths.

Hold back. Among the many DO NOTS is actually touching, popping or picking your cold sores. It will only make it worse and will spread the virus. Trust. Also, lay off oral sex, using lip balm, lip gloss or lipsticks until you’re healed (if not, toss these out!), and take it easy.


Without fail, cold sores seem to pop up at the worst times—like before an important interview or a wedding where you’ll be in everyone’s photos. But even if a cold sore has you feeling not very fabulous, you can still face the world with confidence. Here’s how:


To conceal or not to conceal? The quick answer is yes and no. While it is ok to use lipstick or concealer to cover up a cold sore, there is 1 exception depending on the stage of your cold sore. You should probably skip covering it up if you have an open cold sore because that could cause it to get infected. It’s best to wait for a cold sore to become partially healed and scabbed over before trying to cover it up. One of the best ways to help get rid of a cold sore fast* is using Abreva® Cream as soon as you feel the tingle of a cold sore coming on.

After you’ve done that, here are some steps you can take to help hide cold sores—so you can look and feel your best when your cold sore is in the healing stage.

Considering that 50 per cent of Canadians have come into contact with the herpes simplex virus, the chances you might have to deal with masking a cold sore are fairly high.

No matter where yours pops up or how prominent it is, these tricks will help you regain your confidence.

Prevent where possible

If you’ve ever had a cold sore, then you know once it settles in, it’s there for a while. That’s why prevention and early treatment are crucial. If you get cold sores regularly, talk to your doctor about medications or ointments. When used at the first sign of that telltale tingling, the right treatment can stop your outbreak altogether. Or if it can’t be stopped, medication can at least help it heal more quickly.

Makeup to the rescue!

Sometimes you can feel as though you’re doing everything right and still that pesky cold sore manages to break through. When it does, makeup can be your best friend. Glosses tend to accentuate the bump and discolouration caused by a cold sore, so steer clear of them. Instead, rely on matte, neutral colours to cover up the blemish without drawing attention to it. Using a lip liner, gently trace the edges of your lips, and fill in the inside as well. Be light with the pencil to create a natural base that isn’t too prominent. Also, be sure to start with the portions of your lips that are not affected by the cold sore. Cover up the cold sore last, then sanitize the pencil by dipping it in 70 per cent alcohol and wiping off a layer with a paper towel. This will help reduce the chances of the virus spreading to other areas of your lip. Go over the lip liner with a lipstick of a similar colour — again, starting with the unaffected lip area and finishing with the cold sore that is being covered up. This will give the lip an all-over even tone.

If you have a cold sore that extends past the lip area, the discolouration will be a dead giveaway if you don’t cover it up. So use your usual cover up that matches your skin tone; apply it to the portion of the cold sore that has spread to the skin with a Q-tip. Blend until even.

Make sure to carry these makeup products with you throughout the day so you can touch up as needed.

Take proper care

Makeup will help conceal your cold sore temporarily, but what’s more important is the long-term effects the cold sore can cause. That’s why it’s crucial to keep the area moisturized as it heals and to avoid picking at the scab. This will help ensure you don’t end up with a long-term scar. And of course, it isn’t just your own well-being that’s important — you don’t want to affect your loved ones unnecessarily. So keep all contact, both direct and indirect, between your cold sore and others to a minimum. Bottom line: Cold sores can be a pain, but they aren’t the end of the world. Cover them up when necessary, and you’ll be able to smile with confidence!

More makeup tips

Makeup products every woman should have
Melt-proof makeup
How to look great with “no” makeup

About the author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *