How to heal and conceal cold sores

How to heal and conceal cold sores

Photography by © Image by: Photography by © Author: Canadian Living


How to heal and conceal cold sores

Affectionately named cold sores for their ability to crop up when you’re feeling under the weather, the small, sometimes red blisters are also known as herpes simplex virus-1. Stress, fatigue, sunburn, menstrual cycles and trauma (such as uncomfortable jaw stretching at the dentist’s office) can trigger an outbreak.

How to heal cold sores
Dr. Paul Cohen, dermatologist in Toronto
"The trick is to recognize the symptoms," says Cohen. "You may initially feel a tingling sensation around your mouth, which signals a herpes outbreak is near."

Then, typically 24 hours later, you will develop small blisters and reddened skin, which leads to pain and discomfort that lasts seven to 14 days. Other symptoms can include swollen neck glands and a fever.

Ice can decrease inflammation, and handheld heated devices can keep the virus from replicating, but Cohen also suggests keeping prescription Valtrex on hand. While over-the-counter medications such as Abreva Cold Sore Treatment (2 g, $18.50, can help minimize healing time, Cohen says, "one large dose of Valtrex can almost abort the attack, or at least minimize redness and blisters."

It can also help shorten the length of the outbreak. Carry the pills with you to save yourself a rushed trip to the doctor when you’re feeling self-conscious and crummy, says Cohen.

How to conceal cold sores
Greg Wencel, CoverGirl makeup pro
Hygiene is the most important thing to consider when applying makeup over a cold sore outbreak, says Wencel. He suggests opening a new concealer and using a disposable cotton swab.

"With clean hands, dip the cotton swab into the tube or pot of concealer once and gently stipple the product on in small dabs," says Wencel.

Don’t rub: You may irritate the area. To conceal any scabs or redness, choose a concealer or corrector with a yellow undertone or base, says Wencel. Using one that is moist and creamy will help soften the scabby look; layers of powder will only draw more attention to it.

Page 1 of 2 -- Discover how nutrition can effect cold sores on page 2
Toss a concealer into your purse for touch-ups throughout the day. Tube versions such as Covergirl TruConceal Concealer (7.1 mL, $9, are light and portable.

Wencel suggests you can also dab the product on your hand first so that you’re not contaminating the rest of the concealer.

How nutrition can prevent cold sores
Joy McCarthy, holistic nutritionist
To banish cold sores, eat alkaline-based foods (tomatoes, avocados and green vegetables), as they are anti-inflammatory.

And eat foods high in lysine (Greek yogurt, papayas, beets, pears, apples and avocados) to quash the virus’s cell production.

You can also opt for a lysine supplement such as Webber Naturals L-Lysine ($13.50,, which you take three 500 milligram doses of daily.

But check with your health-care practitioner first. High lysine levels hinder the production of the herpes virus.

Page 2 of 2

This story was originally titled "Heal & Conceal Cold Sores" in the October 2012 issue.

Subscribe to Canadian Living today and never miss an issue!


Share X

How to heal and conceal cold sores