How to Cover Up a Cold Sore

Cold sores can be quite a nuisance! Besides being painful, they can be unsightly, making you feel self-conscious. Take heart, you’re not the only one! Plenty of people suffer from these blemishes, which are the result of the Type 1 herpes simplex virus.[1] If you’re worried about a cold sore, you can minimize the appearance of it while it’s still in the early stages. Once it scabs over, you can use makeup to help hide it. It’s also important to take steps to prevent cold sores when you can so you don’t have to worry as much about them in the future.

EditMinimizing the Appearance of the Cold Sore
Wait until the cold sore scabs over before you apply makeup. Open cold sores will continue to ooze as part of the healing phase, which can make makeup crack or peel. In addition, covering it with makeup may worsen the cold sore, lengthening your healing time.[2] It can take up to a week to get to the scabbing stage, though applying cold sore medicine may speed it along.[3]

Apply ice to the cold sore to help the swelling go down. Wrap the ice in a paper towel and hold it onto the cold sore. Leave it on for 20 minutes at a time and then take it off for 20 minutes. You can use this method off and on as long as you want.[4]
Don’t use a washcloth or towel, as that will introduce more bacteria. However, holding ice against your face without something between it and your skin is a bad idea, as it could give you frostbite.

Add a layer of an invisible cold sore treatment. You can find cold sore creams at most drug stores. Put a small dab of the cream on a cotton swab and gently rub it onto the sore. Let it dry before trying to apply makeup over it.[5]
You don’t need much of the cold sore cream. A tiny drop will do.

Try a cold sore patch in addition to treatment. These patches are invisible, but they provide a protective seal over the cold sore, making it easier to apply makeup even in early stages. Depending on the brand, it may have medicine in it, or you may be able to apply cream underneath it so read the instructions.[6]
You can find these at drug stores.

Avoid scratching or touching the cold sore. Scratching it will only irritate it, making its appearance worse. Plus, touching it can introduce more germs, which can inflame it. Keep your hands off your cold sores.[7] You can also pass them to other parts of your body or other people, as cold sores are contagious.

EditApplying Makeup
Use a small, disposable makeup sponge. Because cold sores are contagious, you don’t want to reuse an applicator later, as you can give them back to yourself. Sponges work better than cotton, as cotton swabs or balls can leave bits of themselves behind, highlighting your cold sore instead of hiding it.[8] In addition, sponges will create a smoother finish than cotton.

Choose a thick, yellow- or green-based concealer to cover your cold sore. Pick one that comes as a paste rather than a liquid. Yellow or green concealers will help neutralize the redness of a cold sore, which is why they are the best option for the first layer, at least.[9]
These concealers are sometimes labeled as correcter and concealer.

Cover the concealer with a foundation. After working in a correcting concealer, you need to add a foundation that matches your skin tone. That way, the color-correcting concealer won’t stand out against your skin. Add dots of it to your whole face in a light pattern, moving from the center of your face outward, then use more of it over the cold sore. Dab at the foundation with a sponge until it blends in with your skin.[10]
Remember to toss the sponge when you’re done.

Finish your makeup with a fine setting powder. These powders help keep your makeup in place so they don’t run later in the day. With a brush, you can thoroughly clean or don’t mind tossing later, apply a light layer of powder all of your face.[11]
It’s important to apply the powder everywhere, as it makes your face look even in texture and color. If you just apply it over your cold sore, you could make it stand out more.

Remove makeup gently with your facial cleanser. Taking off that thick layer of concealer can irritate your cold sore, so try to do it as gently as possible. Rub the cleaner onto your face, and let it sit for about 15 seconds. Then use a wet washcloth to gently wipe the makeup off.[12]
You can use a bit of cleansing oil on the cold sore if the facial cleanser doesn’t take it off.

Make sure to use a clean washcloth each time you wash your face. If you prefer, you can use facial cleansing wipes so you can just toss them.

EditPreventing Outbreaks
Learn your triggers and avoid them. Different things can trigger cold sores for different people. Typically, things like colds, fevers, sunlight, windy conditions, and stress can cause outbreaks. While you can’t avoid all of these, of course, avoid the ones you can to help prevent cold sores from popping up in the first place.[13]
For instance, wear sunblock to avoid exposing your face to the sun and use protective lip balm with at least an SPF 15 to help block both the wind and sun.

Work on cutting stress out of your life when you can. For example, if watching the news in the morning causes you to feel stressed throughout the day, skip it. Try taking yoga or adding meditation to your daily routine. Practice deep breathing when you start feeling stressed out.

Get 8 hours of sleep each night when possible. Getting overworked and stressed can cause outbreaks of cold sores. By making sure you get enough sleep each night, you can help combat fatigue and stress and hopefully, stave off cold sores.[14]
If you have trouble getting to bed on time, set an alarm an hour before you need to go to sleep. Turn off your electronics and start winding down for the night, preparing yourself mentally for bed.

Make sure your bedroom is conducive to sleeping. Block out any light; for instance, use blackout curtains to hide street light. Similarly, use earplugs or a noise machine to help with noises that keep you awake.

Think about locking your pets out of your bedroom if they tend to wake you up at night.

Skip sharing makeup and hygiene products with other people. If another person has a cold sore outbreak, avoid sharing products like makeup, razors, and towels. If you do, they can cause you to have an outbreak. Use your hygiene and makeup products only.[15]
Lipstick and lip-gloss are some of the main culprits.

Avoid sharing food and utensils with other people. Similarly to makeup and hygiene products, food and utensils can pass the virus that causes cold sores back and forth. Stick to your own cups and utensils when eating and drinking.[16]
For the same reasons, don’t kiss someone who has a cold sore outbreak.

See your doctor if your sores are so painful you have trouble eating or if you have sores near your eyes, in or on your nose, or on your genitals. Similarly, if you have a fever above , green pus, pinkness or pain near or in your eyes, or sores that persist longer than 2 weeks, you should talk to your doctor.[17]
EditThings You’ll Need
EditMinimizing the Appearance of the Cold Sore

Paper towel

Cold sore cream

Cold sore patch

EditApplying Makeup
Disposable makeup sponge

Yellow or green concealer


Setting powder

Facial cleanser

EditPreventing Outbreaks

Lip balm

EditRelated wikiHows
Stop a Cold Sore from Growing

Get Rid of a Cold Sore with Home Remedies

Prevent a Cold Sore from Spreading

Treat a Cold Sore or Fever Blisters

Cure a Cold Sore Fast

EditSources and Citations
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Today in History for 4th February 2019

Historical Events

1903 – Stanley Cup: Montreal AAA beat Winn Victorias, 2 games to 1 and 1 tie
1939 – Glenn Cunningham (top miler) says 4-min mile beyond human effort
1948 – After winning the men’s downhill, French alpine skier Henri Oreiller takes the combined gold medal at the St. Moritz Winter Olympics; becomes most successful athlete at these Games with a slalom bronze
1979 – “Co-Ed Fever,” TV Comedy, debut and cancelled that outing on CBS
2001 – NFL Pro Bowl, Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, HI: AFC beats NFC, 38-17; MVP: Rich Gannon, Oakland Raiders, QB
2014 – Same-sex marriage is legalized in Scotland

More Historical Events »

Famous Birthdays

1494 – Francois Rabelais, French satirist (Gargantua and Pantagruel), born in La Devinière, Touraine, Kingdom of France (d. 1553)
1549 – Eustache du Caurroy, composer
1688 – Pierre De Marivaux, writer (Marianne), born in Paris, France
1881 – Fernand Léger, French painter (d. 1955)
1969 – Duncan Coutts, Canadian bassist (Our Lady Peace)
1969 – Joe Sacco, Medford, NHL right wing (Anaheim Mighty Ducks), born in Medford, Massachusetts

More Famous Birthdays »

Famous Deaths

1222 – Willem I, earl of Holland (1203-22), dies
1774 – Charles Marie de La Condamine, French mathematician and geographer (b. 1701)
1943 – Frank Calder, 1st NHL president, dies
1994 – Han Jansen, Dutch painter, dies at 62
2009 – Lux Interior, Frontman of the garage rock band The Cramps (b. 1946)
2018 – John Mahoney, British-born American actor (Fraiser, Frantic, 8 Men Out), dies of throat cancer at 77

More Famous Deaths »

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How to Keep Food Warm at a Party

When you’re hosting a party, keeping your eye on the food is a challenging but important task. Food left to cool not only tastes unpleasant but becomes unsafe to eat due to bacterial growth. Fortunately, keeping food warm is easy thanks to a variety of tools, from conventional slow cookers to heating elements like chafing dishes. Choose what you need to make your party a success and, when in doubt, put the food back in the oven for a quick fix.

EditUsing Food-Warming Tools
Use a slow cooker if you need to keep a soup, stew, or liquid warm. Plug the slow cooker into a nearby electrical outlet and let it run. Keep the slow cooker at a low heat setting to avoid overcooking the food. It’s a hands-free way to keep food warm while guests help themselves. Slow cookers are the best choice for simmering soups and stews, but they work well for most food.[1]
Most slow cookers have a low heat or “warm” setting. Choose the lowest setting possible on your model. Slow cookers will continue to cook your food if you set them at the wrong temperature.

The downside of using a slow cooker is that you need to have an electrical outlet handy. Make sure you have an open outlet in an out of the way spot.

A rice cooker is another option for heating rice-based dishes and other sides.

Try a portable oven if you need to keep solid food warm. Portable ovens and roaster ovens are an efficient way to heat up foods from meats to pizzas. You need an electrical outlet available. Plug the oven in, then set it to a low temperature, around , to keep food warm.[2]
Small ovens are similar to slow cookers in that they keep food warm at a low temperature. Setting the oven at a higher temperature by mistake will overcook the food.

Toaster ovens are a good option even if you have a regular oven available. Use them to efficiently reheat or maintain food instead of dealing with a bigger, hotter oven.

Use indirect heat from a grill if you need to preserve larger dishes. Using a grill is a great way to keep meat like hamburgers and hot dogs warm, although it works for side dishes like potatoes or casseroles too. Heat up 1 side of the grill to a low temperature. Seal the food in foil to help it retain heat and moisture, then set it on the colder side of the grill so it stays warm without overcooking.[3]
Use a thermometer to monitor the grill’s temperature. Heating up the grill too much is an easy mistake to make.

When setting food on the grill, make sure you use heat-resistant pans and containers.

Store foods in chafing dishes to preserve them buffet-style. Chafing dishes come in a variety of sizes, so there are models suited for meat like sliced ham, mixed dishes like paprikash, and even soups. You pour hot water into the bottom part of the dish. Then, you activate the gas canister or electrical heating unit underneath the dish to keep the food at a steady temperature.[4]
If you serve food at lots of parties, chafing dishes are a worthy investment. They are available online or at some party supply stores. An alternative option is to rent them from catering companies.

Choose dishes based on what you’re serving. For example, rectangular and oval-shaped dishes are often best for meats or other main courses. Use a round dish or soup dish for liquids.

For gas units, you will need a small canister of fuel, available at most party supply stores and general stores. Light the canister with a match or the switch on some chafing dish models.

Use a warming tray if you need to keep multiple small dishes hot. Warming trays are very similar to chafing dishes. They are often smaller in size but have separate compartments to store multiple foods side-by-side. Gas and electric trays are both available to suit your party’s needs.[5]
Some warming trays are completely flat. Instead of putting the food in a compartment, you set the food in a dish on top of the tray.

Warming trays are often smaller than chafing dishes, so unless you serve smaller quantities of food, they’re a better option for sides and appetizers like small portions of meat, potatoes, and vegetables than entrees and liquid dishes.

Plug in a hot plate if you have a single dish to keep warm. Hot plates, like you may have used in science class, are useful for heating food in batches. Hot plates are relatively small and most of them are electric. Place something like a bowl of potatoes on the burner, then turn its dial to a low temperature to preserve it.[6]
Some heating plates have 2 burners, allowing you to heat up multiple dishes at once. They still don’t offer a lot of space for each dish, so keep that in mind when planning your party.

Microwavable hot plates are also available. Heat them in the microwave for 2 to 3 minute according to the manufacturer’s instructions, then set food on top of them.

EditStoring Food in Heat-Preserving Containers
Cover open containers thoroughly with tin foil. No matter how you serve food, it will lose heat when exposed to open air. Wrap dishes tightly in foil until you’re ready to serve the food. Put the foil back into place when nobody needs to access the food.[7]
Thicker layers of foil keep the food warmer for longer. Cover dishes with a few layers of foil to trap in heat.

Use heat-insulated serving dishes to preserve food for longer. Heavier dishes keep food warmer than thinner dishes. Ceramic and clay dishes are some of the best options available. Reserve your best serving dishes for any hot food you plan on serving at the party.[8]
Heavier, thicker dishes retain more heat but also tend to cook food faster. Use dishes carefully to prevent food from overcooking.

Store liquids in insulated bottles before serving them. Cook a soup or gravy ahead of time, then pour it into a coffee thermos. When you need to serve it, pour it out directly from the bottle. A quality bottle keeps liquids warm for long periods of time. They are easy to carry around and you can always pour the liquid into another serving container as needed.[9]
If you leave food in a bottle, consider labeling it so guests know what they’re getting.

Put food in insulated food carrying bags for short-term storage. Insulated bags are what pizza parlors use to deliver food to customers. Get the food as hot as possible, then slide the container inside the bag. Bags keep food warm for up to a few hours and they’re highly portable.[10]
Carrying bags come in a variety of sizes. Some are as small as lunchboxes. Others are made to store casserole dishes and even have pouches that provide separate space for cold dishes.

Use coolers to trap heat when transporting foods. Coolers are good for more than carrying drinks. Wash some towels in a hot water cycle in the dishwasher, then roll them up and set them in the cooler. Place the food inside the cooler and cover it with another layer of warm towels.[11]
You don’t need the towels to use a cooler. Well-covered food will stay warm, but the towels help trap heat in the food you need to store for up to a few hours.

Another option is to wrap bricks in foil. Heat them for 2 hours in an oven set to . Then, set them on top of the first layer of towels to provide extra heat.

EditReheating Food and Plates
Reheat meat dishes in the oven for up to 30 minutes. Place the meat in a roasting pan and add about of warm water or stock. Cover the pan completely with foil to trap in the heat and moisture. Then, turn the oven to about and heat the food until it’s warm again.[12]
This is a good way to reheat pre-cooked meats. For example, add warm turkey stock to turkey breast and heat it for about 30 minutes.

For fish and smaller cuts of meat, you don’t need to add water or stock. Set them in the pan and heat them until fully warmed (about 15 to 20 minutes).

Side dishes like vegetable trays and casseroles can be heated in the oven the same way. Leave them in at for about 15 minutes.

Simmer soups and liquids on the stove if they begin to cool. Pour the food from a serving bowl into a saucepan. Turn the stove to a medium heat setting and wait for the liquid to begin to bubble slightly. Keep stirring it to prevent it from boiling and overheating.[13]
Side dishes like mashed potatoes are a little trickier to heat up this way. Add milk or broth to bring the food to the consistency you desire, then keep stirring it until it’s hot.

Microwave smaller sides that don’t need to be crisped. Smaller quantities of food and sides like vegetables, potatoes, and macaroni and cheese do well in the microwave. Move them into a microwave-safe dish. Loosely cover the dish with its lid or plastic wrap. Reheat the food for about 4 minutes, then take it out and stir it. Heat it for another 3 minutes until it reaches .[14]
Microwaves heat food unevenly, so you need to monitor the food’s temperature. Heat the food in slow bursts, stirring it each time to help it warm up evenly.

Microwave are not a good choice for most meat. They tend to turn meat flabby and gray. They also cannot crisp up food like fries.

Warm your plates before serving food on them. If you have an electric plate warmer or an accessible oven, store serving plates in it. Heat the plates at a temperature of for about 15 minutes. Warm plates heat up food a little, causing slightly cooled food to still taste great.[15]
Put thick, dishwasher-safe plates in the dishwasher to heat them. Leave clay plates in for up to 2 hours to ready them for the party.

Use a heating pad if you need to keep served plates of food warm. If you are short on heating options, set an electric heating pad between towels or heat-resistant mats. Plug the heating pad into a wall outlet, then set the serving tray on top of it. It’s a good way to keep plates of food warm after you serve them, including larger dishes like sliced ham or turkey.[16]
Electric blankets work similarly to heating pads. Plug them into the wall and let them heat up to spread more warmth to your food.

Heated gel packs are another option. Warm them up in a microwave according to the manufacturer’s instructions, then place them under plates of food.

For the best results, plan out your party in advance. Determine what you’re going to serve and what you need to do to keep everything warm.

Serve some cold and room-temperature dishes so you have less food to keep warm.

A hot gravy or sauce often saves cooling food. Carved meat, for example, cools quickly, but hot gravy warms it up again.

Have other party guests help you. Ask them to bring food out from the kitchen or warn you when a dish starts to cool off.

For long-term warming, try cooking food sous vide. You seal food in a plastic pouch and cook it in a water bath. Leave the food in the water bath to keep it warm until you need to serve it.

Food accumulates dangerous bacteria as it cools. To prevent the spread of bacteria, keep food above . Throw out any food left under for more than 2 hours.[17]
EditThings You’ll Need
EditUsing Food-Warming Tools
Slow cooker

Portable oven or toasting oven

Tin foil

Grill or barbeque

Chafing dishes

Warming trays

Hot plates

EditStoring Food in Heat-Preserving Containers
Tin foil

Serving dishes

Insulated beverage bottles

Insulated carrying bags



EditReheating Food and Plates




Measuring cup


Roasting tray or microwave-safe container


Heating pads or plate warmer

Kitchen thermometer

EditSources and Citations
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