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. 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. It can take up to a week to get to the scabbing stage, though applying cold sore medicine may speed it along.
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.
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.
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.
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. You can also pass them to other parts of your body or other people, as cold sores are contagious.
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. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
EditThings You’ll Need
EditMinimizing the Appearance of the Cold Sore
Cold sore cream
Cold sore patch
Disposable makeup sponge
Yellow or green concealer
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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