How to Make a Cold Sore Less Obvious


The herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) generally causes cold sores, which appear in the form of small, painful blisters. According to Mayo Clinic, they are highly contagious and can be transmitted by sharing utensils, towels and razors. Cold sores occur most frequently on the lips. They can also appear at inopportune moments. Because they are unattractive and can be difficult to hide, panic may set in. With careful application, you can make your cold sore less noticeable.

Making a Cold Sore Less Noticeable

  • Use a lip balm such as Carmex to lubricate the cold sore. Carmex also contains pain relievers that assuage the discomfort you experience from the cold sore. Use petroleum jelly if you do not have a lip balm. To avoid infecting the entire container, use a cotton swab or Q-tip for the application.

  • Apply a liquid foundation that is similar to your skin tone immediately after applying Step 1. If you omit (or delay) Step 1, when you apply the foundation, the cold sore will have a dry and cracked appearance, making it even more unsightly. Use a Q-tip to apply the foundation. Do not rub it in; simply dab the foundation onto affected area. Refrain from smearing the edges of the cold sore and from dipping the Q-tip back into the container.

  • Use a lipstick that matches the foundation and your skin tone. Ensure the formula has an extra-creamy texture to prevent dryness and cracking in the sore. Buy an inexpensive lip brush to do the application or use a Q-tip. Discard them after use. If you apply the lipstick as-is directly to the sore, the remainder of the product can become contaminated. In this case, discard the entire lipstick after use. As an alternative, sever the top portion of the lipstick and use that piece for the application; this allows you to keep the rest of the product.

  • Purchase a non-prescription cold sore medication such as Abreva, which is FDA approved. Abreva does not immediately get rid of the cold sore; however, it shortens the healing time and relieves discomfort.

  • Apply Vicks VapoRub to the cold sore the moment you feel the symptom (tingling burning sensation) appearing. Use it a few times throughout the day and apply it at night before going to bed. If you apply it at the onset of the cold sore, Vicks substantially reduces the size and healing time of the cold sore.

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