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Healing and hiding cold sores

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.

woman covering her mouth

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

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