Tingling, itching, or burning sensations can often clue you in to the cold sore that’s coming.
Cold sores are actually small, painful blisters caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). They tend to cluster around the mouth, which can leave you feeling antisocial until they’re gone. But the reality is, you’re far from alone. According to one estimate, 50% to 80% of adults have oral herpes.
At the first sign of an outbreak, apply a topical prescription medication, which can help relieve your symptoms. A board-certified dermatologist can determine which one best suits your needs.
HSV is especially contagious during an outbreak, so it’s also a good idea to avoid sharing anything that comes into contact with your face. Unfortunately, yes, that includes kissing.
The blisters will likely pop at some point. Expect a little oozing if that happens, then scabbing. In all, the outbreak could last about five to six days.
So, be proactive and cautious. But there’s no reason to go into isolation. If you’re self-conscious about your cold sore, covering it up with makeup is an option. Here’s how to do it without disrupting the healing process.
How to cover up a cold sore
Before you give any consideration to covering up your cold sore, you first need to treat it. Skipping that crucial step could put you in jeopardy of delaying healing and making the blisters even more visible.
Aside from using a topical medication, apply a facial moisturizer to the area to prevent bleeding. It will also help with healing. A cold sore has to dry out for it to stop oozing, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be moisturizing.
While we’re on the subject, keep some blotting papers on hand while you’re in the oozing stage. A cold sore can be similar to a pimple, so you can follow the same basic steps for camouflaging a traditional breakout: Absorb the wetness, gently remove the gunk, then touch it up with a little concealer.
Opt for a concentrated formula that’s a little thicker and creamier than standard versions. Layer it with a blender, dabbing a tiny amount on the cold sore. Then, let it sit. Repeat the process as often as you feel is needed.
Keep in mind, the cold sore could contaminate your makeup. So, use a disposable brush for the duration of the outbreak.
What not to do
Avoid exfoliating during your outbreak. You may be thinking, But it makes my skin so smooth. Anything that irritates a cold sore, including abrasive scrubbing, picking, and peeling, could result in bleeding and scarring.
Instead, do your best to keep the area clean and dry. At night, gently wash off your makeup, then fully dry your face. Once the blister begins to scab, you can use some petroleum jelly or lip balm to keep it from flaking too much, although it won’t really help with healing.
Finally, try not to stress about it. In some cases, stress can trigger cold sores. Be patient and try to remember this will pass in a few days.