Cover It Up: How to Mask a Cold Sore

Ah, the dreaded cold sore. Its arrival is as uninvited as that obnoxious friend who always crashes your parties. But unlike said friend, you can't just ignore it and hope it goes away.

Cover It Up: How to Mask a Cold Sore

Fear not my fellow cold sore sufferers, for I have compiled a comprehensive list of tips and tricks to help you mask that pesky little blister in no time! So sit back, grab some tea (with lemon of course), and let's get started.

What are Cold Sores?

Before we dive into the masking process, let's first understand what exactly cold sores are (not to be confused with canker sores, which are different).

Cold sores, also known as fever blisters or herpes labialis (yes's that type of herpes), are small fluid-filled blisters that usually appear on or around the lips.

They're caused by the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) which is highly contagious and spreads through direct contact such as kissing or sharing utensils with someone who has an active outbreak.

Unfortunately, once you contract HSV-1 it stays in your body for life. The good news? Not everyone who contracts the virus will develop cold sores!

Step 1: Moisturize

The key to properly masking a cold sore lies in keeping the affected area moisturized throughout the day (we don't want any crusty scabs now do we?) Here are some tried-and-true methods:

Petroleum Jelly

Good ol' Vaseline never fails us! Applying petroleum jelly on top of your healing blister can create a barrier between it and any bacteria lingering around while also providing ample moisture.

Aloe Vera Gel

Not only does Aloe Vera work wonders on sunburns but its anti-inflammatory properties make it ideal for soothing irritated skin. Bonus: it's also great for keeping your lips soft and supple.

Lip Balm

If you want to keep things simple, consider using a lip balm or even a medicated lip ointment like Abreva (a popular cold sore treatment). These will help lock in moisture and provide added protection.

Step 2: Conceal

Now onto the fun part - concealing that bad boy! There are countless ways to do this but here are some of our favorites:


Yes, ladies AND gentlemen, makeup can be used to cover up cold sores (shout out to all my male makeup enthusiasts) Here's how:

  • Apply a color corrector if necessary (usually green-toned) on top of the blister as a base.
  • Gently apply concealer with either your finger or a small brush until fully covered.
  • Set with powder to ensure it stays put throughout the day.

Pro-tip: Make sure not to re-use any tools (brushes, sponges etc.) without thoroughly cleaning them first!

Clothing Items/Masks

A more subtle method of concealment is utilizing clothing items such as scarves or turtlenecks. You can also opt for wearing masks (2020 has taught us that these come in handy) which are now available in various patterns and styles.

Sun Protection

Not only does applying sunblock on top of your cold sore protect against harmful UV rays but many brands today offer tinted formulas which can mask discoloration while simultaneously healing your skin. Talk about multi-tasking!

Optional Step 3: Heal

While covering up a cold sore may boost confidence levels temporarily, the ultimate goal should always be promoting fast healing time.

Here are some additional steps you could take:

Ice cubes

Ice helps reduce inflammation by constricting blood vessels around infected areas. Wrap an ice cube in a cloth and apply it for no more than 10 minutes at a time.

Cold tea bags

Steep a black tea bag (which contains tannic acid to help reduce redness and swelling) in cold water, then place directly on top of the blister. Leave it there for around five minutes before removing.

Lysine supplements

Lysine is an amino acid believed to suppress HSV-1 replication which can lead to outbreaks (note: always consult with your doctor before taking any new supplements).

Prevention Tips

Last but certainly not least, prevention is key when it comes to avoiding future cold sore outbreaks.

Here are some habits you could add into your daily routine:

Avoid sharing items with others

This includes utensils, razors or towels - even toothbrushes!

Wash hands frequently

Stop spreading bacteria by keeping those paws squeaky clean!

Consider antiviral medication.

If you find yourself experiencing frequent outbreaks speak to your doctor about considering prescribing antiviral medication such as Valtrex or Zovirax.

And just like that folks, mask away! Remember that while cold sores may be unsightly they're also extremely common and nothing we should feel embarrassed about.

So go forth my fellow herpes warriors, conquer the day (and hide those blisters)

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