The Best Products for Cold Sores
These four products can help heal and conceal.
How to get rid of cold sores
If you are prone to cold sores, also known as fever blisters, there’s likely little you wouldn’t try to lessen the pain, speed healing, or even just camouflage these blisters on your lips. Chances are, out of desperation, you have paid Dr. Google a visit and searched how to get rid of cold sores. You may have ended up with conflicting results and unsure of what is the best product for your blisters. And the truth is, you are not the only one.
Worldwide, about 3.7 billion people under age 50 have herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), the virus that causes cold sores. There is no cure for the virus, and these tiny, clear, fluid-filled blisters can last for weeks without treatment. Some people never develop any HSV-1 symptoms, while others may experience cold sore outbreaks several times a year.
If you get cold sores from time to time, consider keeping these products in your arsenal.
This is the only U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved over-the-counter antiviral medication for cold sores, says Edidiong Kaminska, a dermatologist and the medical director at Kaminska Dermatology in Chicago. For best results, apply Abreva (docosanol) at the first sign of an HSV-1 outbreak to shorten the duration of tingling, pain, burning, and itching. There are prescription antiviral creams and oral medications that can also help shorten the duration of the outbreak. Ask your doctor if these are right for you.
Abreva Cold Sore Treatment Cream (pack of 1), $19, walmart.ca
Quantum Health Super Lysine+ Cold Sore Treatment
There is some evidence that suggests lysine may slow or prevent the growth of HSV-1, and menthol can help with the pain. “Menthol + lysine (Lysine +) cold sore treatment can help with pain/irritation of cold sores and may decrease viral activity and duration,” Dr. Kaminska says. Quantum Health Super Lysine+ Cold Sore Treatment contains both of these powerhouse ingredients.
Quantum Health Super Lysine+ Cold Sore Treatment, $8.65, walmart.ca
Smashbox Photo Finish Reduce Redness Primer
When it comes to how to get rid of cold sores, makeup is your beauty secret weapon. First off, never cover a cold sore until it crusts over, as the blisters are the most contagious and painful before they crust, says Dr. Kaminska. “You don’t want to manipulate the blisters,” she says. “Do not apply to open raw skin either, as this may cause further irritation and can increase the risk of infection.” If there is redness, you can use a green/yellow-based primer/concealer to neutralize the red colour once the cold sore has started to crust.
Smashbox Photo Finish Reduce Redness Primer, $50, shoppersdrugmart.ca
(Related: Learn the best way to apply foundation, according to your skin tone.)
NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer
A creamy heavy concealer that matches your skin tone can be applied over the healing cold sore. “A very small amount goes a long way,” Dr. Kaminska says. “Make sure to apply makeup products with a disposable makeup sponge, and afterward, you may apply a makeup setting powder if needed.”
NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer, $39, shopperdrugmart.ca
Next: The best over-the-counter cold and flu meds.