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Cold Sores, or Herpes Simplex 1 and Impetigo.

Crack, baby crack: Cold Sores, or Herpes Simplex 1 and Impetigo.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Cold Sores, or Herpes Simplex 1 and Impetigo.




Cold sores are nasty little buggers. They appear when you least expect them and definitely when you have a big event such as a job interview or a wedding. ARGH. They start off as a tingling under the skin which then erupts into a red sore full of tiny blisters. They take about two weeks to heal and are rather painful during this time because of the cracking of the scabs that form.


You really don't need to go this far to avoid catching a cold sore.

They are contagious and incredibly easy to catch from other people, usually via kissing. The most contagious period during the cycle is when the blisters are erupting. The virus lives dormant in the roots of the nerves and when activated, it travels up the nerve to the surface and causes the outbreak. There are many triggers; stress, fatigue and sunlight for instance. Some people get outbreaks 3 or 4 times a year, others one every year and others still never have an outbreak.


Learn to look for the very early signs of one erupting. It's usually a tingling feeling or an irritating itch and a very small red patch. As soon as you feel it, apply a Compeed cold sore patch or a cream containing Aciclovir such as Zovirax or a Boots/Superdrug own brand. If none are to hand, make a cup of tea. Press the hot teabag (as hot as you can bear) to the sore for at least five minutes. Do this as many times a day as you can fit in until you can get the above patches or cream.


Always wash your hands before and after touching the sore and applying any treatment. You can transmit the cold sore infection to the fingers, causing a Herpetic Whitlow.

Do not share make-up, lip brushes and toothbrushes. Do not come into close contact with people who have low immunity, HIV/AIDS, pregnant and new-born babies.

If you wish to hide a cold sore, apply a Compeed patch, wash your hands and place the amount of foundation you'd use normally on your face (and also some concealer) onto a palette or a saucer. Use your fingers or disposable applicators to apply the foundation and concealer, avoiding the area around the sore. This'll save you infecting your brushes.

Apply your eyeshadow and blush in the style you choose. I recommend a dramatic eye to draw attention away from the sore but it is entirely your choice.

Now, apply what's left of the foundation to the area around the sore and apply the concealer to the patch that is on the sore. Wash your hands. At this point, you can leave the lips alone, use a lip balm, or apply lipstick. If you opt for the balm or lipstick, you can use your fingers to apply it or a disposable lip brush. Remember not to double dip and use a fresh one for each application. You just need to wash your hands before and after touching the bullet or pot.

There are other sores that you can get that look like a cold sore but are not. The main one is Impetigo. It's a lot bigger, is not usually painful and is very infectious. You can spread it around your body (argh) via your fingers so no picking. Don't share towels, flannels and make-up brushes. I do not recommend covering it with make-up as it is a bacterial infection. An excellent treatment for Impetigo is a tube of Fucidic Acid, an anti-bacterial cream from the GP. It's prescription only.

Always wash your make-up brushes after every use whilst you have a sore and spray your make-up with some Surgical Spirit. Put cream make-up (foundation, concealer, lipstick, lipgloss, cream blush etc) on a saucer or palette before use and you'll not infect your make-up.

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