When it comes to sexy blog topics, there are few that can hope to reach the glimmering heights of cold sores. There’s just something so… alluring about them, and the way they completely mess up your face and confidence for up to two weeks, wouldn’t you agree?
I think you might agree, because the cold sore post I did on this very blog five years ago is still one of the highest trafficked on the site, and after writing about them in Amazing Face, I am “proud” to say I have had many women email me over the years telling me how they now feel in charge of their cold sores, not the other way around. I wear the crown of Cold Sore Queen with pride! And a little bit of embarrassment. But mostly pride.
But it’s time to update. Reveal some new tricks and treatments so that we cold sore sufferers can win the battle faster and with less hands-covering-our-lips when we go into public. And hey, so many of us get them. Even CELEBRITIES, as the images below point out. (I did that gallery not be mean to those women, but to assure everyone just how indiscriminate they are.)
Obviously I am suffering from one currently, or I wouldn’t be writing about them. I’ve been smashed with flu and chest infection, which is probably why, because I always get them when my immune is shot, and also the reason this gorgeous blog has sat dormant for the past couple of weeks.
So, here’s how to stop your cold sore in its filthy little tracks. Here’s how to make sure it doesn’t even get to festering blistering stage and ensure it won’t scab. Basically, here’s how to manage and destroy a cold sore so that you can still get on with your life, and not feel like a social leper, and cut the whole process down by at least half the time if not more.
THINGS YOU WILL NEED AND SHOULD ALWAYS HAVE ON HAND:
* Famvir or similar (a 3x pill oral famciclovir cold sore treatment you buy from the chemist)
* Lysine (an essential amino acid that fights the virus internally. Take one daily if you’re prone to breakouts, and two 2x a day during a breakout.)
* Acetone nail polish remover and cotton pads/tips (buy the pre-made pads for travel)
* A sterilised pin/needle
* Compeed cold sore patches (keep a few in your wallet in case of sudden attacks and never travel without a full box)
THINGS NOT TO DO:
* Drink coffee or caffeinated drinks
* Eat seeds, chocolate or tomatoes
* Stress – it makes the little bastard worse
WHEN YOU FEEL THE AREA GO HOT AND ITCH, MOVE FAST, BITCH
I do apologise for the name-calling, but I cannot stress how important speed is at this point. Actually, I can: A LOT. VERY MUCH. It can come down to minutes between a cold sore that lasts three days and one that lasts 10.
If you can get a Compeed patch onto the site at the tingle stage, you’re basically a hero. Take your Famvir, which will greatly lessen the time the cold sore hangs around, but only if you take it on the first day of the sore manifesting, and some Lysine now and you’re a godamn national hero.
If you haven’t acted quite fast enough and there are bumps popping up, wash your hands and then take some acetone nail polish remover on a cotton pad or some tissue and press it on the site for a good, painful 20 seconds. Do not let any get into your mouth obviously, because it’s toxic. And wash hands straight after. What it does is dries the skin out so that the virus doesn’t have that lovely moist, bubbling warm environment it needs to keep growing. It’s a very well-known and effective home remedy, up there with using rubbing alcohol, hand sanitiser, or peroxide. The NPR will buy you time to get to the nearest chemist and buy some patches (and Famvir if you haven’t already got some on hand, which you should, because you are a cold sore sufferer, and like boy scouts, our motto is Be Prepared.) Obviously if you have a Compeed patch nearby, and you will if you know what’s good for you, then jam it on now. I often cut mine with nail scissors to shape, because the Compeed circle is definitely not a one-shape fits all, and especially if your cold sore is only half the size of a patch, and you have this obvious crinkled plastic sticker on your face or lips.
And now for something completely different: My Chinese herbalist tells me when she feels the tingle she uses pins to break the skin and “bleed the cold sore out”. I don’t really know what this means, but she says you need to do it before there are any blisters present and then the cold sore never appears because you have released the virus in the blood. Hmmm.
WHEN YOU SEE BLISTERS APPEAR, SORT THEM OUT
My advice is to pop them. Controversial, but if you let the blisters keep growing and multiplying, well, I reckon you’re a dingus. I recommend doing it very carefully and hygienically by first washing your hands, then taking a sterilised needle or pin, break open each blister/bubble, then very quickly blot the area with a small square of tissue to stop the serum weeping and spreading. Blot once only then use new tissue and toss all of the blotters straight in the loo. Next, once the area is dry, ‘sanitise’ the area by applying nail polish remover on a cotton pad. Hold for up to 30 seconds. Of course, now place a patch on straight away to get to work on healing and to reduce the heat, pain and discomfort. Wash hands.
DO NOT REMOVE THE PATCH UNLESS YOU ARE CHANGING TO A NEW ONE.
Cold sores do not need to breathe. They need to suffocate and die at the hands of nail polish remover and under the nurturing plastic shield of a hydrocolloid patch. Try to keep liquids (drink through a straw etc) away from the patch which will mess it up. At night or in the morning before work, wear your old one in the shower – because you should not let the sore get wet! – and then remove once you’re out. Before applying a new patch, hold some more nail polish remover on a cotton pad on the sore for 30 seconds to teach it who’s boss. Then, brush your teeth and place a new patch on before you go to sleep and dream sweet dreams of a cold sore-free life.
By doing all of the above, I usually only suffer for 3-4 days now. (Bad breakouts in my teens and twenties used to run well over two weeks, so this is a fucking miracle, in all honesty.) But! Just because you think it looks healed,doesn’t mean it is. And we all know how easily cold sores can rise again if not completely killed. So, keep on with the NPR/Compeed Patches for as long as it takes. If you’re lucky, the scab won’t even arrive, and you will gain a free pass straight to the dry, flaking skin stage. If you do get a scab however, well, the good news is that it’s healing. Keep up with the patches, and learn the art of Cold Sore Concealing Makeup, which, at the risk of enormous public humiliation, I will demonstrate in my next post, complete with step-by-step photos and the products that work.
My latest hope in the ongoing fight against cold sores comes in the shape of the Virulite Cold Sore Machine, which I am trying to buy online but keep hitting cool roadblocks. These little electronic zappers are kind of the new wave in cold sore treatment and I for one, have unrealistically high expectations.
Do you have any amazing tips or tricks that you use to annihilate your cold sores? Share them, for God’s sake!