From one fellow cold sore victim to another… I know just how quickly it can ruin your day waking up with one of those annoyingly painful blisters on your lips.
My faithful social media family will know that I get cold sores at least once a month and I’ll be the first to tell you that it used to get me really down. It used to keep me from posting on my socials, I would feel self conscious and dread being in public while I had them. I realised that this is the same for most girls! I remember getting a cold sore before a big event (which happened a LOT) would make me feel unattractive, unworthy and like the whole world was looking at it!
But today, I no longer try to hide my cold sores. I no longer get down when I wake up with a blister on my lip, and I have a proactive plan in place to deal with one when it appears in all its glory.
So today, we’re going to bust some cold sore myths and face them with confidence because I want you girls to learn how to finally make friends with your sores - just like I have!
BUSTING MYTHS AND GETTING EDUCATED
It’s a common misconception but cold sores are not actually a byproduct of colds. They’re caused by an infection of the herpes simplex virus (HSV). Girlfriend, before you freak out, statistics show that around 90% of the world’s population carry the HSV virus and get cold sores as a result - so before you think you’re all alone, think again!
Did you know that cold sores don’t just appear on your lips/mouth? Yep! Although that’s where you’re most likely to find a cold sore, they can also appear on your nose, cheeks and fingers. (I get them inside my nose all the time!)
Cold sores are contagious! No matter what anyone tells you, cold sores are contagious through all stages of their cycle. So when you’ve got a little friend keeping you company, you should try and avoid kissing your partner or children, sharing lip balms and drinking from the same cups! BUT I have found if the other person does not get cold sores (Tim, my husband has never got them) they will usually not get anything. I have kissed Tim numerous times with a cold sore and he has never contracted the virus, so I am guessing it means he is not a carrier of the HSV virus.
THE BIGGEST TRIGGERS
For myself personally, the biggest trigger of cold sores is stress. If I’m feeling really stressed, my body naturally finds it more difficult to ward off infections, hence a lovely little cold sore appears!
However, I did my research for you guys and made the following list of the most common cold sore triggers:
Fevers and illnesses
Exposure to windy conditions (chapped lips aren’t fun!)
Emotional and physical stress
Sunlight is another big trigger for me personally. A little tip I have to combat this is to keep your face shaded when you’re in the sun! I wear 50 SPF lip sunscreen and always wear a hat when I’m in the sun or at the beach! I am constantly aware of keeping my lips and mouth away from direct sunlight.
Everyone has different triggers so I encourage you to pay attention to yours and find proactive solutions to combating them!
WHAT’S THE BEST TREATMENT
For repeat cold sore offenders like myself, it can be pretty disheartening to know that they will always stick around. However, that isn’t to say we can’t develop some good habits in order to treat one when it appears! Below are my list of products and things I do for my cold sores:
Note: I do want to make clear I am not a doctor or medical professional and the below recommendations are from my personal experience only.
The best product I have used is an over the counter ‘antiviral medication’ (just say that and the chemist will know which one) which works amazing if you catch your cold sore before it rears it’s ugly head (I usually get tingling) however once your cold sore appears this usually does not work.
I take a daily Lysine tablet when I remember. Lysine is an amino acid (building block of protein). I have found that taking Lysine helps prevent cold sores and helps to treat them once they appear. I just take any brand from my chemist (usually what is on sale).
Once a cold sore appears I straight away use a cold sore patch. I find this helps contain the cold sore from spreading plus I find as the cold sore is sealed it heals faster than if it was opened. I brand I used is ‘Compeed’ which I just get from the chemist but I have not tried any others.
Another product I wanted to mention is Zovirax which my mum swears by, however I don’t really use it and prefer the patches.
Lastly, my holy grail product for cold sores. A friend from my previous job recommended I try this and swore by it for her cold sores. I bought ir and have not stopped using it. The brand is ‘QueenBEE Secrets’ Bee Kissable organic lip balm. I put it on every morning and every night, and since using it I get ¼ of the amount of cold sores I would previously. I literally stock up and buy 10 of these at a time! I am not going to lie, I have no idea why this product works so well but all I can say is IT WORKS! (I think it is the lavender in it but that is just a guess).
HOW CAN WE FEEL CONFIDENT WHEN WE HAVE A COLD SORE?
Firstly, All I can say is I promise that your cold sore feels so much worse than it looks! Honestly people are far more concerned with themselves and their own appearances to notice yours. Plus I always find that people wouldn’t even notice my cold sore until I said something first.
Secondly, you need to give yourself a pep talk. Are you going to let this thing on your lip rule your day? Is how you look all that matters? NO GF’S, we are so much more that how we look.
When I get a cold sore I just remind myself that I am so much more than my physical appearance! Repeat after me:
“My physical appearance does not define me, I am so much more.”
Repeat as many times you need until you feel it and then rock on with your day, you got this!
I hope this helps all my cold sore sisters out there and I hope you understand a little bit more about your sores!