A friend of mine got her first cold sore facial blister when she was a toddler -- they run in her family. During her school years, she'd stay home "sick" or cancel plans if she had an outbreak. In university, when she was just getting over a cold sore, she overheard some frat guy telling his friends she was diseased; this is before she had ever been intimate with anyone. She stayed home for a week after hearing that.
If you're also one of the two-thirds of all Canadians who suffer from cold sores, you know the discomfort of an outbreak, and the pain of the social stigma that can go along with them. However the cold-sore-causing virus herpes simplex managed to sneak up on you, it's made you feel self-conscious or embarrassed, cancel plans, defend yourself, and wait out the frustrating healing process, which can last anywhere from a few days to two weeks. Gah!
Even more irritating is that cold sores flare up in response to certain triggers we all have trouble avoiding: stress, poor diet, lack of sleep, too much sun, icy weather, bouts of colds or flu, and hormonal fluctuations. Still, there are proven ways to evade oubreaks for the most part, treat any spots that do crop up, and distract from them as they heal.
You can reduce your risk of outbreaks by taking good care of yourself:
- get lots of sleep
- eat a balanced diet
- drink lots of water to maintain optimal hydration levels
- protect your lips from UV exposure with an SPF balm
- keep makeup brushes scrupulously clean
- regularly disinfect lipsticks and lip balms with a cosmetics sanitizer
Bonus: some of these avoidance tips will also result in a more radiant complexion, bouncier skin, brighter eyes, and better defenses against stress.
Cold sores are sneaky -- sometimes they get past all your coping-with-stress techniques and healthy-living practices. But they do announce themselves. At that very first warning tingle or itch, apply a topical cream such as Abreva, the number-one pharmacist-recommended cold-sore treatment in Canada. (No, ice, tea or vinegar won't help!) Abreva contains an exclusive, patented medicinal ingredient called docosanol, clinically proven to prevent the spread of the virus to surrounding, unaffected skin. In fact, Abreva has been proven to reduce cold-sore healing time to as few as 4.1 days. (I did math: that's 4 days and 2.4 hours.)
You can't hide out in your home while you wait for a cold sore to vanish. Although you feel as though the spot is so obvious that people can see it from the other side of your computer screen, or that it hollers for attention from everyone you meet, that's really not true. Most people simply aren't that observant. And if anyone notices, does it really matter? Still, you can draw attention away from the affected area with any of these tricks:
- a pretty braided updo with a charming clip accent
- killer false lashes or lash extensions
- graphic eye liner
- bold coloured shadow or liner -- try a punchy blue or green, Fall's peacock eye makeup, perhaps
- great brows, professionally tweaked or filled in with a brow pen or powder (seriously, I've been so distracted by fab brows that I notice little else)
- smile, at least with your eyes -- a happy and confident attitude can distract waaay more than you think
For more information, management tips and real stories, visit Abreva.ca. For a handy, friendly infographic of mythbusting facts, stats and advice, click here.
This is a sponsored post.
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UPDATE: To the ladies sharing experiences and tips below, thanks so very much. That you have to cope with these at all upsets me greatly. I hope those of you still seeking a solution find one that works for you STAT. xoxo