Beauty Clinic: Make-up advice for cold sores
Q. I tend to get cold sores in the winter and wonder if there is any way to prevent/treat them? Also, what is the best camouflage make-up? A. These painful, burning, itchy blisters affect about one in five people in the UK, on or around their mouth or lips. The underlying cause is the herpes simplex virus, which lies dormant in the body until activated, often by stress or tiredness, even strong sunlight (so beware if you are to soak up some winter sun). They can be very unsightly and distressing, especially when you want to look your best for the festive season.
Consultant dermatologist Dr Penelope Tympanidis says that while having a stress free lifestyle will help prevent cold sores, ‘this just isn’t achievable for most of us’. If you are prone to cold sores, she advises boosting your immune system by eating a healthy diet, high in vitamin B and amino acids, (particularly lysine, found in legumes, fish, lamb and dairy), getting enough rest and also getting the flu jab.
Dr Tympanidis recommends applying a topical treatment, such as the new bonjela Invisible Cold Sore Cream, £5.99, the minute you feel the ‘tingle’, which may help to resolve the cold sore within five days as opposed to the usual ten days if it is left untreated. She emphasises that, as with colds and flu, cold sores are due to a virus, not a bacterial infection. So antibiotics will not be effective. If you get cold sores more than once a month, you should consult your GP, she says.
Integrated health expert Dr. Andrew Weil strongly advises getting a new toothbrush. ‘The virus can live in your toothbrush and re-infect you. When the sore is gone, get another.’ To prevent the virus getting into your toothpaste tube, don't touch the tube to the brush when you are squeezing out toothpaste. The virus is highly contagious, so don't kiss or shake hands with anyone who has a cold sore, or do the same when you have one, particularly if you are in contact with babies. And always use a lip moisturiser with sunscreen.
For natural remedies, pharmacist Shabir Daya suggests taking Lamberts Healthcare L-Lysine, £8.50 for 120 tablets; ‘this amino acid blocks arginine which is considered to be the ‘food’ the virus needs to thrive. Topically, I suggest you use Granary Herbs Organic Lemon Balm Cream, £9 for 60 ml – a soothing balm with lemon balm and tea tree oils, known for their antimicrobial properties’.
Make-up artist Jo Freeman says, ‘hard as it is, don't apply make-up until the scab appears’. Then she advises hiding redness with a neutralising green concealer, blending the edges to feather out into the skin. Go over it with foundation or concealer, then finally set by dusting with a fine loose powder to make it last. Studio 10 Age Defy Skin Perfector palette, £32, offers all this, except for the powder. For that we suggest trying Autograph Invisible Finish Loose Powder, £12, from www.marksandspencer.com (You will need a big brush to apply.)