How To Hide A Cold Sore: A Guide

Cold sores, also known as fever blisters, form on the lip or around the mouth. They are tiny, fluid-filled blisters often grouped together in patches. Cold sores develop as a result of a herpes simplex virus (HSV) infection. 

The WHO estimates that 3.7 billion people worldwide have a cold sore-causing herpes infection. Even though herpes is incredibly common, you might feel self-conscious about your appearance when you have a cold sore.¹

If you have an important event coming up, you may be wondering if you can cover or clear up a cold sore. Let’s have a look at what you can do.  

Have you considered clinical trials for Cold sores?

We make it easy for you to participate in a clinical trial for Cold sores, and get access to the latest treatments not yet widely available - and be a part of finding a cure.

What are cold sores?

The American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD) defines cold sores as small blisters or a group of blisters that mainly develop on the lip or around the mouth. These blisters develop after infection with the herpes simplex virus (HSV). 

More than half of Americans 14–49 years old carry HSV.²

If you have a healthy immune system and no other underlying conditions like contact dermatitis or eczema, your cold sores will clear up within ten days.

Symptoms of cold sores

Cold sores usually pass through various stages, displaying different symptoms. Here are some signs to watch out for:

Itching and tingling

You may feel burning, itching, or tingling around your lips a day before the blisters form. They start as small, hard, and painful spots before the blisters erupt.


After some time, you'll notice small, fluid-filled blisters along the borders of your lips. Sometimes, these blisters may erupt around the cheeks or nose or inside the mouth.

Oozing and crusting

Fever blisters may merge and burst, leaving open sores that ooze and crust over.

How to hide a cold sore

Having a cold sore may temporarily lower your self-confidence, especially as we live in a world that’s so focused on appearance. Unfortunately, you can’t get rid of a cold sore overnight. 

However, you can use several tricks to lessen the cold sore appearance. However, before you conceal these pimple-like blisters, there are a few things you need to know. 

You should never attempt to cover up a cold sore in its early stages because the blisters are open and vulnerable to infection. Therefore, applying any product to a new cold sore could trigger an infection and slow the healing process. So, if your cold store is still fresh, it’s best to wait until the blisters have scabbed over with a brown or yellow crust. 

The best techniques to cover a cold sore

Use ice

While you’re not strictly covering a cold sore with this tip, using ice can reduce swelling and the appearance of blisters. 

Covering cold sores with makeup 

To cover a cold sore, wait until it scabs over before applying a full-coverage foundation that blends well with your skin. 

Then, use a cotton ball or disposable applicator to apply concealer over the blisters. Do this lightly and in layers until the blisters blend in with your skin. 

Consider a face mask

During the pandemic, many people discovered that face masks are perfect for covering blemishes and boosting self-confidence. If you’re attending a big event with lots of people, a face mask might be a wise idea to reduce your risk of viral illness anyway. They’re a great way to cover your cold sore without worrying about infection. 

The lowdown

Cold sores can pop up at really inconvenient times. If you need to attend an event like a wedding or dinner date, it might feel like they were waiting for the occasion! Cold sores usually start as a burning, itching, and tingling sensation before the blisters form on or around your mouth.

Luckily, there are various ways to hide your cold sore. During the early stages of cold sore development, use ice or face masks to conceal the blisters. As the blisters dry and scab, you can cover them with makeup.

Frequently asked questions

How do I prevent an outbreak?

  • Learn about your triggers so you can avoid them

  • Pay attention to your stress levels and general health

  • Try to avoid viral infections

  • Wear sunblock on your lips and face when outdoors

Have you considered clinical trials for Cold sores?

We make it easy for you to participate in a clinical trial for Cold sores, and get access to the latest treatments not yet widely available - and be a part of finding a cure.

Discover which clinical trials you are eligible for

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