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I used to avoid people with cold sores like the plague. Okay, I didn’t actually avoid them (that would just be rude) but I did avoid kissing/borrowing chapstick/sharing drinks with anyone who had ever had a cold sore. Yes, I’d actually ask people (*gasp*) if they’ve ever had one before because I was scared out of my mind that I’d get one the second (or soon after) after their cold sore infected germs entered my system.

I don’t know for sure if that’s even a real thing or just a myth, but I can tell you that I did everything I could to avoid the infamous cold sore. But, guess what? After 23 years of doing everything I could to avoid getting one, I still ended up getting one. And I was so bummed. Nobody wants a giant fluid-filled bump right on their lip (the place you do the kissing and smiling, for goodness sakes!)

Oh… and they hurt. Like, really bad.

But the truth is that 2/3 of the population already has the virus but not everyone has had symptoms occur yet. The virus exists quietly waiting dormant until its called onto the stage (aka: your lip or other areas). According to MedicineNet.com the virus often “decides” to become visible for the first time or to reoccur for several different reasons including:

  • sickness (fever, cold, flu)
  • UV rays (sun exposure or sunburn)
  • emotional or physical stress
  • weakening of the immune system
  • trauma to the involved area (such as dental work)

Because there’s a 50-80% chance you’ll get a cold sore (or have already had one), it’s important that you do what you can to avoid getting them… or at least to avoid getting them as frequently.

If you’ve already had them, the unfortunate truth is that the virus is forever in your system, but the FORTUNATE truth is there are things you can do to get them less frequently! When I first started getting them, they’d pop up on my lips every couple of weeks. I’m happy to say I’ve decreased the frequency to about twice a year (or less) since I’ve started putting these tips into practice!

1. Avoid your triggers.

If you notice that you get cold sores more frequently when you’re sick or extremely overwhelmed, than try your best to stay healthy (physically and emotionally). Most people are triggered by the same things (the ones listed above), so it’s safe to say that if you take care of your physical and emotional health, don’t stay in the sun for excessive amounts of time, and don’t visit the dentist (jk), than you’ll have a higher chance of staying cold sore free.

I notice that I get them most frequently when I’m stressed (hence why I got a giant one a few days before my wedding), so I’ve tried to take extra good care of my emotional health. Of course, I’m taking care of my emotional health for other reasons, as well, but this is a nice little incentive to be even more intentional about my wellbeing.

2. Prevent and protect with Herpecin L.

To say I love Herpecin L would be a MAJOR understatement! This product has greatly reduced the amount of cold sores I get AND helps me get rid of them extra quickly when they do appear. The truth is that you can’t completely prevent all cold sores once you start getting them, but Herpecin L has helped reduce the amount I get because it’s uniquely formulated with dimethicone, which protects my lips from harmful UV rays that cause more breakouts. It also keeps them moist, which is another preventative measure that’s kept those nasty cold sores off my lips!

Before I knew about Herpecin L, I would just let my cold sores run their nasty painful course on my lips for days (even weeks!) at a time. After being introduced to this glorious product, I get to feel the sweet sense of relief that my cold sore will be far less painful during its duration and it’ll be gone in a jiffy! Once I notice the first signs of a cold sore (usually a tingling, itching, burning sensation around the spot it’s going to appear), I start lathering Herpecin L on every couple of hours.

It’s a pharmacist-recommended product that provides INSTANT (yes, instant!) relief from burning, itching, and oozing. It promotes healing without numbing or drying, which I love. I’ve tried other products that numb my entire lip and make me feel even more miserable throughout the day. I love that Herpecin L relieves the pain without making me feel like I just went to the dentist (ew!).

Also, if you know me personally, you know that I’m a chapstick addict (no, like really… someone actually sent me this hilarious Youtube video because it reminded them of me). Oh, and my family gave me 18 individually wrapped Chapstick’s for Christmas because they knew how much I’d appreciate it (and they were totally making fun of me in a family love sort of way).

Since I’ve started using Herpecin L, I can honestly say I’ve become less of a chapstick addict because I don’t feel the need to reapply my chapstick every 5 minutes. It keeps my lips moisturized longer than other chapsticks I’ve used and is a perfect chapstick for everyday use (not just when you have a cold sore!)

You can grab Herpecin L in the chapstick section in Walmart or simply order it online here!

3. Keep your immune system in shape.

While there’s a 99.9% chance you’ll be getting another cold sore if you’ve already had one (or more) before, you’ll get them less frequently if you’re taking care of your immune system. Regularly eating healthy, taking vitamins (especially Vitamin C), getting the recommended amounts of sleep, taking extra care to reduce your stress levels, and exercising will not only help you prevent cold sores but will also improve your mood and overall wellbeing. Isn’t it crazy how staying healthy treats such a wide variety of problems in life- from stress levels to cold sores!?

4. Cool it on the lip makeup products.

I know lipsticks and lip liners are all the rage right now and they’re the perfect way to cover up those cold sores when they come (and beauty bloggers please don’t kill me for saying this), but if you really want to get rid of a cold sore fast, replace your lipsticks with Herpecin L until it’s gone. It’s also recommended that you throw out or at least completely wipe off the tip of any lip makeup you used while you had the cold sore, as using them again will just keep reinfecting you with the virus.

5. Be careful who you kiss and share drinks/food/lip products with.

If you haven’t had any cold sores yet, you don’t have to go all “crazy girl asking the boy she’s about to kiss for the first time if he’s ever had a cold sore” like I did (but it’s your body so you really can do what you want!), but you can take some preventive measures by avoiding sharing drinks and lip products with people. I’d often just politely say “No thanks,” if anyone offered to share a drink or food with me. Although, keep in mind that I still ended up getting cold sores even though I did everything I could do to stop them!

But even if you’ve already had a cold sore, avoiding sharing drinks, food, and products will help reduce the amount of cold sores you get and is the kind thing to do to help other people be less likely to catch your virus.