Every cold sore sufferer’s biggest dread is getting a cold sore just before an important event. And with over 30 million people in the UK who are infected with the herpes simplex virus, it means that almost half of us are at risk.
Cold sores typically last between 5-10 days and so can ruin a entire holiday or important event.
Cold sores tend to be triggered by three things, stress, lowered immunity from illness or fatigue and sun.
So typically in the run up to any big event, a wedding, a work presentation, a new date, an anniversary, a mile stone birthday, there is often higher levels of stress which means a rise in the risk of a cold sore outbreak.
Similarly holiday get-aways often mean sudden exposure to more sun. Combine that with some pre-holiday stress and dehydration on the flight and it’s a perfect storm for a holiday cold sore outbreak.
Combine any of the above scenarios with getting over a cold or flu, and a cold sore outbreak becomes even more likely.
But you can take steps to minimise your risk of getting a cold sore before an important event buy following this one week lip detox plan.
Make sure your lips are in peak condition for the important event in your life the by following this one week lip 10 step detox regime;
- Cut down on at least one coffee (preferably two) a day
Coffee is a strong diuretic, which means it takes moisture from the body. Cold sores are often triggers by dry, cracked or weakened lips so it’s important to try and retain as much moisture as possible during the lip detox.
- Drink one pint of warm water a lemon first thing each morning
Overnight is when the body and lips become most dehydrated. Drinking one pint of warm water before you eat or drink anything else is the ultimate way to rehydrate on waking. The warmness of the water means the body absorbs it immediately. The lemon has a mild antiseptic effect and is a great source of vitamin c to help boost immunity.
- Avoid wearing any matt or brightly coloured lip sticks
Matt lips sticks or brightly coloured lipsticks contain more wax in them than lighter more glossy shades. Wax in lipsticks tends to dry out lip skin quickly. If you want colour, use a lighter shade with a glossy effect and use a little lip balm over the top to keep lips moist and to seal in moisture
- Cut out alcohol
Alcohol is another diuretic and it zaps moisture away from the skin and lips. It’s also a stimulant to tends to disrupt sleep, so you wake up feeling unrested and dehydrated. Alcohol mild immune suppressant.
So fatigue combined with dehydration and compromised immune system is a perfect combination for a cold sore outbreak. Eat at least one portion of ‘greens’ per day
- Use Liquorice Lip Balm three times daily and overnight
Liquorice Balm was found to be effective in a double-blind trial, carried out by the Herpes Viruses Association on forty people. It reduced the severity and duration of herpes outbreaks for over 73% of subjects tested and, furthermore, 83% of subjects using the liquorice balm reported experiencing less severe outbreaks than when using their conventional treatments. While using the liquorice balm, testers reported that on average their outbreaks were only half their normal length.
The key cold-sore fighting ingredient in liquorice is glycyrrhizic acid (GA). GA specifically targets the genes that are required to maintain the virus in its latent state by interfering with the production of special proteins that feed the infected cells.
Unlike conventional treatments, due to its naturally derived ingredients, the lip balm can be worn daily without any negative side-effects, meaning that it can be used to prevent outbreaks before they could take hold.
- Keep lips covered with a natural fabric scarf in the cold and a lip SPF if the sun’s out.
Dryness and sun are the enemies of lips prone to cold sores, so any direct exposure to cold weather or sun will increase the risk of a cold sore outbreak. Wearing a soft non-abrasive scarf over the chin and lips in cold weather can help prevent drying and chapping. In sunny hot weather, wearing a lip SPF can help protect cold sore prone lips from UV damage, which can trigger cold sores. However be careful as many lip SPF’s can be drying and most contain chemicals which can irritate fragile skin. Use a non-chemical lip balm on lips first before applying the lip SPF.
- Cleanse lips each evening using a natural oil cleanser
It’s not widely known how important it is to cleanse lips. Typically some kind of lip product is worn during the day which can attract dirt and bacteria to stick to the lips. Also lips so not sweat and so can’t cleanse themselves like normal skin. So cleansing the lips of dirt and bacteria at the end of the day is an important part of trying to prevent cold sore outbreaks as if bad bacteria gets into micro cracks in the lips, it can lead to inflammation which can then trigger a cold sore. But it’s important to use a natural non-chemical lip cleanser if you are prone to cold sores so as not to aggravate the lip skin or strip them of their natural moisturising agents. You should also avoid lip exfoliators for the same reason. The best lip cleansers are natural cleansing oils, that gently remove direct and bacteria, but still leave the lips moisturised.
- Avoid or minimise make up and foundation around the lip area
Foundations and cosmetics tend to attract external bacteria as they are sticky substances that allow bacteria to cling to them. Also many foundations will also be contaminated with bad bacteria passed into them from fingertips etc. So try to avoid applying foundation on the lips themselves or on the skin close to the edges of the lips.
- Try to avoid touching lips during the day
Most people touch their lips up to 20 times a day, which is OK if you’re not prone to cold sores. Fingertips harbour more bacteria than almost any other part of the body so rubbing your lips with them if you are prone to cold sores is a sure way to increase your risk of a cold sore.
- Drink warm (not too hot) Liquorice Tea
If you are prone to cold sores, its important when drinking hot drinks to only drink them at a temperature as sudden changes in temperature can trigger a cold sore as can any mild scalding to the lip tissue. Add boiling water to the liquorice tea but then leave to cool for 10-15 minutes before drinking.
Drinking liquorice tea, which contains glycyrrhizic acid (GA) that can help supress the cold sore virus, twice daily will help the body to fend off the cold sore virus.