Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Warning: Why I will never use cold sore patches again

So this is a little off the bat for me today but it's something that has been upsetting me for the last few weeks. I've mentioned it to a few people and they all told me that I should share my experiences on the blog to save someone else the same experience that I have had. This is not a big ranty 'how could you do this to me' type of post and it's not an attack on a company or a brand or anything, I just wanted to put it out there that if you use cold sore patches, you could be left with scarring and discoloration.

I'll begin by giving you a little background. I have suffered with cold sores since I was a child, I can't remember when I got my first one, but I remember when I was about nine, I got such a bad dose of them that they were inside and outside my mouth and nostrils. For a period of about a week, I was on a liquid diet with the only foodstuffs incorporated into my diet being ice cream, yoghurt and soup. I don't think I got another one then until the year of my Junior Cert. Ever since then, I get a coldsore whenever I am feeling run down or ill or my immune system is weak, or when I am feeling extreme stress or pressure in work or in college. I take L-Lysine tablets but I am not great at taking them, I only really take them when it's too late and there is already a whopper brewing on my lip. I always get coldsores on my lower lip. They always completely clear after a full week and they become just a distant memory, and the only treatment I ever applied was the Zovirax cold sore cream. I get cold sores pretty regularly, maybe twice a year, but I always treat them the same way, and they always clear up completely, 100%.

A couple of weeks ago, I was feeling a bit run down, not ill per se, but I was stressed to my eyeballs over my final set of exams before qualification. I felt that tell tale tingling on my lip before bed, took about 4 L-Lysine tablets before bed (not recommended) and woke up in the morning with a cold sore, not the biggest or worst one I ever had by a long shot, but one that made my lip feel uncomfortably swollen. Now during the run up to my exams, vanity was not really a key concern, but I had a blogger event coming up that week and it was a brand that I was really interested in and I had been looking forward to straightening my hair and getting dolled up to go to that. I googled cold sore remedies and how to cure a cold sore and they all pointed me in the direction of cold sore patches, so I went to Boots on the first day to pick up a pack, and I bought the Compeed Invisible Cold Sore patches. I read the instructions and did everything I was told, applied them according to the packet instructions and nothing else. As far as I am concerned, I did everything right. 

The cold sore healed no quicker than it normally takes a cold sore to heal- in fact, I think it took longer than normal. I was a bit miffed about this, but nowhere near as miffed as I was when I discovered a week later, and over two weeks since the cold sore first appear, that I had been left with some discoloration along my lower lip where my cold sore was. The contour of my lip is clearly blurred and the area under my lip is still red. As far as I am concerned, using the cold sore patches in the manner prescribed has left me with a pretty obvious red mark on my lower lip where my cold sore used to be, almost a full two months after it first appeared. 

Now I know I am not maimed for life, but I'm feeling pretty annoyed that my lower lip has been left this way and I was not warned about it. Because the cold sore healed no quicker, and I have been left with a semi-circular red scar under my lip despite having followed the instructions to the word, I honestly can say I will never ever try cold sore patches again. My skin feels thinner in that part of my lip. The worst thing about it is that if I don't conceal it, it makes my mouth look asymmetrical. When applying a strong lip colour, particularly anything red or dark pink, it looks messy, and if I choose not to wear any makeup at all, it looks like I have a swollen lip from a distance. I find it difficult to take lip swatch photos for the blog now.

I'm mad on the hunt now for something to lessen the appearance of this scar, but I just wanted to set aside a few minutes to let you know of my experiences and let you know what happened to me when I used cold sore patches. Needless to say, I will never use any cold sore patch again unless it specifically guarantees not to scar my lip and even then I will be skeptical! If you thinking it might be a quick fix, I'd think again.

Have you had any adverse experiences with cold sore patches?


  1. Aisling that's shocking, I never would have considered that at all before using something like that. I just use zovirax when I get the tingle and it usually stops it in its tracks, I hope you have complained to Compeed and told them about your experience? If it's left that much of a noticeable difference they'd want to mention that risk on the packaging, that's very serious.

  2. And here I was thinking it was just me. My story's similar to yours, so won't go into detail, but I not only found that they made things worse in the long run - they would come loose shortly after application, first around the edges so I looked like I had something worse in my face, and when they fell off they'd take the scabs with them, leaving an open sore to bleed.

  3. And I might add, I've tried every remedy on the Norwegian market, and some would indeed help me through a few sores. But bring on the second or third tube of some ointment or other and the sore will be laughing in my face.

  4. That's absolutely insane! You should get a bit of Bio Oil on the case and see if it helps clear up the redness. I feel your pain after being left with scaring around my nose thanks to steroid creams. It can really get you down even though it's such a small little issue. x

  5. I've got a pack of these ready in waiting for my next cold sore, I'm not sure I'm going to use them now. Thank you for sharing your experience with us.

    I had some acne scarring on my cheeks and used the B. Even Skin Tone Corrector from Superdrug, it's completely gone now. I'd recommend giving that a go. It's half price at the moment too.

  6. I have suffered terribly with coldsores since childhood. I get one every Christmas, every family photo there is me with a whopper coldsore on my lip! There is no catching it early with the tingle or anything, and none of the creams ever worked for me. I seem to have got them under control in the last few years, since the doctor gave me aciclovir tablets they certainly have reduced in frequency.
    I've never had any issues with the compeed patches, in fact they didn't seem to do anything for me. I don't think they contain aciclovir, they don't speed up the healing process. they are good for wearing under make up and lipstick though. i don't want to contaminate any of my precious lipsticks with coldsore germs! so i think they are good for that reason, but other than that I don't see what benefit they are for healing coldsores. It's a shame you were left with a bit of a scar, hopefully it will clear up soon.

    Also I've started taking vitamin B tablets every morning since christmas when i had a really bad break out of multiple cold sores. i know it's not really meant to be used on coldsores but i was desperate one day and put some fucidin ointment on it, and i swear, the cold sore never appeared as aggressively as normal and it cleared up in just a couple of days! also i've never heard of l-lysine, what is that?

    sorry this turned out to be a long comment but coldsores have been the bane of my life, and i hate them :(

  7. Happened to me too. Had the worst one ever and I used them. Its been discoloured and appearing scarred since. Almost as if my body never had the chance to heal like it should naturally. Skin seems thinner. My lip is red. Fuck you compeed.

  8. I am not a big fan of cold sore patches myself, but there are some which I believe (depending on someone’s skin) may present good results. I think the best alternative for anyone should be natural remedies. I found some resourceful cold sores natural remedies here:

  9. A compeed patch made my cold sore bigger than it was, fluid would collect under it then spread.

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