A woman who felt ‘self-conscious’ and and ‘ugly’ due to her frequent ‘painful’ cold sores has praised an £8.50 balm made from liquorice for helping to dramatically improve her symptoms in a matter of days.
Toni Curtis, 32, from Milton Keynes, who got her first cold sore at the age of 14-years-old, told how she’s spent more than £2,000 on lipsticks in the last ten years – due to having to ditch each product every time she got a new sore occurred.
‘Whenever I get a cold sore outbreak it makes me feel ugly and I walk around with this feeling that there is something wrong with me,’ she explained. ‘It’s the way people look at you when you have one, and sometimes mine are really big and obvious.’
But Toni has since found an unlikely solution in the form of Lip Q Liquorice Balm, which she claims started working in just three days.
Toni Curtis, 32, from Milton Keynes, has praised a £8.50 balm made from liquorice for helping to dramatically improve her symptoms in days. Pictured, after applying the balm
The single mum said that whenever she got a cold sore outbreak, it makes her feel ugly. Pictured left, before applying the balm and right, after
‘They run in my family so I guess I probably caught them off someone from within my family when I was younger,’ explained the single mum, who works as an Optical Assistant.
‘I get the worst outbreaks when I am anxious or stressed; my cold sores are totally linked to my emotions.’
Toni has praised the £8.50 balm for helping to improve the symptoms of her cold sores
Toni went on to explain how she used to go to the doctors a lot about them, but says there was very little available by way of treatment.
‘I often tried treatments which made my cold sores even bigger,’ she explained.
‘I took a course of tablets once too that was prescribed to me by my doctor, but they didn’t really have any effect either.
‘I have also tried a few alternatives to medication. I tried fresh aloe vera from the plant as was told this would help. It did for about two days but only made my lips very dry and took ages for my cold sore to go.’
Over the years, Toni was back and forth to the doctors but says there was little available in the way of treatment. Pictured, after applying the balm
At its worst, Toni says the painful outbreaks made her too embarrassed to show her face to anyone. Pictured, after applying the balm
HOW DOES THE LIQUORICE BALM WORK?
A lip balm containing a highly concentrated extract of liquorice helps protect lips from cold sores, according to a study carried out by the Herpes Virus Association.
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.
Research published in the US Journal of Clinical Investigation has shown that liquorice has the ability to weaken the cold sore virus which lies dormant in the skin between outbreaks.
Unlike conventional treatments, due to its naturally derived ingredients, the balm can be worn at all times without any negative side-effects, meaning that it could be used before and during festivals to prevent cold sore outbreaks.
In her late twenties, Toni says she went through a tough couple of years emotionally and noticed she was getting cold sores more and more and they were getting bigger and increasingly painful.
‘Early last year I had one of my most painful outbreaks ever and it made me not want to show my face to anyone as I felt so self-conscious,’ she said.
‘Not only did it look dreadful it was very painful and made it hard to eat and drink.
While I had it I stopped socialising altogether and for a few days I didn’t even want to go to work.’
Toni also says dating is a nightmare if you get regular cold sores.
‘As a single mum it’s not easy to navigate the dating scene, but with cold sores thrown into the mix it did make things even harder sometimes,’ she explained.
‘I was actually in the middle of a new relationship when I had the really awful outbreak last year.
‘Although he was very understanding, I felt so conscious of my mouth and was far more worried than I normally am about what he thought of me. It really destroyed my confidence.
‘I spent a lot of time thinking “why me?” Cold sores can make you feel very sorry for yourself.
‘It’s awful as you know there are others out there with far worse problems, but they are so obvious and so painful that it’s hard to put on a brave face sometimes.’
Toni says she a makeup lover and her favourite product is lipstick.
‘I really love wearing lipstick, but every time I get a cold sore I have to bin my latest one as I get worried the virus will get into the lipstick and give me another one every time I use it again,’ she said. ‘As a result I have spent a small fortune on lipsticks.’
Toni also says dating is a nightmare if you get regular cold sores. Pictured, with her partner Chris, cold-sore free
Toni has spent around £2, 000 on lipsticks over the years because every time she gets a cold sore, she had to throw the product in the bin. Pictured, after applying the product
What causes cold sores and what are they like?
Herpes viruses cause cold sores, which most commonly appear on the lips or genitals.
Around seven in 10 people in the UK are infected with the viruses. However, only around one in three experience symptoms.
Cold sores on the lips most commonly get passed on by being kissed by someone with an active cold sore.
They begin as a small red patch that blisters before bursting, leaving a raw area that scabs.
Cold sores that appear on the face are most commonly caused by the herpes simplex type 1 virus.
Type 2 mainly affects the genitals.
It is rare for cold sores to spread away from the site they first appeared in.
Cold sores can reappear if triggered by stress, illness, alcohol or too much sunlight.
This is because the virus stays in a nerve junction near the spinal cord.
Antiviral medication may be prescribed if someone frequently suffers from outbreaks.
Keeping sores moisturised can stop them cracking and becoming painful.
Source: Herpes Viruses Association
The single mum continued: ‘People can be quite insensitive about cold sores when they see you have them.
‘They make jokes and constantly stare at your mouth.
‘I know they don’t mean to cause any offence but it’s not easy to have a sense of humour about something that affects your life so much.
About 18 months ago, Toni found out about Lip Q Liquorice Balm via her Instagram, where she follows a lot of platforms of people with cold sores and also support groups.
‘The product seemed too simple to be real, but I ordered some any way as there were so many reviews on it,’ she explained.
‘I felt some must be for real. It was also quite cheap and so I felt I had nothing to lose.
‘Frankly it was one of the best decisions I have ever made.
‘I have not had a flare-up half as bad as I normally would since using the Liquorice Balm.
‘It manages somehow to prolong the time between outbreaks considerably and when you do get an outbreak, the sore seems to be half the size with less swelling.
‘It goes away in a few days rather than weeks.’
Toni says having the product by her bed and in her handbag has hugely reduced her anxiety about her cold sores.
‘I barely worry about them now because firstly they come a lot less frequently and when they do, I know they are not going to really be a big deal,’ she explained.
‘They just look like a little bump now or even just a cut on my lip, often friends will not even notice I have a cold sore.’
This is by far the best product I’ve ever used to treat my cold sores.