If you have an important job interview on the horizon, there are various ways to conceal your cold sore. Thanks to various makeup tricks and OTC treatment patches, you can now enter your interview with complete confidence.

Although certain concealing methods can only be applied at specific stages of the healing process, any cold sore can be masked. This is very encouraging if your blister has the potential to impact your professional confidence.

While early treatment can heal your cold sore before your interview, some blisters simply strike at the wrong time. This is why understanding your options is so important.

You will learn more about cold sores, methods of concealment, and safety tips that help to prevent infection. If a cold sore threatens to put a damper on your big interview, we are here to help you to navigate the bumpy road.

Cold Sore Stages & Why They Matter

Understanding these stages can allow you to diagnose your situation properly. Not every stage is safe for concealing measures. In fact, a serious cold sore infection can potentially occur if a sore is covered while the blister is open and active. In the other hand, occlusion is well recognized as the treatment of choice for different types of wounds and herpetic cracks are not an exception.[1]

Let’s take a detailed look at each stage and how your cold sore should evolve. Understanding the evolution of your blister(s) can aid in your decision-making as it relates to masking the problem area.

What Are the 5 Stages of a Cold Sore?

Prodromal Stage: Because cold sores do not appear overnight, the initial stage is quite benign regarding symptoms. Many sufferers often notice a slight tingle at the infection site. The tightness of the skin in that area is also common. During the duration of this stage, the area can become red, swollen, and even itchy.

Blister Stage: This is the stage is the first true visual sign of a cold sore. Usually grouped in tiny clusters, these blisters can be quite painful. As the stage progresses, they will fill with fluid and become red and swollen. This is when cold sores are considered to be active.

Ulcer Stage: Regarded as the most painful stage, the ulcer stage is when cold sore blisters burst. Typically viewed as the midpoint of the cycle, the ulcer stage is the most difficult stage to conceal. Because cold sores are highly contagious at this point, extra care should be administered. This stage is marked by redness and a potential red ring around the infected area.

Scab Stage: Medically conducive for concealing, the scab stage is the first sign of healing. The exposed blister slowly begins to dry out at this time in the cycle. Although painful cracks can potentially form and even bleed, the scab stage is typically incident free for most.

Healing Stage: The final stage of the cold sore cycle involves the birth of new skin. Commonly referred to as the healing stage, this is where true relief is found. Typically occurring a little more than one week after the prodromal stage, the skin at the infected location is often pink and tender.

Fever Blister Concealer: Invisible Cold Sore Patches

Putting your best foot forward is paramount during a job interview. While looking your best is significant, having confidence is critical. If your cold sore is impacting your self-esteem, concealing your blister is likely your ultimate goal.

Let’s explore a few OTC coverage methods:

  • Designed with the sole purpose of hiding your embarrassing blister, the Quantum Health Lip Cold Sore Bandage is high quality. Able to blend with virtually any skin tone, this product is meant for ultimate coverage. In addition to concealing your blister, this particular patch also medicates the area. Quite easy to apply, you can also cover this patch with lip gloss for additional invisibility.
  • One of the most well-documented patches on this site is the Compeed Invisible Cold Sore Patch. Designed to medicate and promote fast healing[2], the Compeed patch is perfect for hiding your blister. Easy to apply, it can help to restore your confidence in time for your interview.
  • Considered to be a leader in cold sore treatment, the Abreva Conceal Cold Sore Patch is a worthy selection, but it’s not medicated.

How to Conceal a Cold Sore with Makeup

Although concealing a cold sore with makeup is certainly a wise decision, there are some guidelines involved. Following specific steps will not only help with coverage but also prevent infection.

While using an OTC patch is safer, makeup coverage can get you through an interview. In fact, depending on your look, makeup coverage can benefit your overall appearance. Even potentially accentuating your positive features.

Noted below are the basic safety tips and application instructions:

  • Do not use makeup as a concealer until the latter portion of the scab stage. While it might be tempting to take the makeup route earlier, this is not advised. If you feel compelled to cover your sore at the blister stage, for example, use an OTC  cold sore patch.
  • Regarding makeup coverage, high concentrated concealers work best. It is also wise to use creamy texture concealers rather than liquid. When it comes to the application amount, think small. Just a tiny amount will do wonders.
  • If you have a fair amount of redness in conjunction with your blister, use different shades of concealer. Something as simple as a yellow base concealer can neutralize redness.
  • As far as the direct application is concerned, the use of a disposable makeup sponge is vital. Never use your regular makeup materials to conceal a cold sore. The use of routine products can potentially result in HSV-1 contamination. It is better to be safe than sorry.
  • The sponge (mentioned above), high concentrated concealers, and finishing powder are all you will need. If you apply makeup on a regular basis you likely already know how to cover a blemish. The same general rules will apply.

OTC Treatments to Heal Cold Sores Fast

Although OTC patches and makeup can provide last-minute relief, the goal is cold sore healing. This can be achieved in a very short time if you tackle your symptoms at an early stage.

If you know if have a job interview next week, for example, it is possible to heal your cold sore fast. This will enable you to focus on the important matters at hand while avoiding concealing measures entirely.

Documented and reviewed on this site, listed below are just a few proven OTC cold sore healers.

While cold sores OTC treatments are more extensive than ever, the selections noted above can help you get a better understanding of the products available.

If you are in the midst of your first cold sore outbreak you are potentially unfamiliar with OTC options. Like so many medical ailments, it is common not to give certain issues a second thought until they happen to you. That is certainly human nature.

If you are on the brink of a major job interview, we encourage you to visit your local drug or grocery store. You might be surprised to find that spending just a few dollars can help clear your cold sore in just a few days.

Job interviews and cold sores

Cold Sores and Job Interview: Risk vs. Reward

While concealing methods and OTC treatments are common options, you do have a third choice to consider. Supreme confidence.

Speaking to the topic of a job interview, learning to let the rough end drag could be a positive attribute. Having a little faith and courage in your natural abilities could be the ultimate concealer.

If you are preparing for a big interview, one thing is already clear. Your resume is impressive. This directly implies that your potential employer is more interested in what you have to offer rather than if your cold sore is healed. View this as a positive and be confident regardless of your appearance.

Life is all about rolling with the punches, and this topic is no different. While we encourage you to treat and conceal your sore, preparing for the worst-case scenario is also wise.

To summarize:

  • Find the confidence from within to be successful. Do not let your fever blister impact your interview even if treatment fails to work.
  • Your resume got you in the door. You likely will not be refused the job because of a blister that will heal in one week.


Although cold sores can be a bit scary before a job interview, they can certainly be concealed and treated. By simply being proactive and seeking the best OTC medication you should be fine in time for your job interview.

While makeup concealing measures can work in the short-term, cold sore healing should always be the goal. If you begin to treat your symptoms during the prodromal stage, you can potentially heal the issue before the blisters become a noticeable problem.[3]

Finally, never underestimate the power of confidence. It can be better than any concealer, and it will never break the bank. We hope this article has served you well as you prepare for your job interview.


  1. Patel A.R., Romanelli P., Roberts B., Kirsner R.S. Treatment of herpes simplex virus infection: Rationale for occlusion. Adv. Skin Wound Care. 2007;20:408–412. doi: 10.1097/01.ASW.0000280199.58260.62.
  2. Karlsmark, T. , Goodman, J. , Drouault, Y. , Lufrano, L. , Pledger, G. Randomized clinical study comparing Compeed® cold sore patch to acyclovir cream 5% in the treatment of herpes simplex labialis. Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, 22: 1184-1192. doi:10.1111/j.1468-3083.2008.02761.x
  3. Opstelten W, Neven AK, Eekhof J. Treatment and prevention of herpes labialis. Canadian Family Physician. 2008;54(12):1683-1687.