How to keep your lips kissable

June 24 is National Kissing Day, when the nation is encouraged to lock lips and keep romance alive and kicking.

According to the organisers of National Kissing Day, kissing releases happy hormones called endorphins and raises your heart rate while making your pupils dilate – which may explain why 66 percent of people close their eyes when they kiss.

Nobody really knows why humans kiss. But the most accepted view is that it lets us chose potential mates by sampling their genetic make up. However, one thing that’s sure to put anyone off puckering up is a cold sore.

Caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV), cold sores are little blisters that develop on the lips or around the mouth. One in five people in the UK is thought to be affected by recurring cold sores, with most having been infected with HSV when they were children.

What can you do?

If you get recurring cold sores, you may find that they pop up whenever you’re under a lot of stress. While there may not be much you can do to avoid stress in your life, you could take steps to relax more or learn calming techniques such as deep breathing or meditation.

Keeping your lips hydrated may also help, as it can stop your lips from cracking or becoming too dry. Ask your local Careway pharmacist to recommend a lip balm to help keep your lips moisturised (use a lip balm with at least SPF15 sun protection when you’re outside as some people find sunshine triggers cold sores).

If you have a cold sore, there are treatments you can try that may be useful:

  • Ask your pharmacist to recommend an over-the-counter anti-cold-sore remedy, as some may help cold sores to heal if you use them at the first signs of an outbreak. Some cold sore creams may also help to ease pain and irritation.
  • You can also buy cold sore patches at pharmacies. You simply put one on top of a cold sore before it bursts, which may help it to heal more quickly (the patch may also help prevent the virus from spreading and causing more cold sores).
  • If your cold sore is painful, your pharmacist can also recommend an over-the-counter painkiller that may provide relief.

Meanwhile, it’s important to prevent the virus from spreading – not just to other parts of your body but also to other people. Try not to touch them or pick at the sores, and always wash your hands thoroughly when you’ve applied cold sore cream (never let someone else use your cold sore cream).

Also avoid contact with pregnant women, newborn babies and people who may have a compromised immune system (such as those having chemotherapy treatment or people with HIV).

And as for kissing? Wait until your cold sore has completely healed before kissing or having any other close physical contact with anyone.

Your local Careway pharmacist can advise you about treatments for cold sores and tell you more about preventing them from spreading. Use our Pharmacy Finder to locate a Careway pharmacy where you live.