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What's the best way to conceal cold sores? Shape shares the beauty tips that you need.

This is a question asked by many of the estimated 40 million Americans who suffer from recurring cold sores (caused by the herpes simplex virus, type 1).

First, apply a warm washcloth to the area to soften and remove any hardened residue, and then dab on a healing cream like A+D Original Ointment ($3.29; at drugstores). Creams like this create a protected environment in which the cold sores can heal faster and provide a barrier that shields exposed nerve endings from the air, which can cause pain, says Libby Edwards, M.D., associate professor of clinical dermatology at Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, N.C. (Just make sure to wash your hands after touching the sore to prevent the virus from spreading.)

Then, using a cotton swab or disposable makeup sponge, apply a cream-stick concealer in a color that matches your skin tone exactly, says Kimara Ahnert, a New York City-based makeup artist. (And make sure to use a new swab or sponge each time you reapply, so you don't contaminate your makeup with the herpes simplex virus.)

Next, blend and set with powder. Recommended tools: beComing by Avon Hide the Evidence Concealing Quick Click ($14; 866-I-BECOME) and Maybelline Shine Free Oil Control Translucent Pressed Powder ($5.60; at drugstores).

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