Mother who suffered painful cold sores every month that made her ‘depressed’ reveals a £7.95 liquorice lip balm has almost completely cleared her symptoms

  • Sarah Morgan, 39, from Cardiff, Wales, suffered from painful cold sores for years
  • Legal secretary suspects she caught virus from a family friend when in her 20s
  • She used to get outbreak every four to six weeks but can now go months without
  • Mother-of-one praised Lip Q Liquorice Balm for helping her with the cold sores

A mother-of-one who has been ‘blighted by cold sores for 18 years’ has revealed how a £7.95 lip balm made from liquorice has helped her control the virus.

Sarah Morgan, 39, from Cardiff, Wales, had her first cold sore outbreak when she was 21, and believes she picked the virus up from a family friend’s daughter.

The legal secretary explained how she would have a painful cold sore every four to six weeks and the pain could spread up into her cheekbone.’

As well as the physical symptoms, Sarah explained how there was an emotional impact, too, saying:  

Sarah said: ‘Cold sores make you feel generally run down and I would sometimes feel depressed when I had a bad outbreak. 

She was also ‘terrified’ she might pass on a cold sore to her daughter Autumn, now five, when she was born, and avoided kissing her properly for weeks.

Sarah Morgan, 39, from Cardiff, Wales, pictured, has revealed how using a £7.95 lip balm containing liquorice has helped her control her painful cold sore outbreaks

Sarah said she had read babies immune systems cannot fight the virus and she was ‘so fearful of contaminating’ Autumn.

However Sarah’s life has been transformed after she discovered the Lip Q Liquorice Balm four years ago and she now uses it everyday. 

Research by Hamadan University of Medical Science, published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, has shown that liquorice root has the ability to weaken the cold sore virus which lies dormant in the skin between outbreaks. 

Sarah explained how when she has a cold sore, pictured, the pain can spread into her cheekbone and up the side of her face

Sarah said: ‘Cold sores have blighted my life for 18 years and have at times made me feel very low as they make me feel dirty and embarrassed.

‘My first cold sore outbreak was in 2001 when I was 21. I’m fairly certain that I caught the virus from a little girl who was a friend of the family. 

‘I remember her being around me while I was doing my makeup and she had a few visible cold sores.

‘I didn’t see her use any of my make-up but I have since learnt that cold sores can be passed on through touch alone. She may have just scratched or touched her sores and then held my makeup or brushes to have passed it on to me.’

The mother-of-one said explained that a few days after this she noticed a ‘spot’ on her lip but didn’t realise it was a cold sore at first.

Sarah said that the cream given to her by a chemist, who recognised the spot as a cold sore, made her lip swell up and she had an allergic reaction.

She said: ‘From that first outbreak, I have suffered with cold sores every month or so, usually around my period, for years. 

The mother-of-one, pictured now, believes she picked up the cold sore virus from a family friend’s daughter when she was 21 and has had an outbreak every four to six weeks since then

‘I have seen a few doctors who have prescribed similar cold sore creams to the one that gave me an allergic reaction. Due to my initial reaction I was too scared to use them and just suffered.’

Sarah said that she started researching cold sores and was ‘horrified to discover that they stay contagious for up to 14 days even when the scab of the sore had gone.’

She said: ‘For me this meant half of the time I was contagious as I got them roughly once a month.’

Sarah, pictured now, explained how she had used been prescribed cold sore creams but due to her initial reaction she was too scared to use them and ‘just suffered’ with the outbreaks

The legal secretary, pictured with her brother, said that her cold sores made her feel ‘run down’ and she would sometimes ‘feel depressed’ if she had a really bad one

‘I feel self-conscious when I get an outbreak. It’s not something you can hide easily. They really hurt. The pain can spread up into my cheekbone and side of my face.

‘My worst cold sores have been when I was going through a very stressful time, like when a relationship broke down or when I moved house or I changed my job.

‘I can’t say that my cold sores were responsible for the breakdown of any of my relationships, but they certainly didn’t help. They always made me feel fearful of intimacy when I had them as I was worried about passing one on to my partner. 

‘Kissing often tends to trigger a cold sore. I once had a boyfriend accuse me of being unfaithful when I got a cold sore as he thought I had caught it from another guy.

Sarah started using Lip Q Liquorice balm, pictured, four years ago and the frequency of her outbreaks have since cut down significantly with her once going 18 months without one

Sarah said when she started researching cold sores, one pictured, she was ‘horrified to discover that they stay contagious for up to 14 days even when the scab of the sore had gone’

‘I’m single now and cold sores have definitely knocked my confidence when dating. I’ve cancelled dates with guys if I have felt the tingle of a cold sore as I knew I was contagious.’

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. 

Many feel an itch, tingle or shooting pain before a cold sore reappears.

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 

Sarah added that she became ‘terrified’ of passing on the cold sore virus to her daughter, especially when she was a newborn.

She said: ‘I’m also terrified that I may pass a cold sore on to my daughter. I would hate her or any partner I am with to suffer the way I have from cold sores. 

‘I was especially on edge when my five-year old daughter, Autumn, was a baby as I had read that a baby’s immune system cannot fight the virus that causes cold sores, and they could potentially die if infected. 

‘I was so fearful of contaminating her with the virus that I did not kiss her properly for weeks after she was born.’

Since getting cold sores at the age of 21 Sarah has done lots of research on the virus and four years ago discovered Lip Q Liquorice Balm. 

She said: ‘I thought it would be worth a try as I would try anything to suffer less and the balm was natural and not expensive and so didn’t feel like a con job.

‘I ordered the balm and it arrived in the post while I was still suffering with a sore. I waited for the sore to heal completely before I used it in case it made the sore worse.

‘Since first using the liquorice balm I went from suffering with a sore almost every four to six weeks to only having two in the following year.

‘I have used the balm every day since and now I only get a cold sore about once a year and they are smaller in size and don’t last as long. I once went for 18 months once without an outbreak.’

Last year Sarah went away for the weekend and forgot her balm. She said her lips immediately became dry and tingly and she had a breakout.

Sarah said: ‘The pain was so bad I had to go to the doctor who prescribed me with Acyclovir to help reduce the pain.

In the past Sarah, pictured now, had cancelled dates because she felt a cold sore coming on 

The mother, pictured now, also explained how she was ‘terrified’ to pass the virus onto her daughter, now five, and didn’t ‘kiss her properly for weeks after she was born’

‘After the London experience, I now make sure I always have a liquorice balm with me no matter where I am. I keep one in my car, one in my handbag, and one at the side of my bed. 

‘I can honestly say I couldn’t live without liquorice balm now. It makes me feel more confident and in control of my cold sores. This simple balm has changed my life.’

Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus and once the virus is contracted they can reappear, especially during times of stress or during the summer months.

The liquorice lip balm was found to be effective in a double-blind trial, carried out by the Herpes Viruses Association. 

It reduced the severity and duration of outbreaks for over 73 per cent of subjects tested and 83 per cent of subjects using the liquorice balm reported experiencing fewer outbreaks than when using their conventional treatments.  

Sarah, pictured now, said using the liquorice balm has changed her life and she makes sure to always have one on her so she can stop any cold sores as soon as she feels them starting

The key cold sore fighting ingredient in liquorice is glycyrrhizic acid which 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 showed that liquorice has the ability to weaken the cold sore virus which lies dormant in the skin between outbreaks. 

Marian Nicholson from the Herpes Viruses Association said: ‘Quite often results which look impressive in a test tube are not as effective in real life testers. 

‘However, Skin Shop’s Liquorice Balm has performed well with respondents showing a marked reduction in severity and duration of their cold sore outbreaks. In light of this research we are happy to recommend this treatment to our members.’

Liquorice Balm is 100% natural and is FREE from parabens, perfumes, MI and SLS and comes in a plastic-free 30ml vintage recyclable metal tin.

The Liquorice Balm used in the HVA trial is available from Skin Shop at £7.95 for 30g visit www.skinshop.co.uk

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