National Survey Uncovers the Truth About Cold Sores, Finds Women Go to Great Lengths to Conceal

PARSIPPANY, N.J., Oct. 4, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare today released results from a new national survey of female cold sore sufferers, revealing that cold sores impact many dimensions of a woman's life, including everyday activities, relationships and confidence. Women report feeling self-conscious (86 percent), unattractive (77 percent) and embarrassed (72 percent) with a cold sore. In fact, two-thirds of women say a cold sore feels like the worst thing in the world and that they wouldn't wish it on their worst enemy. GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) recently introduced Abreva® Conceal, a clear, non-medicated patch that covers cold sores, providing a smooth surface to apply makeup on top.

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"Cold sores are more than just a health or beauty issue; they're a confidence issue," said Carmindy, a professional makeup artist from TLC's TV show What Not to Wear. "I've done makeup for so many different women – from models, to moms, to young professionals, and I've seen how a cold sore can ruin a woman's day and seriously derail her confidence and self-esteem. I've also never had the right product to cover them until now; Abreva® Conceal provides a simple solution."

Abreva® Conceal uses MicroAir technology, which allows air in while keeping contaminants out. Once the cold sore blister has appeared, Abreva® Concealcan be placed over it, creating a covered, protected environment for the cold sore for up to eight hours. It can be used with your normal makeup routine – whether that's liquid or powder foundation, lipstick or lip gloss – and provides a smooth surface so that makeup can be applied on top of the patch. Carmindy teamed up with GSK to show consumers how to use the product in a new demonstration video.

"About 80 million Americans suffer from cold sores in the United States, which can be unsightly and sometimes painful. Our research illustrates the social and emotional impact cold sores can have and the need for products like Abreva® Conceal," said Dr. Vidhu Bansal, Director of Medical Affairs of GSK Consumer Healthcare. "GSK wanted to provide cold sore sufferers with an option to conceal their cold sores so they don't have to hide from the world. Abreva® Conceal helps sufferers face the day with confidence, even with a cold sore."

The Undercover Cold Sore Survey

The Undercover Cold Sore Survey of more than 1,000 women also shows that sufferers go to extreme lengths to cover their cold sores. Nine out of ten respondents noted a cold sore is an ugly surprise and are bothered that there is no way to prepare for one. More than one-third have stayed home because of a cold sore, and one in four women have lied about what a cold sore is. To cover their cold sores, women have even turned to rubbing alcohol, nail polish remover and garlic. Yet 83 percent reported they have never been able to successfully cover up a cold sore, and more than three-quarters (77 percent) reported they are looking for a product specifically designed to cover a cold sore.

Cold sores affect a woman's confidence, including in the work place.

  • Nearly nine out of 10 women (88 percent) don't feel confident with a cold sore, and 83 percent worry about what people are thinking.
  • Approximately three quarters (74 percent) don't like to spend more time in public than absolutely necessary with a cold sore.
  • Approximately 80 percent of respondents also reported feeling less confident or assertive at work or school because of a cold sore, and approximately one-half of respondents avoided people at work or school (53 percent) or social events after work (51 percent).
  • Women feel more self-conscious with a cold sore than food stuck between their teeth, a patch of pimples on their face, or a hickey.

Relationships and intimacy suffer as a result of cold sores and can even impact the biggest day of a woman's life, her wedding day.

  • Seventy-one percent avoided being intimate with their partner. In fact, nearly two-thirds (65 percent) would rather not kiss their boyfriend for a month than have a cold sore on a first date (35 percent).
  • In turn, approximately one in three (34 percent) sufferers said their partner avoided being intimate with them.
  • Nearly one-quarter (23 percent) of respondents also reported they cancelled or rescheduled a date because of a cold sore.
  • The majority (63 percent) also reported that they couldn't imagine having anything worse than a cold sore on their wedding day. In fact, 9 in 10 women (91 percent) would have a photo edited to remove the cold sore.
  • A majority of brides were nervous about getting a cold sore on their wedding day. In fact, brides reported that they were more nervous about a cold sore (61 percent) than looking heavier (47 percent) or not having hair (48 percent) or makeup (36 percent) look the way they wanted.

Abreva® Conceal is available to retailers nationwide. For more information about Abreva® Conceal, please visit and to see Carmindy's demonstration video, visit

About Cold Sores

A cold sore is a blister that forms on or around the lips and is usually caused by the Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV-1). HSV-1 usually affects the lips or mouth, but can spread to the eyes or genitals. Most cold sore sufferers aren't exactly sure when they first encountered the virus because HSV-1 is usually contracted early in childhood. While it's likely that 90 percent of adults have been infected by the cold sore virus, not everyone gets cold sore outbreaks. Actually, only 20 percent to 40 percent of people will experience cold sores.

About the Survey

The survey was designed the gather insights on the emotional and social impact of cold sores. The survey reveals the impact of cold sores has many dimensions of a person's life including everyday activities, relationships and confidence. The survey demonstrates there is a significant unmet need for a product like Abreva® Conceal to help women cover and protect their cold sore while it heals. Abreva® Conceal covers your cold sore in an instant, and allows the "real you" to shine through and face the day with confidence.

Research for the cold sore sufferer survey was conducted and fielded by Edelman Berland: 1,022 adult female cold sore sufferers, who experience two or more cold sores annually, were questioned. The survey was fielded online between August 23 and August 31, 2012 and consisted of 30 questions.

About Abreva

Abreva is the only FDA-approved over-the-counter product to speed the healing of cold sores. Abreva contains 10 percent docosanol.

About GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare

GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare is one of the world's largest over-the-counter consumer healthcare products companies. Its well-known brands include Nicorette® and NicoDerm® CQ, the leading smoking cessation products; alli, the only FDA-OTC weight loss aid; as well as medicine cabinet staples, Aquafresh®, Sensodyne®, Tums® and Breathe Right®, all of which are trademarks owned by and/or licensed to GlaxoSmithKline Group of Companies.

About GlaxoSmithKline®

GlaxoSmithKline – one of the world's leading research-based pharmaceutical and healthcare companies – is committed to improving the quality of human life by enabling people to do more, feel better and live longer. For company information visit:

Carmindy is a paid spokesperson for Abreva® Conceal but her opinions are her own.

Media Relations:

GSK Consumer Healthcare

Deborah Bolding

(973) 889-2344


Catherine McCormack

(212) 819-4816

SOURCE GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare