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Compeed Patches - Cold Sore no More?

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16.07.2011

Advantages:
Does most of what they claim .  Definitely worth trying .  Good value for money if they work for you

Disadvantages:
Vague Instructions !  Larger/different shapes would help .  Don't quite hide as claimed .

Recommendable Yes:

Detailed rating:

Value for Money

Side effects

Effectiveness

Price£5.00 - £7.90

14 Ciao members have rated this review on average: very helpful See ratings
exceptional by (7%):
  1. rosebud2001
very helpful by (93%):
  1. Ailran
  2. Novabug
  3. RICHADA
and 11 other members

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Compeed Total Care Cold Sore Patches

For the small minority of the population who suffer from cold sore symptoms, if my own little theory is correct you’ll probably find yourself in one of two categories: The first being you’ve been lucky enough to find a treatment or combination of treatments which really does the business for you. Feel the tingle, apply the magic potion, outbreak nipped in the bud before the cold sore even gets a chance to show face. Perfect. Good on you, and frankly I’m more than a little jealous. If you’re in my second category however you’ll have tried every remedy out there, from pharmacy/prescription sourced remedies to any range of weird and wonderful homeopathic treatment, and still not found a solution that deals with things in a timely and satisfactory manner.

So I’d expect by now, if they’d even bothered to read this at all, my category one subjects will have most likely nodded their agreement, checked their stock of whatever panacea or elixir that does the trick for them and already decided not to bother reading any further, proceeding with their wonderful lives all happy and blister free. My poor category two guinea pigs however will by now most likely have unblinkingly zoned-in to about 4 inches from the screen, oblivious to all around them and are speed reading this, Johnny-Five style in the hope that this might offer them a glimmer of hope for some respite from the crusty, painful little monsters that periodically afflict them. And hopefully for some of you it might do just that.
Not a patch on Zovirax?

This potential ray of light comes in the form of Compeed Cold Sore patches, manufactured by cosmetics giant Johnson & Johnson. Each patch is a translucent plastic circle of 1.5cm diameter with a self adhesive side to stick to your face, and a non-self adhesive side to… well, not stick to your finger I suppose. The way each patch is packaged is quite clever – each one is not only individually plastic wrapped but also attached to two separate non-stick paper tabs. To apply, you peel off one tab exposing half of the circular patch, which you then use to hold the patch and apply to the sore. You then carefully roll the other tab off and allow the other side of the tab to take hold. Takes some practice, but saves you getting too stuck in with your fingers, and it’s definitely easier to handle the big paper tab with half the patch exposed than it would be the little sticky patch alone. Well thought out but your first attempt will require some concentration! Presented in a slim clamshell-type plastic case are 15 patches, for which the following seven benefits are claimed:

  1. “Heals fast”
  2. “Instantly hides cold sores”
  3. “Reduces tingling, itching and burning”
  4. “Reduces redness and swelling”
  5. “Relieves pain”
  6. “Reduces blistering and helps prevent scabbing and crusting”
  7. “Reduces risk of contamination from the wound”

According to the pretty informative instruction leaflet enclosed in the box, the patches use something called Hydrocolloid-075 particles to achieve this. I have no idea what these are or do but I will admit I thought the only way to treat the herpes virus was with the antiviral drug Acyclovir, administered either orally as tablets on prescription, or more commonly applied topically in a 5% concentration in a cream such as Zovirax, which all cold sore suffers will know well. However, as I’m unfortunate enough not to get the initial warning tingle that many feel allowing them to pre-empt a cold-sore attack, I decided to give these a try as usually the first symptom I get is the blister itself making an appearance, by which time it’s too late to get the maximum benefit from applying the cream. The procedure as per the instructions were pretty simple – make sure the area’s clean, apply it without touching the sticky side with your fingers then forget about it until it starts to come off in about 8 hours, then you put another one on. Brilliant, no messing about with cream 5 times a day and as you’re keeping you fingers well away from the area you don’t have to nip to the bathroom to wash your hands after applying. A nice little touch is the inclusion of a little mirror in the box which helps with application no end. Just means that again, you can apply the patch at your desk or wherever without having to nip off to find a mirror.
How they work – Open to interpretation!
Ok well I’ll admit I didn’t really read the instructions all that well, if you’re like me, headstrong, impatient, think you know best – a bloke, in other words, you’ll probably have put the patch on and left it. Which is pretty much the right thing to do, but unfortunately I’d scanned past the part that said the patches should only last about 8 hours. I’d left mine on for, ooh, about 24-ish. By which time the sores were creeping out from underneath the patches and were really red and angry looking. So the new application procedure became - look in mirror, swear at these useless effin’ patches, re-read the instructions, feel rather daft, then retract statement about the effectiveness of the patches. A lesson learned the hard way and culminating in probably the most evil outbreak I’ve ever had. I genuinely looked like I’d fallen off a bike. Down a mountain. Onto a very hard rock, breaking my fall with my face.

So I’d made a bit of a cock of that, and as the sores were now so large the patches no longer covered them, I had to brave it out with the cream on that one. However the instructions don’t directly say remove after 8 hours, rather it says leave on until they fall off which should take about 8 hours. Maybe I’ve just got an unnaturally sticky face, but I can’t help feeling maybe it wasn’t all due to my daftness and that a bit of extra guidance from the manufacturer would have been helpful. Another helpful hint that I’ve found that is omitted from the leaflet is to not apply the patches on top of each other by overlapping as it pretty much nullifies the effect. I’m sure I read somewhere that viruses cannot survive in an oxygenated environment so maybe two patches on top of each other keeps oxygen out whereas one lets it come in. Possibly. Unfortunately this restricts the usefulness of the patches to cold sores that you can cover with a 1.5cm patch, which is a shame for the people who are unlucky enough to be visited by the really nasty 50p piece-sized clusters. Pity as some larger versions of these would be ideal for covering them up and keeping your fingers off if nothing else.

A Classic Cover-Up!

Which to be honest is what I think these patches are best at. Stopping fingers poking and scratching at things which are dying to be poked and scratched at but really need not to be. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been lying in bed with a cold sore, trying to keep my face off the pillow then finally getting to sleep, only to be woken by a sharp pain where I’ve subconsciously prodded at the sore. The very easy solution to this problem is to pop one of these things on before bedtime, so you don’t have to worry about keeping your infected face out of the bedclothes, and with the cooling effect of the patch your fingernails are less likely to get up to midnight mischief. And even if they do, the patches will put up a good fight. Especially if you have mutant superglue skin like mine. And as we all know, stress can trigger/exacerbate cold sores so the more good sleep you get the quicker you’re going to shake them off. Win-win.Anyway, since the initial misadventure I’ve used these a couple of times to good effect, but only wearing them at night. During the day I apply the Acyclovir cream as normal and pop one of these on before bed to stop germs getting in or out. I’m happy to report that this reduces the healing time from over a week to 3-4 days, depending on outbreak severity. The after-dusk wearing is no reflection on the aesthetic performance of the patches, they claim to be invisible and well, that’s a pretty accurate claim. Ok, up close in a mirror of course you can see them, but if you couldn’t then finding and removing them might be a bit of a mission! At a reasonable first glance, at normal face-face conversation distance these are as good as imperceptible. Whether or not they actually hide cold sores is debatable (how can putting something see-through on top of something hide it?) but they’re definitely a more discrete way of dealing with things than dabbing cream on your face times a day. And by all accounts the manufacturer’s claim that ladies can apply lipstick and makeup on top are correct. So I’m told. Ok, fine, my best Maybelline goes and stays on a treat on the weekend when I dress up and hit the town as Roxanne. All in the name of research, of course!
The Seven Claimed Benfits – yey or nay?

  1. “Heals fast”
    Yep, definitely speeds up the process so long as you don’t leave them on for more than 8hrs.
  2. “Instantly hides cold sores”
    Nah, doesn’t really hide them. Unless by reducing the inflammation you consider them to have been hidden.
  3. “Reduces tingling, itching and burning”
    Check. Definitely does the trick. Not sure if there’s some anaesthetic properties specifically included but even if it’s just due to covering the sore it definitely reduces discomfort.
  4. “Reduces redness and swelling”
    Yep, these patches definitely seen to do the trick and fairly quickly too.
  5. “Relieves pain”
    Yep, see point 3.
  6. “Reduces blistering and helps prevent scabbing and crusting”
    Again, the patches do seem to accelerate the healing process without the scabbing, peeling and re-scabbing you’d otherwise have to tolerate.
  7. “Reduces risk of contamination from the wound”
    I’ve not been out swabbing my bedclothes and fingers for traces of the virus but if the sore is covered up then it’s not going to be infectious.

So, by way of summary review these patches are a great help with the symptoms at every stage of a cold sore outbreak but be aware of the slightly vague instructions. They’re easy, quick and clean to apply due to the clever design and included mirror. They may not be quite the silver bullet for your cold sore werewolf but they’re definitely a good addition to your arsenal. It would however be handy if they did large patches for clusters of blisters or shapes ones for under your nose or the corner or your mouth, both commonly afflicted areas. They’re definitely good value for money at £5.00 upwards depending on where you shop for 15 patches, and if it helps beat back an outbreak, that’s a fiver well spent! Definitely worth a shot.
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Comments about this review »

RICHADA 27.07.2011 20:12

Not sure if this is actually a "minority interest" review - most folk I know have used Zovirax at one time or another. A very good review here. R.

rosebud2001 16.07.2011 12:19

Gosh these do sound good! I haven't had a cold sore in years (touch wood) but the fact you can get something that covers them up appeals to me enormously. A really good review - enjoyable to read too :-)

sorehead 16.07.2011 12:18

Its a pity about the instructions but I've never had to use these before, great review, thanks for sharing

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Manufacturer's product description

The most discreet way to treat cold sores fast

Product details

Long Name Cold Sore Patch, Cold Sore Plasters
Manufacturer Compeed
Type for Subname Mouth Ulcers & Cold Sores

Ciao

Listed on Ciao since 22/11/2006

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This review of Compeed Cold Sore Patch has been rated:

"exceptional" by (7%):

  1. rosebud2001

"very helpful" by (93%):

  1. Ailran
  2. Novabug
  3. RICHADA

and 11 other members

The overall rating of a review is different from a simple average of all individual ratings.

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