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Cold, Flu, & Cough Health Center

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Covering Up Cold and Flu Symptoms: Beauty Tips

If you've got to look great despite your cold and flu symptoms, these beauty secrets will save the day.
WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Your nose is red and runny; your eyes are puffy and so bloodshot they look like modern art. On top of everything else, a cold sore is threatening to blossom on your upper lip. There's no denying it, you've got a whopper of a cold -- or maybe even the flu.

But you've also got a commitment you just can't break. Whether it's an important work project, that PTA dinner you're hosting, or the birthday party for your best friend, you’ve got to show up and you've got to look good -- no matter how bad your cold and flu symptoms are.

Sound impossible? It's not -- just ask a celebrity makeup artist.

"Even my celebrity clients can't always choose the most convenient time to have a cold,” says makeup artist Michael Maron, founder of Redpoint High Performance Cosmetics. "Most have no choice but to 'face' the public and the paparazzi, as well as their commitments to perform, show up for interviews, or even walk the red carpet regardless of how they feel. And they still manage to look great," says Maron.

And you can do it, too. All it takes, says Maron, are a few home remedies, a little common sense, and a few cosmetic tricks.

Cold and Flu Symptoms: The Nose Knows

Among the most telltale -- and unattractive -- cold symptoms is a red, runny nose, often made worse by constant blowing and wiping.

That's why experts say the No. 1 beauty tip when you have a cold: invest in a box of lotion-treated tissues.

"If you have a constantly runny nose that has chapped already, [tissues] with aloe vera can keep the area from becoming more red and sore," says Joel Schlessinger, MD, president of the American Society of Cosmetic Dermatology and Aesthetic Surgery. Both Kleenex and Puffs brands have lotion-treated tissues.

Two things you should never use to wipe your nose: napkins and paper towels. "Anything rough on the nose will delay healing by at least a day or two," says Schlessinger, who is also the director of

If your nose is already red, Schlessinger suggests using a 1% hydrocortisone cream to soothe and heal it.

Until your nose returns to its natural shade, Maron recommends hiding redness with a highly pigmented concealer.

"Apply it more deftly than you're used to, and choose a yellow-based cover-up, which works best to counter redness in the skin," he says.

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