Thursday, 11 September 2014

"Mummy - what's wrong with that lady's face" (a story with a happy ending) - Review of Boots 'Avert Electronic Cold Sore Machine '

This is, by far, the strangest Christmas present I have ever been given.

Boots 'Avert Electronic Cold Sore Machine / Boots / £35.99

I have suffered from cold sores from the age of about 10 - back then they were barely an issue as were only a tiny mark on my upper lip that, with the right amount of Zovirax applied at the right time, lasted little more than a couple of days and caused very little discomfort.

Puberty changed all this.

From around 14 years old I have suffered from the worst cold sores that I, or anyone that I know, has ever seen . . .  during one particularly bad episode, a child I passed in the street look at me in horror and screamed "Mummy, what's wrong with that lady's face?" . . . . the mother then looked at me, visibly winced and, muttering "I don't know darling", proceeded to drag her brat away from me at top speed.

Nothing could be done to prevent the attacks nor did anything seem to work once the blisters had started appearing - I have, over the last 16 years, tried every pharmaceutical remedy, every herbal alternative and employed every old wives' tale I could find - nothing worked!

A cold sore breakout would see me with a blister running across the *whole* of my top lip, around the corners of my nose and (if I was especially unlucky) all the way up both nostrils.  Little could be done to soothe them and NOTHING could be done to cover them - anyone who has ever suffered this problem will know that the only thing that looks worse than a cold sore is a cold sore covered in concealer.

Even worse - rather than last for only a few days as with my cold sores of old - my plutonium-grade blisters stuck around for weeks at a time - my personal record being well over a month.  Even though I was incredibly diligent in not touching them and making sure not to catch them when cleaning my face - every breakout would leave me quite badly scarred with it taking months for the skin to heal.

My parents have always been very sympathetic about my cold sores; my mother because she has never had one, and my father as he has them and, based on recent studies, they are likely genetic.  Conversations were had about throwing money at the situation but there didn't seem to be a solution - there certainly wasn't any surgery that dealt with this type of problem nor did there seem to be any offering from dermatologists.  I felt doomed.

Fast-forward to Christmas 2013 . . . .

I always have one present at Christmas that I am instructed to open last -  this normally being the 'big one' - something that my Mum and Dad are particularly smug about having discovered/sourced for me.  Last Christmas the 'big one' was in fact small and particularly light in weight.  I was intrigued and ploughed through the other presents as fast as possible to get to it . . . . .

It was a Boots 'Avert Electronic Cold Sore Machine'.

Now, needless to say, this was the last thing that I was expecting.  I made my 'excited face' and thanked them both ever so much for being so thoughtful, all the time thinking 'this is a nice idea but there is zero chance that it is going to work'.  My Mum explained that she had been researching and had found this device to have rave reviews; featuring in both national papers and style magazines.  My inner pessimist was thinking "That's all well and good but no-one has cold sores quite like mine'. 

When I got back to Scotland after Christmas I unpacked and put my new machine to the back of a cupboard; not thinking about it again until I woke to see the tell-tale redness of a cold sore starting.  Ringing my Mum to complain about the state of my face I was reminded that I had been given a very thoughtful present and should at least use it once before writing it off.  Suitably told-off, and realising I would get no sympathy until I had at least tried it, I pulled the device of the cupboard and cracked open the box.

The science

The packaging of this device advises that, through the use of 'narrow wavebands of light, the machine 'enhances the local immune response to the cold sore virus'.  Simply put, this speeds up the healing process.


The packaging of this product is fairly clinical with a face marked with a target on their face - it certainly isn't marketed as being a 'sexy'/ 'high-end' device.  However, given the problem it is tasked to handle - 'sexy' probably wouldn't work!

Inside the box

The inside the box, in-keeping with the 'non-sexy' vibe, is fairly sparse with just the machine itself and a battery:

Using the machine

I will admit that using the machine took some getting used to.

When you have a cold sore the last thing you feel like doing is pressing anything against it - but that it pretty much what you have to do.

The machine has two emitters within it.  You have to put these over the affected area and press the 'on' button.  Once the machine has been activated you simply hold over the cold sore (whether just a tingle or a full-blown blister) and wait for it to beep - so telling you it has finished.

The section containing the emitters is quite wide (approximately 1.3 inches x 1 inch) and so allows a big area to be covered in one go . . . . good for people like me who have lost their entire face below the nose to a cold sore!

There was, for me, no pain, no tingling sensation and absolutely no feeling of discomfort - other than the fact I had a plastic (Wii Controller) device stuck to my face I would not have known that I was using it!


Having been so negative and . . . well . . . . ungrateful(!) when presented with this - I can't now imagine being without it - to the extent that I plan to buy a second one to leave in my desk drawer at work.

While it does still occasionally happen that I am not able to get to the device in time to stop an outbreak (hence the plan to buy a second one) - I have found that even if using the machine *after* the blisters have appeared there is an incredible effect - with the development of the blisters being stopped in their tracks and the healing process taking weeks less than usual.  My skin around my upper lips has noticeably improved over the last seven months and I no longer have scarring,

While (and there is no nice way to say this) the machine looks and feels cheap I cannot fault it in anyway - the price (£35.99) is, to me, incredibly cheap for such a dramatic improvement in my skin and, without being overly dramatic, my quality of life. I am willing to forgive it's ugliness!

I don't know if this will work for everyone.  I do know however that this has genuinely changed my life.  If you suffer with cold sores and are looking for a new solution I would recommend this.

For anyone interested - you can see the reviews online and order it here: Boots Avert Electronic Cold Sore Machine

Do you suffer from cold sores?  Have you tried the Boots Avert before or is there something else that works well for you?  Let's not suffer in silence!


Ducky xx


  1. Wow, I thought my coldsores were bad! I never knew something like this existed and I definitely want to get one now. Thank you so much for writing this! xx

    1. I hope it is of some use to you! As I said - I can't promise it will work for everyone but my attacks were really bad and it stopped them so hopefully it will work for others :-)

      D xx