All women want to be proud of the skin they’re in. But if you have psoriasis, there are times you probably wish those red, raised patches were just a little less obvious. And that’s where makeup comes in.
Experts agree that makeup can help mask some of the redness of psoriasis, but the trick is to use a light touch. “The less makeup you can get away with, the better,” says Rachel Lockhart, a makeup artist and the owner of Rachel’s Makeup and Brow Studio in Boston. Lockhart says that while makeup can help mask some of the discoloration associated with psoriasis, it cannot cover up abnormal texture. In fact, the only thing makeup will do to texture is draw attention to it if you apply too much, Lockhart explains.
Another rule of thumb: Never use makeup on psoriasis lesions that are still open. The same goes for cuts that have not healed and skin that is raw or irritated. And if you have pustular or erythrodermic psoriasis, you may not be able to use makeup on affected skin at all, since these types of psoriasis lesions are prone to irritation caused by cosmetics and other skin products.
Talk with your doctor if you have any concerns, or if you experience any burning, stinging, or itching when using a new makeup product.
Tips for Applying Makeup
Lockhart suggests consulting a professional makeup artist, who can help teach you various techniques for camouflaging psoriasis lesions. These tips should help you get a head start.
First, reduce scaling. Camouflaging makeup works best on psoriasis lesions that have less scaling. So descaling techniques, such as occlusion and hydration, may be a good place to start before applying makeup. Occlusion involves using an emollient cream, which is a moisturizer that can help hydrate and prevent dry skin, ease itch, soften plaques, and reduce scaling. After applying the cream, cover the lesions with plastic wrap overnight and shower in the morning to wash away the scales. The National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF) recommends talking with your doctor before using a steroid or other prescription medication as part of occlusion therapy.
Alternatively, you can hydrate lesions by sitting in a tub filled with warm water and bath oil for 10 to 15 minutes. Then gently exfoliate the scales with a towel. Resist the temptation to pick off any cells. Psoriasis can get worse when scratched or picked at due to the Koebner phenomenon, a reaction that causes new psoriasis lesions to form at the site of skin injuries. Follow up immediately with a gentle moisturizer.
Choose liquid-based products. When selecting a camouflaging makeup, Lockhart recommends avoiding powder-based foundations and concealers. “You want to use something that has a liquid finish. Powders tend to dry the skin. Also, less is more — the sheerer the better,” says Lockhart.
Foundation goes on first. “No matter what the skin type, I always do foundation before concealer,” says Lockhart. Applying your foundation first leads to a more natural-looking result, and you may find that you don’t even need concealer, says Lockhart.
Choose your concealer carefully. Concealers are similar to foundation, but they are usually thicker and less translucent. They can help cover up your psoriasis lesions. Dab concealer on the areas you need it and then gently blend in. Just be sure to purchase a concealer that matches the color of your skin.
Stick to a few essentials. It may take some trial and error to find the products that work for you, but once you do, stick with them. Using a lot of different products increases the chances that you’ll have a reaction to one of them, notes the NPF.
Skip the sparkle. Opt for matte finish cosmetics, and avoid anything that contains glitter or adds sparkle. These products can attract even more attention to the areas you’re trying to hide, plus they can irritate your skin.
Take care when using color correctors. Green color-correcting makeup can help tone down the redness associated with psoriasis lesions. But Lockhart says it is better to leave color correcting to professionals, because if applied incorrectly, these products can end up making you look like you have green blotches all over.
For those times when you would rather not have to face the day with obvious psoriasis lesions, camouflaging makeup can help. With a little practice, you can improve the appearance of lesions and get a well-deserved morale boost.