What Does Makeup Application Look Like for Someone With Psoriasis?

Proper skin prep is the first step.

What Does Makeup Application Look Like for Someone With Psoriasis?
Photo: Alys Tomlinson/Getty Images

If you have any type of reactive skin, then you already know that makeup application can be a bit tricky if you're experiencing a flare-up. But if you have plaques on your face as a result of psoriasis, layering on products — all while trying to not further irritate the skin — can be especially difficult.

But it's not impossible.

Makeup artist Allan Avendaño has worked with stars like Jodie Turner-Smith, Kerry Washington, and Vanessa Hudgens — and he also lives with psoriasis. So, he knows a thing or two about making makeup work for this skin type.

That's why he teamed up with Otezla, a medication used to treat moderate to severe plaque psoriasis, for the brand's Inside Look campaign to prove that those with psoriasis don't have to put their lives on hold whenever they have a flare-up.

It's also why we reached out to Avendaño, as well as board-certified derm Dr. Jennifer Soung, to create a step-by-step makeup application tutorial, and share some helpful tips for those with psoriasis-prone skin.

Step 1: Skin Prep

Proper skin prep is essential for everyone before applying makeup, but especially for those with plaques.

To get started, choose a gentle cleanser, softly massage it into your skin, and then rinse. Avendaño recommends using an oil-based product in order to wash away debris without affecting the moisture barrier.

"You want to look for something that can hydrate the skin and clean it effectively without causing inflammation, which could irritate plaques," he says. "Ensuring your skin is moisturized, hydrated, and clean is important for anyone, no matter the kind of skin, but especially important for those with skin conditions such as psoriasis."

And while it seem like a good idea to use an abrasive physical exfoliant to quickly rid yourself of plaques, Dr. Soung warns that this is not the way to go.

"As tempting as it is to want to scrub off your plaques with these abrasive products, I tell my patients that too much trauma on the skin or an existing plaque can actually make psoriasis worse or even trigger new plaques to arise," she shares.

Once you're done cleansing, reach for a hydrating moisturizer and sunscreen to keep the skin supple. Give extra love to any areas where there may be present flare-ups.

"Applying sunscreen and wearing SPF is essential for anyone, but especially if you have psoriasis," Dr. Soung explains. "Sun can lead to irritation or inflammation of plaques, so protecting it from the rays is a must."

Step 2: Foundation and Concealer

Grab your go-to foundation and dot it all over your face. Next, use a foundation brush and pat (don't rub or slide) the makeup into the skin. Do the same with your concealer, making sure to cover any areas where there may be some extra redness.

Once you're done, you can leave as is, or finish off with a powder.

"If you don't have a makeup brush, a Beautyblender or makeup sponges are great tools for applying foundation to the skin," says Avendaño. "You can still tap them onto your face without rubbing makeup around with your hands, which I find can lead to an uneven application and then could irritate plaques."

Step 3: Blush, Bronzer, Eyes, and Lips

Whether you want to use blush and bronzer or just one or the other, make sure you're using a soft bristle brush to avoid pissing your skin off. Avendaño recommends using very light pressure to do swirls around your cheekbone area.

Use the same gentle techniques when it comes to applying eyeliner, mascara, and lipstick.

In terms of which makeup brands to use, there's going to be a different answer for everyone. However, as a general rule of thumb, Dr. Soung recommends using products that were formulated with sensitive skin in mind.

"Your makeup stays on your skin all day, so it's really important to choose something that won't irritate or inflame your plaque psoriasis," she explains. "Choosing sensitive lines or products with clean, limited ingredients can help avoid irritation in the future. A great website for clean beauty products that have already been screened is Detox Market."

VIDEO: 9 Celebrities Who Live With Psoriasis

Step 4: Makeup Removal

How you remove your makeup is just as important as how you apply it when you have psoriasis. As always, the key here is to be super gentle, then making sure to follow up with a rich moisturizer to avoid any irritation or dryness.

"Similar to how I approach cleansing my face in a circular motion with light pressure, I suggest the same technique for removing makeup," explains Avendaño. "Gentle and sensitive skin cleansing wipes can be great for this. You simply remove makeup by lightly pressing the wipe on your face and moving in a circular fashion. While you want to ensure all your makeup is removed, which can be difficult if any of it is long-lasting, don't scrub or rub your face abrasively, as this can lead to redness or irritation."

In other words, slow and steady definitely wins the race here.

But if your makeup has caused a little bit of irritation — don't panic, just reach for a really good moisturizer. However, if it becomes persistent, schedule an appointment with your doctor.

"[Also] be sure to keep track of products you use and their ingredients, in order to avoid future irritation — some products cause more dryness and irritation than others," Dr. Soung advises. "I suggest letting your skin breathe and recoup. I know that a common inclination is to cover up an irritated area, but letting it breathe with little makeup or product is often a great solution to help soothe [the skin]."

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