Living with eczema is a pain to say the least. I always watched from afar as my sister complained about her irritated elbows and hands while I enjoyed relatively clear, problem-free skin.
Until one day, I woke up with a few scaly patches on my face that were red and irritated. It was especially severe around my lips to the point cracking.
My initial diagnosis was that I had eaten something I was intolerant to, but the dry patches and cracked lips stayed. It turns out, I developed a pretty crappy case of eczema (a.k.a. atopic dermatitis) on my face, and it wreaks havoc most when I’m trying to apply makeup.
A clear, hydrated face is a dream to paint but one that’s rife with scaly red patches is an entirely different beast to tame. As someone who prefers not to leave the house without a little cover-up and a coat of mascara, learning to apply makeup on problem skin has been a challenge. However, with the help of makeup artist pals and just some good old-fashioned trial and error, it has become manageable.
If you suffer from facial eczema, here are some of the best makeup tips I’ve benefited from.
1. Select the right makeup products
It’s important not to irritate your skin further and the right products will help you achieve the best results possible. Creating a good base prior to applying makeup is as essential as the actual application.
Avoid added fragrances and preservatives as well as any cosmetic products that contain salicylic or glycolic acid. The last thing you want to do is dry out your skin more. If your eczema is mild, an over the counter hydrocortisone cream can do wonders.
Moisturizing is key when you have eczema and an absolute must before makeup application. Select a heavier moisture cream that also meets the above criteria. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of trying a few before you find one that jives with your skin.
2. Apply makeup with clean fingers not brushes
Brushes can make all the difference when it comes to makeup application but they also contain bacteria, even if you clean them regularly.
Irritated skin will likely flare-up if you’re spreading stale makeup and bacteria on it. Instead, wash your hands thoroughly and use your fingers to apply makeup to freshly cleaned and moisturized skin.
Dab makeup on like you would using a beautyblender and never spread or smear it around your face.
3. Cream over powder
If possible, a cream-based makeup product will fare better on your eczema prone skin than powder. Creams have more hydrating properties that can only be a good thing when your skin is already dry.
When hunting down your cream blushes and eye shadows, don’t forget to keep an eye out for fragrances and preservatives. Labels indicating "all natural" or "hypoallergenic" are good bets, but carefully reading the list of ingredients is the most reliable way to ensure you won’t regret your purchase.
4. Shimmer is not your friend
A great shimmery illuminator can highlight your best features and give you the illusion of higher cheekbones and brighter eyes, but for eczema sufferers, shimmer can do the opposite.
Not only will shimmery products highlight areas you’d rather downplay, they often contain irritants as well.
5. Green cancels out red
Dry, red patches are common with eczema flare-ups, which makes knowledge of colour correction important.
Our trusty colour wheel indicates that green neutralizes red, so you’ll want to hunt down a green colour-correcting concealer to cover up those patches.
Avoid applying concealer on areas that are too cracked and flakey. Something else to note when selecting cosmetics is that waterproof products tend to be more drying and harder to remove. You’ll irritate your skin further if you have to scrub with makeup remover.
6. Lighter colours FTW
Most of us enjoy a solid smoky eye for a night out, but that smoldering stare might be the reason your eyelids have a meltdown the next day.
The area around your eyes is extremely sensitive and even more so when you factor in eczema. Skip your Morticia Addams makeup tutorial and opt for lighter colours that will do far less damage.
7. Less is more
You might not want to hear this but toning down your makeup routine will ultimately lead to better skin and fewer flare-ups. If you don’t have to pile on makeup, give your skin that much needed break.
If you can go without heavy eyeliner or shadow for a day, do it. Your skin will thank you for it later.