Using makeup is a great way to camouflage the lesions of psoriasis. Just remember: A little goes a long way.

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 — the trick is to use a light touch. “The less makeup you can get away with, the better,” says Rachel Lockhart, makeup artist and owner of Rachel’s Makeup Studio in Boston. Lockhart says that while makeup can help mask some of the discoloration associated with your psoriasis, it cannot cover up abnormal texture. In fact, the only thing makeup will do to texture is draw attention to it if you have too much on, 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 a Better Application With Psoriasis

Lockhart suggests consulting a professional makeup artist, who can help you learn 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 de-scaling techniques — such as occlusion and hydration — may be a good place to start before applying makeup. Occlusion involves using emollient cream on your lesions, covering them with plastic wrap overnight, and showering in the morning to wash away the scales. Alternately, 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.
  • 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 makeup, but they are usually thicker and less translucent. They can help cover up your psoriasis lesions. Just be sure to purchase a concealer that matches the color of your skin.
  • Stick to a few essentials. Using a lot of different products increases the risk that you’ll have a reaction to one of them, notes the National Psoriasis Foundation. .
  • 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 these products are applied incorrectly, you can end up looking like you have green blotches all over your skin.

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.

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