How to Wear Makeup If You Have Psoriasis


Charlotte Libov

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Expert Answers to Psoriasis Treatment FAQs

Dr. David Harvey, a dermatologist and surgeon, answers some common psoriasis questions.
woman applying makeup

Your face is usually the first thing people notice about you. Having psoriasis anywhere on the body can affect your self-esteem. If you’re a woman with redness and scaly plaques on your face, you may feel even more self-conscious. Fortunately, the right skin care and makeup can help you look your best and return your confidence.

Areas most often affected by facial psoriasis include your upper forehead and hairline, above your upper lip, and your eyebrows. Before taking any steps to camouflage your psoriasis with makeup, see your doctor to make sure the reddened areas really are psoriasis. Your doctor can recommend treatments to improve your psoriasis while protecting your delicate facial skin.

There are many treatment options for psoriasis, and they all come with risks and benefits. Ultimately, whether you treat with topical creams, light therapy, or medications, you and your doctor will decide the best treatment path together.

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd, MD, FACS Last Review Date: Apr 13, 2016

2016 Healthgrades Operating Company, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Healthgrades Operating Company, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the Healthgrades User Agreement.

Start With Primed Skin

It’s important to choose and use the right skin care products. Psoriasis on and around the face should be treated carefully because facial skin is especially sensitive. Occasional use of mild topical treatments, such as corticosteroids, can be effective and safe if a careful treatment plan is followed.

Other prescription topicals, including Dovonex and Tazorac and keratolytic products, help remove the buildup of scales, which tend to be harder to cover up with makeup than reddened skin.

Two topical drugs approved for the treatment of eczema, Protopic and Elidel, may also help with psoriasis. Phototherapy, which involves exposing skin to ultraviolet light under a doctor’s supervision, may also reduce plaques.

Make the Most of Makeup

Makeup, used sparingly, can help neutralize the redness of psoriasis lesions. Try these tips:

Shop Carefully

For a natural look, choose cosmetics that match the color of the skin at your jawline. Browse beauty boutiques and makeup counters where you can test shades before you buy. Consider treating yourself to a session with a makeup artist experienced with various skin types for advice on application techniques and products in the right shades for you.

Pay Attention to Ingredients

Your dermatologist should be able to tell you what to avoid, such as drying alcohol or irritating fragrances, and what to look for, such as emollients. Cosmetics labeled water- and sweat-resistant may work better for you because they are not absorbed into the skin. Using moisturizers and foundations with built-in sun protection (SPF) means you’ll have one less product to apply.

Prep Your Skin Properly

Before you apply any cosmetics, moisturizer is a must, followed by a makeup primer. A makeup primer helps makeup go on smoother.

Keep Coverage Simple

Don’t give in to the temptation to slather on a lot of product. Too much makeup tends to draw more attention to your face. You might need only a concealer finished with a matte powder. If you want more coverage, consider a sheer foundation applied before concealer and powder. 

Focus on Your Features

Foundation is meant to create a blank canvas against which your eyes and lips can be the stars. Experiment with the right eye shadows, mascara, and lip shades to bring out these features.

Take It Off Right

When selecting and using makeup removers and cleansers, think gentle cleansing and steer toward mild formulas made for sensitive skin. Creams work better than gels (which have a high alcohol content) and thin lotions (which do not lock in moisture). Avoid abrasives and scrubs that can further irritate the skin. Follow your doctor’s orders for exfoliating scales.

Life looks better when you know you’re looking your best. Don’t let psoriasis keep you from finding a fresh, pretty new look.

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Medical Reviewers: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Review Date: Apr 13, 2015

© 2016 Healthgrades Operating Company, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Healthgrades Operating Company, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the Healthgrades User Agreement.

View Sources

Medical References

  1. Psoriasis on the Face. National Psoriasis Foundation.
  2. The Great Cover-up. National Psoriasis Foundation, Psoriasis Advance, Vol. 8, No. 2, Spring 2010.

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