Tackling Halloween Makeup with Psoriasis

Makeup with psoriasis is tricky enough, but with Halloween just around the corner, the potential for flare-ups from costumes, festive apparel, and makeup. Even if you don’t usually experience psoriasis symptoms on or around your face, it is still possible to irritate the already sensitive skin in this region. Additionally, if you are planning to really get into the holiday spirit with a makeup job that takes up a larger portion of your body, it’s important to make sure you don’t exacerbate existing psoriasis patches or create potential new ones. Whether you’re planning to cover yourself head-to-toe for your Halloween outfit, or just want some day-to-day makeup tips, we’ve got you covered!

Prep your “canvas”

Before you start creating your masterpiece, it’s important to start fresh. Cleaning your face and any other areas of skin you plan to use is a must.  Using a dermatologist-recommended skin cleanser, or a lipid-free cleanser, is a great start.  Gently scrub with a soft washcloth and let your skin rest for at least a minute or two after.

After cleaning, it’s always important to moisturize.  Again, going with a dermatologist-recommended moisturizer is the best idea.  If you don’t have this on hand, look for a moisturizer that is labeled fragrance-free, hypoallergenic, or non-clogging (sometimes called non-comedogenic).

Applying a base

Primer and color-correctors can be great tools to even out skin color and create a fresh look for you to craft upon.  Many experts recommend green or yellow-based shades, as well as using fingers for application. If you’re wary of using your hands, a synthetic-bristle brush can also work. Foundation and baked or pressed powders can be added on top of this, but remember, the lighter weight the better. Only experiment with heavier products if absolutely necessary.  When in doubt, using the least amount and lightest products is always the best way to go.  The more products you add, the greater the chance they can react with each other, or with your skin, causing future problems!

Common culprits of irritation

While everyone responds differently to potential irritants, here are some common makeup ingredients to avoid:

  • Fragrances—Remember, just because something is unscented, doesn’t mean it's fragrance-free!
  • Astringents—Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) can dry out skin, and are often found in anti-aging products, chemical peels, and fruit scrubs. They may also be called glycolic acids.
  • Salicylic acid—This is a tricky ingredient, as some report it exacerbates dry skin and lesions, while others say it slows lesion formation. Try this one out for yourself to see how it works for you. This can also be classified as a beta-hydroxy acid or BHA.
  • Artificial dyes—Anything labeled “FD&C” followed by a color and a number is typically something to stay clear of. Two classic examples of this are Yellow 5 and Red 40.
  • Sulfates—These can be exceptionally harmful to psoriasis skin. Look for products like sodium lauryl sulfate, or SLS, on your makeup’s ingredient list.
  • Anti-itch ingredients—This one may sound counter-intuitive, however, it’s another class of ingredients that can vary by user. Make sure you test products with anti-itch ingredients such as hydrocortisone, camphor, diphenhydramine hydrochloride, benzocaine, and menthol, out first before you apply them widely.

Finishing touches:  avoid traditional “fun” products

When it comes to fun colors and effects, be wary. Any type of product that has glitter or shimmer, or is meant to be used as a frost or a glow, will typically lead to trouble. Even shimmery eye shadow has the potential to irritate eyelids. When in doubt, try to avoid these products at all costs, or ask your dermatologist if they recommend any products that could give you the same effects. Never be afraid to do a “patch test” of a product somewhere else on your skin to check for irritation if you’re questioning how it may affect you.

A couple final tips

Be sure to carry a mini-makeup kit with your products in it for touch-ups. Not only is it more sanitary, but it will prevent you from accidentally using something that can exacerbate your sensitive skin. Also, if you are applying makeup to areas of your body with joints, apply the makeup with the joint bent, not extended. This will minimize cracks later on! Finally, don’t forget to use a petroleum or petroleum jelly based makeup remover when trying to soften and wipe away your creation at the end of the day.

What types of products do you like, or that have worked for you—and likewise, what doesn’t? Do you experiment with makeup to get into the Halloween spirit?  Or does the thought of applying it send you running for the hills?  Let us know by leaving a  comment below.

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