Some people with psoriasis may want to use makeup to cover lesions on their faces and bodies. But apply the wrong products, or use the wrong techniques, and the camouflage can look worse than the psoriasis. Doris J. Day, MD, a clinical assistant professor of dermatology at the NYU Langone Medical Center and the author of Forget the Facelift: Dr. Day Turns Back the Clock with a Revolutionary Program for Ageless Skin, treats more than 50 psoriasis patients every month. Here, she answers some common questions about makeup.
Q: If I'm having an outbreak, do I have to avoid makeup altogether?
A: No, it's safe to use makeup anytime. Just look for makeup that says noncomedogenic or nonacnegenic.
Q: Are there specific ingredients or products I should avoid?
A: Go for fragrance-free products, as the fragrances in cosmetics are a common source of irritation
Q: Do I need a heavy-duty concealer?
A: Instead of relying on a heavy product, use a yellow-based or green-based concealer, such as Prescriptives Illuminating Cream Potion in Red Neutralizer and Jane Iredale Amazing Base in Warm Sienna, Warm Silk, Amber, or Golden Glow, which help camouflage the red. Then you can put on your regular foundation. I also recommend mineral makeup for those who tend to break out but want good coverage.
Q: How should I apply it?
A: Take the focus away from the problem areas. Put a little bronzer on. Do up your eyes a little more so they pop, and put a little more color on your lips. If you're not sure what you're doing, make an appointment with a makeup artist to learn how to apply concealer skillfully.
Q: Is it OK to use self-tanner?
A: Yes, but self-tanner sometimes can make the lesions more pronounced, because skin affected by psoriasis is thicker. So do a test-run first in an inconspicuous place.
Q: Can I use makeup on my body?
A: Yes. Heavy-duty concealers such as Covermark or Dermablend is best for the body, as they're more opaque, so you'll get better cover. I also like Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs, a spray that "tans" legs instantly and helps cover lesions.