An estimated 31.6 million Americans have symptoms of eczema, but what this statistical data does not detail is the negative feelings that come along with the condition.
As a lifelong sufferer of eczema, I grew up battling with feelings of embarrassment because of my skin. Being teased made matters worse and only fueled my limited beliefs of worthlessness. I convinced myself I wasn’t pretty and spent a large portion of my life hiding under long-sleeved shirts and pants during bouts of unforeseen inflammation episodes.
I watched in the background as my older cousins dolled themselves with makeup and felt envious. I wanted to look like they did, but knew my skin would never tolerate it. I grew standoffish when it came to wearing makeup and never carried anything more than Vaseline and lip gloss in my purse for most of my teens and early 20s.
I held onto my no-makeup belief for quite some time until I began my journey as a beauty journalist. Little did I know my career would provide me and my troublesome skin a space in the beauty world. After interviewing countless beauty experts, I learned about makeup products and techniques that allow me to feel beautiful but don’t irritate my sensitive skin.
Experiencing just how confident I felt when wearing a fiery-red lipstick for the first time changed my life, and now I’m obsessed with everything there is to know about contouring, highlighting and blending.
However, trying to balance eczema and/or any sensitive skin condition while embracing all that is beauty can be a daunting task. For those who have sensitive skin like myself, here are some tips to consider when applying your makeup:
Moisture is Key
The most important rule in beauty is maintaining healthy skin from the inside-out. When your skin is prone to inflammation, retaining moisturize is essential. Opting for makeup products that contain ingredients such as Shea butter will help repair your skin to its natural, healthy glow.
It may sound a little uncanny, but instead of using makeup brushes, try your fingers. In reality, unless you’re cleaning your brushes constantly (I know I’m not), a sea of bacteria and old makeup can build up within bristles, which can clog pores and worse, irritate your already sensitive skin. To avoid this, wash your hands thoroughly and try dabbing your makeup on with your fingers for optimal coverage and blending.
Focus on Brands that Cater to You
Don’t waste your time on products that do not align with your skincare needs. Instead, lean towards products that include sunscreens (zinc and titanium only), and are free of dyes and drying alcohol. Look for brands that use plant-based ingredients and are transparent about their process. Some brands even combine both skincare and makeup.
When your skin is like mine, which is dry, scaly and lacks radiance, it can feel like you’re in a silo at times. You’re not! In fact, there are so many other makeup lovers going through the same thing. Thankfully, the beauty industry has finally created products in response to our rallying cry.
Visit the Eczema Product Directory for a list of skincare products that have received the NEA Seal of Acceptance™. Products eligible for the NEA Seal of Acceptance™ are those that have been created or intended for use by persons with eczema or severe sensitive skin conditions and that have satisfied the NEA Seal of Acceptance™ criteria.
Eartha Terrell (Muvva Earth) is a beauty and lifestyle reporter and the founder of muvvaearth.com, a lifestyle and beauty website. Be sure to catch her tips on all that is natural beauty on Instagram @muvva_earth.