Makeup for Sensitive Skin – Eczema Makeup Dos and Don’ts

For this 3-post series, we have Alana Mitchell, the founder of SkincarebyAlana.com. She’s the most suitable expert I know for this topic on makeup for sensitive skin, where we will be covering not just the basics of makeup, but very practical steps on applying and removing makeup and even how to mask the appearance of scars or pigmented skin. 

More on AlanaAlana acquired her esthetician license from the State Board of Barber and Cosmetology of California, allowing her to practice skincare in the California state in her spa business. Alana has worked in the beauty industry for over 15 years, and teaches advanced education classes for esthetician students.

Eczema Skin

Eczema Makeup - What You Have to Take Note Of!

Eczema Makeup – What You Have to Take Note Of!

Eczema skin is quite difficult to manage when it comes to make-up; for one, the cause of the eczema could be irritant or contact dermatitis, whereby the eczema rash is triggered by contact with allergens. Secondly, the nature of eczema skin is dry and the skin barrier is defective. It requires applying emollient for moisturizing, protection from moisture (occlusion) loss and increase moisture absorption (humectant). Thirdly, eczema skin may have more scars/ blemishes or even lichenified/ thickened skin from prolonged scratching.

MarcieMom: Thank you Alana for helping us for the past two weeks on:

Today, we are focusing on eczema skin. Let’s tackle the above difficulties one by one and round-up with your makeup tips for eczema skin.

Eczema Skin and Makeup Ingredients

We mentioned in our previous posts that there are ingredients we can avoid for those with sensitive skin. What in your experience are the ingredients not to have for makeup on eczema skin type? 

Alana: Amongst the most common are: alcohol, artificial fragrances, harsh sulfates (such as sodium lauryl sulfate), chemical preservatives, and chemical sunscreens (such as octinoxate and oxybenzone).

Ingredients to Avoid in Eczema Makeup

Ingredients to Avoid in Eczema Makeup

Moisturizer and Implications on Makeup

MarcieMom: Assuming that an eczema sufferer has very dry skin and needs frequent moisturizing – what is the practical way to go about this? (since it’s not practicable to constantly remove makeup and apply moisturizer, then apply makeup again)

Alana: That is super easy! Find a tinted moisturizer that you love! There are many brands that have tinted moisturizers that will not only deliver SPF protection, but will also provide vital hydration and beautiful coverage to your skin. Granted, the coverage on these products is typically rather light. But if you are doing what is right for your skin, and keeping it healthy, odds are you will only need a light coverage product. If you need heavier coverage, again, do some research. As long as your skin does not tend to get oily with reapplication, and as long as the product you are using is quality, reapplication should not be an issue at all.

MarcieMom: Is there makeup step to avoid for eczema skin? e.g. not to use mascara or adopt a simplified makeup routine

Alana: I wouldn’t say there is anything eczema skin needs to avoid. That is, of course, if you’ve found the right products for your skin type. As I’ve mentioned before, there are products out there for you! It is simply a matter of finding those products.  Of course, if something in your makeup regimen is bothering you, or causing an eczema flare-up, discontinue use immediately!

Covering Scars, Pigmented Skin and Blemishes on Eczema Skin

Prolonged scratching of eczema skin can lead to scars, pigmented skin and thickened skin. It is important not to scratch eczema patch due to infection risk as well as scarring and discoloration.

MarcieMom: Alana, what are your makeup tips to cover these scars and blemishes on eczema skin? Are these concealers typically more irritating to skin than the usual foundation? 

Alana: Much like foundation, there are many fabulous concealer options that not only mask but heal your skin. Do not, no matter how tempting, apply the first concealer you see in an effort to mask your eczema! This can lead to a negative reaction that will cause you even more problems. Take time to research brands that are especially good for sensitive, eczema prone skin, and take the time to patch test it before slathering it on the effected area. What many people don’t know is that irritated skin is often broken skin, and you do not want to be quick to slap a product on top of that. You will want a product that is specifically indicated to be able to be worn on irritated skin. Many of my eczema clients have had success using Lycogel’s Breathable Camouflage, which was designed specifically for users with rosacea (yes, even when it is in a reactive state).

Alana’s Makeup Removal tips for Eczema Skin

MarcieMom: Can you share your makeup removal tips for eczema skin? (with a view to minimize skin irritation and hydrate skin)

Makeup Removal tips for Eczema Skin

Makeup Removal tips for Eczema Skin

Alana: My makeup removal recommendation for eczema skin is honestly the same as it would be for eczema skin (and normal skin), just with different products! If you go beyond simply having sensitive skin, and have eczema prone skin as well, use products that are indicated to be good for super sensitive skin, and more importantly, for eczema skin as well. Just because a product does not indicate these things does not mean it cannot be used, but you should discuss it with your skin care professional before use. As I mentioned before, fewer and more natural ingredients are usually better. If you know your skin agrees with a certain oil (coconut oil is fantastic), you can use this to remove your eye and lip makeup before cleansing.

Thank you so much Alana for being with us for these past three weeks, it’s been such a pleasure and a great learning experience!

Makeup for Sensitive Skin – Applying and Removing Makeup

For this 3-post series, we have Alana Mitchell, the founder of SkincarebyAlana.com. She’s the most suitable expert I know for this topic on makeup for sensitive skin, where we will be covering not just the basics of makeup, but very practical steps on applying and removing makeup and even how to mask the appearance of scars or pigmented skin. See last week’s post on Skin Types and Makeup

More on AlanaAlana acquired her esthetician license from the State Board of Barber and Cosmetology of California, allowing her to practice skincare in the California state in her spa business. Alana has worked in the beauty industry for over 15 years, and teaches advanced education classes for esthetician students.

Sensitive Skin

There is no strict definition for sensitive skin but generally, it means being more prone to getting a hypersensitive reaction to ingredient/chemicals. You can find out which ingredient you’re sensitive to via a patch test and your patch test results can be entered into the CAMP (Contact Allergen Management Program) database in the US to obtain a list of products you can use.

Makeup and Removal for Sensitive Skin

Applying and Removal of Makeup for Sensitive Skin

Applying Makeup – Moisturizer and Foundation

MarcieMom: Alana, thanks for helping out this week with application and removal of makeup. We are getting into the specifics of makeup for those with sensitive skin this week.

Can you share with us how we can figure out our skin tone and choose the right foundation (color, texture)?

Alana: If I’m being totally honestly, there is a lot of guesswork that goes into finding your perfect shade. Foundation shades are typically crafted on the most common skin tones, and you will notice that there are usually only 10-20 shades in a typical range. Since everyone has their own unique skin tone, it is usually a matter of trying a shade that looks closest to yours. Another option is to buy one shade darker, and one shade lighter, so you can blend them to meet your exact skin tone.

For brands that label based on undertone, finding your exact shade might be much easier. The first step in figuring out your skin tone is knowing your skin’s undertone, which is a lot easier than many people might think! Simply look at the inside of your wrist and observe the color of your veins. If they appear to be blue, you are likely cool toned. If they appear to be green, you are likely a warm undertone. If you notice both blue and green, or something in between, you are likely a neutral undertone. Whichever tone you observe, you will want to lean towards that range (warm ranges are usually labeled with a W, cool with a C, and neutral with a N). After that, it is all a matter of finding the right shade. Just because it matches your undertone, does not mean it will be an exact match. It might still be too dark or too light – so trial and error will come into play yet again.

Figuring out Your Skin Tones for Foundation

How do you tell your Undertone?

When in doubt, there are two things you can do: ask you local makeup artist or esthetician. They should be able to give you some recommendations, and might even be able to test products on you in an effort to find your exact match. When it comes to testing makeup, I am a huge advocate of doing so in a safe manner. If you head down to your local department store, see if they have small, sealed samples that you can test in-store or take home to test. If you feel comfortable allowing a makeup artist to test products on you in-store, make sure you understand the risks (those products are tested on many people, not just yourself) and watch them sanitize both the product and the makeup brush properly. I am not personally an advocate of using in-store testers, unless they are housed in an airless pump container, which most makeup products are not. But is very much a matter of personal preference.

MarcieMom: What about for those with sensitive skin? How can sensitive skin types choose the right foundation and what ingredients should sensitive skin types look for or avoid in foundation?

Alana: When it comes to sensitive skin, I always recommend seeking the advice of a dermatologist or medical esthetician. They are going to be able to give you the best recommendations for your skin type, because they have an understanding of the ingredients that go into skin care and makeup, and also have an understanding of sensitive skin in general.

As far as things to avoid: many sensitive skin types don’t do well with harsh chemicals, alcohol, artificial fragrances, and the like. However, each person is different, and an ingredient that does not irritate one sensitive skin user might irritate another. Brands like YoungBlood Cosmetics and Glo Minerals are fabulous options for sensitive skin users. YoungBlood Cosmetics, founded by Pauline Youngblood, delivers a range that can cover raw, inflamed or discolored skin while allowed it to breath and heal! So yes, most sensitive skin types can definitely use this ultra-gentle makeup range. Glo Minerals bills itself as being a “clinically advanced mineral makeup that covers, corrects, and protects”. They indicate on their site that they are suitable for “even the most sensitive skin,” and I have seen great success with sensitive skin clients using this brand.

MarcieMom: Moisturizing the skin and sun protection are important. How do these go with make-up? e.g. apply them all separately or it’s better to choose makeup that is both moisturizing and offers broad-spectrum UV protection?

Alana: While I am a firm believer in keeping moisturizing and makeup separate, you can definitely combine SPF protection with beautiful skin coverage. As I mentioned in my last post, I am a huge fan of tinted sunscreen. If dry skin is a concern for you, you can definitely reach for products that are more moisturizing.

There are many products that offer full coverage results with SPF foundation. I do urge users to be selective when it comes to picking out a brand and formulation, and to really consider if this option is best for them. Full coverage products are typically “heavier”, meaning most people will not want to reapply it throughout the day. Reapplying SPF every 2 hours (at least) is crucial for optimal sun protection, which is where product selection comes into play.

Lastly, powdered sunscreens make for a great and easy option! Though these are typically on the lighter side of the coverage spectrum, they do a great job of masking imperfections, while absorbing excess oil and mattifying the skin. I happen to be a huge fan of this method for touch-ups (after applying my tinted sunscreen in the AM).

Alana’s Makeup Removal tips for Sensitive Skin

MarcieMom: Alana, what would be your top makeup removal steps/ pointers for those with sensitive skin? (with a view to minimize skin irritation from the products, the beauty tools used e.g. brush and cross-irritation)

Alana: Makeup removal should always be a priority, but I personally like to keep it simple (and enjoyable) to make it feel less tedious at the end of a long day. First and foremost, be sure to remove any makeup around your eye area. There are many eye and lip makeup removers out there that are gentle enough for sensitive skin, and many that are actually indicated for sensitive skin. After you remove makeup in these areas, it’s time to cleanse your face. If you are not the proud owner of a skin cleansing device, make sure you cleanse twice a night to ensure you get any excess dirt, oil, and makeup off of your skin. That is about it! Of course, be sure to follow your cleansing up with your typical skin care routine.

Makeup Removal Tips for Sensitive Skin

Makeup Removal Tips for Sensitive Skin

Thank you so much for sharing the makeup basics for those with sensitive skin. It’d give those of us with sensitive skin so much more confidence when we approach makeup. Next week, we will focus on makeup for those with eczema, an area that many eczema sufferers struggle with.

Makeup for Sensitive Skin – Skin Types and Makeup

For this 3-post series, we have Alana Mitchell, the founder of SkincarebyAlana.com. She’s the most suitable expert I know for this topic on makeup for sensitive skin, where we will be covering not just the basics of makeup, but very practical steps on applying and removing makeup and even how to mask the appearance of scars or pigmented skin. 

More on AlanaAlana acquired her esthetician license from the State Board of Barber and Cosmetology of California, allowing her to practice skincare in the California state in her spa business. Alana has worked in the beauty industry for over 15 years, and teaches advanced education classes for esthetician students.

Skin Types and Makeup

Skin Types and Makeup with Alana Mitchell, the founder of SkincarebyAlana.com

Skin Types and Makeup with Alana Mitchell, the founder of SkincarebyAlana.com

If you check out product labels, you will generally find that they cater to (i) normal skin, (ii) dry skin, (iii) oily skin or (iv) sensitive skin. In this blog, we have always been focused on eczema skin that typically belongs to the dry skin type, sensitive skin (when we cover and irritants to avoid) and to some extent oily skin, when we discussed about acne

MarcieMom: Alana, thank you so much for helping out with this series on makeup! I’m excited to learn more about it, especially when I’m clueless when it comes to makeup (I hardly use any!).

I read that the first step to figuring out what makeup and beauty products to use is to figure out your skin type. From WebMD, I noted that the different skin types are characterized by:

Normal Skin Type – (i) No or few imperfections, (ii) no severe sensitivity, (iii) barely visible pores and (iv) radiant complexion

Dry Skin Type – (i) Almost invisible pores, (ii) dull, rough complexion, (iii) red patches, (iv) less elasticity, (v) more visible lines and (vi) when exposed to drying factors, skin can crack, peel, or become itchy, irritated, or inflamed.

Oily Skin Type – (i) Enlarged pores, (ii) dull or shiny, thick complexion, (iii) blackheads, pimples, or other blemishes

Alana, most people may have difficulty figuring out their skin types or have a combination of skin types. Moreover, certain conditions such as skin disorders, smoking, medications, diet, stress, sun exposure, pollution, climate and existing beauty products may mask the real skin type. What is your advice on how we can figure out our skin type and how important is it to get the skin type right?

Alana: First, finding your right skin type is so important. Many people purchase products that aren’t necessarily right for their skin type, which can be either useless, or counterproductive in terms of achieving desired results. For instance: if someone with dry skin were to purchase a product specifically designed for oily skin, they are not likely to get the level of hydration they want (and more importantly, need). Figuring out your skin type is not always easy, which is where dermatologists and medical estheticians come into play! Going to one of these professionals may seem extreme, but it is the best first line of action in realizing your skin type and finding products that will work best for your skin type!

It's important to figure out your skin type to get the right make-up

It’s important to figure out your skin type to get the right make-up

MarcieMom: I’m interested to find out what are the key differences in the formulation when a company label its product as suitable for (i) dry skin, (ii) oily skin and (iii) sensitive skin? Are there any regulations that govern when a company can label itself as such? 

Alana: Key differences in these formulations typically address the markers of each skin type. For instance: dry skin formulas are typically more emollient. Many of these products use oils to nourish the skin, which is essential when you are dealing with any type of dryness or dehydration. In regards to makeup, dry skin users will want to lean more towards liquid formulations more than powder. I highly recommend looking into mineral makeup brands like YoungBlood Cosmetics, which use only the finest minerals while catering to even the most sensitive skin types.

Products designed for oily skin types are typically more mattifying. These formulas are often oil free, and lightweight, which helps to absorb excess oil and regulate oil production. Many people with oily skin will favor makeup that comes in powder form, but there are many fabulous mattifying liquid options that have recently hit the market as well.

Sensitive skin products are known as the more “gentle” formulas. These are typically (though not always) formulated with fewer harsh ingredients, and have been made with sensitive skin types in mind. It is important to note that just because a product is designed for sensitive skin, that does not mean your skin will take a liking to it! All skin is different, so even with sensitive or gentle products, you will still want to apply a patch test 24-48 in advance to using the product to ensure your skin will react well to it. I have not typically seen brands that put out a “sensitive” range for makeup. They are either friendly to sensitive skin as a whole, or they don’t formulate with sensitive skin in mind at all. Because of this, it is essential to look into the brands you are buying from, before you actually make your purchase. I have had wonderful experience with brands such as 100% Pure, Blinc Cosmetics, Glo Minerals, La Bella Donna, and again, YoungBlood Cosmetics.

There aren’t any firm regulations when it comes to labeling products for skin types. That being said, companies do have reputations to uphold, so it is important that they label their products for the right skin types accordingly. Your best bet is to ask your esthetician or dermatologist, and reading product reviews can also be very helpful as well!

What to Note for Makeup when You have Dry, Oily or Sensitive Skin

What to Note for Makeup when You have Dry, Oily or Sensitive Skin

MarcieMom: I’m the sort of gal whose makeup is just foundation and lipstick. Alana, what in your view, are the must-haves for makeup and are there certain types makeup (foundation, blusher, mascara, eyeliner) that certain skin types should not use or is it possible to find something for every skin type?

Alana: My three essentials are: mascara, tinted sunscreen, and lip gloss. Being a busy mom and business owner, I know all about getting ready on-the-go, and these three things are fantastic for making you look and feel confident in a pinch!

Makeup must-haves are always a personal thing, but if I could list one essential, it would be some form of tinted SPF. Tinted sunscreens are a great way to get coverage, protection, and hydration. If oily skin is more of a concern for you, you can also reach for a powdered sunscreen brush! These brushes are amazing, because they are so easy to keep in your purse, so easy to touch up, and will mop up oil without making your face look cakey or over-done.

The good news is: regardless of you skin type, there is bound to be an option out there for you. It is all a matter of research and recommendation. If you have had little to no luck, call an esthetician! My medical estheticians and I are available during business hours via phone, chat, and email to help shoppers in finding the perfect products for their skin type. It may sometimes be difficult, but I guarantee you it can be done.

Thank you so much for sharing your expertise on skin types and makeup with us. I think we all benefit from knowing more about skin types and understanding how that relates to selecting makeup. Next week, we will focus on sensitive skin, can’t wait!

SOMEONE has Eczema and managed Allergies, Asthma and Make-up

Tristan Joseph shares on managing eczema, with asthma, allergies and make-up

Tristan Joseph shares on managing eczema, with asthma, allergies and make-up

This is a new series focused on personal journey with eczema while managing a certain aspect of life. Today, we have Tristan Joseph, who has eczema since her childhood and shares how she manages her make-up. Tristan is a support volunteer with The Eczema Society of Canada and also blogs at AtopicGirl on allergies, asthma and eczema.

Marcie Mom: Hi Tristan, thanks for taking part in my 2013 blog series ‘Someone has Eczema’! How long have you had eczema, and did your allergies and asthma come at about the same time?

Tristan: I have pretty much always had eczema. A few days after my birth, my mom used a baby shampoo on me and my entire body broke out in rashes. My asthma, food and environmental allergies came about nine years later. To make it even more complicated my food allergies took a full eight years to really develop and some of the foods I was told that I was allergic to…well, I may not be allergic to them at all. I know I’m allergic to dairy, eggs, cashews, pistachios and I have a severe intolerance to shrimp. My environmental allergies also developed as I grew up. Spring is not my favourite season and I have pet allergies.

Marcie Mom: What are the triggers for your eczema? And are those triggers same as that for your allergies and asthma?

Tristan: Complicated answer again. My eczema is not triggered by my food allergies. I can have an anaphylactic reaction and my skin is just fine. Of course, if an allergen comes into contact with my skin, I break out in that specific area. I am extremely allergic to petroleum and its derivatives which are in a lot of dermatological products; so, that’s hard to avoid, but I manage. However, my asthma can be triggered by environmental allergens, like pet dander and pollen. Second- and third-hand cigarette smoke are major triggers for my asthma.

Marcie Mom: Is there any ingredient in makeup or skincare that triggers your eczema? And have you taken a patch test? For more information on allergy testing, do refer to interview with Dr Verallo-Rowell and Q&A with Dr Liew.

Tristan: I have to be very careful to stay away from petroleum. It’s in a lot of skin care and make-up products. However, I’ve found a make-up line that doesn’t use petroleum or mineral oil. I also have to make sure to avoid dairy, eggs and nuts in skin care and make-up. I’m always on the lookout for words like “lecithin” and “albumen”. Sometimes lecithin can be from soy, but it’s derived from egg as well.

As for patch testing, I always patch test new products and never use anything new if I have a big event coming up right away. I have recurring eye eczema; so, I’m careful about eye shadows, eye liners and mascaras. I also make sure to wash my make-up brushes weekly. The last thing I need is to apply make-up with a bacteria-ridden brush. As is the case for everyone, I throw out old make-up.

Marcie Mom: One final question – on bad days when you’ve allergies, asthma and eczema flares at the same time, what would be the top three actions you would take to calm the conditions

Tristan: All three? Yipes. It has happened and I basically go into my Plan Bs. What that means is that from day-to-day, I use Plan A – whatever I need to do on a daily basis to maintain my health. However, when Plan A doesn’t cut it for some reason – exposure to an allergy trigger – then I go to Plan B. That could mean taking more anti-histamines, increasing the dose of my maintenance inhaler (both as advised by my immunologist) and taking more time to get my skin under control – a bath, heavier moisturizers and cold compresses for inflammation. My Plan B is something I’ve developed through trial and error and with the advice of medical professionals.

Marcie Mom: Thanks Tristan for sharing your personal journey, on eczema, asthma, allergy and makeup. I love how systematic and in-control you are 🙂

SOMEONE has Eczema and managed Make-up

Erica Cheung, NYU student who has written for Huffington Post shares her make-up, beauty journey.

Erica Cheung, NYU student who has written for Huffington Post shares her make-up, beauty journey.

This is a new series focused on personal journey with eczema while managing a certain aspect of life. Today, we have Erica Cheung, who has eczema for three years and shares how she manages her make-up. I first learnt of Erica’s eczema while reading her story on Huffington Post. Erica writes for Huffington Post and a senior at NYU. 

Marcie Mom: Hi Erica, thanks for being the first guest for this new series ‘Someone has Eczema’! This blog has been focusing on expert advice for two years, and now I think it’s time to spotlight on individuals coping with eczema as our readers are already knowledgeable in eczema. How long have you had eczema, and has it affected you more during a certain stage of your life?

Erica: I’ve had eczema for three years since I was a sophomore in college. At first, I wasn’t sure what was happening to me but I couldn’t take hot showers anymore without feeling itchy and I started noticing red patches of skin on my neck. Developing eczema in my early years of college was tough not only because it was uncomfortable and unattractive, it added to the stresses I already had as a hardworking student/intern/part-time employee. I researched online about my condition and although I learned a lot about eczema, I really felt like I was one of a handful of people suffering with this condition. This is why I’m so excited about your series ‘Someone has Eczema’!

Marcie Mom: I see in this post that the Huffington Post loves your beauty wisdom. I’m someone who hasn’t put on makeup more than ten times, and one of them was on my marriage! So, can you share your make-up tips (like when you change your brush and what else? I’m clueless in this!)

Erica: As a style/beauty blogger, I love experimenting with makeup and nail polish (especially on holidays!) which is why I was really bummed when I developed eczema and realized that most of the makeup I was using irritated my skin and eyes. My advice when negotiating makeup and eczema is to find a beauty regimen that suits your skin. It really starts with having happy skin. I make sure to use a moisturizer that uses natural ingredients and is highly moisturizing but also calming. My skin is extremely dry and sensitive. It’s always great to ask your dermatologist what skin products he/she recommends and it’s very important to know what suits your skin type. I always recommend Lush’s products because they’re all natural and handmade, so it is easy to know what exactly you’re putting on your skin.

Once your skin is calm and ready for makeup, the next step is to find a good foundation. Again, I always look for natural makeup lines that use as many non-synthetic materials as possible. Two good makeup lines to look into are Tarte and Bare Essentials. Always let the person at the makeup shop know that you have eczema and that you’re looking for makeup that is nourishing and natural and that also doesn’t clump up and get cakey. Cakey foundation is our enemy.

In terms of eye makeup, I learned the hard way that mascara and black eyeliner are the two most irritating products someone with eczema can use. That is, of course, if you’re using products made from harsh ingredients like coal or synthetic formulas. I use Tarte’s Lights, Camera, Lashes and it works like a charm without irritating my tear ducts (it also makes my lashes look amazing!) I’ve also found that Lush’s Emotional Brilliance makeup line is absolutely fantastic for eyeliner choices because they’re all-natural and can easily be washed off with water.

The only other makeup advice I can give is to make sure to remove makeup at night and use a soothing night moisturizer. In terms of scalp problems, I had a hard time finding products to soothe my scalp. Eventually what helped was taking Evening Primrose Oil and trying my hardest not to scratch. Also, natural shampoos seemed to soothe my scalp way more than other shampoos with chemicals in them (again Lush has an amazing selection). If you have any other questions about specific issues or advice please email me

Marcie Mom: For those with facial eczema, do refer to Dr Lynn Chiam’s advice on various types of rashes on face, various treatment options for facial eczema, what to do with rashes on the eyelids and rashes around the mouth and lips.

Erica, what is your skin care routine for your face? Do you moisturize and do you apply any topical treatment creams on any part of your face?

Erica: I briefly mention this above. I use skin care treatments with all natural ingredients. I wash my face in the morning with water and twice a week I use a light exfoliator from Burt’s Bees. I then use a moisturizer called Celestial for sensitive skin from Lush. I only apply topical treatment creams when I flare up. If I am flaring up, I try not to put anything on my face and apply treatment creams until the flare passes (I also take a antihistamine and drink green tea). I don’t use toners because they tend to dry my skin up too much.

Marcie Mom: One final question – on the dreaded day of eczema flare, and should you fall on a day that you think you ought to have makeup on, what do you do?

Erica: I would take a strong antihistamine (I take Allegra) and then wash my face with no exfoliator at all. I would then apply my trusty moisturizer (its very important to find a moisturizer that you love that soothes your face no matter what) and go with a more natural look. Choose a bold lip (pinks, reds, oranges) and apply neutral eye shadow colors (which contain less synthetic ingredients to begin with). Curl your eyelashes but apply no mascara and go with a light eyebrow pencil. The bold brow and lip with draw attention away from the rest of your face and the eye shadow with give you an elegant but natural look. I would finish off by applying topical creams when needed and waiting for the flare to pass to apply foundation and mascara.

Marcie Mom: Thanks Erica for being my first guest and sharing your personal journey, with makeup and eczema – your sharing confirms I’m right to start this series, I’d never be able to advice anyone on make-up! (Maybe I ought to try make-up someday too, sounds fun!)

Facial Eczema with Dr Lynn Chiam: Rashes on the Eyelids

Dr Lynn Chiam, a consultant dermatologist who subspecializes in paediatric skin conditions

This is a series focused on facial eczema, with the privilege of having Dr Lynn Chiam, of of Children & Adult Skin Hair Laser Clinic, to help explain further the type of facial rashes, its treatment options and daily facial care. Dr Lynn is a consultant dermatologist who subspecializes in paediatric skin conditions at Mount Elizabeth Novena Specialist Medical Centre, Singapore. Apart from paediatric dermatology, her other subspecialty interests include adult pigmentary conditions and laser dermatology. More on Dr Lynn can be found here.

What can I apply to treat the rashes on my eyelids?

For the past four posts, we’ve explored the various types of rashes that can occur on one’s face and various treatment options. This week’s focus is on the eyelids – a particularly tricky part of the face because the eyelid skin is very thin and steroids can be absorbed more readily, leading to problems such as cataract and glaucoma. Dr Lynn’s advice on treatment options include:

1. Do consult a doctor if you have rashes around the eyelid. It is important to determine what is causing the rash. Common causes include eczema and contact dermatitis secondary to eye make-up. In general, mild to mid potency steroids can be applied to the face. It should be applied twice a day and for not longer than 1-2 weeks. A mid potency steroid can be used initially then tailing down to a low potency steroid once the rash is better. Alternatively, a steroid-spring cream such as Tacrolimus or Pimicrolimus can used . In a minority of patients,Tacrolimus can cause a stinging sensation. At night, apply the cream just before you go to sleep. To prevent the steroid from dripping into the eyes, you can use a cream or ointment based steroid rather than a lotion based one which is more ‘watery’. Allow 20-30 minutes after application of the cream to the eyelids before doing activities that may cause sweating.

2. Clean the eyelid area, with lukewarm water, including cleaning the ‘mascara’ area of the eyelid. Avoid using water that is too hot. Use a gentle soap and do not rub this area excessively. Avoid using products with ingredients you’re allergic to. A patch test can be taken at the dermatologist, and ingredients that you’re tested sensitive to should be avoided for your face and eyelids as well.

3. Moisturize the eyelid, taking care again to use products that you are not allergic or sensitive to. If you feel that the moisturizing lotion you are using is too “watery“ and runs into your eyes, you can change the moisturizer to a cream or ointment form which is thicker.

4. For those who are using makeup, it is important to wash your brushes  and change them regularly. Do not use make-up past their expiry dates as bacteria will accumulate in make-up which can irritate and infect your skin. Avoid mascara and choose products from large cosmetics and skincare companies that clinically test their products. Also avoid products that are shimmery or glitters as these contain metal particles, mica, which can irritate the skin.

A final note is to avoid rubbing the eyes, as this can lead to neurodermatitis, a thickening (lichenification) of the eyelids due to prolonged scratching. The appearance of the eyelids will be darker and in some instance, lead to skin folds on the eyelid.

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