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10 Essential Rosacea Makeup Tips

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Published by Dr. James Macdonald, MD and Sandy Jones, Celebrity Makeup Artist

We've been working with rosacea patients for over 10 years. From our experience, while it is possible to hide your rosacea symptoms with makeup, there are many things you have to consider before doing so.  With the right tools and techniques you can look your best and avoid irritating your sensitive skin. 

Here are our top 10 tips:

1) Keep your makeup routine simple by using as few products as possible.  Remember rosacea skin is sensitive skin and it's important to avoid products containing allergens such as dyes, fragrances, and formaldehyde-releasing agents as these could trigger inflammation and flare-ups.

2) Use products with ingredients that have been proven to reduce redness and rosacea symptoms. You can often find these ingredients in daily use skincare (cleansers, serums, moisturizers) are applied before makeup.  Known ingredients that work include Beta-Thujaplicin and Vitamin E.  These molecules have proven anti-oxidant, anti-biotic and anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce rosacea symptoms and facial redness.

3) Begin with a green-tinted foundation that also contains sunscreen – Green hues in a foundation will help reduce the appearance of redness while a sunscreen should be mandatory and will help prevent flare-ups induced by UV radiation.  

4) Select an oil-free foundation and cover-up, then apply with a brush rather than a sponge, which can harbor bacteria.

5)  For those with moderate to severe Rosacea, consider purchasing cover-corrective cosmetics, which offer heavier coverage

6) Mineral makeup is often a good choice for Rosacea skin as its ingredients are usually non-irritating

7) Select a gentle eye makeup if your eyes suffer from Rosacea symptoms – look for ‘ophthalmologist tested’, allergy-tested, and fragrance-free products

8) Choose a neutral color for your lips as opposed to red shades which can cause skin to appear even more flushed

9) Use specialized cosmetics. Some specialized cosmetic lines on the market these days are designed for those with rosacea who want to cover up and for all problem or unique skin types and colors. A few examples below show that with the right ingredients, skin-friendly makeup is possible.

Nicole Paxson Cosmetics is a line of cosmetics created by a woman named Nicole Paxson who suffers from lupus, and is designed for people with lupus, rosacea, acne and birth marks that are tricky to hide with regular drugstore brands.  The line is made of a mild, sun-protective, unscented formula that still provides maximum coverage (apparently with a lot of silicone, the formula is even water-resistant). What is more, a small percentage of sales dollars are donated to skin disorder research.

Another skin and socially-conscious cosmetics line is Dermablend, which supports the S.L.E. Lupus foundation and the Skin of Color Seminar Series.  According to the Customer Stories page, many have praised this brand’s products as effective for concealing blemishes among all skin types.

Finally, Sheer Cover carries foundation, concealer, powder and other products that are made from 100% natural minerals, and includes sun protection, stress-reducing botanicals and green tea.

10) Use clean tools (not your fingers) to apply makeup. Just as important as the type of foundation you use is its application. Since the skin on your face is extra-sensitive, remember to treat it as such when putting on make-up. Use a clean foundation brush or sponge and dab a small amount lightly around the affected areas—and try never to use your fingers!


To learn more about rosacea have a look at these links below:

The complete guide to rosacea treatment

What causes rosacea

What is rosacea? fast facts