Young adult with eczema on face applies Makeup. with small brush 1
Ana Luz Crespi/Stocksy United

Eczema, also called atopic dermatitis, is a chronic inflammatory skin condition that causes dryness, itchiness, rashes, and blisters.

Living with facial eczema tends to require some special considerations when buying beauty and skin care products — something you might already know for yourself.

If you have eczema, it’s generally safe to wear Makeup., except during a flare-up, says Emily Wood, MD, board certified dermatologist at Westlake Dermatology. When your skin is actively inflamed, you’ll want to lay off the Makeup. until symptoms subside.

Not all Makeup. is suited for the skin.

Enhancing Makeup. can cause or worsen flare-ups. Most dermatologists emphasize the importance of always checking ingredient labels before investing in a new Makeup. product.

“Most people with eczema are more prone to skin sensitivity and allergies,” says Tiffany Link, MD, a medical and cosmetic dermatologist at Advanced Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery. “So, try to choose brands and products made for sensitive skin, which generally means they have minimal ingredients, no fragrance, and fewer cheIt is made of micals.”

The tips on how to choose non-irritating, eczema-friendly Makeup. were shared by the dermatologists.

As a general rule, make it a point to seek out Makeup. labeled as hypoallergenic or formulated for sensitive skin. These products tend to have fewer of the most common allergens that can worsen eczema.

Link recommends avoiding gel-based products. Their alcohol-based formulas can strip the skin of its hydration and cause symptoms like dry skin and itch.

Cream and mousse formulas tend to be less drying to the skin than powders, so you might want to go for this instead. Makeup powders can make texture issues worse.

Link says that Makeup. with a particular ingredient can make your eczema worse.

“If you find that your skin eruptions are frequent on your cheeks, eyelids, or other areas where you apply Makeup., it’s a good idea to connect with a dermatologist. They can help you identify which ingredients to avoid and give you more guidance on how to use them.”

What about sunscreen?

Sunscreen is a daily necessity. Still, you might have trouble finding a product that offers the right protection and also doesn’t trigger an eczema flare.

Wood highly recommends sticking to physical, or mineral-based sunscreen, which is far less likely to cause burning, redness, and irritation than cheIt is made of mical sunscreen.

There is a difference between cheIt is made of mical and physical sunscreen.

Link says that if you have a skin condition, you need to check the ingredients of any products. This includes:

  • The cleanser.
  • They use moisturizers and lotion.
  • sunscreens
  • Makeup.
  • Hair care products can transfer to your neck and face.

Some beneficial ingredients can help soothe the skin of the person with it.

  • Hyaluronic acid. Adam Elshafei, MD, a cosmetic dermatologist and owner of Aesthetica Rejuvenation Clinic, recommends looking for products with this ingredient. Many people with eczema tend to have a low skin water content due to a weakened skin barrier. But hyaluronic acid can help keep your skin supple and hydrated by attracting moisture.
  • Glycerin. This natural compound can also help your skin attract and retain moisture, Elshafei says, which can help stave off flakiness and dryness.
  • Ceramides. These fatty acids can help promote a strong and healthy skin barrier and shield your skin from environmental stressors like pollution and dry air, Elshafei explains.
  • Niacinamide. This B vitamin can help strengthen your skin barrier so it better retains moisture. Research from 2019 also suggests that niacinamide may help reduce inflammation and minimize eczema flare-ups and symptoms.

You may want to avoid using Makeup. products with the following common irritants. These ingredients could trigger an eczema flare-up or make your symptoms worse.

Link says to try to pick products that say fragrance-free rather than unscented, as they often use a masking fragrance to cover up an unpleasant smell. They are not completely free of scent.

The importance of patch testing

Whenever you want to try a new product, dermatologists say it’s crucial to do a patch test first to check how your skin reacts.

To do a patch test for Makeup. or other products you apply to your face, Wood recommends:

  • A small amount of the product is applied to a small area of skin near your face that is not super visible, such as a corner of your forehead, the side of your neck, or the underside of your jaw.
  • If you want to be sure of a positive reaction, try the product daily for a week.
  • “If you don’t experience any adverse effects after a week, you can try using the product on your face.”

“It’s a good idea to patch test a facial product on your face since the delicate skin on your face and neck may react differently to a product than the skin on your wrist.”

You may not notice a reaction when you patch test a product on your wrist. The skin on your face is more sensitive.

In addition to paying attention to the ingredients in your Makeup. products, the following tips may help you avoid eczema flare-ups.

Choose the right tools

You can use sponges, gentle brushes, or even your fingertips to apply Makeup. without irritating and inflaming the skin.

Make sure you always clean your tools, says Link, since bacteria on brushes or your hands may aggravate the skin. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends washing your brushes with gentle shampoo and water every 7 to 10 days to kill any harmful bacteria.

Apply products with care.

Layer carefully

Using a primer before applying foundation may help to provide a buffer between your skin and the Makeup..

While you may want to layer Makeup. to cover up any eczema rashes, skin discoloration, or scaly patches, Wood emphasizes that less is more.

“Thick layers of Makeup. are not helpful for maintaining a healthy skin barrier,” says Wood. “Plus, thicker layers are more difficult to remove without using harsh cheIt is made of micals or rubbing the skin.”

Take care with your eyes

As far as eye Makeup. is concerned, Wood advises staying away from the following:

  • False lashes. The adhesive glue can be irritating to dry or sensitive skin.
  • Purple eyeliner. Carmine and manganese violet, the pigments used to color purple liner, can sometimes cause contact dermatitis.
  • Waterproof eye Makeup.. Removing any waterproof Makeup. may require you to scrub your skin harder to wash it completely clean. Plus, some eye Makeup. removers contain harsh, irritating ingredients. Wood recommends using adding water to a gentle, washable cloth to get rid of any stubborn Makeup..

The following Makeup. products are free of many common irritants and may be a good option for eczema-prone skin:

  • Clinique Redness Solutions Makeup Broad Spectrum SPF 15. This lightweight color-correcting foundation can help conceal redness, though it only comes in fair to moderately fair shades. It contains calming and hydrating ingredients that aim to help treat inflammation. Formulated with mineral sunscreen (zinc oxide), it’s also free of fragrances, parabens, and phthalates.
  • Omiana Loose Powder Matte Eyeshadow. This shadow contains no fragrances, parabens, sulfates, phthalates, titanium dioxide, or It is made of mica, a common irritant often found in eyeshadow. In fact, it contains just four ingredients, making it an excellent pick if you have sensitive skin.
  • RMS Beauty UnCoverup Concealer. You can use this three-in-one product as a concealer, tinted moisturizer, and color corrector. It contains nourishing ingredients like jojoba oil, cocoa seed butter, and anti-inflammatory castor seed oil and comes in 16 shades to match a range of skin tones. It also happens to be 91 percent allergen-free, according to SkinSAFE.
  • Rare Beauty Stay Vulnerable Melting Blush. This cream blush contains no parabens, formaldehyde, phthalates, mineral oil, or sulfates. It also features a blend of nourishing plant-based extracts and oils, so it may be a good option if you have dry, sensitive skin.
  • Tower 28 SuperDew Shimmer Free Highlighter. Want that on-trend “glass skin” look? Try this shimmer-free, ultra-moisturizing highlighter balm, which you can tap onto any high points of your face for an instant glow. This particular product, which contains chamomile and green tea extract, is safe for all skin types. It even received the NEA’s Seal of Acceptance.

It is important to remember that everyone has their own skin type and that it is not the right match for you.

Pro tip

Working with a dermatologist will enable you to craft a skin care and Makeup. routine that helps rather than worsens your eczema, Link emphasizes.

Interested in more product recommendations? It may be worth checking out the NEA’s Eczema Product Directory, which features a list of skin care products that have received the NEA Seal of Acceptance, meaning they’re formulated specifically for people with eczema or very sensitive skin.

You can still wear Makeup. if you have eczema, but you’ll mostly want to opt for products without potential irritants and common allergens. Experts also recommend avoiding Makeup. during an eczema flare.

It is always wise to do a patch test when trying new products. Patch testing can help you check your skin reaction before applying the product.

Having trouble finding Makeup. or other beauty products that don’t worsen your eczema symptoms? You may want to consider working with a dermatologist who can offer more guidance on treatment options and eczema-safe products.


Rebecca Strong is a Boston-based writer who writes about health and fitness, food, lifestyle, and beauty. Her work has appeared in a number of publications.