The knowledgeable use of cosmetics combined with topical medication prescribed by your dermatologist can camouflage the embarrassing redness, bumps and pimples of rosacea with a smooth appearance while medical therapy works to minimize or banish the underlying condition.
"From both medical and appearance standpoints, it makes sense to apply medication before makeup," said Dr. Zoe Draelos of Dermatology Consulting Services, who conducted a recent study to assess the use of facial cosmetics and topical rosacea therapy.1 The new study found that most patients had a good cosmetic appearance after applying facial foundations following topical therapy, and their use did not cause rosacea symptoms to worsen.
In the study of 28 women with moderate rosacea by Dr. Draelos and colleagues, investigators gave a mean score of 9.4 out of 10 points for the subjects' overall appearance after application of therapy followed by foundation for two weeks. The women were rated as equally at ease applying foundation after medication as they were when the study began. Moreover, after just the second week, only 18 of the participants continued to be classified as having moderate rosacea while the others were reclassified as mild.
"The high degree of patient acceptance of this therapeutic regimen could be expected to have a favorable effect on patient compliance and treatment outcomes," the investigators noted.
"When considering or reading about the latest looks, the key for rosacea patients is to choose products that are appropriate for sensitive skin," Dr. Draelos said. "In other words, be sure to avoid anything that stings, burns or causes irritation."
She noted that using fragrance-free and allergy-tested products may reduce risk of skin irritation, and a patch test on a peripheral area like the neck may be useful before using a product on your face to determine whether a product affects your individual skin.
Although irritants can vary among individuals, reading the fine print on the product label may reveal ingredients that are common irritants. Liquid or semi-liquid products may contain such potential rosacea triggers as alcohol, witch hazel, menthol, peppermint and eucalyptus oil. For dry products, Dr. Draelos said, consider using mineral powder or eye shadow, which typically do not contain irritating ingredients.
"Cover-corrective makeup may be especially useful for individuals with more severe rosacea symptoms," Dr. Draelos said. A sheer, green-tinted primer or foundation may be ideal as a base, followed by a yellow-toned powder to help further tone down the look of redness, she noted. Use a light touch when applying foundation, and you may want to use an antibacterial brush.
- Draelos ZD, Colón LE, Preston N, et al. The appearance of facial foundation cosmetics applied after metronidazole gel 1%. Cutis 2011;87:251-259.