A collage of diverse faces showing a range of skin tones and foundational makeup.

Makeup Tips I Use To Look My Best With Lupus

For the most part, lupus is an invisible illness. Most people can’t see the aching joints and fatigue that we live with every day. Lupus can change our appearance over time or when we are in a flare. Corticosteroids, which are prescribed to treat lupus flares, can cause thinning hair, acne, and facial roundness called Cushing’s Syndrome.1 But living with a chronic illness doesn’t have to change your interest in fashion and makeup. Here are some makeup tips I use to look my best when I'm sick:

Taking care of my lupus skin

Acne can be a side effect of corticosteroids. To help clear up my skin, I wash it with an oil-free cleanser in the morning and before I go to bed at night. I apply acne medication as needed and use rice paper to remove sweat and grease throughout the day without messing up my foundation.

I've also developed dry skin instead of acne. I use a daily moisturizer before applying foundation or primer. A water mask like this one does an excellent job hydrating my skin while I sleep. I've also tried this sheet mask. To remedy dry lips, I use this lip sleeping mask or chapstick.

Unwanted hair growth from steroids

Steroids can often cause unwanted facial hair growth, even while they cause thinning tresses. Unfair, right? Facial waxing strips or Nair work for this. Be sure to talk to your doctor about new products before using them.

Butterfly rash with color correction

If I have a malar rash across my cheeks and nose, I don’t worry! There is a way to even out skin tone. After washing my face and applying moisturizer, I use a color correction cream or stick. Because the rash is reddish, I used a green color correction stick to neutralize the red color. I gently dap the stick or cream on the rash, covering it with a thin layer before I apply the foundation. I prefer stick or cream color correctors over watery creams or liquids.

Masking dark circles

As I do for the butterfly rash, I brighten up those dark circles under my eyes using a color correction stick or cream. Red, pink, orange, or yellow will neutralize those dark circles. Then I gently dab concealer or foundation under my eyes.

Finding the right shade of foundation

Sephora offers free foundation trials, and their sales associates can test skin to find the right color and consistency. I opt for a thicker, creamier foundation when I have acne from steroid use. I can also use a stick concealer to cover up blemishes. If dry skin is my problem, I wear a lighter, breathable CC cream or a tinted moisturizer.

Contouring my cheeks

Sometimes called “moon face,” facial roundness from steroids is the worst! While I can’t physically change the shape of my face, I can use contouring to change how the light hits my face, giving it a slimmer appearance. With a brush, I apply bronzer to my jaw and the sides of my face for a thinning effect. Then I apply blush. I apply a highlighter with a brush to draw light to the center of my face.

Adding a pop of color

A colorful eyeshadow or lipstick adds color to my face and can draw attention to my best features. I love Sephora’s eye shadow crayon and Bite Beauty’s lipstick.

Remember to check with your doctor before buying new makeup if you have sensitive skin. Don’t have the energy to apply makeup? That’s ok! Always remember that you are still beautiful inside and out – no makeup required.

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