Makeup for seborrheic dermatitis: How to make yourself look beautiful

Seborrheic dermatitis is a common skin condition that causes a reddish, scaly rash. People with seborrheic dermatitis often have a difficult time finding makeup that will cover their skin well and stay on for hours.

There are many types of makeup that can work well for seborrheic dermatitis sufferers. However, makeup can also aggravate the condition by trapping oil on your skin. It’s important to test products out on a small area before using them on the entire face.

Let’s take a deep dive:

Can you wear makeup with seborrheic dermatitis?

You can wear makeup with seborrheic dermatitis. However, it’s important to be aware of the possible consequences. Some people find that using makeup makes their condition worse, while others only have problems when they use certain products. You’ll need to experiment until you find makeup that is compatible with your skin type and doesn’t cause a flare.

There are many different types of makeup available, so it might take some time to find the right products for you. Make sure to read the ingredients carefully before trying anything new and always test it on an inconspicuous area first. There are also many great resources online where you can find information about which brands and products are best for people with seborrheic dermatitis.

How to cover up with makeup when you have seborrheic dermatitis

The best way to camouflage seborrheic dermatitis with makeup depends on the severity and extent of your SD. I can’t tell you what makeup to use but I can give you some tips to help you along your journey to discovery. 

Before we go on, I just want to say I feel your pain. When my SD worsened 6 months ago and literally affected my whole face and neck, my confidence plummeted. As a 40-year -old doctor who has to face patients and colleagues throughout the day at work, I felt extremely self-conscious. If given a choice, I would rather hide under a rock than go to work. Alas, life goes on.   

When you have SD, it can be difficult to feel confident in your appearance. You may feel like you have to hide your skin under layers of makeup, and that’s totally understandable. But sometimes less is best. And going au naturel is the new in-thing.

When I stopped trying to hide my SD from the world, I looked the same, but my confidence soared. I wasn’t beholden to what people thought of me anymore. I was just out there, doing my thing.

But you’re here for some makeup tips so let’s dive right into it:

Primer: A smooth base makes all the difference

When you have SD, your skin can be red, scaly and flaky in patches. Prepping your face prior to applying foundation and concealer will make all the difference.

One great way to start is by using a konjac sponge as a gentle yet effective exfoliant. The konjac is a porous root vegetable native to Asia. The sponge is a a gentle way to physically exfoliate your skin to remove dead skin cells for glowing, more radiant skin.

Natural Konjac Facial Sponges - for Gentle Face Cleansing and Exfoliation - with Activated Charcoal and Aloe Vera, 4pc. SetCheck it out on Amazon

Or get it from Dermstore and earn some points while you’re at it

Then, apply a light-weight moisturizer. My favorite moisturizer to use on my face and neck during an SD flare is the MooGoo Scalp Cream. It’s formulated to closely resemble sebum. It’s also the only moisturizer I’ve used that doesn’t sting when I’m in the midst of a flare.

MooGoo Natural Scalp Cream - 120g - For relief of dry skin around the scalp, ears, hairline, eyes, and along the side of the noseCheck it out on Amazon

Follow on with a primer. You might need to use more than one primer depending on your symptoms.

Use a tone correcting primer to tone down any redness in your skin. The L’Oreal Paris Studio Secrets Anti-redness Color Correcting Primer is an affordable option that will help reduce redness all over the face.

L'Oréal Paris Studio Secrets Professional Anti-Redness Correcting Primer, Green, 0.68 fl. oz.Check it out on Amazon

Then, apply a smoothing primer like the Smashbox Primer. This will create a smooth surface that your foundation can glide on top of easily.

Smashbox Photo Finish Oil Free Pore Minimizing By Smashbox for Women - 1 Oz Primer, 1 OzCheck it out on Amazon

Foundation: Tips for choosing the right foundation

When it comes to foundation, one size definitely does not fit all. In fact, what works for one person’s skin might not work for another’s. That’s why it’s important to know how to choose the right foundation for your skin type.

To start, you should always do a patch test before using a new foundation. This is especially important if you have seborrheic dermatitis as some foundations can cause a flare.

If you want your foundation to last longer, apply on top of a primer that helps seal pores and can make your makeup last longer.

Choose a light-weight foundation designed for sensitive skin. Try it on the oiliest parts of your skin like your T-zone, and make sure it doesn’t leave an oily residue or clog your pores. You don’t have to choose organic but foundations made with fewer harsh chemicals and fragrances are less likely to cause irritation.

Covering up seborrheic dermatitis can be tricky, but there are a few foundations that can help. Oxygenetix Oxygenating Foundation might be a bit expensive but the Kardashians swear by it and it’s recommended by beauticians and dermatologists worldwide.

Oxygenetix Oxygenating Foundation - 15ml - BeigeCheck it out on Amazon

Or check out Dermstore for Oxygenetix Oxygenating Foundation for blue undertones, yellow undertones and acne-prone skin

Clinique Redness Solutions Makeup SPF 15 is designed to correct flushing and blushing while nourishing your skin with calming ingredients to reduce flares.

Clinique Redness Solutions Makeup Foundation SPF 15 with Probiotic Technology, 04 Calming Neutral (MF)Check it out on Amazon

If you’re looking for a natural foundation, try Ere Perez All Natural Oat Milk Foundation. It provides nourishment and hydration while providing sheer coverage.

Ere Perez - Natural Oat Milk Foundation | Vegan, Cruelty-Free, Clean Beauty (Chai)Check it out on Amazon

If you’re looking for a CC cream that provides SPF protection, IT Cosmetics CC+ Cream SPF 50 is a great option. This product also helps to conceal redness and other skin imperfections.

IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream, Light Medium (C) - Color Correcting Cream, Full-Coverage Foundation, Hydrating Serum & SPF 50+ Sunscreen - Natural Finish - 1.08 fl ozCheck it out on Amazon

I use Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation. It’s not designed to combat SD skin issues but it provides a light to medium coverage without feeling oily or heavy. Plus it blends really well into my skin, making it look like I’m not wearing foundation.

Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Spf 15, No. 4.5 Warm NaturalCheck it out on Amazon

Foundations work well to cover mild SD and can help you feel more confident when you’re out. However, if you have a severe flare of SD with scaling in large areas, as hard as it is, I recommend that you don’t use any foundation at all.

No matter how much you exfoliate and how thick a layer of foundation you apply, your peeling skin will show through your foundation quickly, making your face look patchy and pulling more attention to your peeling skin.  I think you’re better off using a good moisturizer and anti-fungal cream, leaving your skin free to breathe. It will heal quicker.

Concealer: How to cover redness and pigmentation

If your SD only affects small patches on your face, then you might be able to use a concealer to hide it. There are a few ways to deal with redness and pigmentation when it comes to concealing:

  • Choose the right concealer – one that is in a similar tone as your skin or slightly lighter
  • Use a green concealer to counteract redness
  • Apply concealer in a triangle shape under the eyes and in a circle for spot-treatment.
  • Use a light hand to apply one thin layer at a time.
  • Blend! Blend! Blend!

Concealers can be used to cover up redness, pigmentation, and even dark circles under the eyes. It is important to find a concealer that matches your skin tone so that it does not look unnatural.

If you have redness or pigmentation, you will want to find a concealer that is one to two shades lighter than your skin tone. This will help to cover up the discoloration without making it more noticeable.

There are many different types of concealers available on the market, so it’s important to find one that best suits your needs. You might even need to use a few different ones depending on the blemish you are trying to cover. For example, use a concealer that corrects tone for red patches.

L.A. Girl Pro Conceal HD Concealer, Green Corrector, 0.28 OunceCheck it out on Amazon

If you’re looking for something heavy-weight, Dermablend’s Full Coverage Concealer is perfect for fighting red patches and will deliver serious results. Dermablend is thick and heavy. I would only use this concealer for small areas.

Dermablend Cover Care Concealer, 0CCheck it out on Amazon

Check it out on Dermastore

Eye shadow: Applying eyeshadow when your eyelids are affected by seborrheic dermatitis

Although you might be tempted to avoid wearing eye shadow when your eyelids are affected by seborrheic dermatitis, this does not have to be the case. Just use a natural eye primer to smoothen out your lids:

Burt's Bees Eye Shadow Primer, Neutral Ultra Sheer/Translucent Beige Color, Extends Wear For Powder Eye Shadow, For All Skin Tones - 0.25 OunceCheck it out on Amazon


One of our favorite eyeshadows is The Chocolate Bar by Too Faced. It comes in a range of warm colors, has a velvety texture, and is richly pigmented. I use it even while my eyelids are flaky and it still looks good.

Too Faced The Chocolate Bar Eye PaletteCheck it out on Amazon

If your face looks red and flushed, use neutral or bluish-tint eye shadow so you play down the red in your skin.

Blusher: To blush or not to blush

If a large area of your face area is affected by SD and it has caused red patches, you should forgo blusher. However, if only a small area is affected or you feel that your face is too pale after covering up with foundation, you can apply a small amount of blush.

Less is more with blush. You could consider a tint instead:

Urban Decay Stay Naked Cream Blush Stick & Lip Tint, Kinky - Light Dusty Nude - Long-Lasting, Blendable, Sheer Color for Lips & Cheekbones - With Kombucha Filtrate & Marula OilCheck it out on Amazon

Lipstick: How to choose the right lipstick color when you have seborrheic dermatitis

When you have seborrheic dermatitis, it’s important to choose a lipstick color that will complement your skin tone. Avoid colors that are too bright or too dark, and stick to colors that are natural and flattering.

The best lipstick for you will depend on what your skin tone is like with SD. You’ll need to test out a few colors in natural light to find the one that suits you. Go for matte lipsticks and more neutral colors. Sometimes SD can affect the corners of your lips as well and make your lips dry. Look for lipsticks like Burt’s Bees Lipstick with moisturizing properties to help keep your lips healthy and hydrated. You might even need to use a lip liner to stop the lipstick from running (especially is you have fissures from perioral SD)

Burt's Bees 100% Natural Moisturizing Lipstick, Russet River, 1 TubeCheck it out on Amazon

Does makeup make seborrheic dermatitis worse?

There is some concern that makeup might make seborrheic dermatitis worse. Makeup shouldn’t cause your SD to get worse if you choose the right products. In fact, makeup can actually help to cover up any symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis and make you feel more confident in your appearance.

It’s important to remember that everyone’s skin is different, and some people may find that certain types of makeup cause their seborrheic dermatitis to flare up. Always test makeup on a small area of your face first to check for reactions.

Generally speaking, however, most types of makeup should be safe to use if you have seborrheic dermatitis. Just be sure to choose products that are gentle on your skin and don’t contain harsh chemicals or artificial fragrances.

Importantly, also make sure you use a gentle non-alcohol based makeup remover like micellar water or Squalane oil so you don’t irritate your skin. I find a natural one like Kiehl’s Herbal-infused Micellar Cleansing Water gentler than toners and makeup removal wipes.

Kiehl's Herbal-Infused Micellar Cleansing Water 2.5oz (75ml)Check it out on Amazon

You can also use an oil-based cleansing cleansing fluid like Nucinel Makeup Remover. This Ayurvedic cleanser replaces your face wash, makeup remover and eye makeup remover. It’s made of 100% natural ingredients and doesn’t strip your natural oils off, leaving you with baby-soft skin. 

Nucinel Makeup Remover and Gentle Cleansing Fluid – Power-Clean & Power-Nourish Skin Gently – For Dry, Sensitive Skin - Dermatologically Tested, 3.5 ozCheck it out on Amazon

Or buy it cheaper directly at The Ayurveda Experience

The best part? You get 15% off when you buy directly from The Ayurveda Experience and a 30-day risk-free money back guarantee if you’re not 100% satisfied! 

To wrap up

I used to layer on foundation and concealer to cover up my SD. After a while I realized that I prefer to let my skin breathe and heal in peace when I have an active flare. Since then, I’ve gone au naturel without foundation when my skin is inflamed.

The bottom line is, you don’t have to go out and buy a bunch of new makeup to look beautiful. Find your own inspiration and feel good about who you are. With or without makeup, you can rock your seborrheic dermatitis-prone skin like a total boss.

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