(BPT) - August is National Psoriasis Awareness Month, a time to educate others about plaque psoriasis, and to learn about how the chronic condition impacts the lives of those living with it. Plaque psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune disease that appears on the surface of the skin as raised, red, itchy patches, but actually starts inside the body.1,2 About 80 percent of the over 8 million people living in the U.S. with psoriasis experience plaque psoriasis.1,2
One person who understands this struggle well is Allan Avendaño, makeup artist to Hollywood A-listers. Allan teamed up with Amgen for the INSIDE LOOK campaign to share his journey living with plaque psoriasis and the difficulties of dealing with a chronic skin condition while being in his demanding role.
"As someone who is in the public eye, living with plaque psoriasis hasn't been easy," said Allan. "In the past, I was especially self-conscious about the plaques on my hands since I am often touching my clients' faces. I was nervous that people would think it was contagious — which it's not. Living with plaque psoriasis for most of my life and not ever letting it define who I am motivated me to speak out about my journey so that those also living with plaque psoriasis could better understand the nature of the disease and realize they are not alone."
No stranger to the fast pace and demands of the entertainment industry, Allan knows that the show must go on no matter what obstacles, or plaques, arise — something many people living with plaque psoriasis also experience. Through the INSIDE LOOK campaign, Allan aims to raise awareness about plaque psoriasis and what it is like to live with the condition, in hopes of educating others and inspiring them to feel more confident in their own skin.
As part of the campaign, Allan had the opportunity to give a psoriasis-friendly makeup tutorial to a fan named Sarah, who lives with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis. Their psoriasis-friendly makeup tutorial also featured Dr. Jennifer Soung, dermatologist and director of Clinical Research at Southern California Dermatology in Santa Ana, California, who offered important insights about plaque psoriasis.
During their time together, Allan and Sarah connected over their own experiences living with the condition and discussed how many patients with plaque psoriasis often have a difficult time finding makeup techniques that work for them. Throughout the tutorial, Allan provided tips for those with this chronic skin condition so that they can feel their best.
Some of Allan’s tips for applying makeup if you have plaque psoriasis, or another chronic skin condition, include the following:
Laying the foundation:
Allan began by explaining that the first step to any look is laying the foundation, even when prepping the skin for makeup application. He gave Sarah techniques for cleansing the skin using the fingers for gentle exfoliation and applying moisturizer to help strengthen and heal the skin.
Additionally, Dr. Soung pointed out how gentle cleansing is essential for psoriasis-prone skin to avoid irritation. "As tempting as it is to want to scrub off your plaques with these abrasive products, I tell my patients that too much trauma on the skin or an existing plaque can actually make psoriasis worse or even trigger new plaques to arise," she shared.
Highlighting favorite features:
Next, Allan provided guidance to Sarah on applying foundation and powder using a brush and tapping motions to layer makeup. This layering technique helps create a natural appearance on the skin.
Finally, true to Allan’s life philosophy, the finishing touch on Sarah’s makeover focused on highlighting her favorite features. For this step, Allan asked Sarah what she liked most about her face, and she lit up with a smile. Without missing a beat, she immediately noted her smile and lips are her favorite features. With Allan’s guidance, Sarah carefully applied a bold, red lip — a tactic that can also help draw attention away from active plaques. Sarah even learned some Hollywood tricks for lip liner and lipstick that she’s excited to continue using for future makeup looks.
The Importance of Getting an INSIDE LOOK:
Beyond the tutorial, Sarah and Allan talked about accepting who they are and not hiding because of their condition. They have learned to adapt and cope with the condition throughout their lives, and after connecting with their dermatologists, they have found treatment plans that work for them.
“Self-reflection can be difficult, but we all have parts of ourselves we wish we could change, and suffering in silence is never a good plan,” said Sarah. “It's so important to speak with your doctor about your psoriasis. There is no blanket approach to clearer skin, as the disease is as unique as we are. Take the time and invest in learning about what may work best for you.”
To learn more about the INSIDE LOOK campaign, moderate to severe plaque psoriasis, and to watch the makeup tutorial, visit www.InsideLookPsO.com.
1. National Psoriasis Foundation. Plaque Psoriasis. Available at: https://www.psoriasis.org/about-psoriasis/types/plaque. Accessed September 22, 2020.
2. National Psoriasis Foundation. About Psoriasis. Available at: https://www.psoriasis.org/about-psoriasis. Accessed September 22, 2020.