A woman looks in the mirror happily.

How My Relationship with Makeup Has Changed

I was formally diagnosed with atopic dermatitis in middle school. It also happens to be around the time when everyone starts to find themselves, and, to be honest, navigating that journey with a visible skin condition was truly exhausting.

I covered up my flares with makeup

I used to think it was necessary to cover up my so-called “flaws” with makeup. I mean, that’s what you do, right? That's what I was told growing up. There’s an imperfection on my face, so of course, I’m expected to hide it the best that I can. It didn’t matter that it made my eczema worse or that it was extremely uncomfortable to put irritating products over a flare-up. As long as it was covered, that was the goal.

I have regrets

That idea sounds ridiculous to me now. I really can’t believe I used to think that. I wish I could go back in time and tell my younger self my skin isn't embarrassing or offensive. It was skin. I could have saved myself from years of emotional damage, thinking I was ugly because I always “required” makeup.

I put others' comfort before my own

After a long journey dealing with eczema, I decided it was way too uncomfortable for me to wear all of these layers and layers of foundation just because I thought it would make other people feel more comfortable. I decided I needed to put my comfort first. And you know what? I’m so much happier. Seriously. I was physically miserable with thick products making my face itchy, which really affected my mood. I was annoyed that I had to feel that way.

Now, I work around my eczema

Fast forward to now, I LOVE makeup. I always have and always will. It’s fun! There is nothing I love more than doing some cool eye makeup and applying glitter to my eyelids. It’s who I am. The difference, however, is that I don’t “need” it. There’s no pressure. I’ve worn foundation maybe three times in the past year, but I still love doing cool eyeliner as long as my flares aren’t affecting my eyelids. In fact, I think it looks artsy and pretty cool when I have under-eye eczema and apply foundation everywhere except for the active eczema patch.

AD Advocate Alexis Smith

I will not hide my flares anymore

The first time I did this, I was so happy with how it turned out! Plus, eczema is something that will probably always be with me, so why waste time and energy trying to fight it? For the life of me, I cannot find a good enough reason to hide my flares with makeup that would outweigh the con of it just being outright uncomfortable. Not to mention recently, my eczema was in an almost perfect heart shape on my cheek recently, and I thought it was the coolest thing ever. No one can convince me otherwise.

AD Advocate Alexis Smith

I have a better relationship with makeup

I’m happy with my relationship with makeup now. It’s back to being fun instead of mandatory. It’s no longer a job to hide my eczema. It’s now a hobby to embrace my flares, and I take advantage of their uniqueness. I just wish it hadn’t taken me this long to realize the simple fact that I don’t need makeup.

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