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If you've ever dealt with eczema or have skin prone to it, you're likely familiar with the complex relationship makeup can have with your skin. It's a rollercoaster of emotions -- one day your skin feels fine, but the next makeup application seems like a daunting task.

Eczema, as defined by the National Eczema Association, encompasses a range of inflammatory skin conditions that bring itchiness, dryness, rashes, scaly patches, blisters, and even the risk of skin infections. With such sensitive skin, the mere act of applying makeup can potentially trigger flare-ups, leaving your skin feeling patchy and dehydrated.

But fret not! Your love for makeup doesn't have to be sacrificed on the altar of sensitive skin. There are strategies to help minimize the risks associated with applying makeup on eczema-prone skin, ensuring you can still enjoy your favorite beauty routines without exacerbating skin issues.

Here are some practical tips:

1. Use clean makeup tools or clean fingers

Keeping your makeup tools squeaky clean is paramount. Bacteria and residue on brushes and sponges can aggravate eczema-prone skin, leading to irritation and flare-ups. Wash your brushes and sponges with a gentle cleanser to ensure they're free of any potential irritants.

If you find it hard to commit to always cleaning your makeup brushes and sponges, you can use your clean fingers to apply makeup instead.

In her article for the National Eczema Association, beauty writer Eartha Terrell, who also suffers from eczema, suggests using fingers instead of makeup brushes to minimize the risk of bacterial buildup and potential skin irritation.

2. Moisturize regularly

Hydration is key when dealing with eczema-prone skin. Before diving into your makeup routine, make sure your skin is adequately moisturized. 

Opt for fragrance-free, hypoallergenic moisturizers to provide your skin with the hydration it craves without further aggravating sensitivity.

3. Apply primer before foundation

Primer acts as a protective barrier between your skin and makeup, helping create a smooth canvas for application and prevent irritation and breakouts caused by ingredients that may otherwise clog your pores, as Colorescience noted.

Look for primers specifically formulated for sensitive skin, as these are less likely to contain harsh ingredients that could trigger irritation.

4. Always patch-test first

Before slathering a new product all over your face, it's wise to conduct a patch test. Apply a small amount of the product to a discreet area of your skin, and wait 24 hours to see if any adverse reactions occur. 

A patch test, according to Healthline, is conducted to pinpoint the specific allergen causing allergic reactions in individuals with skin conditions like eczema, serving as a valuable tool for identifying the triggers of your skin condition. This simple step can save you from potential skincare woes down the line.

5. Avoid harsh makeup products

According to Everyday Health, individuals with atopic dermatitis, whose skin barriers are compromised, are more prone to reacting to products that come into contact with their skin. Due to this, it's important to choose your makeup products well and read the labels before trying them out.

Choose gentle formulas that lack common irritants, and prioritize products labeled as less likely to cause irritation or clog pores. Seeking recommendations from your doctor is advisable, and you may also want to seek products that have the National Eczema Association's Seal of Acceptance.