Ask a Derm: Is It Okay to Put Body Makeup Over Your Skin Issues?

Photo: Getty Images/ Westend61
If you have a phone and an Instagram account, chances are you've come across ads or videos or pictures of people (or even Kim K. herself) slathering on Kim Kardashian's brand spankin' new Skin Perfecting Body Foundation ($45). Or perhaps you've scanned headlines talking about the product's backlash, noting that Kardashian's launch is sending out the message that not only do you need to cover imperfections on your face, but your entire body, too.

Whatever your opinion of the matter, the product did quickly sell out—in all seven shades. So clearly it's making waves, and, judging by the photographic evidence, it really works to make your legs/arms/whatever look completely Photoshopped. And that's something Kardashian wanted for herself, as someone who publicly struggles with psoriasis, an inflammatory skin condition that shows up as scales.

"I use this when I want to enhance my skin tone or cover my psoriasis," Kardashian writes on Instagram of the product. "I bruise easily and have veins and this has been my secret for over a decade. I’ve learned to live with and not be insecure of my psoriasis, but for days when I want to just cover it up I use this Body Makeup."

Foundation itself, though, is sometimes problematic just for your face, as it can sometimes clog the pores, potentially leading to breakouts. So naturally, as a beauty editor, my first thought when I heard that body foundation exists was: Will it be okay for the skin on your body, especially if you're covering up a skin condition like eczema or psoriasis, for example?

"Wearing makeup on your body is fine as long as the ingredients are safe and you’re not sensitive or allergic to them," says Rachel Nazarian, MD, a board-certified dermatologist with Schweiger Dermatology Group. Actually, she says it's no different than slathering mineral sunscreen all over your body. A fair point. So, she notes it's not necessarily bad for skin conditions that you're covering up—as long as you make sure the product works okay on your skin. "Start by using it on a small area of your skin to make sure you're not allergic before applying it to your entire boy," she recommends. "Otherwise, no concerns."

Dr. Nazarian is a fan of what Kardashian has created, since it "helps people feel more comfortable in their skin," which was exactly the mogul's intention when she developed the product, though she admits she's learned to live with her psoriasis. That said, if you are trying to cover up a severe case of a widespread skin condition like psoriasis or eczema, Dr. Nazarian points out that there are effective medications out there that can help more than just covering them up. "We have wonderful medications to treat them fully," she says. "Those cases should speak to their board certified dermatologist about better options." If you're going to wear foundation from head to toe though, just don't forget to, ya know, take it all off.

It could also help to slough it off—here's how to exfoliate your body. Also, steal these beauty tips from Michelle Obama's makeup artist, stat.

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