How to Cover Vitiligo


The autoimmune disease vitiligo destroys pigment cells and can leave white patches on any area of the body, but it most commonly affects exposed areas like the face and hands. That means nearly everyone with the condition contends with self-consciousness over irregular pigmentation. Fortunately, full coverage cosmetics can, when correctly applied, camouflage vitiligo in a natural looking way. Learn how to cover vitiligo by selecting the right kind of makeup, applying it correctly and keeping it fresh-looking with powder and fixer spray.

Things You'll Need

  • Oil-free foundation with sunscreen
  • Full coverage makeup
  • Setting powder
  • Tinted powder or bronzer
  • Makeup fixer spray

Choose your full coverage makeup carefully. Dozens of brands of water-based, oil-based and mineral makeup can effectively cover skin imperfections. Look for a brand that’s waterproof and smudge-resistant, yet not too heavy or drying. If your vitiligo is somewhere other than your face, choose a makeup designed especially for the body. These are often drier, but resist smudging better. Once you choose a brand, find a shade that’s as close to your skin tone as possible. It should also match the undertone of your skin, whether that’s yellow or pink. You may need to mix two colors for an exact match.

Put on an oil-free foundation that contains sunscreen. Your depigmented skin can’t tan. Sun protection is vital, but oily sunscreens will speed the breakdown of your cover makeup. Prevent burns and help your makeup last longer by applying an oil-free foundation with an SPF of 20 or more. This will also provide a matte base to which you can apply the cover makeup.

Apply your full coverage makeup. Use your fingers or a makeup sponge to dab or stipple the makeup onto depigmented areas. Blend the edges of the depigmented spots in with the surrounding skin. Cover makeup contains more pigment than average, so at first apply only a thin layer. Let the makeup set for three to five minutes. Apply a second layer if needed.

Pat on setting powder. Setting power keeps oil-based makeup from smudging. It’s not required with self-setting water-based makeup, but it’s still very useful for reducing shine and evening out your skin tone. Choose something light like cosmetic rice powder in a shade that matches your skin. Apply a generous amount with a large powder brush or puff. Press it onto your skin with a powder puff, let it set for three to five minutes, then carefully brush off any excess.

Enhance your appearance with traditional cosmetics. If one side of your face still looks lighter due to depigmentation, balance it out by applying light colored powder to the other side. Cover makeup tends to create an unnatural monochrome skin tone. For facial vitiligo, you can restore your skin's natural shading by dusting slightly darker powder or bronzer onto your cheekbones, the tip of your nose, across your forehead and the middle of your chin. For women, applying eye makeup and lipstick helps lead the eye away from your skin flaws and creates a finished look.

Mist on a makeup fixer spray. A fixer or barrier spray protects your makeup with an invisible, yet flexible film so your skin looks fresh and natural for longer. This is especially useful in hot weather or for vitiligo where smudging is likely, like on the hands and arms.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you use a topical vitiligo treatment such as corticosteroid cream or vitamin D ointment, apply it before you apply your oil-free foundation. Self-tanners or sunless tanners can also help cover vitiligo. Choose a high quality tanner to avoid the orange tint of some cheaper brands.
  • It can take a lot of experimentation with different brands of makeup and application techniques before you get complete, natural-looking coverage.

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