On Set

How To Care For Unexpected Skin Conditions on Set

Discover the basic steps needed to care for unexpected skin conditions on set to help soothe and relieve discomfort and allow a smooth makeup application.

Health + Wellbeing

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As makeup artists, preparing and caring for the skin is one of the most important parts of a great makeup application.  When the unexpected arises, and we encounter temporary skin conditions developing on our clients, it is important to treat the affected area delicately but thoroughly to be able to apply makeup on top. We recently held a whole webinar on the topic which you can watch here, but below are the broad points that were covered.

Flare Ups of a skin condition on Set

Allergies, rashes, rosacea and other skin conditions can arise at any time and cause a client to have uncomfortable and sometimes itchy redness, dryness and inflammation. In the simplest terms, many skin conditions we encounter are a form of inflammation in the skin, often combined with a compromised skin barrier.

These can be caused by a whole variety of factors from temperature, to allergies or digestive issues, the list really is endless.

If the irritation is due to a topical issue, effective soothing requires removing any possible irritant, calming the inflammation as best as possible, and then nourishing the skin to repair, at least temporarily, the skin barrier.

Key Skincare Steps to soothe a skin condition

In our recent webinar, our panel of experts covered some important steps in how best to manage a flare up of skin conditions on set:

  1. Reducing the inflammation of the affected area of the skin is key, begin by soothing a sudden reaction with lukewarm or cool water on a clean towel, cotton or tissue.
  2. Cleansing is a key and crucial step to calming a flare up. Any product that may be trapped in the pores may be causing additional aggravation to a sensitive area. Gently cleanse thoroughly using a gentle balm or milk and water.
  3. Treating your client with dignity, calm and respect can help them feel more at ease and can soothe some of the psychological stress that can contribute to making your client feel worse and a flare-up become more severe.
  4. Applying a combination of oil and water to the skin helps restore a sensitised lipid barrier – use a hydrating serum in combination with an oil or clean water, with a simple oil gently pressed on top.

Key Makeup Steps to conceal a skin condition

Once the skin has been cleansed, soothed and repaired, makeup to correct the irritation can now be applied. Precise application is best with small brushes and delicate patting motions to avoid swiping makeup which can tend to “push off” the inflamed skin.

Begin by correcting the area with green or yellow-based correctors to neutralise and strong red, pink or purple areas. Then apply a matching makeup on top.

A makeup artist should always have a palette of primary colours, in wax or oil base. These formulations blend into the skin the easiest. 

Tahira’s pro tip: if needed, fix the makeup with a small brush or the point of a washable powder puff. Semi-matte powder can be helpful in this instance to blend the skin textures best.

During the shooting day, reapply and touch up gently with clean brushes.

End the day with a proper cleanse can further help your client in calming the irritation.

Be sure to remove all makeup with a balm or milk cleanser if possible, and rinse with a warm cloth to remove all traces of makeup and irritation. Once again, sealing moisture in with a gentle oil or moisturiser to repair the barrier is important.


In conclusion, skin flare ups can happen to anyone, at anytime. A professional calm, but supportive approach to soothing the skin will help ensure a smooth makeup application and support healthy skin function so the skin may repair itself. Correcting these areas to appear smooth and camera ready requires a delicate hand and sensitivity – both for the skin and your client, model or actor.

For a more in depth look at this topic and product reccommendations, head to the Screening Room to view this and our other webinars for as little as £5 Premium + VIP members can view our Webinars for FREE. Find our more about our Membership Levels or upgrade your Membership here.

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