Amgen's Otezla celebrity makeup artist campaign blends makeover with honest talk about psoriasis

Makeup tutorials are meant to be fun, but that is not always the case for people with psoriasis. That's why Amgen turned to professional makeup artist and psoriasis sufferer Allan Avendaño for its latest Otezla campaign,  Inside Look.

The celebrity makeup artist guides Sarah, a therapeutic riding instructor who is also a psoriasis patient and Otezla user, step by step through her makeup application for a night out.

All the while, dermatologist Jennifer Soung, M.D., offers medical tips and advice for psoriasis patients, such as don’t try to scrub off the plaques and make sure to use moisturizer to help strengthen skin.

Sarah and Avendaño also chat while they work. Sarah admits she was turned off from using products once by a makeup counter encounter when a salesperson became impatient with her skin. Sarah explained she was embarrassed and thought to herself, “Don’t you think I want to have nice skin? I want this final product to look great too, but this is what I have to work with.”

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Avendaño agreed that he often worried about what his clients would think about the psoriasis on his hands.

Both also admitted they stayed clear of the color red in the past because they were always trying to conceal their skin and avoided the “trigger color.”

Amgen initially created the campaign after noticing the social media trend of virtual makeup and skincare tutorials as people sought self-care over the past year. However, the company also learned that what can be a fun makeup routine for some can be stressful for people with psoriasis, Kave Niksefat, vice president and general manager of the inflammation business at Amgen, said in an email interview.

After hearing Avendaño’s story about the challenges he faced and overcame, the Amgen team knew they found the right fit for the Inside Look campaign. “He is deeply passionate about sharing his journey with psoriasis to help inspire others to realize that what really matters is who you are on the inside,” Niksefat said, adding that the “campaign is all about making people feel their best, inspiring them to try new things and, as Allan notes, have fun.”

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Along with the tutorial video on the campaign website, social media messages will run on Avendaño’s and Amgen’s pages and channels.

With more than 80% of the 8 million psoriasis patients in the U.S. suffering from plaque psoriasis, Niksefat said it is important to feature voices like Avendaño's and Sarah's to raise awareness and help others who are struggling. “Their stories and experiences can empower those living with moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis to stay on top of their treatment plan and work closely with their doctor, either in-person or through virtual medicine,” he said.