We've all been there – helplessly searching for the ultimate foundation to cover up acne breakouts while subconsciously wondering whether wearing makeup contributes to the appearance of acne in the first place.
Let's find out once and for all whether makeup worsens acne, and if it does, what we can do about it.
The answer to this dilemma is much more complex than you might think. The truth is that any product you put on your face can potentially clog your pores - anything from cleansers and creams to sunscreen. Everybody's skin is different, and we all react to cosmetic products differently. What might work perfectly for your skin might cause havoc on somebody else.
Unfortunately, makeup can cause and worsen acne, especially on the T-zone area: the forehead, nose, and chin. These areas are prone to more oil production. There's enough evidence to conclude that some makeup might be comedogenic, leading to the appearance of blackheads, pimples, or whiteheads.
Dermatologists have coined the term acne cosmetica – referring to makeup-related acne. If you notice that your acne worsens when you put on a certain makeup product, you might suffer from acne cosmetica.
Certain ingredients are universally labeled as comedogenic, and dermatologists advise you to avoid them. However, experts agree that whether or not a makeup product is comedogenic depends largely on the ingredients it's made from.
Keep this in mind next time you go makeup shopping. Read the ingredient list thoroughly, and your skin will thank you in the future.
Here are some things to look out for:
Alcohols: You might wonder why alcohol is on almost every ingredient list. It preserves the makeup and penetrates deeper into your pores. But that's just its upside. It can also cause dehydration because of its drying nature and lead to skin irritation.
Silicones: These give your makeup a boost in smoothness and silkiness. However, silicones can lead to dry, irritated skin and clog pores, resulting in acne breakouts.
Fragrances and Dyes: As the name suggests, these give your makeup a lovely and fresh smell. Unfortunately, they're made up of harsh chemicals that can irritate skin and make acne worse.
Acrylics: these work as a glue for other ingredients, but, due to their formula, often lead to clogged pores.
Acrylics: These work as a glue for other ingredients but, due to their formula, often lead to clogged pores.
Other ingredients you might want to avoid include:
You can still wear makeup if you suffer from acne-prone skin. You just have to be a little careful about the ingredients and pay attention to how cosmetic products interact with your skin type.
You might suffer some acne cosmetica breakouts through this trial-and-error process until you learn to identify the triggering makeup products. Just remember that those breakouts aren't here to stay.
Switching up your makeup routine isn't always an option, but here are a few things to remember:
Avoid wearing heavy makeup. Instead of using a heavy foundation and concealer, choose a BB or CC cream that's lightweight but has decent coverage.
Ditch heavy powder foundation for a mineral-based one.
Look into natural makeup that contains anti-inflammatory ingredients and antioxidants for better-looking skin.
Always make sure to choose makeup that's labeled as non-comedogenic. This means it has fewer chances of clogging up your skin, which is crucial for a healthy complexion.
You should also make sure to steer clear of the ingredients mentioned above that are known to irritate the skin. Instead, pick makeup with labels like "oil-free," "non-comedogenic," and "suitable for acne-prone skin."
If you're on the lookout for a great 3-step skincare system that will remove makeup, tone your skin and provide necessary moisture, try this one out.
Remember, you can always consult your dermatologist before buying new makeup. They will give you helpful guidelines to make this process a whole lot easier.
Now we've covered how different ingredients can influence the quality of our skin, let's take a closer look at which patterns and habits we should avoid for acne-free skin.
You've probably heard millions of times that sleeping with your makeup on is bad for the skin. Well, there's a reason for that. Sleeping with makeup on can hurt your pores. People continue to make this mistake even if they know the consequences. Instead of healing through the night, your skin will be building up dirt, dead skin cells, excess oil, and makeup that's been trapped all day long in the pores.
This goes hand in hand with not removing makeup properly. Many people only rub a makeup cleaning wipe over their face and eyes and call it a day, which is not enough to eliminate all the bacteria trapped inside. When you use a wipe, you only remove a fraction of the makeup, oil, and dirt that's been sitting there for hours. Makeup wipes will also leave a residue that can irritate those with sensitive skin. Not to mention, wipes can often be comedogenic and contain some nasty ingredients inside.
This is why you need to follow a proper skincare routine. Opt for micellar water, dedicated makeup removers, or makeup-removing oils suitable for sensitive skin types. We also recommend an oil-free makeup remover if you have oily skin.
So, next time you sit on your bed after a long night out, all tired and worn out, wondering whether to start your skincare, this is your sign.
Another mistake people often make is using their fingers to put on foundation or another type of liquid makeup. This makes the whole process easier due to the natural warmth of our fingertips.
But, if you don't wash your hands properly before applying makeup, you risk getting bacteria from your hands on your face, which can lead to a breakout. If you don't have the chance to wash your hands thoroughly before applying makeup, you're better off using a foundation brush or a beauty blender. Always remember to apply makeup gently over irritated skin.
While we're on the subject of brushes, many of us don't wash them regularly. This is probably one of the most common causes of pimples, especially if they appear in a particular area. Think about it – excess makeup, dust, dead skin cells, and acne-causing bacteria sit on them each day, which is a breeding ground for breakouts. Makeup experts advise washing makeup brushes and tools at least once a week, using gentle shampoos, and letting them dry out naturally.
In addition, when traveling, it's best to keep your makeup brushes in a separate Ziploc bag so they aren't touching any dirty places. Throwing them in your makeup bag with all the other makeup isn't always the best idea and will inevitably lead to clogged pores.
Using too much foundation can be tempting if you suffer from acne breakouts, but it may worsen your condition. If you apply layer after layer of foundation (whether liquid or powder-based makeup), you risk putting a hold on the healing process and ending up with more acne. Instead, it's much better to use a lightweight foundation and a high-coverage concealer to let your skin breathe and avoid potential congestion that will worsen acne.
Another mistake to look out for is not applying makeup on a cleansed face. It's tempting to skip the washing process in the morning, especially if you've hit the snooze button too often and are late for work or class. But the skin needs to be clean before you apply anything to it, including moisturizer. This will ensure your makeup isn't sitting on a canvas that's already clogged up and will minimize the risk of potential breakouts in the future.
Last but not least, always check the expiration date on your makeup! You'd be surprised by how many people are using expired makeup products.
If switching your makeup products up doesn't make your acne go away, you might not have acne cosmetica, and you may need to seek further acne treatment. There are so many acne treatments on the market with acne-fighting ingredients, from salicylic acid to benzoyl peroxide, that can help.
Try the Complete Clear 3-Step System to improve your skin health, whisk away excess oil, and fight acne-causing bacteria.
So does makeup cause acne? Although makeup is technically labeled as comedogenic, this shouldn't scare you into ditching makeup altogether, and we're not suggesting you go makeup free.
There are many different makeup brands and products you can choose from, and with a little persistence and patience, you too can figure out which one suits you best and won't break you out.