We’ve all been there – helplessly searching for the best foundation out there that can cover our acne spotlessly, while at the same time subconsciously wondering whether that foundation contributes to the appearance of acne in the first place.
This paradoxical problem is extremely tiring and stress-inducing, which, in turn, can also cause acne. Acne sufferers never seem to catch a break. The fact that everybody seems to have a different opinion on the subject definitely makes matters worse.
Let’s find out once and for all whether there’s something in makeup that worsens acne, and if there is, what we can do about it.
The answer to this dilemma seems a lot more complex than what you might assume at first glance. The truth is – any product you put on your face, apart from water, might have the potential to clog your pores. Anything from cleansers and creams to sunscreen. Everybody’s skin is different and all of us react to cosmetic products differently. What might work perfectly for you, might cause havoc in somebody else’s skin.
Unfortunately, makeup can both cause and worsen acne, especially on the T-zone area: the forehead, nose, and chin (areas prone to larger 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 come up with the term acne cosmetica – referring to the form of acne that is caused by pore-clogging makeup products. If you notice that your acne gets worse or appears when you put on a certain makeup product, then you might suffer from acne cosmetica.
That being said, there are certain ingredients that are universally labeled as comedogenic and which dermatologists advice to be avoided. Experts agree that whether a given makeup product is labeled as comedogenic or not depends largely on the ingredients it’s made from. Keep this list in mind next time you go makeup shopping and read the ingredient list thoroughly. Your skin will thank you in the future.
Alcohols: you might wonder why alcohol is on almost every ingredient list out there. It’s because it allows the makeup to be long-lasting and penetrate deeper in your pores. But that’s just its upside. It can also cause dehydration because of its drying nature and lead to irritation for sensitive skin types.
Silicones: these give your makeup a boost in smoothness and silkiness. However, silicones can also lead to dry, irritated skin and clogged pores, resulting in acne.
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 those with sensitive or acne-prone skin.
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: algae extract, talc, oils, acetylated lanolin, benzaldehyde, D & C Red, lauric acid, isopropyl/ethyhexyl palmitate, lauroyl lysine, shea butter, and wheat germ oil.
You can still wear makeup if you suffer from acne-prone skin, you just have to be a little careful about the ingredients inside and pay attention to how cosmetic products interact with your skin type.
You might suffer a couple of breakouts through this trial-and-error process until you learn to identify the triggering products. Just remember that those breakouts aren’t here to stay.
Switching up your makeup isn’t always an option, but you should keep these things in mind before buying more. Instead of using a heavy foundation and concealer, you might want to choose a BB or CC cream that’s lightweight but has decent coverage. You could also ditch the heavy powder foundation for a mineral-based one. Or you could look into makeup that’s based on natural ingredients and 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 that it has fewer chances of clogging up your skin, which is crucial for a healthy complexion.
Also, make sure to steer clear of the ingredients mentioned above that are known to irritate the skin.
So, what are some labels you should look for? Pick makeup that contains 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 flawlessly, 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 which will make this process a whole lot easier.
Now that 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 about how sleeping with your makeup on is bad for the skin. Well, there’s a reason this is spoken about so much – sleeping with makeup on can really have a negative effect on your pores. People continue to make this mistake even if they’re aware of the consequences. Instead of healing through the night, your skin will be building up excess dirt, skin cells 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 on their face and eyes and call it a day, which is definitely not enough to get rid of all the dirt and bacteria trapped inside. When you use a wipe, you only remove a fraction of the makeup, oil, and dirt that’s been sitting on your skin all day long. Makeup wipes can also leave a residue that can irritate those with sensitive skin.
Which is why a proper skincare routine should follow after this step of removing the makeup.
Not to mention, wipes can often be comedogenic and contain some nasty ingredients inside, so it’d be better to opt for micellar water, dedicated makeup removers or makeup removing oils that are suitable for sensitive skin types.
So, next time you sit on your bed after a long night out, all tired and worn-out, wondering whether it’s worth it to get up and proceed with your regular skincare routine, just trust that little voice which says that it is.
Another mistake people often make is using your fingers to put on foundation. Yes, this makes the whole process easier due to the natural warmth of our fingertips, and it gives a sharp precision to the whole look. However, if you don’t wash your hands properly before applying makeup then you risk getting bacteria from your hands on your face, which can lead to a breakout. So, if you don’t have a chance to wash your hands thoroughly before applying makeup, you’re better off using a foundation brush or a beauty blender.
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 chronically appear in a weirdly particular area. Think about it – excess makeup, dust, and bacteria sit on them each day, which, combined, 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 brushes in a separate Ziploc bag so they aren’t touching any dirty places. Throwing them in your makeup bag along with all the other makeup isn’t always the best idea.
Using too much foundation can be tempting if you suffer from acne, but it may actually worsen your condition. If you apply layers after layers of foundation, you risk putting a hold on the healing process and the appearance of more acne. It’s much better to use a lightweight foundation and then go over the acne with a high-coverage concealer in order to let your skin breathe and avoid potential congestion that can 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 way too many times and are late for work or class, but it’s crucial that the skin is clean before applying anything on it, including moisturizer. This will ensure that your makeup isn’t sitting on a canvas that is 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.
Although makeup is technically labeled as comedogenic, this shouldn’t scare you into ditching makeup altogether. 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 doesn’t break you out. Being your own guinea pig is not a fun task, but it will definitely help you in the future.