Does makeup cause acne? This question often pops up when we talk acne causes with my students. Heavy and thick foundation is often associated with getting those frustrating and irritating bumps on your face. And of course, no one wants their skin to suffer while basking in the beauty of makeup.
For those of us already inducted into the makeup world, various beauty products may seem like the only "cure" for our pimples, when the best acne treatments haven't shown any result. By "cure," I mean makeup helps us look acne-free, even if just temporary. Do you know the feeling of satisfaction when you've perfected your makeup base? Foundation and concealer smoothly blending into the skin, hiding every single imperfection we hate seeing in the mirror. Lovely.
Unfortunately, this cure often does more harm than good. Read on to learn why your makeup might be clogging your pores and preventing your skin from breathing.
Does Makeup Cause Acne?
The first time I asked myself this question was when I've already been eating a vegan diet for almost half a year. I've also gotten rid of cleansers, creams, toners, and moisturizers containing harmful toxins. This cleanout was required as I was ready to look for a better solution.
But lo and behold, I was still breaking out like crazy.
Something is definitely wrong here, I thought.
I've established healthy skin habits like drinking more water and eating an alkaline diet. I've also been religiously following my skin care regimen.
So, what's wrong?
Covering Pimples With More Makeup
We've all been through that frustrating day. May it be picture day at school, presentation day at work, or an anniversary celebration with bae—any type of important day really, where our acne just suddenly decides to flare up. Seriously, doesn't acne have any decency?
No matter how frustrated we get, the inevitable truth is that acne is there to accompany us through our important day. Acne's there, proudly showing its redness to all that will lay their eyes on it.
When this happens to me, I do the next logical thing I can think of — hide my pimples with makeup. I can't count the times I tried so hard to conceal my pimples every time they decided to pay my face a visit. But the more concealer and powder I used to cover imperfections, the more I was breaking out.
So, I decided to give my skin a break and go bare for a couple of weeks. The first few days felt weird and awkward, but it was worth it. Believe it or not, at the end of the second week, my face started slowly looking healthier and brighter. No new acne blemishes popping up.
What a miracle!
Or was it?
Below are 3 help-questions to ask yourself to find out if your makeup is causing you pimples.
Is Your Makeup Comedogenic?
I am sorry to break your heart, but there is a big chance that your favorite brand of that full-coverage, silky foundation is comedogenic. What does this mean?
Comedogenic ingredients are those that can clog the pores, leading to various types of acne. These ingredients work hand-in-hand with acne cosmetica, bacteria found in makeup that causes acne. Comedogenic makeup clogs the pores, which opens the opportunity for the acne bacteria to grow and cause inflammation from inside.
So, the use of particular makeup and beauty products can cause blackheads, whiteheads, papules, and pustules to pepper your face suddenly. In this study, women were tested for reactions to their everyday makeup. 45 percent of them were tested positive for skin reactions, and 14 percent showed developing full-blown acne.
What Products Should Be Avoided?
To steer clear from the path of acne cosmetica, always check the label for:
If you want to check the ingredients of the products you already own and have thrown away the packaging, you can go to one of these websites and find what is hiding in your makeup:
Cosdna is especially useful as they provide a comedogenic rating along with the ingredients. If you are prone to breakouts or your skin has recently gotten worse, it's worth it to do some research and find out if your makeup is causing your pimples.
Choosing To Go Natural
Finding non-comedogenic makeup products that are also free from harmful ingredients can be tricky, exhausting, and time-consuming. It doesn't help that we need multiple products to replenish our makeup kit — primer, foundation, concealer, blush, setting powder, eyebrow product, eyeshadow, mascara, highlighter, bronzer, contour product — did I get it all?
Like I said, tricky, exhausting, and time-consuming. We'll really need to reserve some time for researching non-comedogenic alternatives for every piece of makeup product in our kit.
By now, I bet some of you are now beginning to consider returning to your comedogenic products. Please don't! There's still another way you can retire all those acne-causing products while still filling your makeup kit with the essentials.
Opt for makeup brands that use natural and clean ingredients. Such brand is 100% pure.
100% Pure is committed to providing makeup products with natural ingredients. These ingredients are guaranteed pure, naturally pigmented, completely cruelty-free, and never animal-sourced. Give their website a visit, and I'm positive you'll find products that will tickle your fancy.
To help you pick a place to start, I highly recommend their full coverage fruit pigmented water foundation.
It absorbs so well into the skin and does not accentuate small fine lines like so many other foundations. Plus, it's so light that I can barely feel that I have any makeup on when I have it on.
Are you sleeping with makeup on?
We all know this is a deadly sin, and we've most likely been guilty of this plenty of times. But unless you are traveling without access to makeup removers and cleansers, you have no excuse to go to bed without thoroughly cleansing your face.
Even if you are careful enough to select non-comedogenic makeup brands, you are still bound to cross paths with acne if you sleep with makeup on. Yes, you can be sure that if you are careless enough to let yourself fall asleep with a face covered in foundation, powder, blush, and highlighter, acne will always be around the corner.
Remember, even on the most exhausting days, it will take you no more than 15 minutes to properly take your makeup off, wash your face and moisturize it. On the other hand, if you decide to skip these 15 minutes, it might cost you tons of money and time (and a lot of frustration) to cure acne and blemishes.
Do You Clean Your Applicators Frequently?
Half of the fight against acne is keeping the pores clean and regularly shedding dead skin cells. The other half is reducing the amount of acne-causing bacteria on your skin. And guess what your makeup brushes and applicators are — they are bacteria spreaders.
Most sponges are meant to be used damp. Meaning you wet them before tapping them onto your foundation and buffing your face. And by default, sponges keep moist inside them, which ends up developing bacteria and mold. Imagine touching your face with something so abundant in bacteria. Yuck!
Therefore, they require frequent cleaning. Yes, that means, as much as possible, every time you use them!
Washing Your Makeup Sponges And Brushes
Cleaning your sponges and brushes daily is absolutely critical for your skin health. To prevent your skin from being peppered with acne, you should wash your makeup brushes and sponges after every use.
I know this sounds crazy, and you probably think, 'Who has time to wash brushes before leaving for work?' And yes, I know most of us don't have that time. We can only wish.
But, what you can do is invest in multiple sponges and rotate them out during the week. At the end of the week, put all of them in a mesh laundry bag and throw them in the washing machine on a gentle program and extra rinse. Remember to air dry the sponges in a well-ventilated area and never store them in a closed bag. Lest you want molds and bacteria to develop again.
- Try going bare whenever possible. The skin will use the 'break' to rejuvenate, heal blemishes, and get the right amount of oxygen.
- If you have inflammatory acne, try not wearing makeup until it fades away, at least a bit.
- Do not slather on concealer, foundation, and powder. Less is more.
To Wrap It Up
To answer the question that started this post, 'Does makeup cause acne?' — yes it does. It's an ugly truth, but the answer unfortunately is yes.
So, remember these points from now on:
- Leaving your makeup on for the night is a recipe for disaster. The products sink deep in your pores, preventing your skin from breathing and giving the acne bacteria a great chance to thrive.
- Using comedogenic makeup is another thing you can easily avoid by always carefully checking the ingredients label.
- And lastly, a definite no-no is letting acne-causing bacteria to be spread by your makeup sponges and brushes.
I hope the post was helpful. Do you have any questions, comments, or recommendations? Please, share them in the comments below.
Stay tuned and take skin care