This article was completely rewritten and renamed on July 31, 2019. It’s now called ‘Cosmetics and Acne – You don’t have to give up one to prevent the other‘. If the redirect doesn’t work, just click the link.
If you wear makeup to conceal acne breakouts and scarring, it’s possible your stopgap solution is part of the problem.
For decades, dermatologists and cosmetologists alike have debated the effects of cosmetics on the skin, particularly in acne sufferers. Makeup has often been branded an “acne Catch-22” you want something to cover the bumps and redness, but you’re told it may actually be causing your acne. Fortunately, this is only partly true. To understand how to approach the make-up issue, we should start with a discussion of cosmetic acne.
Cosmetic Acne is Acne Vulgaris’ mild-mannered cousin. Also known as Acne Cosmetica, or acne that is caused by cosmetics, it is a mild and fairly common form of acne. Because it is triggered by topical products rather than the complex process that creates true acne, it can strike anyone – even people who are not physiologically prone to the condition. Characterized by small, rashy pink bumps on the cheeks, chin, and forehead, it typically develops over the course of a few weeks or months and may persist indefinitely. If you’ve recently started using a new skincare product and you’re experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, discontinue use of the new product for a few days and see if your breakout subsides.
Ever wonder where your make-up goes over the course of the day? Some of it is rubbed off by contact with your hands and your clothing, and some of it migrates across your skin, settling into your pores much like rainwater collects wherever there are small holes in the ground. Some make-ups include ingredients that are considered comedogenic or substances that are known to clog pores. Although these cosmetics may not cause true plugging of the follicle, certain ingredients may induce follicular irritation. The result? The small, persistent bumps known as “cosmetic acne.”
If you suffer from Cosmetic acne, here are a few things you can do to drastically improve your skin’s condition:
- Switch foundation type, from liquid to mineral powder
- Only use products marked as “oil-free” and “non-comedogenic”
- Do not over apply moisturizer. Most quality products only require one small dot to cover both face and neck
- Do not cleanse face more than twice a day; over-cleansing oily and/or acne-prone skin encourages greater oil production
- Avoid topical acne products that are overly drying, for the aforementioned reason.
- Always use a toner, for your skin type, after makeup removal and cleansing, to ensure that ALL makeup/cosmetics residue has been successfully removed.
If these six tips fail to yield results, get recommendations for a highly reputable dermatologist. Your problem may be more serious than you think.
NOTE: While studies have shown that make-up does not cause true acne, it can exacerbate the condition. So it’s helpful to be aware of common topical triggers, no matter what kind of acne you have.