5 Makeup Tips for Acne-Prone Skin

Using makeup to cover acne can be difficult and confusing. You are trying to cover up texture issues as well as tone issues, plus, there is the concern of making acne worse with the wrong products. In this blog post, our dermatologists offer their best tips for concealing acne blemishes while also minimizing outbreaks.

  1. Go mineral. The best type of makeup for acne-prone skin is definitely mineral. Liquid foundations can contain comedogenic pore-clogging ingredients and are prone to clumping on blemishes, making them more noticeable rather than less. If you get a mineral powder with kaolin clay, it will help absorb oil throughout the day, keeping you from getting that “shiny” look. Use loose powder applied with a brush or pressed powder in a cake.
  2. Conceal with Color. Before you apply your mineral foundation, apply a concealer to blemishes, and the big tip here is that color is key! You want to use a concealer that will “cancel out” the blemish color. Concealers with a green tint will cancel out inflamed red blemishes. Concealers with a yellow tint will mask darker, purple blemishes that are healing. Pat the concealer in place (don’t cake it on). You’ll see how the colors help the blemish to disappear. (If the blemish has a combination of both red and purple tones, use both types of concealer). Then cover with your chosen mineral makeup that matches your skin tone.
  3. Keep makeup brushes clean. Do not apply makeup to open or moist acne blemishes. Not only will this cause the makeup to clump and call out the blemish, but it infects your brushes or applicators with bacteria. Using the same tool later invites even more outbreaks. Invest in a washable brush set and clean them regularly with a little bit of shampoo in a glass of water. Shake them out and let them air dry.
  4. Use sunscreen. Sometimes healed acne blemishes leave brown marks behind that can remain long term or even become permanent. This is called post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH). You can help prevent PIH by using sunscreen every day. Also, many prescription acne medications make your skin more likely to burn, so using sunscreen reduces your risk of skin cancer and premature aging. We recommend a broad spectrum zinc oxide or titanium dioxide sunscreen. You can apply a non-tinted sunscreen under your concealer. If your sunscreen is tinted, apply it over your concealer and follow it with mineral makeup on top.
  5. Remove makeup at the end of every day. Be sure to wash all your makeup off before going to bed. Use a gentle cleanser (like Neutrogena) or one recommended by your dermatologist. Apply the acne medications your dermatologist has prescribed for you according to the instructions.

With these tips, you can wear makeup beautifully even with acne-prone skin. If you are on acne medications, remember that they can take time to reach their full effect. Use them as directed by your dermatologist. If acne medications aren’t working or stop working, see your doctor. There are many options for acne treatment, and our dermatologists will be able to find one that works for you.