You get a zit and the first thought is: cover it with makeup. But what if your makeup is actually making your skin worse? It’s very possible, especially if you’re not using a non-comedogenic variety. Aside from ditching your favorite shades, what can you do to avoid breakouts caused by makeup?
What Causes Acne?
To understand how makeup causes breakouts, it’s important to understand what typically causes acne. Usually, it’s clogged pores. As we go through puberty (i.e. our hormones go berserk), our skin’s sebaceous glands become stimulated, which produces sebum, an oil that lubricates the skin and hair. Too much of this lubricating sebum can cause pores to clog with oil and dead skin. Add bacteria into the mix and suddenly acne rears its ugly head.
How Can Makeup Make it Worse?
So your pores are clogged with oil, dead skin and bacteria, and you’re left with a zit smack dab on your chin. Of course, your first inclination is to cover it up with tons of concealer or foundation. But wait! Makeup can actually make your acne worse by clogging your pores further because many formulas are jam packed with pore clogging oil. For this reason you need to look for a non-comedogenic formula that won’t clog pores.
What Does Comedogenic Mean?
There are certain ingredients that are comedogenic, meaning that they tend to clog pores. Comedones are essentially pores: blackheads are open comedones that turn black when exposed to the air and whiteheads are closed comedones with bacteria trapped under the skin. If a product is labeled non-comedogenic, it means that the product is less likely to get into an open pore and cause it to get clogged and turn into either a whitehead or a blackhead. Comedogenic (pore clogging) ingredients that you want to avoid can range from natural items like coconut oil, to certain dyes and chemical additives.
How to Choose the Best Non-Comedogenic Makeup Formula for Your Skin
A lot of products identify themselves as “non-comedogenic,” meaning that they won’t clog your pores and contribute to acne. Make sure you read the labels carefully on the packaging for makeup, moisturizers and even face wash, and be sure to choose one that says “non-comedogenic,” “non-acnegenic,” or simply “non-pore clogging.” You can also find formulas that do double duty with salicylic acid in them, which helps fight acne. Or, go with a mineral formula that’s less likely to aggravate skin and clog pores than its oily counterparts.
Tips for Concealing Acne
If you do have a blemish to cover, and you’ve made sure the formula you’re using is non-comedogenic, there are a few simple tips you can use to minimize the look of acne. First step? Wash your hands! Oil on your hands (caused naturally or from food) can only further cause pores, so make sure your hands are squeaky clean before you apply any makeup. From there, start with a non-comedogenic foundation. Using a small synthetic tipped brush (which are easier to clean than natural brushed) to dab a dot of concealer and blend into the surrounding skin. A quick blot of powder (preferably non-comedogenic or mineral) will set the concealer in place, giving you serious lasting power throughout the day.
Removing Makeup at the End of the Day
At the end of the day, make sure you wash your face to remove all the makeup before you go to bed. And no, scrubbing harder won’t clear your pores faster. In fact, using a gentle cleanser with salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide may work best to clear your skin.