Submit your skincare questions to Dr. Agnes, CEO of Herborium and natural medicine expert
What’s the right way to cover zits with
makeup? Covering up any pimples with the most full coverage foundation and
concealer is the knee-jerk reaction for most of us, right? I mean, covering
them up just makes them look like they’re not there anymore…
Or, at least that’s what the effect is
supposed to be. In reality, it can often look very obvious when someone is trying—and failing—to cover up acne.
Luckily, there is a right way to cover up acne with makeup!
However, makeup and acne are a combination that
needs to be taken seriously—trying to cover up acne with makeup could be making
it worse in some cases. Called acne
cosmetica by skin care professionals, it usually manifests as smaller pimples
in specific areas of the face. For example, pimples around the lip area could
be signs of the lipstick being the culprit.
Either way, there’s been a supposed link
between makeup and acne for a very long time—but is it really true that makeup
just makes acne spring out of nowhere? Let’s find out.
This is a yes and no question. There are specific situations where makeup could cause acne—but there are usually
other factors involved. These are some of the most common causes of
Some people claim that their makeup is
breaking them out, when in fact they're actually just not removing it properly.
Gross! Leaving makeup on your face for longer than it's supposed to be is a
surefire recipe for breakouts. The leftover product clogs pores and provides
the perfect food source for acne-causing bacteria, leading to completely
preventable flare-ups. Use a separate makeup remover before washing your face
to ensure that all traces of makeup are really
This usually happens when the concealer or
foundation applicator is applied straight to the face, then dipped back into
the bottle. Again, this is pretty gross, but one that not a lot of people think
about. If you tap your concealer wand against that pimple, then put it back into the bottle, you've potentially
introduced some of that bacteria into the tube. The solution is to apply the
product to the back of your hand before applying it to the face to avoid any
cross-contamination of bacteria. From there, you can use a clean fingertip or brush to blend the product in.
One of the really annoying things about acne
is that it’s so individual. Different people respond to different formulas—and
your friend’s favorite foundation might not be right for you and could cause
breakouts. This is the common skin concern known as acne cosmetica—basically,
acne caused by cosmetics. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t wear makeup,
ever—it just means you have to figure out which ingredient specifically bothers
you. A good start is to only use non-comedogenic makeup that’s oil-free, plus
you can get samples from stores to try something out before buying.
When you put makeup on over skin that hasn't
been freshly washed, you're basically trapping all of the already accumulated
grime to the skin and under makeup—a surefire recipe for breakouts galore. If
you do want to wear makeup, always wash your face first and use a moisturizer
that's right for your skin type. This ensures that your face is clean of any
dirt and grime, plus it is properly hydrated to ensure that makeup lasts
without breaking down on skin.
In the same vein as using dirty makeup, dirty
makeup brushes can be a hidden source of acne. Ideally, you want to wash
brushes at least once a week. Brushes and sponges used for liquid products such
as foundation are more prone to collecting germs and need to be cleaned more
often than brushes used for powder products. Almost anything can be used as a
good brush cleanser—castile soap, dish soap, and bar soap are all perfect
options for giving makeup brushes a thorough cleanse. Just be sure to leave
them to dry either lying flat or hanging upside down—drying them quickly
ensures that no lingering germs are left hiding in the bristles!
This is something that almost every single
girl out there has done—but do you really know how this could be affecting your
skin? The thing is, your friend doesn’t even need to have any active zits cause
to cause a breakout in your skin when
you share makeup. Just the presence of foreign dead skin cells might be enough
to trigger a breakout—so minimize the risk and stop swapping makeup. Keep a
small makeup bag with all of your own products with you so you won’t need to
borrow others’. Also, don’t let other people use your makeup either! You don’t
know where their hands have been!
When it comes to covering acne with makeup,
less is more. Covering all of your skin with a high coverage product isn’t
going to look natural—but strategic concealer application can. Using a
concealer that perfectly matches your skin, carefully dab it on using a small,
precise brush. Try to concentrate the concealer only on the pimple, but still
blend out the edges so that there aren’t very obvious little circles of makeup
on your face! This technique can be used to conceal the dark marks left behind
by pimples, too.
However, there are some types of pimples that
makeup just shouldn't be used on. Any zit that has broken skin or crusty skin
won't be suitable for this. You'll be doing two terrible things to your skin:
potentially introducing more pimple-causing bacteria to your skin, and making
the pimple more obvious, rather than concealing it. Sometimes, you just need to
leave pimples alone and let them heal.
It’s not always
bad to cover acne with makeup. But, always make sure that you’re using the
right tips and techniques that don’t cause more breakouts and stop your makeup
from looking cakey.