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So you’re an acne sufferer AND a makeup addict? Oh boy! Don’t worry, we get the story. It’s normal to envy those lucky few who can deluge their faces in primers, sprays and goops, with zero pimple consequences (AT ALL!!!), while we sadly aren’t blessed with these powers of makeup invisibility. For us, dolling up is a Catch-22… because our favorite beauty besties are also our worst beauty enemies. The more we cover up and contour away our flaws, the more awful our next breakout will be. Call that a fair tradeoff? Hellza no... and pass!
If you’re truly prepared to change your naughty ways, stop making these 5 makeup mistakes that cause acne.
Pimples happen when dead skin cells, oil and dirt throw a bacteria-infested party in your pore. Now pause to cringe. Okay, so basically, think of your makeup as a fire starter that ignites your pimples. And knowing this, imagine layering your products over your already-zitty skin. Yup, trouble… and gross much?
That’s why we always prep our skin before applying or re-applying makeup. Whether it’s morning or midday, you can’t apply products when sweat and residue is sitting on your face. You must first remove the gunk with a cleansing pad or toner. “For ingredients to properly absorb, you need clean skin that’s totally free of oil and grime,” says dermatologist Mona Gohara, MD, associate clinical professor at Yale School of Medicine.
So if it’s 1pm at work and you’ve noticed your CC cream is melting in your T-Zone, you CAN’T (like seriously can’t) take a “bathroom break” to add more. You’ll only create more pore blockage. Instead, simply use a mineral-based blotting powder to soak up the grease. Got it?
Makeup primer is the holy grail for flawless skin. And it’s not hard to understand why we fall in love with this skin-smoothing puddy of sorts — it makes your selfies look perfect (without a filter)! But here’s the bad news: your beloved primer might be causing your breakouts.
Technically, yes, primers are non-comedogenic, meaning they won’t clog your pores. But this fact is irrelevant because primers can still aggravate your skin and cause acne in other ways without
being comedogenic! If you’re using a silicone-based primer (which is likely), the thickness of this rubber-like substance can block airflow to your pores. According to Dr.Debra Jaiman, a NY-based dermatologist, “silicone blocks the flow of oxygen to your skin. If you have acne-prone skin, it also traps blemish-causing bacteria.”
Yet since nobody is willing to forgo their primer, you should at least settle for a “healthier” option: a water-based primer. Ideal for oily or acne-prone skin, a water-based primer is lightweight and gentle — plus, it lets your skin breathe.
Sure, setting spray makes your makeup last longer — but there’s a catch: it can make your skin greasy. One minute you’re enjoying a gorgeous, airbrushed finish, but by the PM, your handiwork melts into a shiny oil spill. UGHHH, so not cute!!!
The problem is that some setting sprays contain rich emollients such as beeswax or glycerin. As celebrity dermatologist Renee Rouleau explains, these types of ingredients prevent moisture from getting into your skin and affect your skin’s pH level (which needs to be around 5.5 ...slightly acidic). Without getting too sciency about the facts, just know that when your skin is less acidic, you’re more likely to get acne. Even natural ingredients in setting sprays, like coconut oil, can cause this problem. Since it's more alkaline (opposite of acidic), it’ll throw your skin’s pH out of whack.
So although we advise against using setting sprays, if you’re super Gung-ho about them, you should experiment with different formulas to see which one is the least irritating for your skin.
Every acne battler knows this story: You apply your foundation in the AM, and as you channel your inner makeup artist, you’re testing all those beauty blender voodoo techniques you learned on Youtube. Once done, you check yourself out in the mirror and think, “damn girl”, followed by an imaginary “pat on the back” because seriously, your complexion looks flipping fabulous!
But then (pause for dramatic effect) you get home later in the PM. You re-inspect your handiwork, only to see grease puddles and a new family of semi-formed zits. Yikes! What happened?
Okay, so real talk here: While you might love the creamy glow of a high-coverage foundation, your skin will hate you for it. By masking on the foundation, your pores will behave as if they’re “under attack”, triggering their self-defense reaction: extra sebum (oil) production. That’s why lightweight, water-based foundations are ideal for acne-prone skin.
Please, no matter how lazy you are, never EVER forsake this golden rule: don’t sleep with makeup on your face. Between the germs that already linger on your pillow and your sweaty pores, you’ll be creating a warzone of acne-causing bacteria.
And there’s another reason. According to Dermatologist Dr.Melanie Palm, “Sleep is a restorative time for the skin, and if oil glands and pores are blocked by the day’s makeup, the results can be disastrous”. Instead of allowing your skin to properly shed, your makeup leftovers will fester with your sebum, along with any other environmental nasties, allergens or residual gunk, creating a bio-hazardous glue that clogs your pores. Within a few days, you’ll see blackheads, whiteheads and red, splotchy areas.
So, bottom line, going to bed with makeup is, hands down, one of the worst beauty sins you can commit. You hear?!!
When you’re stuck with oily skin, you’re playing a frustrating Tug-o-war game between two priorities: your love of makeup and clear skin. Fortunately, you don’t have to choose just one. The trick to controlling acne often comes down to having healthier makeup habits that won’t clog your pores. But above all, (and sorry to all you serious makeup junkies), you should use less product, like, WAY less.