Guide To Buying Makeup For Acne-prone Skin

Women who struggle with acne know how difficult it is to look poised and confident when you have a face marred with blemishes. Unlike other women who can cover up their flaws with makeup, having acne-prone skin makes you hesitate to use makeup and other facial products for fear of aggravating your skin problem. Fortunately, you can use makeup if you know how to choose the correct products and how to use them. But, first, let’s talk about a common question when it comes to acne and cosmetics: Can makeup cause acne breakouts?

Our #1 Pick

Clinique Anti-Blemish Solutions Liquid Makeup

Our reasons for choosing it:

  1. Ideal for most skin types.
  2. Comes from a reliable brand, tested for many years.
  3. Price is right on target for budget consumers.

Acne often occurs on areas of the body that have the most oil glands like the face. When dead skin cells and excessive oil block our pores, germs flourish and produce inflammation. These lead to acne breakouts such as pimples, whiteheads and blackheads. Science has proven that a combination of hormones, stress and certain foods can make acne worse. Makeup, however, does not actually cause acne. Some types of makeup can trigger acne breakouts for those who already have acne-prone skin but not all makeup products will exacerbate acne problems.

What to avoid using

Similar to sensitive skin, acne-prone skin should avoid any cosmetic or skincare product that carries ingredients that could irritate the skin. Makeup products with alcohol or oil bases are examples of these. Any beauty product with strong fragrances is also a potential irritant and if the makeup uses several chemicals as preservatives, these may also inflame your skin.
Though you might be tempted to use thick makeup products to cover up any swelling, redness and inflammation, this is not a good idea. You will also need to stay away from solid foundations, concealers or blushes because they are known to use synthetics that produce adverse reactions in sensitive skin.

What to buy

When looking for foundation, eye shadow, concealer, blush or bronzer, choose those in liquid or powder form. In general, the best foundation and concealer for acne-prone skin are the liquid types. When it comes to blush and bronzer, powder types are ideal. You can also determine if the product will not trigger your breakouts if it’s labeled oil-free and fragrance-free since these kinds of makeup products can be safely used on acne-prone and sensitive skin.

Some makeup brands also have their own skincare lines targeted for acne-prone skin and these products still offer medium coverage. Mineral makeup is another fairly new type of makeup developed and specially formulated to be non-irritating and ideal for delicate skin. There are even makeup products that have been incorporated with acne-healing and antibacterial ingredients such as salicylic acid.

Though these products mentioned tend to be lighter and have a thinner consistency compared to other cosmetics, they are just as effective at providing a smooth, flawless finish with the added benefit of avoiding breakouts. They are, however, often pricier than regular makeup.

Makeup tips

Skincare comes first. Before you put on your makeup, cleanse your face well and use a light toner and then hydrate with an oil-free moisturizer. This helps make sure your skin is clean, without any germs underneath, and ready for your makeup.

Dab a little concealer on the problem areas on your face and then spread foundation over your entire face and neck lightly and gently. Make certain your hands are clean if you’re using liquid foundation and concealer and applying it with your fingers. Matte type makeup products are best as they’ll look more natural or else the makeup could cake on any blemishes you currently have and they’re sure to be noticed. Apply any other makeup you want afterwards, such as blush or bronzer and highlighter.

You can finish up with setting powder to ensure everything stays in place. Since your face is likely to become oily during the day, control the oil by patting your face with blotting paper. You can also lightly powder the oily areas but as much as possible, avoid putting on more makeup. Remember, use only a light layer of each makeup product.

Finally, never neglect to remove all your makeup and then follow your skincare regimen before you sleep at night. Leaving any trace of makeup on your face overnight will surely lead to bacteria and inflammation.

Whichever makeup you choose, you may still experience breakouts if that particular product is not suited for your skin type. The chances of inflammation are lower though if you choose oil-free, fragrance-free or mineral makeup and if you carefully follow a methodical skincare routine.

Best Features
User Experience
Price Level
Our Rating
Lorac Natural Performance Foundation Weightless foundation that lasts throughout the day without caking; free of parabens, oils, & fragrances; soothes skin inflammation & redness due to Vitamin A, Xyleine & Premier Olive Leaf Extract ingredientsVery GoodModerate4.2 / 5
Clinique Anti-Blemish Solutions Liquid Makeup Lightweight foundation formulated for acne & pimples packed with salicylic acid, sea algae properties, & hydroxydecanoic acid to prevent pore inflammation; dries out acne scars without dehydrating skin; provides natural look that lasts eight hrs.Excellent QualityModerate 4.7 / 5
Laura Mercier Oil-Free Foundation Waterbased foundation perfect for acne-prone skin; lightweight texture leaves skin moisturized without excess oil & clogged pores; easy to apply & lasts up to 8 hrs; 12 different shades to choose from with Aloe Barbadenis that has scar healing property Very GoodModerate4.2 / 5
Elf Acne Fighting FoundationContains salicylic acid, camphor, tea tree, aloe & witch hazel; gives instant cooling effect while fighting pimple breakouts; relieves redness & swelling; thick consistency lasts for a day GoodLow4.0 / 5
bareMinerals Blemish-Ready Foundation Made with natural ingredients perfect for prolonged exposure; formulated to diminish acne scars & blemishes gradually; combined with Aspen bark + tea tree oil; instantly hydrates & has cooling effect GoodModerate4.0 / 5
Shiseido Sheer and Perfect Foundation Packed with SPF18 with 3 color variants to better suit your skin needs; green powder conceal redness and blemishes; the blue variant reduces dark spots and circles & white powder minimizes the appearance of big poresGoodModerate4.0 / 5

6 Best Foundations for Acne-Prone Skin

Anyone of any age can suffer from acne breakouts because it is simply not a skin problem but also an effect of hormonal imbalance. Often, acnes are severed due to incompatible skin care products that contain harsh chemicals. It is important to understand your skin type and the products you apply directly on your skin such as foundation, creams, toner, and other types of makeup.

If you intend to use foundations to conceal pimples, make sure its ingredients are specific for acne treatment. It is a base makeup before you put on concealers or blush on to effectively hide those uneven dark spots. Do a skin test first to ensure that you do not have any allergic reaction to these products.

Lorac Natural Performance Foundation

Unlike other foundation brands, Lorac is weightless but it can last throughout the day without the caking effect whenever you perspire. It is free of cancer-causing paraben, oils, and fragrances that can lead to skin asthma and irritation. Aside from the smooth natural finish, Lorac helps soothe skin inflammation and redness in effect of ingredients like Vitamin A, Xyleine, and Premier Olive Leaf Extract.

Clinique Anti-Blemish Solutions Liquid Makeup

Clinique’s lightweight foundation is formulated to treat acne and prevent pimples from growing. It is packed with salicylic acid, sea algae properties, and hydroxydecanoic acid that prevents the inflammation of the pores. This product dries out acne scars without dehydrating the skin. The foundation provides a natural look that can last up to eight hours.

Laura Mercier Oil-Free Foundation

Laura Mercier’s foundation is ideal for individuals with acne-prone skin. Its lightweight texture leaves the skin moisturized without leaving excess oil and clogged pores. This foundation is easy to apply on skin even using just your fingertip.

The base is water so it does not cake when you perspire get soaked. The smooth finish lasts up to eight hours and is available in 12 different shades to match every one’s skin tone. Its primary ingredient is Aloe Barbadenis which is known as an effective scar healing property.

Elf Acne Fighting Foundation

Made up of ingredients such as salicylic acid, camphor, tea tree, aloe, and witch hazel, Elf Acne Fighting Foundation gives an instant cooling effect while it fights pimple breakout and relieves redness and swelling. Elf has a thick consistency so one application is enough to last for a day.

bareMinerals Blemish-Ready Foundation

Following its name, bareMinerals Foundation is packed with natural ingredients that do not harm the skin even with prolonged exposure. It is formulated to gradually diminish acne scars and other blemishes like freckles and uneven skin tone. It is also combined with Aspen bark and tea tree oil for instant hydration and cooling effect.

Shiseido Sheer and Perfect Foundation

Hailing from a world-class quality product brand, Shiseido’s version of makeup foundation is packed with SPF 18 to prevent the sun’s ray from further harming your skin. You can choose from three color variants to better suit your skin needs. The green powder helps conceal redness and blemishes; the blue variant reduces dark spots and circles, while the white powder minimizes the appearance of big pores.