I find that when it comes to people that have acne and wear makeup there are two kinds of patients- those that wear makeup to coverup their acne and those that seem to get acne from their makeup. It’s so frustrating!
Wearing makeup to cover up a breakout is not unreasonable, however, it can be really hard to pull this off if the acne is severe. Concealers will often mask the redness associated with a pimple but accentuate the scabbing or crusting associated with it. If it’s a particularly inflamed pimple, it will be tough to get the makeup to stay on it!
Only focusing on concealing the breakout without a treatment game plan for the underlying acne will leave you chasing pimples around your face with your concealer wand.
It helps to use a hydrating base with tinted moisturizers working particularly well as they do not tend to “cake up” on top of a pimple or scab. Lightly dabbing the most inflamed areas with a concealer. Following this up with a loose powder will help “set” the makeup in place.
If your acne is persistent, using an acne cleanser with salicylic acid in addition to charcoal can help soak up some of the extra oil on the face to reduce breakouts and prevent your makeup from getting so greasy it wipes off too easily.
Although spot treatments are fine for particularly inflamed spots, the problem is that they often make your acne dry and flaky which will make your makeup up cake up on top of the scab and peel right off. It’s best to focus on treating the whole face and not just spots to avoid “chasing” the acne around. Treating the whole face will treat the breakouts you have and prevent new ones.
Mistake #1: waiting until the morning to manage the breakout
If you are heading to bed and staring in the mirror at a pimple that is driving you nuts, there’s a good chance you will start to play with it. Pinching it, trying to drain it, then trying to dry it out with a salicylic acid spot treatment is what most people find themselves doing. The problem? When you wake up in the morning, there will be a crusty scabby mess from the night before. The salicylic acid will have further dried it out and the skin will be peeling and shedding from the edges. Most people will try to put makeup on, notice it cake up, then try to pick off the scab, then apply makeup to the base only to find out it doesn’t stick because its oozing again! Talk about ruining your day before it even starts:(
The better approach? If you need to pick or poke, I get it- I can’t stop you (I have two teens and a tween- I know there are some battles I won’t win:) However, if instead of topping off the pimple with a spot treatment alone, try adding a topical antibiotic ointment or Vaseline on top of the spot treatment. When you wake up in the morning, there will not be a scabby mess and if you need to wear makeup it will go on soooo much smoother and actually effectively conceal any discoloration.
Mistake #2: Don’t apply concealer like spackle
When applying concealer, it’s important to remember to use a concealer that matches your skin tone. I often see patients that have tried to overthink the concealer options and go lighter or darker trying to mask the red inflammation that comes with a pimple. It is ok to try a green tinted concealer as this can often camouflage the red. Ideally, if your concealer matches your skin tone it will not look like spackle on your skin.
Mistake #3: Apply your base first, concealer second
Primers, hydrating moisturizers or tinted moisturizers applied first can even out your skin tone to focus your concealer only on the absolutely necessary areas. If you apply concealer first then you will end up just reapplying it after your foundation. It will also reduce how much concealer you find yourself using!
Mistake #4: Don’t forget to prevent new breakouts
I recommend first applying an acne preventing product before your makeup. If you are seeing a dermatologist, there’s a good chance this will be the morning acne product recommended to you. Many times it’s a topical antibiotic solution that can help treat the inflammation and scabby areas associated with acne. If you are not seeing a dermatologist and looking for a good over the counter acne medication that doesn’t make your skin peel or dry, there are a few options to consider. My favorite ingredient is azaleic acid. A brand name called The Ordinary has this on Amazon. It’s a great ingredient that treats and prevents acne. Sulfur based creams can also be very effective.
Mistake #5: Don’t forget to clean your makeup applicators
Extra oil, sebum and bacteria can build up on makeup sponges and brushes. It’s a good idea to clean these regularly to avoid worsening your acne.
Mistake #6: Get help!
There are many treatment options for acne. If your first approach doesn’t work, then do not give up. Work with your dermatologist to find the ideal treatment option. If you find yourself looking for more concealers, makeup, and coverage options then its time to take a step back. Why keep concealing when you can treat? I have met patients who found themselves using tattoo coverup for their acne before seeking help!