Foundation for acne-prone skin

Written by colleen reinhart
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Foundation for acne-prone skin
Finding the right foundation is critical for acne-prone skin. (make-up image by Mat Hayward from

Having acne puts you in a difficult situation. You want to use foundation to reduce the appearance of your blemishes, but most foundations only make your skin problems worse. Although it's best to avoid potential irritants if you have acne-prone skin, there are acne-friendly foundations and application methods that will reduce the chance of a flare-up.

What to Look For

<p> recommends avoiding oil-based make-up altogether and choosing dry or water-based formulations instead. Look for labels that say "won't clog pores," "oil free" or "non-comedogenic"--a fancy way of saying the product does not contain pore-clogging ingredients. People with acne-prone skin are often sensitive to harsh chemicals, including ones added by make-up manufacturers that give the make-up a pleasant smell, or mask the unpleasant odour of other ingredients. Your best bet is to look for products labelled "hypoallergenic" or "fragrance free."

Not All Oils Clog Pores

If you are reading foundation labels and you find you can't completely avoid oil in your cosmetics, remember that not all oils will clog your pores. Some oils are fine for acne-prone skin. According to, sunflower oil, petroleum products and mineral oil don't clog pores. Watch out for lanolin and isopropyl myristate, both of which are commonly found in foundations and are notorious for clogging pores.

Also, compare your foundation's label against the website Sage Advice's five-page ingredients chart. The chart lists chemicals commonly found in cosmetics, and rates them based on the likelihood they will clog pores and cause skin irritation.

Applying Foundation

Following a proper skin care regimen when applying foundation can reduce the chances of a breakout. AcneNet recommends gently washing your face first, and then applying topical acne medication. Next, slather on moisturiser and sunscreen, and finally, apply your foundation of choice. If you have problems finding sunscreens, moisturisers and acne medications that work for you, visit, or speak to a dermatologist.

Other Tips

To avoid bacteria build-up in make-up brushes that can lead to acne, recommends changing your foundation brush every few months. Always clean your brushes well following use, and keep the bristles covered when you store the brushes. Remove make-up before going to sleep. No matter how gentle your foundation is, keeping your skin covered with make-up all night can trap sweat between your foundation and the surface of your skin, causing a nasty breakout. Use a make-up remover or a gentle cleansing milk to wash your foundation away before turning in.

Recommended Products

While there's no guarantee a specific product will work for you, knowing a few products that are popular with acne suffers is a good place to start. Proactiv sells a make-up line that covers blemishes and also contains acne-fighting ingredients. Many users on message boards swear by Bare Escentuals, a mineral-based powder foundation. Finally, the creator of recommends Almay products, based on the advice of trusted professors and dermatologists.

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