Foundation and acne just don’t mix sometimes. If you’ve ever dealt with any form of it, you know what I mean. As someone who has struggled quite a bit with acne, I’ve gotten in the habit of double checking the ingredients in any formula before I buy just to make sure nothing is super comedogenic (aka, will clog your pores, big time). Foundation can be especially tricky, though. To get a little more insight on the matter, I called in the experts. Two dermatologists and a makeup artist provided me with a well-rounded perspective.
“[Certain] foundations can trigger acne breakouts, but don’t despair, with the right products and skincare regimen you can wear makeup,” says board-certified dermatologist, Snehal Amin, MD. “Look for labels that say ‘oil-free’ and ‘noncomedogenic.’ The same rules apply for makeup removers—choose oil-free products and avoid scrubbing the skin. Sometimes, it’s not the actual skincare product or makeup that is triggering your acne, but rather the makeup brushes and applicators you’re using. They can harbor acne-causing bacteria, dead skin cells and oils. Clean frequently and don’t share them.”
Makeup artist Alexa Perisco also says there are a few things to keep in mind when selecting the best foundation for acne-prone skin. “Don’t pick up the moisture-targeted foundation formulas, most of these contain a high percentage of mineral oil which can cause breakouts,” she shares. Finally, our third expert, board-certified dermatologist Azadeh Shirazi, MD, has one last piece of advice. “Avoid heavy formulas—particularly ones with petrolatum, mineral oil, lanolin, coconut oil, avocado oil, and silicones as they tend to clog pores,” she says. “Also avoid added fragrances that can cause new pimples to form and irritate existing pimples. You’ll also want to steer clear of foundations with a waxy emollient like myristyl myristate as they tend to cause buildup and congestion in pores. Go for oil-free, lighter foundations that have hyaluronic acid.”
Whew, I know that was a mouthful. But don’t worry, I asked our panel of experts to provide their recommended foundations for acne-prone skin so you can choose the right option for you—keep scrolling.