How Can I Tell If My Makeup Is Acne-Friendly?

What reduces one person's acne might exacerbate another's. Don't blindly rely on a product's promise that it won't clog your pores. The following advice on acne-friendly makeup can help you choose wisely.

If you've ever compared your skin to that of your acquaintances or even your relatives, you know that no two complexions are alike. The beauty ingredients that don't irritate your face might be dreadful for a friend.

This rule can serve you well when choosing so-called 'acne-friendly' makeup. While there are no guarantees with products formulated not to exacerbate acne, a few hints can help you minimise blemishes while you cover them.


How Can I Tell If My Makeup Is Acne-Friendly?

The Cardinal Rule of Acne Prevention: Know Your Skin

Acne is usually caused by excess oil production that traps bacteria and impurities in the skin. Dry skin can also trigger acne, though—particularly when flakes clog your pores or your skin overreacts by producing excess oil.

Allergic reactions and irritation can similarly trigger breakouts by stimulating excess oil production or trapping bacteria. And occasionally, other conditions—such as infections or rosacea—can look like acne.

To choose makeup that's unlikely to encourage breakouts, you need to know your skin: how it reacts to new products, which factors contribute to your acne, and whether you're allergic to specific ingredients.


Non-comedogenic products are less likely to clog the pores and cause blackheads and whiteheads (comedones). These products don't guarantee a spot-free complexion, but because they contain fewer known irritants, they're unlikely to trigger serious breakouts.

Glo Minerals Pressed Base, for example, is free of skin-clogging oils. It also lacks talc—a common skin irritant.


How Can I Tell If My Makeup Is Acne-Friendly?


Oil-Free: Does It Matter?

A debate continues to swirl around the use of oil-based products. You might think that oil is verboten, since excessive natural skin oils can cause breakouts.

Cleansing with the right oil can actually remove impurities from your skin. A small amount of oil keeps skin moist and healthy. The real problem with oil is that too much of it clogs pores, and some oil-based products contain other irritating ingredients.

Oil-free cosmetics are generally a wise idea for acne-prone and even normal skin. Whereas oil-based cleansers dissolve excess sebum and rinse it away, oily cosmetics sit on your face all day and can encourage spots to form.

Acne-Treatment Products

A number of cosmetics companies make products that don't just protect your skin but actually treat the underlying causes of acne. These products may contain ingredients such as salicylic acid, which removes excess oil and promotes exfoliation; or sulphur, which tackles acne bacteria without drying the skin.

Keep these products away from the delicate area under the eyes, and use them only on areas directly affected by acne, since they can irritate your skin.

Want to give acne-treatment cosmetics a try? Check out Jane Iredale Disappear Concealer, which treats acne with green tea and other natural, skin-clearing ingredients.

Other Problematic Ingredients

In addition to seeking out oil-free, non-comedogenic products, consider choosing products with ingredients that are less likely to irritate your skin. Irritated skin is more prone to breakouts and clogged pores. While your skin is its own unique environment, and knowing your specific triggers is vital, the following ingredients tend to be irritating to a wide variety of skin types:

  • Talc
  • Mineral oil
  • Ammonia
  • Minty fragrances such as peppermint and menthol
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Menthyl acetate


How Can I Tell If My Makeup Is Acne-Friendly?