Does makeup cause acne?

What to do about makeup breakouts.

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Curology Team
Apr 24, 2020 · 3 min read

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We’re here to share what we know — but don’t take it as medical advice. Talk to your medical provider if you have questions.

Many of us have been stuck in the dreaded makeup-breakout cycle: you dab on a little foundation to cover your breakout, but then your breakout gets worse, so you dab on a little more. Repeat until infinity. If you’re ready to hop off that merry-go-round, we’re here to help!

One option is to break up with your makeup altogether. If that sounds good to you, go for it — we’re big fans of the no makeup look. But if you’re not ready to go au naturel, we get it. Just like your skincare routine, applying makeup can be a fun, relaxing way to pamper yourself and get an instant confidence boost. Plus, plenty of products won’t cause breakouts — it all depends on the ingredients.

What’s the deal with makeup and breakouts?

So, let’s ask the big question up front: is makeup bad for your skin? The short answer is no — most of the time. It’s a bit of a misconception to say that all foundations cause acne, and some foundations can even benefit your skin (like those with added sun protection). It’s not the products themselves that can cause breakouts, but their ingredients. Some of these ingredients are comedogenic (pore-clogging) and can contribute to the growth of acne-causing bacteria.

Want to find non-comedogenic makeup, stat? First, check out our list of pore-clogging ingredients. Next, you’ll need to read the fine print on those makeup ingredient labels. If you find any comedogenic ingredients in your current product lineup then we recommend looking for alternatives.

Want to learn more? Read our guide to acne-friendly makeup.

Image of woman applying lip balm to lips

The best makeup for acne-prone skin

If ingredient analysis isn’t your thing, the Curology blog has your back. We curate a no-breakout makeup series where we review non-comedogenic beauty products. Here are a few that cover the basics:

Want more beauty advice? Find reviews of new products in our beauty column.

We love your face

The first step of every good makeup routine is to show your skin a little love — especially if you’re dealing with a breakout. Unfortunately, even if we use non-comedogenic makeup, our acne might not go away on its own. Cleansing and moisturizing your skin also preps your face to be a great canvas, whether that’s for your radiant smile or your gorgeous makeup look.

Custom superbottle for breakouts | Free Trial button

If you need help building a skincare routine that’s right for you, Curology is here to help! Our custom approach to skincare is led by dermatologists, and each Curology member is paired with one of our in-house medical providers who’ll help you determine what’s best for you. Your Curology provider will prescribe you a mix with 3 active ingredients for your unique skin needs. Sign up for a free month of Curology and just pay $4.95 + tax to cover the cost of shipping/handling.*

• • •

We’re here to tell you what we know. That’s why our information is evidence-based and fact-checked by medical experts. Still, everyone’s skin is unique—the best way to get advice is to talk to your healthcare provider.

*Cancel anytime. Subject to consultation. Subscription is required. Trial is 30 days + $4.95 shipping and handling.

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