The best make-up for acne.

best make-up for acne

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When my acne was raging, there was absolutely no way that I would ever leave the house without applying make-up.  In fact, when my acne was really bad I would even get up early to put on make-up before my husband saw me.  I know that sounds extreme, but that is my truth.  Acne can be so emotionally devastating!

While my mission is to heal acne from the inside out (because that is truly the only way to get rid of acne for good), I believe it is important to use a gentle and healing make-up during the healing journey.  Nobody wants their acne to be front-and-centre and luckily there are a few amazing make-ups out there that actually help hide acne and prevent new blemishes at the same time. 

The type of make-up that works wonders for most acne is mineral make-up.  I first discovered mineral make-up on my wedding day almost 13 years ago.  Despite trying everything (microdermabrasion, blue light therapy, facials, chemical peels, etc.) and spending a fortune leading up to my wedding, I woke up the morning of the big day with a gigantic zit right on my chin.  I was practically in tears when I met with the make-up artist later that day, but she just waved her hand and told me not to worry.  When she had finished applying my make-up my zit was invisible.  My complexion had never looked as clear or radiant.  I was sold, and I still use that same make-up today.

The benefits of using mineral make-up for acne:

  • Mineral make-up is mainly composed of just three main ingredients – Zinc oxide, Titanium oxide, and Iron oxide.   These ingredients are totally natural and usually very non-irritating if you have acne.
  • Zinc oxide is a natural anti-inflammatory, so it helps to reduce acne lesions and redness.
  • Mineral make-up is a natural sunscreen, delivering an SPF of up to 20.  This means that you don’t have to apply a separate sunscreen (unless you are going to the beach).
  • Mineral make-up can be layered, giving you as much or as little coverage as you need.
  • Mineral make-up will absorb excess oil from the skin, reducing the shiny glare that can often happen if you have oily skin.

What to look out for:

Not all mineral make-ups are created equally.  In fact, many brands out there contain some pretty nasty stuff which can make your acne way, way worse.  I am talking about dehydration, irritation, inflammation – and more acne.  Six ingredients that you should avoid like the plague if you have acne (or skin, for that matter) are as follows:

  1. Silicones (Methicone, dimethicone, trimethicone, cyclomethicone, siloxane, cyclopentasiloxane, cyclotetrasiloxane, cyclohexasiloxane, silsesquioxane, trimethylsiloxysilicate, methylpolysiloxane, stearoxytrimethylsilane).  Silicones make the product feel smooth and silky on the skin.  They also dehydrate the skin and clog the pores.
  2. Petro-chemicals (Paraffin wax, mineral oil, toluene, benzene, petrolatum, and anything that ends in “eth”, “decane”, or contains the words PEG (polyethylene glycol), DEA (diethanolamine), MEA (ethanolamine), TEA (triethanolamine), butyl, methyl, propyl, ethyl, ethanol).  Petro-chemicals are derived from petroleum.  Often they are used to lock moisture into the skin, but really it just clogs the pore.
  3. Fragrances and colorants (Fragrance, parfum, FD&C or D&C followed by a number, for example FD&C Red No. 6 or D&C Green No. 6).  Fragrances can be intoxicating, and they are often the reason that we use a certain product.  But the bottom line is that fragrances can be irritating.
  4. Parabens and Phtalates (methylparaben, propylparaben, ethylparaben, butylparaben, DEP (diethyl phthalate), DBP (di-n-butyl phthalate), BzBP (benzylbutyl phthalate).  Parabens are used as preservatives and phthalates help dissolve solid particles, but they both act as potent endocrine disruptors.  If you have acne, chances are you don’t need any more hormonal dysregulation.
  5. Alcohols (SD alcohol, isopropyl alcohol, denatured alcohol (alcohol denat.), cetyl alcohol, stearyl alcohol, cetearyl alcohol, hexadecyl alcohol, isocetyl alcohol, oleyl alcohol, acetylated lanolin alcohol).  Alcohols are used to increase penetration in products.  They also cause irritation and dehydration, which of course leads to more break-outs.
  6. Acrylics (Acrylic/acrylates copolymer, acrylic/acrylate crosspolymer, acrylic acid, methacrylic acid, 2-ethylhexyl-acrylate).  Oh god, are you serious?  Acrylic is a plastic and who in their right mind would ever put plastic on their face?  I am just shaking my head right now.

So in order to avoid those ingredients, you pretty much have to avoid every drug store and department store out there.  I am deadly, sadly, serious.

Which mineral make-ups should I buy?

When I first started using mineral make-up 13 years ago, Jane Iredale was the best brand out there.  I still use Jane Iredale today, but as I am doing more research I am discovering that there are some amazing new products out there.  Some great brands to try out:

Jane Iredale Pressed Powder

100% Pure Fruit Pigmented Pressed Powder Foundation

Lily Lolo Powder Mineral Make-up

Bella Mari

Raw Skinceuticals

How do I apply mineral make-up?

  1. Using a clean make-up sponge, apply the pressed powder over areas that need more coverage, such as a blemish or scar.  Apply as much as you need.  The more you apply, the more coverage you will get.
  2. With a large powder brush, apply a light dusting of mineral powder all over your face.
  3. Spritz your green tea toner (see my blog), lavender or rose hydrsol all over your face.
  4. Allow your face to dry.
  5. Continue with your regular make-up regime or simply enjoy!

What if my skin is dry?

If your skin is dry and dehydrated, mineral powders might be too drying and irritating for you.  Minerals tend to absorb moisture, which is great if you have oily skin.  If you have drier skin you may opt to use a mineral foundation instead, which has hydrating ingredients added.  The brands that I listed above all have excellent mineral foundations.

If you like, you can also watch my video below!


Dr. Stacey

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