we’ve all been there, and we see it at skin salvation too often. you’re broken out, but have to present your face to the world on a daily basis, and you need something to help conceal those pesky pimples. there is no shame in this, and those of us who have fought or are fighting the battle against acne know that wearing makeup is not about vanity, or even trying to deny that the acne is there. it’s about being able to go about your daily life feeling confident and sure that the people you interact with are seeing and experiencing the true you – not your acne. most importantly, it is your right as a human being to feel good about yourself and have the self-assuredness it requires to put your best self out into the world.
the problem is: the makeup that you are using to enhance your lovely face could be exacerbating your acne, completely defeating the purpose of your sS treatments, product regimen, and acne-safe lifestyle! you see, the cosmetic industry is a tricky but powerful little (ok, huge) guy. the “rules” that dictate how product ingredient lists are labeled are virtually non-existent, or totally skewed at best. cosmetic companies are allowed to label their products as “non-comedogenic”, “hypoallergenic”, for “problem skin” or “breakout-prone skin” with little or no evidence to support those bold claims. there isn’t even a rule (a strictly enforced rule, at least) that requires companies to list all of the ingredients in a product. say what?!
in fact, most department and drugstore makeup brands include several known pore-cloggers in their formulas, simply because the ingredients are cheap, they make products feel nice, and the companies are not required to provide any proof that these ingredients don’t, in fact, clog pores. the acne-ridden consumer is ready to use anything and everything that claims to prevent future breakouts, and the cosmetic industry is well aware of this. so, we buy the products they claim will change our lives, our pores continue to be clogged with all sorts of unfriendly ingredients, and we continue to use those very same products, believing the whole time that what we are putting on our faces is safe and “non-comedogenic”. sorry to burst your bubble, but this could not be farther from the truth!
but fear not – sS is here to help demystify the lies that these cosmetic companies keep feeding us.
liquid foundations are the most evil offenders for acne sufferers, mostly because they are applied across the entire face and are generally used daily. they often contain heavy oils such as lanolins, and it is common for the more sheer liquid foundations to contain isopropyl myristate, a seriously pore-clogging ingredient. on another note, liquid makeup that claims to be “oil-free” may not actually be free of oils; it may contain no animal, vegetable, or mineral oil, but it could contain synthetic oil. if it is, indeed, oil-free, it often contains other ingredients that aren’t oils but still clog your pores, like glyceryl stearate SE, an ingredient that provides “slip” to a product.
lipstick and blush are culprits, too. as with foundations, they can contain acne-causing oils and waxes. also, blush and lipstick are often loaded with synthetic dyes and fragrances that are known to clog pores. and to add fuel to the fire, the ingredient labeling for blushes, and especially lipsticks, can be particularly hard to decipher. for instance, many lipstick ingredient lists often say things like “may contain dye # so-and-so”. this is a problem because not all dyes are pore-clogging. some of the D&C red dyes, which are derived from coal tars, are known to be comedogenic; red pigments such as D&C red #9 and D&C red #40 are the most troublesome of these dyes. when ingredients are listed like this, how are consumers to know what exactly they are applying to their lips? i don’t know about you, but i am not down with using a product that “may” contain a certain ingredient. because each lipstick or blush contains different dyes depending on the shade, the only way to find out what exactly is in each one is by contacting the cosmetic company, asking for the full list of ingredients for the product you are using, waiting until they respond, and then checking that list against the lengthy list of pore-cloggers. phew! that’s a lot of effort for just one lipstick. if you are a lipstick-loving lady (or gent), your best bet is to stick to a brand that uses as few ingredients as possible and is completely transparent about those ingredients. a line that looks safe but hasn’t (yet) been sS-tested is colorganics (http://www.colorganics.net). all of their products look safe, except for the lipliner, which contains coconut oil.
so, let’s talk mineral makeup. sounds pretty crunchy, right? maybe, but it rocks. it offers great coverage, clean ingredients, and it’s easy to use. mineral makeup is the only type foundation and blush that sS recommends for the special acne-prone population. why? mineral makeup contains less ingredients than liquid or cream makeup, and putting less ingredients on your face is generally a good thing. also, the potential for minerals to clog pores is far less than the potential for liquid formulas to clog, because making something a liquid requires the use of oils, waxes, and synthetic ingredients that clog up your beautiful pores.
however, not all mineral makeup is acne-safe. some cosmetic companies that carry a mineral foundation and /or blush add binders and fillers to their products – ingredients that claim to make the minerals last longer, look more natural when applied, and help bind the minerals together (like in a pressed powder formula). fillers aren’t necessarily a bad thing, but when they happen to be ingredients that are known pore-cloggers, steer clear! for example, i used a very well-known and frequently purchased mineral makeup for two whole years, all the while thinking that it was “good” for my acne-prone skin. unbeknownst to me, it contained a highly pore-clogging ingredient – algae extract! so, even if a mineral makeup contains all natural ingredients, do not be fooled! even some ingredients derived from nature can clog your pores. also, a high-quality mineral makeup goes through a thorough milling process, eliminating the need to add artificial fragrance, alcohol, mineral oil, talc, or petroleum in order to make it smell, look, and feel natural. mineral makeup that contains these ingredients is a “watered down” version of real, pure minerals, and can cause or exacerbate acne. two thumbs down!
ok, enough of all the “no-no”s and “can’t”s. at this point, you’re probably asking yourself, “well, what kind of makeup can i wear?” if you’ve been using the colorscience pressed or loose mineral foundations, you are in the clear. as of right now, these are the only acne-safe foundations we at sS trust. they have been tested by many a clog-prone face, and they are both definitely acne friendly. we are in the midst of testing mineral foundations and blushes from alima pure, youngblood, and beeyoutiful skin. even if a product’s ingredients look safe (contains no known pore-cloggers), the only way to know for sure if it is acne-safe is by testing it on someone who is prone to breakouts. so far these brands look promising, although the test to determine if a makeup is cloggy takes about 6 months. it can take this long for acne “seeds” to form in the pores, so we want to be completely sure of the safety of these brands before we can recommend them with 100% certainty. we will definitely keep you posted! for now, stick to the colorscience foundation in order to get and stay clear.
if you have fallen victim to the cosmetic industry’s dirty deceit, do not despair! i count myself among that population. the good news is that now you have the knowledge and awareness to make informed, proactive decisions when it comes to what you’re putting on your face.
isn’t that a relief?