“Stay away from makeup” is a statement incredibly easier said than done, specially, when you have an acne prone skin.
You’ve heard this from everyone: “Your make-up is causing those ugly bumps on your skin!”
If it’s the real thing, then is “non comedogenic foundation” a hoax? Read on.
Makeup for Acne Prone Skin: An Evil or a Savior?
Imagine: Just a day before a party or an important gathering, a bunch of pesky pimples breakout all over your face. Or worse, you have some stubborn acne scars all over your face that don’t seem to get anywhere. Getting anxious about “what will people say or think about me,” you decide to better stay at home.
Now, what’s the best option for you in this situation: Consulting your Derm? Following a careful anti-acne skin care regimen? Or even, eating a well balanced diet?
Undoubtedly, all these options are important. But they’re a long term process. And there’s absolutely no guarantee that following a careful skin care regimen for 24 hours will give you a flawless skin for that party.
That is when you turn over to makeup, or rather, a non comedogenic foundation to cover up your acne / acne scars.
It is quick. And it works. (But only when you do it the right way.) This post will let you know exactly how.
Holy Grail Behind Makeup That Helps Acne (Really)
Being well aware of terms like acne cosmetica, it’s easy to regard makeup for acne prone skin as pure evil. But this is certainly not the case.
What Makes the Best Foundation to Cover Acne
Joshua Zeichner, M.D, Assistant Professor in the Dermatology Department at Mt Sinai Medical Center in Manhattan, has given the most concise definition for the best foundation for acne prone skin.
“Look for formulas that are oil-free and tout water as their first ingredient.” He further added that “foundations containing dimethicone are also great, since they absorb excess oil, mattify the skin, and minimize the appearance of larger pores.”
It’s also good if the foundation has proven acne-preventing ingredients like salicylic acid for boosting its anti-acne properties.
It’s hard to find a cosmetic these days without containing dimethicone. As much as you’ll see experts tout about this ingredient, there’s also a school of thought considering it a nightmare for acne prone skin.
The reality is that evidence for both these aspects is inconclusive, and also for the most part, insufficient. There is a sheer amount of users with acne prone skin having adverse reactions to this. So, unless you’re completely sure of how your skin is going to react, and whether you are prepared for the outcome, I will advice using these products with caution.
Lisa on Vogue has done a detailed account on this issue if you’re interested in discover it in-depth.
Products to Avoid When Looking for an Acne Foundation
Fragrance loaded or Alcohol Based Makeup Products – These are often labeled as “SD or denatured.” People of all skin types can benefit by avoiding these products. But for those of us having oily acne prone skin, avoiding them is a must. These products can easily trigger allergic reactions and exacerbate your acne in no time.
Solid, Thick Makeup – Ones you’ll usually find in the form of stick or compact creamy concealers and foundations. The main culprits are the ingredients that keep these products in solid or semi-solid form. It’s true that stick concealers and solid foundations are the quickest way to cover up your acne scars or red acne marks. But will you afford this convenience at the cost of getting more acne breakouts? I’m sure not.
And you don’t need to worry either. Fortunately, as this post will reveal, there are PLENTY of alternatives you can choose from that won’t just prevent future acne breakouts, but will also help getting rid of your existing acne.
Below is a list of the top 20, handpicked foundations for acne prone skin.
Top 20 Non Comedogenic Foundations for Acne Prone Skin
Almay Truly Lasting Colour Make up is a 16 hours long-stay liquid foundation. This foundation serves as a base to give maximum coverage and also as a nourishing moisturizer due to the presence of anti-oxidants.
Suitable For: All Skin Types from dry to combination to oily. Not for excessively oily skin.
Active Ingredients: Titanium dioxide and Zinc Oxide. Titanium dioxide is whitening and lubricating agent, whereas Zinc Oxide is a mineral which helps dry and soothe any red marks or inflammation on skin.
- It’s a long wearing foundation. So, it can stay up to 16 hours on your skin, making it great for hiding acne scars or marks.
- Contains Vitamin E to help skin smooth and lemon extract to brighten tone for all day natural radiance.
- Contains Zinc Oxide that helps tighten pores and prevents buildup of sebum reducing the formation of blackheads and pimples.
- It is hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic cosmetic product which is suitable for sensitive skins.
- Contained SPF-15 but NOT anymore which means that it has lost its sun protection characteristics.
- Does not last on oily skins in extreme humidity and might cause break outs.
- Apply with a sponge and blend until even.
- If you have an oily skin and feel greasy, smear some mineral powder for a matte finish.
Suitable For: All skin types ranging from oily to dry. Might not be suitable for excessively dry skins.
Active Ingredients: Salicylic Acid-a major constituent of acne treatment products.
- It has unbelievably weightless texture that feels silky and sets quickly to give a subtle look alongside stopping the pores from getting clogged.
- Yields improved skin tone as it is a non-comedogenic product and works best for severe acne like cysts and nodules.
- Its matte finish conceals all the breakouts on your face and can be really helpful for a special day.
- There is a variety of shades that are best for lighter to darker skin tones.
- It contains denatured alcohol that may cause allergy to those who have suffered in the past.
- Sensitive skin types might face oxidation issues (the shades turning orange) due to the pH of their skin.
- Dry skins might face breakouts as Salicylic Acid may show adverse reaction on their excessively dry skin.
- Use damp sponge to apply the base coat.
- If you feel your skin dried try a moisturizer underneath and blend well.
Cover Girl and Olay Tonerehab Foundation is a two in one formula that instantly covers all the discolorations, fine lines and wrinkles alongside helping to improve skin tone over time. This is particularly designed for tone discolorations and age spots.
Suitable For: Combination to oily skins except for very sensitive and oily skins.
Active Ingredients: Cyclopentasiloxane which is a skin conditioning agent.
- It instantly covers all the discolorations and age spots alongside hydrates the skin tone to improve over time.
- Has a creamy velvety feel that seems more like a moisturizer rather than a foundation and does not clog pores reducing chances of acne.
- Its skin conditioning agent conceals all the blemishes and deep acne scars.
- Also contains serums that are lightweight moisturizers and help active ingredients penetrate deeper into the skin.
- This product contains no sun screen elements so it would not provide sun protection.
- The active ingredient Cyclopentasiloxane might cause skin irritation to the sensitive skins.
- Apply with a sponge and even out.
- If you have sensitive or dry skin do not use the powder included in the pack.
Cover Girl Aquasmooth Compact Foundation is an all in one foundation due to the presence of essential vitamins, moisturizers, antioxidants and sun-protection. It is also a great formula for perfectly hiding imperfections.
Suitable For: All skin types from dry to combination to oily. Not suitable for excessively dry skins.
Active Ingredients: Titanium dioxide
- Has a smooth texture and does not easily melt off in heat providing complete coverage.
- Contains Vitamin B-3, B-5 and Vitamin E to moisturize your skin.
- Contains Titanium dioxide that is suitable for sensitive acne prone skins.
- Has SPF-15 along with UVA and UVB sunscreen to protect acne prone skin from oil production.
- It is hypoallergenic hence suitable for sensitive skin.
- It does not clog pores reducing the chances of colonization of acne causing bacteria.
- Comparatively cheaper than other foundations yielding better results.
- Can appear cakey on dry skins as it is oil-free.
- Do not leave damp sponge in the compact as it lets acne-causing bacteria thrive.
elf Acne Foundation is specially formulated for acne prone skin. It contains acne fighting ingredients like Salicylic acid, Tea Tree and soothing aloe. It provides flawless coverage concealing all the blemishes and redness.
Suitable For: All skin types particularly the acne prone and sensitive skins.
Active Ingredients: Salicylic Acid that prevents acne and reduces inflammation.
- It gives excellent matte coverage hiding all the pimples or nodules on your face.
- It is light weight and does not clog pores allowing your skin to breathe.
- Salicylic Acid being an active ingredient sheds the dead cells from skin layers and decrease the inflammation or redness.
- Does not highlight wrinkles and stays on in humid weather conditions preventing oil production.
- It can be used in all weather conditions.
- It is less expensive than other foundations.
- It can cause skin irritation in random cases as it contains slight irritants like camphor bark oil and witch hazel water.
- The pH of this foundation is not low enough for the Salicylic Acid to work as an exfoliator and adverse reaction can occur in rare cases.
- It has a medicinal smell due to its acne fighting ingredients.
- Dab pea sized amount of foundation and apply with a soft brush.
- If the foundation appears too matte dust it with powder to balance.
Estee Lauder Double Stay-In-Place liquid essence is primarily a foundation but also acts as a sunscreen. So, with this Stay-In-Place makeup you get a two in one formula: makeup base and sun protection. You can check for tinges other than pebble for a cool seasonal touch.
Suitable for: All skin types.
Active Ingredient: Trimethylsiloxysilicate and Dimethicone. Trimethylsiloxysilicate provides water resistance in skin care whereas Dimethicone is used as a moisturizer to prevent dry and rough skins. Hence, making it suitable for both the skin types.
- Long wearing makeup with 15 hours staying matte which gives a flawless and natural look hiding any pesky pimples on your face.
- Is suitable for all skin types especially the oily skin type. Active ingredient Trimethylsiloxysilicate prevents the sebum production.
- Holds well in high temperatures and does not melt off alongside providing SPF 10 which protects your sensitive skin from breakouts.
- Available in different shades so that you choose according to your skin tone otherwise instead of hiding your acne it may make it prominent.
- Needs to be removed by a makeup remover. Normal face wash won’t take it off as it is a long wearing foundation and an attempt to do so might result in a break out.
- Can cause allergy and breakouts to those who have suffered allergic reactions previously due to the presence of Dimethicone.
- Take small amount of liquid on your sponge and pat on skin to apply.
- Use a pinch of moisturizer along with the foundation if you feel excessive dryness.
- Avoid rubbing your face while removing the foundation. Be gentle to prevent irritation.
Suitable For: Combination to oily skins (preferably for sensitive skins as well).
Active Ingredients: Titanium dioxide and Zinc Oxide. Titanium dioxide is a skin conditioning agent and Zinc Oxide is used for treating skin irritation, rashes and acne.
- Highly pigmented powder foundation that covers blemishes and post-acne marks and lasts all day long.
- Have anti-aging collagen, silk, peptides and anti-oxidants for wrinkle free skin.
- Does not make skin greasy and does not clog pores preventing bacteria invasion on skin.
- Suitable for sensitive skins as it contains Zinc Oxide which is a medicine for skin irritation and allergic reactions.
- Causes dryness or rash on dry skins and make the pores appear larger.
- Powder may settle in fine lines and creases making skin crepe and revealing all the blemishes and scars.
- Buff in circular sweeping motion, then down and upward for good results.
- Let the primers and concealers fully dry before applying powder.
Laura Mercier Silk Crème Foundation is a rich and luminous essence that offers full coverage and it is great for skin sensitivities including Rosacea and hyper-pigmentation.
Suitable For: Dry to Combination Skin. Also it is very effective for sensitive skins.
Active Ingredients: Cyclopentasiloxane that is a skin conditioning agent and emollient.
- This high pigment, high performance and hydrating foundation create a flawless, radiant canvas that lasts up to 12 hours.
- It contains silk powders to even out skin tone that has been affected by pimples, scars and blemishes.
- It contains Glycerin that help maintain the skin moisture balance along with Green and Black Tea Extracts which nourishes the skin with anti-oxidants.
- It is a non-comedogenic product which reduces the chance of acne due to sebum-production.
- It is fragrance-free making it suitable for sensitive skins.
- On oily skin this formula tends to cake and does not blend well revealing any marks or blemishes.
- On oily skin this foundation makes the pimples prominent.
- The shade selection has warm red tones that do not suit pale skin tones.
- Apply onto back of your handwork into the narrow end of a sponge and smear onto face.
- Set with a translucent loose setting powder.
LORAC POREfection Foundation was developed with the purpose of getting pore less-looking silky smooth skin. This formula is free from oil, fragrance and parabens making it safe for your delicate skin.
Suitable For: Dry to Combination skins.
Active Ingredients: Has three active ingredients. Octinoxate, Octisalate and Avobenzene. Each one of these helps absorb UV rays and increase the effectiveness of sunscreens and different skin care products.
- Contains anti-aging antioxidants vitamins A and E that keeps skin healthy and young while providing medium to full coverage to hide acne marks.
- Contains sun protection in the form of three active ingredients that absorb UV rays and has SPF-20.
- Is free of oil, fragrance and parabens making it suitable for sensitive and acne prone skin.
- It is a non-comedogenic product so it would not cause overproduction of sebum and it would not clog pores reducing the chances of bacteria invasion.
- Stays for 6-7 hours only depending on the amount of humidity and temperature.
- Oily skins might get a slick feeling after wearing this foundation for quite a bit and can result in oil production leading to break outs.
- It has a medicinal smell as it does not contain any fragrances.
- It is a bit high on price.
- For excessively dry skin apply a bit of LORAC primer before smearing this POREfection foundation.
- Combination skins can directly apply the foundation.
Suitable For: Oily to combination skin.
Active Ingredient: Dimethicone and Isododecane. Dimethicone is a gentle moisturizer and Isododecane has a weightless feel on the skin.
- Helps the oil control on an oily skin alongside keeping the skin hydrated as it is a dry foundation.
- Does not melt off in humidity and high temperatures revealing scars and break outs.
- Provides sun protection to sensitive and oily skins and reduces the chance of oil-production leading to acne or otherwise damage skin collagen.
- Needs to be removed with a makeup remover as normal face wash would not work and rubbing can cause irritation and breakouts.
- It dries really quickly which does not let the foundation to blend properly making pimples and acne prominent.
- Smells like wall paint or acrylic paint.
- Use a damp beauty blender for a perfect settle.
- Blend it fast before it dries.
- Wash it with a makeup remover instead of a normal face wash.
Make up for ever Ultra HD Invisible Cover Foundation is specifically designed to meet the requirements of advanced technology involved in TV and film industry. This cover foundation provides the best skin complexion both on screen and off screen. Completely invisible under the latest super-focused 4k lens this formula gives flawlessly natural-looking finish.
Suitable for: All except extremely oily skins or people who have suffered skin allergy to Sodium Hyaluronate.
Active Ingredients: Sodium Hyaluronate and Dimethicone. Sodium Hyaluronate is used for skin hydration whereas Dimethicone is a used moisturizing agent.
- Long staying foundation up to 12 hours making it suitable for the HD camera technology.
- Light weight foundation that blends easily and settles on acne skin.
- Provides medium coverage and gives an overall natural-looking skin hiding blemishes.
- Exceptional shade range, with options ranging from super fair to very deep for hiding the acne according to your skin tone making it less prominent.
- Super fluid formula setting a satin look, making it ideal for combination to slightly dry skin (including acne prone).
- Low concentration fragrance reducing the risk of skin irritation and breakouts to those who have suffered in the past.
- Not ideal for very oily skins as it does not absorb any oil and may cause breakouts.
- This foundation does not oxidize and this requires touch-ups in between.
- Gives a simple natural look instead of enhancing look for some special occasion.
- Apply with a damp sponge applicator on dry skin.
- Don’t apply hard while layering over areas of freckles.
- Dust translucent powder if you feel excessively moisturized or warmed.
Suitable For: Dry to Combination Skins. Not suitable for oily skins.
Active Ingredients: Dimethicone and Cyclopentsiloxane. Dimethicone provides a protective cover on skin which is supposed to keep skin hydrated for longer whereas Cyclopentsiloxane is a skin conditioning agent.
- It is long-staying foundation up to 14 hours. Skin feels hydrated and never rough or dry preventing breakouts and skin irritation.
- Since it is an oil-free formula it does not accentuate pores and does not clog them reducing the chances of greasy skin resulting in acne.
- It provides heavy coverage to medium coverage covering any blemishes or hyper-pigmentation.
- The price of this product is low for its quality.
- The colour range of this foundation seems too dark for the porcelain or white-skinned people.
- Not suitable for excessively oily skin as it might melt and smudge on things around.
- Those who are suffering intense acne or cysts should not use it as it can give them horrible zits and clog pores.
- Blend outward with the center of the face.
- Make sure to blend well around the jawline and hairline.
- Set with a powder for a perfect finish.
Suitable For: Normal to Oily skins (including sensitive skin).
Active Ingredients: Perlite- an inert siliceous mineral made for the exfoliation and rejuvenation of skin cells.
- Provides full coverage and perfect matte skin for up to 16 hours as it is a long-staying formula.
- Does not clog pores reducing the chances of colonization of bacteria in skin.
- It is an oil-free formula that is ideal for acne prone oily skin and prevents sebum production.
- It does not get cakey or flakey as it has a matte finish.
- It is great for covering pimples as it can be worn on liquid foundation and concealer.
- Can cause allergic reactions or rash on skin due to presence of perlite although it does not absorb into skin but can cause dryness.
- Does not work well on excessively oily skins.
- With the provided applicator, blot the powder onto areas of face with excess oil.
- Blend over using gentle downward strokes.
- Foundation and concealer can be applied beneath this powder foundation.
Missha M Perfect Cream base was developed as a salve for patients after laser treatments. Combining cosmetics with skin care, this foundation promotes natural looking coverage while providing sun protection, treating dark spots and preventing wrinkles.
Suitable For: All skin types including sensitive skins.
- Covers blemishes and red zits leaving the skin gorgeous and radiant.
- Provides great sun protection along with an SPF-42 to prevent any oil production leading to pimples.
- Presence of Gatuline RC, Hyaluronic Acids and Ceramide content moisturizes and improves elasticity of acne prone skin.
- Rosemary and Chamomile extracts soothes the unclear or irritated skin affected by acne.
- Not very effective in hiding the blemishes and dark spots on older skins.
- Might oxidize on excessively oily skins due to presence of Zinc Oxide as one of the ingredients.
- Pump out the desired amount and smooth onto skin using preferred methods (fingers, sponge applicator or brush).
- Apply a moisturizer before bb cream if you have very dry skin.
Neutrogena Healthy Skin Liquid base is an exclusive blend of antioxidants and sun screen that maintains the healthy and radiant look of the skin. This silky-light gliding formula provides a perfect glamour look while protecting the skin from harmful UV rays.
Suitable For: All skin types except for people who are allergic to Ethylhexyl Palmitate.
Active Ingredients: Titanium Dioxide- an inert earth mineral used as a whitening, lubricating and sunscreen ingredient in cosmetic products.
- Light weight formula involving antioxidants such as Vitamin E to improve skin’s luminosity and to heal acne prone skin.
- Contains broad-spectrum SPF-20 that protects skin from harmful UV rays which cause over production of sebum aggravating acne.
- Covers all the acne scars and blemishes keeping your skin moisturized and hydrated.
- The range of shades is impressive, for normal to slightly dry and oily skin.
- It contains Ethylhexyl Palmitate, which is a comedogenic substance and might worsen your acne if you have faced any allergic reactions in the past.
- Another ingredient methylisothiazolinone present in this foundation has a history of causing sensitized reactions.
- Apply it with a sponge instead of a makeup brush for perfect blend.
- Smear some powder if you feel greasy in case your skin is very oily.
- Rinse well if you develop a skin rash.
Oxygenetic Foundation is basically designed for medical use on burns and scars. No occlusive oils, water, fragrance or preservatives have been added for the safety of sensitive skins. Besides, Oxygenetic fresh and light formula works as a second skin for those suffering acne.
Suitable For: All skin types especially the sensitive ones.
Active Ingredients: Titanium dioxide and Methicone. Methicone is a silicone that is used as a skin conditioning agent in cosmetics and skin products.
- Made with Ceravitae, an advanced complex, this aloe-based foundation delivers oxygen straight to the compromised skin cells.
- This oxygenated formula helps encourage healthy collagen growth making it ideal for those struggling with common skin conditions like acne and rosacea.
- Offers an SPF of 25 which provides sun protection to skin reducing the chances of acne prone skin.
- This formula is free of fragrance, oils, dyes and parabens making it hypoallergenic.
- This foundation is water-resistant and stays in place concealing any blemishes on the skin.
- Excessively oily skins might feel this foundation very sticky and greasy.
- It is a bit too expensive due to its oxygenating functioning.
- The shades are way too pale for the darker tones.
- Apply evenly over cleansed skin with a clean sponge or brush.
- Blend until even.
- For maximum coverage apply more than desired.
Suitable For: Ideally for combination to oily skins.
Active Ingredients:Cyclopentasiloxane- which is a commonly used silicone in cosmetic products.
- It is a long-staying make up base that is resilient to excessive temperatures making it ideal for acne prone skin.
- It is a non-comedogenic product i.e. its oil free hence best for oily skins.
- Minimizes the appearance of pores giving your skin flawlessly natural look.
- Contains silicones like Cyclopentasiloxane that are hypoallergenic and do not cause allergy to sensitive skins.
- Available in Eight shades for fair to deeper tones and hides any pimples or blemishes on your skin.
- It is fragrance-free a plus point for the sensitive acne prone skin.
- Gets cakey and heavy on dry skins and can cause break outs.
- Does not blend easily if not applied in the right direction.
- Apply it with a brush in stippling motion.
- Use a moisturizer beneath your foundation to avoid the cakey appearance.
Smashbox Camera Ready CC cream is an advanced light-weight formula that neutralizes and brightens skin for a more even complexion. It’s proven to fade dark spots, sun spots and post acne marks instantly and overtime.
Suitable For: Oily to combination skins due to its matte finish (also for acne prone skin).
Active Ingredients: Contains four active ingredients of which three are sun screens: named Octinoxate, Octisalate, Oxybenzene. While one is a skin conditioning agent called Titanium dioxide.
- Provides a broad-spectrum SPF 30 due to the presence of Octinoxate, Octisalate and Oxybenzene which controls oil production preventing pimples and acne.
- Visibly fades the existing dark spots, sun spots and blemishes due to its medium coverage.
- It is non-comedogenic and reduces the chances of oil production leading to acne.
- Available in five different shades for light to medium tan skin tones.
- Might appear very shiny and feels slimy when applied to excessively oily skin.
- The colour range might be too dark for the white skinned people.
- Apply with a brush in stippling motion and cover the jawline.
- Smear the powder intact with the foundation to give a matte look.
Smashbox Liquid Halo HD Foundation is 100% Liquid Light Technology that gives a luminous finish and contains gel-covered pigments that mimic photo filters to clear imperfections. This formula claims to be humidity resistant with SPF-15.
Suitable For: Combination to dry skins including sensitive skins.
Active Ingredients: Octinoxate and Titanium dioxide. Octinoxate filters the UV rays effectively protecting the deeper layers of skin. Titanium dioxide is also used as a sunscreen element but it is carcinogenic.
- It acts as a broad-spectrum sun screen due to its active ingredient Octinoxate and has SPF-10 preventing sebum-production (a cause for acne).
- Provides good coverage which helps in concealing the pimples and gives a matte look.
- Does not clog pores and maintains a sublime texture alongside eliminating space for bacteria to thrive.
- Best for dry skin due to its moisturizing effect and breaks the tendency of flaky skin reducing risks of skin rash.
- Is lightweight and gives a virtually flawless skin that looks perfect in photos.
- Is Fragrance-free, reducing the chances of skin irritation.
- The shades are warm-toned ranging from golden to peach and might turn colour in excessive heat.
- It might get slick or greasy on extremely oily skin that results in acne.
- Since Octinoxate is a chemical sunscreen it might cause skin irritation or adverse effects.
- This product is heavy on price (expensive).
- Use Smash powder along with this foundation for touch-ups or in case it gets greasy.
- If you face any skin irritation due to Octinoxate discontinue use.
This one is an oil-free foundation. So, it does suit oily skins, but doesn’t claim to be completely immune to clogging pores.
Too Faced Born This Way foundation is a sheer cream formula that has a lightly moisturizing finish and it promises benefits that blur the lines between between skin care and make up.
Suitable For: Oily skin.
Active Ingredients: Cyclopentasiloxane which is a skin conditioning agent.
- Its natural coverage easily conceals uneven tone, such as redness, blotchy areas and post-acne red marks.
- Contains coconut water and hyaluronic acid, along with alpine rose leaf for more elasticity.
- It is an oil-free product, and won’t cause excessive oiliness on your skin.
- It does not contain any fragrance and this makes it suitable for sensitive and acne prone skins.
- It gets greasy on oily skins and also on combination skins (t-zone) when worn for long time.
- It does not stay long and melts off on oily skin as it seems quite moisturizing to their needs.
- Apply with the help of a sponge applicator and blend well.
- Dust a little setting powder for perfect blend (combination skins).
What’s Your Favorite Acne Foundation?
What’s your experience with your current foundation? Do you have any specific questions regarding the products I listed in this post? Let me know in the comments below!