Can I Wear Makeup If I Have Acne-Prone Skin?

Your best friend says you should stop wearing all makeup until your skin clears up. Your mother suggests that your makeup is the cause of your breakouts. You can’t stand the thought of going out without makeup on.

So, what’s the truth? Is it okay to wear makeup when you have acne, or should you leave your skin bare to prevent acne?

Young woman applying blusher with make up and holding toast
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Wearing Makeup Is Okay, Even If You Have Acne

Wearing makeup doesn’t have to work against your goals of clear skin. You can wear makeup, even if you’re breaking out.

Makeup can actually positively impact your life. If you’re feeling embarrassed about your skin, makeup can give you a much-needed pick-me-up. Most of us feel more self-confident when our pimples are concealed.

So, if makeup helps you feel better about yourself, wear it without worries. You can always leave your face bare on those days you’re just hanging around the house.

Tips for Wearing Makeup When You Have Acne

Use these tips for wearing makeup on acne-prone skin.

Choose the Right Makeup

Of course, you’ll want to pay attention to the type of makeup you choose. Oil-free, noncomedogenic brands are less likely to cause pore blockages and breakouts.

Hypoallergenic and fragrance-free makeup brands are also a good idea. Broken out skin is sensitive, so choose products that will treat it gently and not irritate breakouts.

Wash It Off Every Night

If you do choose to wear makeup, there is one requirement. You must always wash the makeup off your face before going to bed.

Does this apply to mineral makeup as well? You bet it does. Contrary to what the commercials say, you shouldn’t sleep in your mineral makeup.

Never go to sleep without cleansing your face. A routine nightly cleansing not only removes makeup but sweat, dirt, and excess oil too.

You need clean skin before applying topical medications anyway. If you’re not washing your face every night, you’re probably not applying your acne medications either. And using them daily is what is going to eventually clear your skin.

Address the Root Cause of Your Acne

No matter what those around you may say, makeup probably is not the cause of your acne. Acne has three main causes: overactive oil glands, an abundance of dead skin cells, and proliferation of acne-causing bacteria.

These factors all have a genetic component, and they have nothing to do with how you wear your cosmetics. Even if you were to go bare every day for a year, it still wouldn’t be enough to clear up your skin.

Start a Proven Acne Treatment

Instead of cutting makeup from your beauty routine, add a proven acne treatment. This is what’s going to create a noticeable improvement in your skin.

If your acne is mild, with just a few pimples and blackheads here and there, an over-the-counter acne product may be enough to clear your skin. 

If you’ve already tried OTC products without improvement, or your acne is more serious, a prescription acne medication is in order.

The good news is, most acne treatment medications can be worn under makeup.

1 Source
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Eichenfield LF, Krakowski AC, Piggott C, et al. Evidence-based recommendations for the diagnosis and treatment of pediatric acne. Pediatrics. 2013;131(Supplement_3):S163-S186. doi:10.1542/peds.2013-0490B

By Angela Palmer
Angela Palmer is a licensed esthetician specializing in acne treatment.