How to Apply Makeup to Conceal Acne

Got a monster zit you're wanting to conceal? Or even a case of acne you like to camouflage? You can help your blemishes to blend as much as possible into your skin, without looking like you've got a ton of makeup on.

Don't worry; it's OK to wear makeup when you have acne. Even if you're not a brilliant makeup artist, you can utilize these simple makeup tricks to help minimize the look of acne while you're waiting for it to heal.

woman applying makeup to face
Shuji Kobayashi/The Image Bank/Getty Images

Step 1: Start With a Cleansed Face

Thoroughly cleanse your face to remove excess oil, and apply a light moisturizing lotion. Moisturizing helps diminish the look of dryness or peeling that sometimes occurs with acne treatments.

Step 2: Apply Your Base Makeup

If desired, apply your liquid or cream-to-powder based makeup now. Put on your base makeup using light strokes to avoid irritating breakouts and making them look more red and inflamed. Gentle is the keyword here!

If you use pressed or loose powder, or mineral makeup, apply it at step 5.

Step 3: Apply a Green Concealer to Any Red Breakouts

Here's a little color theory 101: Opposite from red on the color wheel is green, which means red and green cancel each other out. That's what all those weirdly green concealers are for.

Dab green concealer (available wherever makeup is sold) on breakouts to tone down the angry red color. Do not rub; rather, pat gently with your finger or clean makeup sponge to blend. The green color should be blended out thoroughly.

Step 4: Apply Concealer in Your Skin Tone

Dot concealer over any areas you'd like a little extra coverage. Concealers in pots or tubes give better coverage than stick-type concealer. Pat gently to blend.

Try to get a concealer that matches your skin exactly. Too dark or too light and it will make the pimples look more obvious.

Concealer feel too heavy for you? You can always skip this step.

Step 5: Lightly Dust Your Entire Face With Powder

Translucent, or loose powder sets the concealer and gives the skin a matte appearance without adding extra color to the face. They also help absorb oil throughout the day. Mineral makeup can be used in place of translucent powder if preferred.


For more staying power and better coverage, let the concealer set for five to 10 seconds after application and before blending.

Be certain to thoroughly remove all makeup you've applied before going to bed for the night.

Don't just settle for covering up blemishes. Start on an acne treatment to help heal them too. If over-the-counter treatments aren't working, see a dermatologist for help.

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