Is Makeup Bad for Your Skin?
If you have acne, eczema, oily skin or dry skin, or any other type of non conformist skin, then you may have decided long ago to cover it up with makeup products. If that’s you, you’re most definitely not alone.
Up and down the British isles, tens of thousands of us wear makeup as a kind of ‘mask’ to help cover up spots, acne breakouts, scarring and blemishes. The same goes the world over - not only do we apply makeup as an expression of ourselves, almost as an artform, or to hide the effects of a late night or sun damage or simply as a routine, we often wear it to hide our skin from the world.
There’s nothing wrong with that at all. We’re all free to do as we please in our own skin. After all, the majority of women and men that wear makeup do so because it’s a confidence boost, and we’re all for self care. Without makeup, we might feel bare and vulnerable. Makeup can improve your skin's texture and tone - and what's wrong with that?
But sometimes, using the wrong kind of makeup for our skin type could actually be doing us a disservice and making things worse. The wrong daily makeup can cause skin irritation and acne-prone skin may flare up. So, could the products that you’re using to cover your misbehaving skin actually be what’s causing it to misbehave?
Is makeup bad for the skin? As long as you're using products designed for your skin type if you're wearing it every day, some makeup products can make your skin happy and healthy. Here’s our take on makeup for non conformist skin.
I Wear Makeup Every Day: Is it Good for Your Skin?
Let’s face it, makeup is a good thing on the whole. For those of us that wear it, we feel naked without it. As much as we’d love to have the clear, young skin of a model on a beach in a ‘natural’ shot, we know that a lot of effort has gone into making their skin look natural, both in terms of lighting and filters, and makeup.
A daily makeup routine can keep your skin, and you, happy.
Makeup hides dark circles, spots, scarring and to a certain extent, wrinkles and fine lines. A sweep of bronzer can awaken the skin with a sunkissed glow and a slick of mascara can open up tired looking eyes. So far so good for makeup, because makeup isn't inherently bad and can actually take care of your skin. But what about the downsides? Can certain makeup be bad for our skin?
Can Wearing Makeup Everyday Harm Your Skin?
Whilst talking about makeup in this article, what we’re really referring to is the makeup that goes on the skin, rather than eye makeup and the products we use on our lips. So we’re talking about the foundations, concealers, blushers, bronzers and powders that we happily layer on.
Some lipsticks can be very drying on the lips (particularly so, long wear lipsticks designed to stay on through drinking, eating and kissing). Plus, using eye liners, eye shadows and mascaras increases the risk of developing eye irritations and even eye infections if you use products that have been opened for longer than a year, or you share your makeup with others.
But on the whole, it’s the makeup that’s applied directly to the skin that causes the most amount of problems.
Lots of makeup contains harsh ingredients, chemicals and toxins, that we’re potentially layering onto our skin each time we apply them.
Makeup forms a barrier on your skin - we know that because many brands promise that their products enhance the natural glow of your skin, otherwise, why else would you wear it? But wearing a full face of makeup every day can actually prevent the skin from breathing properly and cause skin issues like clogged pores, dull skin and irritation.
All of this can equal bad news for the skin, leading to allergic rashes, spots and breakouts, especially if your skin likes to act up and you're wearing makeup on your face that isn't suitable for your skin type.
What Kind of Makeup Can Affect Your Skin?
The most common problem associated with using makeup is using makeup that blocks the pores. Oil based makeup, rather than water based makeup, might add a healthy sheen to the face, but it’s also really good at blocking the pores.
This is especially bad news if you already have naturally oily skin. Excess sebum (the natural waxy substance that hydrates the skin) exacerbates acne breakouts by clogging the pores, trapping dirt and cellular debris. This then leads to acne spots and breakouts.
So instead, look for makeup that describes itself as mattifying, oil free, oil controlling, non pore blocking or non comedogenic makeup for oily skin. Also make sure that the makeup you use is free from lanolin and mineral oil.
The more natural your makeup brand, the better. The effects of wearing makeup can be good or bad - to make sure you're on the good side, choose brands that celebrate the power of plant botanicals and other natural products to make their products kinder to your complexion.
Is Mineral Makeup Bad for Your Skin?
Mineral makeup is makeup that contains iron oxides, zinc oxide, titanium oxide or talc. They’re generally oil free and so are marketed as good for oily, acne prone skin as they don’t block the pores with excess oil.
However, they can be quite heavy on the skin, as in mineral sunscreens, and can therefore overload the skin leading to acne spots and breakouts. So by all means try a mineral foundation or bronzer, but if you notice that your skin starts to misbehave, then it's time to switch back to an oil free version.
Can Talc in Makeup Cause Skin Problems Such as Acne?
Just like the mineral makeup mentioned above, talc can be just as heavy when it settles on the skin, so you may find that you’re better off choosing a non pore blocking, oil free, natural foundation if you know your acne prone skin doesn't react well to mineral versions.
Are Makeup Primers Bad for Any Skin Type?
Just like a foundation, concealer, blush, bronzer or powder, a makeup primer needs to be suited to you to help your skin avoid acne spots and flare ups of other skin conditions such as eczema.
Makeup for Acne and Oily Skin
Makeup can help to keep oil at bay if it's designed to be used on oily skin, so make sure you're using makeup that's supporting the protective barrier on your skin by choosing oil free products meant for your skin type.
Oily skin and acne prone skin often go hand in hand. If you have skin that breaks out, again, choose makeup that won't damage your skin further by opting for oil free.
Makeup for Bad Skin
In our view, there's no such thing as bad skin. Some skin likes to misbehave, get stressed out and flare up. But no skin is bad skin. You just need to find the right products that keep your skin happy.
Always Remove Your Makeup at Night!
Of course, another danger to the skin of wearing makeup is not taking it off at night and leaving it on your skin for a long time. We know, after a long day (or long night of partying), removing makeup with a makeup remover (step away from the face wipes, these don’t clean the skin anywhere near well enough!) is the last thing on your mind.
But leaving makeup on your skin and sleeping in day old foundation is one of the worst things you can do, especially if you’re prone to spots, acne breakouts or other skin problems.
During the night, the skin sweats, and as we’re not awake to wash this sweat off, it settles on the skin. Stale sweat can block the pores of the skin, and if you don't take off your makeup (along with the grime that builds up on the skin during the day), the sweat will effectively seal it into the pores.
This will lead to blockages and spots. So we repeat, if you don't remove your makeup before bed, you're asking for troubled skin!
Other Healthy Makeup Habits
As well as choosing the right products for your skin type, there are also other things you can do to promote healthy skin:
- Using unclean, old makeup sponges and brushes to apply your makeup introduces bacteria, dirt and stale makeup to the skin - so aim to clean them using a gentle baby shampoo every month.
- Avoid the temptation to share your makeup or use someone else's as you'll also be sharing skin bacteria that can make your skin itchy or cause skin infections.
- Wearing less makeup can improve your overall skin tone by giving it more time to breath, so on the days when you're not doing much, you can continue to wear makeup if you like, but tone it down a little with perhaps a tinted moisturiser or BB/CC cream instead of a heavier foundation.
- When you wash off your makeup (ideally using a double cleanse), use a gentle exfoliant such as salicylic acid once or twice a week to give the pores a thorough clean and remove dead skin cells.
- If you've got some products that don't suit your skin, rather than throwing them away, consider donating them (even opened products that are still clean and useable) the Toiletries Amnesty.
Choosing the Right Makeup and Skin Care for your Skin
We hope this has given you a balanced view on makeup for misbehaving skin. Too often, when we think about skincare, or worse, when we’re sold ‘magic bullet solutions’ to acne prone skin, we’re led to believe that’s all we need to think about.
But decent skincare, designed for skin that doesn’t conform is only part of the way there. (Albeit the most important part, that we’re very proud to be involved with, with our alkaline skincare designed for skin just like yours).
If we think of skincare as the primer, or base coat, we then understand that whatever we add on top of that needs to be equally supportive of our individual skin type. Otherwise, there’s little point feeding and nourishing our skin with our cleansers, toners and moisturisers.
So always consider the right makeup for your skin type, along with your skincare products. Your skin truly will thank you for it, and you're ready for your flawless close up!
This article is not meant to treat or diagnose. Please visit your doctor for advice about any health concerns you may have.