Finding the Best Acne Makeup – The Secret Sauce Experts Reveal

The secrets of finding the best acne makeup

The constant uphill battle against acne can often leave you annoyed frustrated and utterly lacking in self-esteem. Have you ever wondered why the universe is against you when those dreaded pimples make a mass appearance just before a big day out, first date or a vacation trip?

But even in everyday life going to school, college or work, it can be really upsetting to have to deal with your acne and try to hide it.

The problem is that covering up blackheads, pimples and acne scars with conventional makeup can often make things even worse than ever before. The reason is that most products will increase the risk of clogged pores. And that is never a good idea.

So, in a situation where you want to hide your pimples when you go out in public but don’t want to increase the chances of an outbreak, what are you meant to do.

The solution is to choose a makeup product specifically designed with the battles of acne sufferers in mind. Essentially, you don’t want to focus on whether or not to cover up your skin, but rather look at what you cover it up with.

To help you find the best options for your skin we have put together this review guide which covers all skin types. By picking the most suitable option, going out in public will not seem like such a daunting experience any more.

Table of Contents:

  1. Does Makeup Cause Acne?
  2. The Truth About “Non Comedogenic” Label
  3. Products You Should Avoid As Acne-Sufferer
  4. Best Non-Comedogenic Makeup For Acne Prone Skin
  5. Acne Makeup Shopping Checklist

To begin with, let’s cover the burning question you have in your mind…

Does Makeup Cause Acne?

Straight to the point: No.

Acne is an inflammatory disease that results from a complex interplay of genetic and non-genetic factors such as hormonal imbalance, excess oil production, pore clogging, bacterial overgrowth, and inflammation that leads to pimples, pustules and cysts.

Thus, your makeup does not cause acne. However, it can make your acne worse.

Let me explain why.

If you’re aware of the acne development cycle (see the illustration below), you will notice that pore clogging plays a key role in the bacterial growth and inflammation that ultimately leads to acne on your face.

There exist certain types of makeup that can potentially contribute to pore clogging on your skin. This post won’t only show you how to stay away from these types of makeup, but will also give you choices of some of the best alternative acne makeup products available on the market right now.

The Truth About “Non Comedogenic” Label

How many of us haven’t seen that proud, shining “non comedogenic” label on a lot of beauty products that we buy? From decades we’ve been programmed to crave for this label. And not surprisingly, product manufacturers exploit this label to attract acne suffers that are always in search of products that won’t clog their skin pores.

What You Haven’t Been Told About “Non Comedogenic” Label

It turns out that this claim is totally unhelpful in most cases. I’d even dare to call it a myth.

To understand this, we’ll have to trace back to the stem of this phrase, which was a study published on the British Journal of Dermatology in 1979.

In essence, this study examined the comedogenicity (ability to clog pores) of various ingredients by applying them in pure form over the rabbit ear. For two consecutive weeks, each ingredient was layered five times per application without ever cleansing the skin.

Boy! Is this how most cosmetics are manufactured normally? Certainly not. How many products contain 100% concentration of a certain ingredient?

The Right Way to Figure the Comedogenicity of a Product

This essentially leads us to believe that because mineral oil is often referred to as comedogenic, a tiny amount of it in your makeup, concealor, or moisturizer isn’t going to cause significant damage on your skin.

It’s not just the presence of a comedogenic ingredient that should eliminate a product from your choices, but it’s the concentration of that ingredient that matters the most.

Isn’t this true that a lot of “non comedogenic” products that you had bought at some time caused breakouts on your skin anyway?

To clear things up nicely, it’s extremly important that I quote Albert Kligman from his 1972 study on Acne Cosmetica:

“It is not necessary to exclude constituents which might be comedogenic in a pure state. The concentration of such substances is exceedingly important. To exile such materials as lanolin, petroleum hydrocarbons, fatty alcohols, and vegetable oils from cosmetics would be irrational. What is ultimately important is the comodegenicity of the finished product.”

Products You Should Avoid as an Acne Sufferer

So, by now, you’re sure that you can never be 100% certain about whether or not a product will clog your skin pores. Does that mean there is no way to find a suitable makeup for acne prone skin? Certainly not.

Let’s understand which type of products cause the most damage on acne prone skin so you can watchout for them when you go on to buying makeup next time.

Particularly, you want to avoid irritating ingredients, and thick and waxy products. Avoiding irritants of great importance when you’re aiming to fight skin inflammation (a major part in acne development cycle). They don’t only increase oil on your skin, but they also aggravate acne. Moreover, if your skin is repeatedly exposed to irritants, its skin barrier will soon become weaker  – leading to slower skin healing, and an uneven and dull complexion.

Here’s a provisional list of all known products you should avoid:
  • Alcohol based/products loaded with fragrance.
  • Thick or solid compact foundations, concealers, and bronzers or blushes (in the form of cream, cream to-powder, pancake, or stick).

No doubt it’s tempting to go for these products. But it’s only for the good of your breakout prone skin. Ingredients that keep these products in a compact and solid form are often waxes or similar compounds such as polyethylene or ethylhexyl palmitate. And there’s enough discussion on the high comedogenicity of these ingredients.

So, you might be wondering: Well, if I have to avoid all these products, what will I be left with at the end?

Legit concern you’re having. But fortunately, there are plenty of great alternative acne makeup products that won’t cause pore clogging and aggravate your acne.

To begin with, liquid formulas work best on acne prone skins. But these aren’t the only type of products that will work for you – as you will see in the very next section of this blog post.

Best Non Comedogenic Makeup For Acne Prone Skin

Below are listed some of the best foundations for acne prone skin that offer your skin full coverage and sheer out beautifully.


  • Laura Mercier Smooth Finish Flawless Fluide Foundation
  • Clinique Stay Matte Oil-Free Makeup
  • A.C. Matchmaster SPF 15 Foundation
  • Urban Decay Naked Skin weightless Ultra Definition Makeup
  • Rimmel London Stay Matte Foundation
  • Hourglass Immaculate Liquid Powder Foundation
  • Vichy Dermablend Corrective Stick
  • NARS Sheer Glow Foundation

Here’s a Complete List of Foundations With Precise Reviews.

Here’s a list of some quality liquid concealers that work especially well for red, blemish prone skin. Once they are set with powder, they won’t fade away from your skin throughout the day.


  • Revlon ColorStay Concealer
  • Lancome Maquicomplet Complete Coverage Concealer
  • Make Up For Ever Full Cover Concealer
  • Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer
  • Kat Von D Lock-it Tattoo Conceale

Click Here for Complete List With Reviews.

Conclusion: Acne Makeup Shopping Checklist

Although, we’ve discussed earlier that how you can’t simply rely on just one label. But still, you can increase your odds of finding the perfect fit for your acne prone skin by looking for the following labels on the products you buy next:

  • Non greasy
  • Oil free
  • Non comedogenic
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Non irritating

On top of this, it’s important that you look for liquid, mineral based formulations. Products containing silica, titanium dioxide, and zinc oxide tend to perform well for pimple prone skin as they can absorb oil and reduce inflammation without causing irritation.

Your Say?

Would you like to share your thoughts on finding the best acne makeup on the market? Please share your comment below!

Sheikh has been blogging regularly at CAA for over 5 years. He spends majority of his time studying health and technology or participating in discussions about these niches (online or offline).


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here