Find out if makeup could be causing your acne plus why sometimes makeup can help heal acne. Does makeup cause acne is not straight forward.

Does Makeup Cause Acne? You Might Be Shocked to Find This Out…

In Acne by Cheryl Woodman MChemLeave a Comment

Acne makes you stare at anything going near your face with suspicion. Is it you? Or you, or you, or YOU?

Seriously – whodunit?

Own up now. Cludo is for special occasions only 😉

On your journey to clear skin (because you can get back there my friend) you’re going to start asking/mentally shouting;

Does makeup cause acne?

How do you know if your makeup is causing breakouts?

Does makeup make acne worse?

Can wearing makeup everyday cause acne? – please tell me the answer’s no because ain’t no way I’m ever leaving the house makeup-free right now.

It’s why you’re here right? To find out if makeup is your culprit or if makeup is making your acne worse.

I’m right here now, writing you this blog because – does makeup cause acne? Is a question I get asked over and over again. It’s an extremely valid question. And I think you’re going to be shocked by my science-based answer.

Sneak peek – wearing the right makeup might actually help you get rid of acne.


I said it.

Now read on to find out why makeup is more like the obvious whodunit who didn’t do it vs. the ninja assassin who silently creeps about your skin’s biology without even a finger pointed.

Let’s get to this eh…

Find out if makeup could be causing your acne plus why sometimes makeup can help heal acne. Does makeup cause acne is not straight forward.

Does Makeup Cause Acne?

There’s always a way my friend. While in my opinion, the right makeup can actually help you get rid of acne (more about this soon) the wrong makeup can definitely rub your skin into an angry acne-prone state or even be the sole cause of your acne (although this is an ultra-low probability).

The wrong makeup can cause acne like this;

It blocks up your pores and fuels your skin’s growth of acne bacteria, inflammation and breakouts.

This on-fire cycle gets a special name.

Acne cosmetica.

Aka acne caused by cosmetics.

And it’s not just makeup which can cause it. Using the wrong skincare can too. In fact, there are many more ways the wrong skincare can cause you acne. That’s something I cover with you inside of Acne Warrior.

So what do you do? While there are lots of ways you can make sure makeup isn’t causing or worsening your acne there’s one above all simple rule to follow.

Always choose non-comedogenic makeup.

Aka makeup which hopefully has a low potential to gunk up your pores.

Psst – I say hopefully because comedogenic isn’t a regulated claim, meaning the company who is selling you their makeup determine what non-comedogenic means to them. They then invent their own non-comedogenic test to prove it. Something to be aware of.

Does Makeup Make Acne Worse?

I hear the believed answer to this question when I’m talking with my Acne Warriors and they tell me, ‘I’ve been trying not to wear makeup… ‘

It’s the #1 remedy everyone from your mum to your BFF to the stranger at the bus stop recommends to you.

I mean as if you hadn’t heard that before right? If ONLY it was as simple as not wearing makeup.

And I hate the thing which happens next.

Makeup shame hits hard.

Suddenly there’s huge pressure to go makeup-free.

To go bare-faced when right now you wouldn’t even consider low coverage makeup.

It makes you feel bad.


Like you can’t win because people can see the texture of your acne EVEN when you wear makeup. You feel like they’re judging you, thinking it’s that makeup she’s wearing.

And I’m here to tell you, no my friend.

No, this is not right.

You should not ever feel makeup shame.

You should not ever force yourself to go makeup-free just because someone told you makeup makes acne worse.

You should not feel pressure to do what someone else thinks is best for you.

You have the power to decide. 

Take it back my friend, it’s yours to grab right now.

Because as long as you’re using the right makeup – it will not be worsening or triggering your acne. In fact, it could be helping.

Makeup That Doesn’t Cause Acne

Here’s the thing – makeup is designed to stay on top of/in the top minuscule layers of your skin. No one wants beige blood eh and so to do this makeup uses ingredients which are film-forming aka second skin forming.

Skincare’s designed to absorb through like a ninja.

Makeup’s designed to sit still like it were staging a silent visual protest.

And as a happy consequence, this now means your skin has an extra temporary shield.

A breathable barrier.

A protector.

And this shield – it’s not pore-blocking if it’s staying on the top layers of your skin.

It can help hydration stay in, keep irritating and aggravating pollution particles away longer and it can help seal up holes skincare has left behind.

Triple whammy.

A trifecta of skills which can mean your makeup routine could be helping you get rid of acne.

Because here’s the deal;

Acne means your skin barrier is poorly.

It’s misbehaving.

Not doing its job properly.

Is having a toddler tantrum. Loudly.

When your skin barrier health is low, all of these things can happen;

  • Acne bacteria and other pathogenic bacteria aka the bad kind can get deeper into your skin more quickly
  • Meaning your skin becomes prone to infection
  • And prone to inflammation and redness – making your acne look worse
  • Your skin loses hydration like a leaking bathtub
  • This means your skin’s biology doesn’t work as well – psst – your skin can’t exfoliate evenly without being well hydrated and this means clogged pores, which means more acne
  • Irritating extras get a free pass into your skin – we’re talking invisible to the eye pollution particles, pollen, dust and more
  • These at best cause irritation which means your acne gets red and inflamed or at worst can cause oxidation of your sebum which turns it comedogenic
  • There’s more but I’m pausing here for now…

So do you see how wearing makeup could actually help protect your skin against acne? Help you get rid of acne?

By using makeup that doesn’t cause acne your skin barrier gets a helping hand.

Like the Robin to your Batman or the Gale to your Katniss.

You now have an extra (temporary) shield in place to;

  • Help make your acne less red and inflamed
  • To allow your skin to hold onto its hydration and be healthier
  • To defend against sebum oxidation and clogged pores

And here’s the deal, I also don’t want you to feel guilty for wearing makeup everyday because…

Can Wearing Makeup Everyday Cause Acne?

For some people not wearing makeup everyday could cause acne – shocking eh – especially if that means;

You don’t wash your face in the evening or you don’t wear SPF in the day or you don’t put anything on your skin at all.

Because in this situation your skin’s vulnerable again.

Has no extra protection.

And that can kick off redness, inflammation, deep-rooted and painful cystic breakouts.

Bottom line; magically removing makeup from your daily routine does not magically heal the cause of most people’s acne.

In fact for some, maybe for you, you’ll see your acne get worse because of not wearing makeup.

It’s a sure sign your skin barrier is poorly and if you’re not looking after it by other means – psst an effective acne diet is extremely important in this – then you will not be seeing the clear skin you want.

The kind which could make you consider just low coverage makeup.

If you can’t imagine this right now then be sure to grab a copy of my free 1-page acne diet cheatsheet – click here to get yours.

Diet is a mammoth-sized missing jigsaw piece in most people’s acne attack game plan. Not only can some of the oils you eat end up directly on your skin but your overall diet also helps determine how oily your skin’s getting plus the quality of your sebum.

This is extremely important.

Can Makeup Cause Acne?

The tl;dr summary is this.

The wrong makeup can make your acne worse or can itself be causing you acne.

But here’s the dealiO most people don’t know.

The right makeup can actually help make your acne better. Can speed your skin’s healing. Can reduce redness. Can help take down the size and severity of your breakouts.

So take back that power my friend. Wave goodbye to makeup shame. Fearlessly choose for yourself if you do or don’t want to wear makeup today.

If anyone tries to shame you, just remind them they’re covering up with clothes – can’t throw stones in greenhouses 😉

And p.s. keep your eyes peeled if you’re wondering or worrying about how do you know if your makeup is causing breakouts or how to get makeup that doesn’t cause acne because there will very soon be a new, straight-talking Acne Warrior bonus. In it, you’re going to find out how to choose makeup which won’t make acne worse. And if you’re already enrolled in Acne Warrior, you’ll be getting it for free as soon as it goes live. Wahoo.

Now it’s over to you my friend. Does makeup make acne worse – have you been worrying about it? Ever been told if you just stopped wearing makeup your skin would get clear? Drop me a yes or no below in the comments and if you have a loved one who needs to hear this right now, use the big green sharing button below. You are an awesome friend.