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All About Acne – Part IV: Cosmetics for Acne-prone Skin

  • Posted on July 1, 2013 at 11:26 pm

Brand CollageAfter my last post I’m sure there was a lot of exasperation, like “what the heck IS safe to use?”  I wanted to give you a list of just some of the foundations I’ve found that do not have the ingredients that may cause irritation and breakouts.  Obviously something may not have any of the Big Nasty ingredients and still irritate your skin, or you might not like the particular formula, but I didn’t want to leave you with only the bad.

 

High End Foundation

 

BareMineralsbareMinerals Original Foundation SPF 15

My favorite mineral foundation by far is the Bare Minerals Original Foundation with SPF 15.  This is the foundation that I used through my twenties, and still have in my rotation today.  It has only 5 ingredients.  That’s right – no huge paragraph of hard-to-read chemicals, just 5 simple ingredients – 2 of which are for sunscreen!  The fewer ingredients you have, the less of a chance for irritation.  It also offers 20 shade variations, and those shades are very forgiving.  That means that you don’t have to get a near-exact match in the way you’d expect with a liquid foundation.  They’re very blendable.

Now, I know the price for this foundation can be a deterrent for some.  There may be other mineral foundations out there that are cheaper.  I would caution you to make sure that the brand has no fillers or additional ingredients for shimmer or shine.  Check those ingredients!

 

Additional Products – I thought it would be helpful to mention that not only does bareMinerals make foundation, they also carry a line of concealers, blushes, bronzers, highlights and basically every type of cosmetic you may want.  Their loose mineral powders have the least amount of ingredients and are the ones that I would recommend.  You can’t go wrong checking out this line.

 

 Tarte Tinted Moisturizer

Tarte Amazonian Clay BB Tinted Moisturizer

This is my other go-to face product.  It’s not a true foundation; the coverage is too light for that.  But it doesn’t claim to be.  I use this for light coverage when I just want to even out my skin tone and I want something more moisturizing.  This is definitely not a matte tinted moisturizer.  It does have a more satin finish to it.  Sometimes I will layer this with a dusting of the bareMinerals over top.  It goes on easily, doesn’t slide all over my face in a grease fest 20 minutes after applying it, and is great in the summer when I don’t want to have anything heavy on my skin.

 

Additional Products – Tarte, like bareMinerals, has a whole line of cosmetics you can check out.  Their blushes are beautiful and really do last all day like their name claims.  They have a silicone-free primer called the Clean Slate Flawless 12-Hour Brightening Primer which is a great alternative for oily skin.  Just stay away from the Aqualillies palette!

 

Drugstore Foundation

Let me tell you, within the category of drugstore brand cosmetics, the selection of “safe” foundations for acneic skin is very limited.  VERY.  LIMITED.  It was surprising to me how many foundations have names that would suggest that they are perfect for acne-prone skin, only to read the ingredients and see several horribly irritating and breakout-causing heavy hitters listed.  That’s why you have to ignore the names, the claims, and go straight for the ingredients.  If you are shopping online and the ingredients are not listed anywhere – skip it.  Move on.  Even if it’s called “Amazing Acne Clearing Best Thing For You Foundation.”  Resist the urge!

 

Neutrogena Skin Clearing


Neutrogena SkinClearing Oil Free Makeup

This foundation has salicylic acid in it, which is an ingredient that actually helps treat acne.  A word of caution about this one though – it also has Vitamins A, C, and E, which for some people can be irritating (especially the Vitamin A).  I have not tried this foundation personally, so I can’t talk to the formula or the wearability.  I’m basing this solely on the ingredients.

 

Neutrogena Healthy Skin
Neutrogena Healthy Skin Compact Makeup

Neutrogena gave me two options for the drugstore.  I promise, I looked at other brands and either was not able to get a list of their ingredients or they had some of the Big Nasties in them.  This foundation option has a whopping 55 SPF, which is awesome!  It’s rare that you will see an SPF that high in a foundation.  The down side is that there appear to only be eight color options, catering to the light and medium skin tones.  I haven’t used this foundation to be able to give you an idea of the coverage.  Like the Skin Clearing foundation, I am listing it here based on it’s ingredients.  I’d love to hear if you’ve tried this foundation, or any of the ones I have listed.

 

 

Bottom Line

Read the ingredients on any product that is going to be against your skin.  Don’t rely on the name of the product as a guide for what you should be purchasing.  Especially when you are looking at drugstore brands… it is a mine field out there.

It’s important to note that you may have a foundation that you love that might have a questionable ingredient in it.  The best way to test how your skin reacts to a product is to only add one new product at a time into your routine.  Or conversely only take one product away at a time from your existing routine and see if it changes things.  However, if you looked at your skincare and makeup and saw that the majority of the items had Big Nasties in them – STOP USING THEM NOW.  But if you are in love with a particular product, and don’t want to believe it may be hurting your skin, remove it and see if it helps at all.  If you’re following the skincare routine I outlined in my previous post here, your skin should be reacting positively to the changes.  If the foundation was breaking you out, you will see a change.

All About Acne – Part I: What Is It, and What Causes It

  • Posted on June 22, 2013 at 1:56 am

“I wouldn’t trade the acne scar on my right cheek, because that recurring zit spent more time with me in college than any boy ever did.”  ~Tina Fey

Acne Part 1 Collage Final

One of the most challenging – and rewarding – skin conditions that I have dealt with as an esthetician is acne.  It is truly rewarding for me to work with someone who has acne and watch their skin transform as it clears up.  It can be life changing, especially for people whose acne seems to be out of control.

I have wanted to write about acne since I started this blog, but it is a huge topic.  I wasn’t sure where I wanted to start, so I decided to break this down into pieces and parts.  I hope this information helps!

We seem to have a ton of names for it – zit, pimple, whitehead, blemish, blackhead, pustule, cyst, sore… But what IS acne?  When I ask people to tell me what acne is, they invariably give me another name for it and look at me like I am nuts.  “You know, it’s a zit,” and point to one they are trying to cover up.  Understanding how to deal with acne requires first knowing what it is, and what causes it.  Like GI Joe taught us – Knowing is half the battle.  Go Joe!  (For those of you who are not 80s and older children… I’m sorry.  I’m 33 and a total closet 80s fanatic.)

Anyway, back to acne.

 

What The Heck Is Acne?

Acne is a skin condition that occurs when your hair follicles are clogged with dead skin cells and oil.  You’ll see it pop up mostly on the face, although it can spread its way to your neck, shoulders, chest and back as well.

 

What Are The Types of Acne?

Doctors use fancy names for the different types of acne that you can get, but I want to try to keep it simple.

  1. Whiteheads – A non-inflamed (not red, agitated, or irritated) pore clogged with oil, dead skin cells and sometimes bacteria that has a white cap to it.
  2. Blackheads – If a whitehead has a slight opening at the top, the oil and dead skin cells will darken as the air oxidizes it.  It’s the same thing that happens sometimes with foundations – they look one color in the bottle, but as soon as they get out in the air and on your skin they darken up slightly.
  3. Pimple – The angry step-sister to the whitehead.  They are the inflamed, red, tender bumps that have white pus built up on the tip.
  4. Pustule – I didn’t have any other specific name for this type of pimple, because they tend to get lumped in with the rest.  These are the slightly raised, very tender red suckers that hurt when you touch them but have not yet come to a head.  No pus has developed on these yet.
  5. Cysts – These are larger, painful, pus-filled lumps under the surface of the skin.  These bad boys are the ones that cause a lot of acne scarring.

 

What Causes Acne?

There are three major causes of acne:

  1. An Overproduction of Oil – We all have a thin layer of oil on our skin for protection.  Sometimes our skin can go into hyper oil production mode and all of a sudden our face turns into an oil slick.
  2. Irregular Shedding of Dead Skin Cells – Our skin has a renewal cycle; fresh new cells are created and move to the surface of our skin, where they eventually die and shed off.  When that process doesn’t happen as it should, we can get a build up of dead skin cells clogging our pores and irritating our skin.
  3. Build-up of Bacteria – If our skin doesn’t get cleansed properly and regularly, bacteria can collect on the surface, get into our pores, grow and spread, causing all kinds of irritation and issues.

 

What Can Trigger or Worsen Acne?

Causes of Acne Collage

  1. Hormones – Lord, don’t we know it!  Anything from periods to puberty, pregnancy to menopause.  If something changes our hormone levels it can often trigger our skin to break out.
  2. Medication – For women, often going on (or off) the birth control pill can cause our skin to freak out on us.  But it’s not just a woman thing – steroids, lithium, and many other medications can also break us out.
  3. Diet – The yummiest foods may be the worst when it comes to acne triggers.  Greasy foods, dairy products, foods rich in carbs (breads, bagels, chips), sweets… “you are what you eat” takes on a new meaning in relation to pimples.
  4. Bad Products on Skin – I have had clients who would put Vaseline on their skin to “moisturize.”  I’ve seen people use baby oil as their makeup remover… all over their face.  There are a lot of ingredients that can exist in makeup, cleansers, moisturizers, sunscreen, etc that can cause nasty breakouts.  It’s a vicious cycle with makeup too, because when you get a breakout you want to cover it up, which means sometimes you are using even MORE of the product that is actually causing the breakout.

 

Bottom Line:

By knowing what acne is, what causes it, and what can trigger an outbreak, we can sometimes stop it before it even starts.  In future blogs in this series I am going to cover how to treat acne, whether you should pop that annoying zit or not, ingredients in cosmetics to look for and avoid, and what your skin care routine should be.  I hope you’ll hang with me, and let me know what you think about everything I’ve said!