Avoiding facial acne

Amany Abdel-Moneim, Friday 19 Jul 2019

From knowing your type of skin to understanding the quality of products, there are a lot of things you can do that could be taken care of


While it’s common to experience acne as a teenager, it can be even more embarrassing when you’re still experiencing breakouts as an adult. 

Many women get acne and pimples after applying their makeup, and though the first thought may be to buy an over-the-counter acne treatment or make an appointment with a dermatologist these pimples could be related to your makeup. From knowing your type of skin to understanding the quality of products, there are a lot of things you can do that could be taken care of. 


Here are some tips to help you avoid acne and get the beauty your skin deserves:

Clean your face before applying makeup: 

Prepping the skin with a cleanser is an easy way to keep acne from breaking out, as it helps remove excess oil, dirt and dead cells from the surface. 

Choose the right makeup for your skin: 

You should be aware of your skin type, as most makeup doesn’t cause acne, but certain ingredients can clog pores, helping acne-causing bacteria grow. Avoid formulas with acrylics, as these may help keep ingredients together but aren’t breathable, potentially clogging pores. This process can create breakouts on the skin and bring out acne and pimples. 

Check the expiry date: 

Expired makeup can harbour bacteria, and liquid or cream-based products are the worst offenders. When you continually apply old makeup to your skin, you’re piling on the bacteria as it grows. Makeup has a shelf life, and your products should come with an expiration date on them. In general, you’ll want to replace your mascara every three months, eyeliner and eyeshadow every six to 12 months, and lipstick every one and a half years. The average expiration date for foundation, powder and other facial makeup is 12 months.

Wash your hands before applying makeup: 

Your fingers carry germs and contain lots of bacteria and funguses. Every time you apply makeup with your hands these bacteria can transfer, irritating the skin of the face and bringing out the acne and pimples. You can use clean brushes or sponges instead, but whether you’re using brushes or your hands, you’ll still want to be delicate when applying makeup, avoiding aggressively rubbing or tugging at the skin, which will only cause irritation.

Cleanse makeup brushes regularly:

Dirty makeup brushes and tools could be the cause of your face breakouts, as they’re a breeding ground for bacteria. Wash and condition them once a week to keep the bacteria down. As for sponges, wash them regularly with soap and hot water, and then squeeze until the water runs clear.

Apply moisturiser or a primer before base makeup: 

The facial skin is very sensitive and prone to dirt and bacteria. It needs hydration before taking any chemicals on its surface. Even if you have oily skin, your skin also needs basic oiling. Consequently, if you do not use moisturiser before applying foundation, you will definitely have breakouts.

Store your brushes properly: 

Avoid throwing brushes in the bottom of your makeup bag. They shouldn’t be crushed, since cleansing your brushes on a regular basis is for nothing if you’re not storing them properly afterwards. Brushes should be stored separately from makeup, upside down if possible, and given plenty of wiggle room to dry.

Avoid covering acne with foundation: 

When air can’t get to a pimple, you’re actually preventing it from healing and could potentially be causing further irritation. Dermatologists recommend spot-treating acne before applying any foundation. If you happen to pop a pimple, you should avoid applying makeup on the open pore to prevent infection.

Don’t share your makeup with others: 

Keep your makeup to yourself. By using the same products and tools as someone else, you’re introducing their bacteria and oils to your skin, which can irritate or cause breakouts. You’re also upping the risk of infection, which is definitely more unpleasant than a pimple and certainly more dangerous.

Wash your face before sleeping: 

It’s extremely important to fully remove makeup before bed, especially if you have a long-term application. During the day, dirt and oil may get trapped underneath heavy makeup, increasing your risk of a breakout and causing various skin problems and not only acne. Using makeup remover wipes to remove your makeup at night isn’t enough: swap them for dedicated makeup removers or do a double cleanse before bed.

Finally, give your skin a break. Just as wearing too much makeup can cause or exacerbate acne flare-ups, wearing it every single day can give your skin few opportunities to breathe.

*A version of this article appears in print in the 18 July, 2019 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly under the headline:  Avoiding facial acne

Search Keywords:
Short link: