Acne is a hassle, to be sure. Applying layers of makeup to balance out skin tone from acne-related redness, while attempting to detract from skin texture issues related to acne scars and breakouts is a balancing act that often feels impossible. While we can’t wave a giant wand, say “acne begone,” and rid you of all this stress—though we really wish we could—there are some simple tips you can follow to simplify your daily beauty routine, alongside two top recommendations to maybe break the acne cycle once and for all.
When acne breakouts and scars appear, it’s natural to want to hide them under layers of concealer. However, this tendency isn’t the most effective way to achieve a more even-toned appearance or smoother complexion. Heavy layers of makeup can end up emphasizing bumps and scars, while wearing too much makeup can also become a contributing factor to further troublesome acne breakouts. Finally, thicker layers can be difficult to fully remove at the end of the day, leading to clogged pores or additional redness, irritation, and risk of scarring from too much scrubbing.
For a more effective makeup routine, opt for fewer products applied in lighter layers. An illuminating primer can help to counteract the less natural look of a mattifying foundation while allowing for a smoother makeup application and the need for less product. One important reminder: regardless of the number of layers you add, your foundation and concealer can’t do it all. Use a light hand with these products and lean on our next tip for an added boost.
Battling discoloration from acne breakouts and scars is hopeless with concealer alone. While we don’t doubt there are some heavy-lifting concealers out there, too many layers of a thick product will emphasize textural changes from scarring to fine lines, which only draws more attention to your acne—the opposite of the goal you’re trying to achieve. Instead, stick to those lighter layers of concealer and foundation mentioned in our first tip, and lean on color correctors to up the ante.
When it comes to choosing the right color corrector, the general rule is to opt for a color that is opposite to the shade you’re trying to conceal when looking at the color wheel. That would make a green concealer the best pick for acne-related redness, while peach or orange concealers are best for neutralizing the blue or purple tones in acne scars. Simply apply the color corrector to the appropriate areas and gently tap with your finger.
An alternative to adding another layer of makeup to troublesome spots may be to opt for a non-surgical skin resurfacing treatment plan. A better fit for those who are dealing with acne scars rather than battling active acne breakouts, Venus Treatments’ targeted skin resurfacing treatments utilize tiny pins and innovative Radio Frequency (RF) technology to deliver thermal (heat) energy deep below the skin’s surface. This spurs the skin’s natural repair cycle, boosting skin-healing collagen levels and supporting healthy skin cell renewal in the targeted area. This helps to heal damaged skin, reducing the appearance of acne scars for a smoother, more even-toned complexion that can help you skip the color correctors and simplify your morning beauty routine.
Oil-free formulas seem to be the logical choice for those with acne and oily skin, but it’s important to note that not all oils will have the same effect on your skin. Occlusive oils should still be avoided, as these ingredients go unabsorbed by the skin and layer heavily on the surface. While they don’t tend to irritate those with dry to normal skin, these ingredients tend to pool and settle in the pores of those with acne-prone or combination skin because they don’t mix well with the skin’s natural oils (sebum) that tend to be present in higher levels for those with these skin types. As a result, pores get clogged and the breakout cycle starts all over again. Occlusive ingredients to avoid include makeup products containing phthalates, paraffin, mineral oil, and petrolatum.
On the other hand, foundations and primers containing hydrating plant oils like grapeseed, primrose, and jojoba can be beneficial to acne-prone skin, particularly when used to balance out oil-stripping acne skin care products. In addition to better mimicking the skin's natural oils, these naturally derived plant-based oils often also offer antibacterial and anti-inflammatory benefits that help to calm current breakouts while fending off the acne-causing bacteria.
This might seem like an odd makeup tip, but having a simple roll of adhesive tape on hand can be a big help for days when the skin is a little dehydrated and flaking. Sometimes, a little too much acne treatment cream can dry out skin overnight. Applying makeup atop dry, flaking skin can cause a host of issues, from emphasizing uneven texture, to a blotchy application, and more issues with clogged pores. For instances when exfoliating might further irritate your skin or you just don’t have time, dab a little sticky tape on dry areas to gently lift loose dead skin. Follow up with a moisturizer or moisturizing primer, then continue with your light makeup layers as usual.
We’re into the no-makeup makeup trend, but sometimes opting for no makeup at all is the best option for your skin. While lighter makeup products may not trigger breakouts, there are ways in which it could be triggering acne breakouts or preventing your skin from recovering from a flare-up. For example, some products may contain ingredients that interact with certain elements in other products. This combination and the resulting reaction can irritate sensitive or acne-prone skin or cause dehydration, leading to further breakouts. For those who apply makeup daily, even if it’s in lighter layers, taking a break or dialing back on the products applied can help give acne-prone skin a little time to breathe and heal.
It can be intimidating and even stressful to consider not wearing makeup, particularly when your skin may be right in the middle of a full-blown breakout, but there are options to help your skin heal during this break. Powered by Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) technology, Venus Versa acne treatments harness the dual-light effects of red and blue light to reduce the symptoms of current acne breakouts like redness and inflammation, while destroying acne-causing Propionibacterium Acnes(P. acnes) bacteria. Treatments are quick, typically lasting between 15 to 20 minutes. While your skin will be sensitive to sunlight following your acne treatment sessions, no downtime is required, so if you choose to go back to wearing makeup, you are free to apply it right away—after your SPF, of course. The result is an acne treatment plan that fights current and future breakouts for clearer, healthier-looking skin.
Interested in learning more about how skin resurfacing or dual-light acne treatments can complement your new makeup routine for acne-prone skin? Locate a provider near you using the search field below.