6 Makeup Ingredients to Avoid If You Have Acne-Prone Skin

The whole point of wearing makeup is to make your skin look #flawless – but what if your makeup is actually the culprit behind your breakouts?

Makeup, specifically face makeup, can be the cause create a vicious cycle. You put on makeup to conceal a breakout, which in turn makes the blemish last longer or worsen, causing other breakouts. Going sans makeup is definitely the best way to let your skin heal faster, but if that's not an option for you, you'll want to make sure the makeup you are using doesn't contain any of the six ingredients below.

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We all want a smooth, flawless skin finish, which is why primers and foundation are both so popular. However both primers and foundations often times contain silicones, which is what gives you that super smooth, pore-less look. Silicones are both dehydrating for the skin and clog pores–or comedogenic–which means acne-prone skin types should stay far away. Most mattifying products contain silicones as well. Your best bet is to give all your skin products a once over (skincare and concealer too!) to see if they contain the following ingredients: Methicone, Phenyl trimethicone, Dimethicone, Cyclomethicone, Dimethiconol or Dimethicone copolyol.


Coconut Oil

We've said this before and we will say it again: If you have acne-prone skin, coconut oil is not your friend! Many hydrating foundations and concealers contain coconut oil, so give the INCI list a double-check before you purchase.


Artificial Fragrances

TBH, you shouldn't be using anything on your face or body with artificial fragrance, but the one ingredient you really need to watch out for in makeup is benzaldehyde, which is a pore-clogging fragrance. In addition to being too tough for sensitive and acne-prone skin, artificial fragrances never break down and can be toxic for animal and marine life.


D & C Red

If you're a blush-user you'll want to take note—D & C Red is a type of red dye commonly found in blush. It's a synthetic dye made from petroleum or coal tar, and is often used in color cosmetics. Look out for D & C Red 3, 30, 36,40 and 27. If you have particularly acne-prone skin, the worst are numbers 27 and 40.


Petrochemicals are chemical products obtained from petroleum through refining. On ingredient lists, you'll find them by the names paraffin wax, mineral oil or petrolatum. These are typically in formulas as preservatives, but they can also clog your pores and are not eco-friendly. 



This is a major ingredient to avoid if you suffer from breakouts. Lanolin is the sebum, or skin oil, of sheep and is very comedogenic, causing more skin breakouts. On an ingredient list, you might see lanolin referred to as acetylated lanolin alcohol, ethoxylated lanolin, PEG 16 lanolin and solulan 16.


You should also avoid THESE face oils if you have acne prone skin.