Does foundation make your skin suck? The short, the frustrating answer is maybe. It’s possible that your foundation is making you break out, which is a huge bummer. But that doesn’t mean you need to forgo coverage in order to get good skin. Actually, it may be something else you’re doing wrong and not the makeup itself causing all the trouble on your face. (Go ahead, breathe a sigh of relief.) So before you toss your makeup bag and that $40 foundation you just bought, check to see if you’re committing one of these skin care sins.
1. You’re Using The Wrong Foundation
If you feel that your base is breaking you out, it may be because you’re using the wrong one. “Look for a product that is non-comedogenic, meaning it shouldn’t obstruct pores and create acne,” says Los Angeles dermatologist Ava Shamban. This shouldn’t be that hard—these options often clearly say non-comedogenic on the bottle, but it also doesn’t hurt to take a quick scan of the ingredients label just to be sure. While you’re doing that, Shamban says to avoid sodium laurel sulfate, lanolin, coconut oil, and butyl stearate, since they’re the most common pore-clogging offenders. These formulas will tend to be more water-based and lighter in texture, which is another good sign a product won’t produce acne.
2. It Might Be How You’re Applying Your Product
Sometimes it’s not about the foundation, but it’s about what else is touching your face. I’m not psychic, but I know that you’re not cleaning your makeup brushes enough. Literally NO ONE DOES. “You want to wash them once a week,” recommends Shamban. Wow, ok, my entire life has been a lie. The reason is that when your brushes are damp, as they get from liquid makeup, it creates an ideal environment to grow bacteria. Ew. Dr. Shamban also warns against using a compact with a reusable sponge, because touching the applicator to your face and placing it back to the compact can contaminate the product. “Something with a pump is cleaner,” she advises.
3. Sleeping In Your Makeup Is Still The Wooooorst
“Foundation acts like fly paper,” says Shamban. “everything sticks to it—tiny soot particles, air pollutants, car emissions.” Are you horrified? I’m horrified. That’s why sleeping in your makeup is such a huge no-no. You’re leaving all these gross things stuck to your face for extra hours. Up your cleansing game by following your cleanser with a micellar water to make sure you’ve gotten everything off. In a pinch, if you can’t wash your face, it’s still better to use a makeup wipe to quickly get it off than to leave it on all night.
4. Makeup Doesn’t Cover Up Bad Skin Care
Keep in mind most makeup floats on top of your skin and can’t fix the fact that you’ve eaten pizza all weekend and haven’t exfoliated since the Obama administration. “I think the biggest problem with foundation is that people use it to cover up all kinds of bad habits,” says Shamban. “When the skin gets dull it’s because it’s not exfoliated or not hydrated.” Without proper prep, foundation can exacerbate poor tone and texture even though the foundation itself is not the cause. Fix that by exfoliating once a week (either physically with a cleansing brush or chemically with a glycolic acid) to remove built-up skin cells that can congest pores and cause acne and dullness. Every day, you should use an antioxidant to protect your skin against the aforementioned pollution, and be sure to moisturize and use SPF.
5. But Foundation Can Actually Be Good For You, Too!
The confidence you get from having clear, even skin is a benefit in itself, but certain foundations do even more than that. Mattifying formulas can control oil, and foundations containing sunscreen can, you guessed it, protect you from the sun, which provides longer term benefits to your skin. “Sun damage equals fine lines, wrinkles and brown spots,” says Shamban, which might cause you to want to wear more corrective makeup. The best way to prevent against the damage is, you already know, sunscreen. Options with SPF 30 can go a long way to improving your skin over time.
So now you’re probably wondering what foundations won’t make your skin suck. Don’t worry, I got you. Here are some dermatologist-approved options at a variety of price points, so you can see what works best for you. Everyone’s skin is different, but these options are a good place to start.
Images: Kevin Laminto / Unsplash; betches, nottoopretty, dietstartstomorrow / Instagram; It Cosmetics, Dermablend, Clinique, Dior, Oxygenetix, Neutrogena
Unless you didn’t get on Instagram yesterday, you may have noticed that we had a casual blizzard in NYC. In MARCH. Because the streets are literal sabotage this morning, and not because I spent yesterday’s snow day pounding red wine and binge-watching Riverdale, I fell multiple times on my commute this morning. After busting my ass three times on the sidewalk it’s safe to say I’m so fucking over winter and am already counting down the days until
I can live my best life summer. I mean, is there anything better than blacking out on a beach with a marg in your hand? Oh wait. We can’t do that either because science just proved that margaritas can give you a skin rash. *Prays this is an alternative fact*
We’re feeling personally victimized by the American Academy of Dermatology rn because they just announced that margaritas, aka our summer beverage of choice, are apparently causing skin rashes. This is not a drill, people, this is the real deal and it’s already fucking up v important aspects of my life. Like brunch and that adult spring break I’m planning instead of answering emails at work.
In a public service announcement the AAD warned people against phytophotodermatitis, a kind of skin irritation that results from a combination of citrus fruits and sun exposure. So basically if you’re drinking anything super citrus-y in the sun (i.e. mimosas, margaritas, anything that brings you joy, etc.) you could break out in a rash.
Hold up, what? No, no, no, no. First, 2017 gives us a giant Cheeto for a president—which should be punishment enough—but then Brad Pitt goes and sends Jennifer Aniston a “u up?” text and I’m just like, okay, that’s fucking enough. But now 2017 wants to take away our only coping mechanism to get us through this shitstorm of a year? Just fuck me up right now then.
To be clear, the skin irritation and resulting hyperpigmentation (aka dark spots—as if this couldn’t get any fucking worse) isn’t from sipping. THANK GOD. It’s only a problem when the citrus juice gets spilled directly on your skin and then activated by the sun’s ultraviolet rays. So basically, don’t be like my sloppy friend Amy and spill your shit everywhere and you’ll probs be fine. Side note: I am our sloppy friend, Amy.
So don’t you dare let anyone use this announcement to try and take your
will to live summer beverage away from you. As a preventative measure you should avoid directly handling lemons or lime—WAIT, does this mean tequila shots are off the table too?? It’s like someone read my diary and all my deepest, darkest fears. Well played, 2017, well played. If you’re like me and don’t listen to medical professionals refuse to give up on something that brings you joy, The American Academy of Dermatology recommends washing your hands thoroughly after touching citrus. If you don’t want to do that/are too lazy to go to the bathroom in between tequila shots, the organization did not come out and outright say to designate the ugliest person in your group as the citrus handler, but they basically implied as much. #Loophole
And if you do happen to notice a rash coming on, you’ll need to apply a neutral healing ointment or a hydrocortisone cream. You’ll also want to slather more sunscreen on your body than my pale AF friend Tina does when we go to the beach, as the rash is typically followed by post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Side note: I am also our pale friend Tina.
Great. If you need me, I’ll just be
internally screaming at my desk contemplating my will to live processing all this information.