With many foundation formulas now boasting skincare ingredients like hyaluronic acid and niacinamide, it’s a good idea to seek those out if you have acne-prone skin. Niacinamide can help control oil production if you have oilier skin and curb breakouts. Hyaluronic acid provides light hydration without being heavy or clogging pores. Soothing and moisturizing ingredients like aloe vera can also be good for redness. Additionally, if your skin can tolerate it, some foundations even have acne-fighters like salicylic acid in them. Dermatologists and makeup artists have a few other tips.
“[Certain] foundations can trigger acne breakouts. But don’t despair. With the right products and skincare regimen, you can wear makeup,” says board-certified dermatologist Snehal Amin, MD. “Look for labels that say ‘oil-free’ and ‘noncomedogenic.’ The same rules apply to makeup removers—choose oil-free products and avoid scrubbing the skin. Sometimes, it’s not the actual skincare product or makeup that is triggering your acne but rather the makeup brushes and applicators you’re using. They can harbor acne-causing bacteria, dead skin cells, and oils. Clean frequently and don’t share them.”
Makeup artist Alexa Persico also says there are a few things to keep in mind when selecting the best foundation for acne-prone skin. “Don’t pick up the moisture-targeted foundation formulas. Most of these contain a high percentage of mineral oil, which can cause breakouts,” she shares.
Finally, our third expert, board-certified dermatologist Azadeh Shirazi, MD, has one last piece of advice. “Avoid heavy formulas—particularly ones with petrolatum, mineral oil, lanolin, coconut oil, avocado oil, and silicones—as these tend to clog pores,” she says. “Avoid added fragrances that can cause new pimples to form and irritate existing pimples. You’ll also want to steer clear of foundations with a waxy emollient like myristyl myristate, as they tend to cause buildup and congestion in pores. Go for oil-free, lighter foundations that have hyaluronic acid.”