If I have acne, what kind of cosmetics should I use?

Dr. Doris Day, MD
In recommending cosmetics to my acne-prone patients I try to give them guidelines from which they can make their own decisions as to which products would be best for them. Start with keeping it simple: choose products that have 10 or fewer ingredients. In choosing foundations, look for loose powders since they help absorb excess oil from the skin. If you use a liquid foundation, look for ones that are silicone (dimethicone, cyclomethicone) based since this ingredient sits very smoothly on the skin and is nongreasy, nonacnegenic, and noncomedogenic. Try to avoid cosmetics that contain D and C red dyes since these dyes are highly comedogenic. It can be difficult to find the right blush without D and C red dyes, however.

Finally, don’t assume that just because a product is “natural,” it is better for your skin. The word natural is undefined and unregulated and even products that are labeled “all-natural” may include ingredients that are comedogenic and acnegenic.

Many acne treatments are drying or otherwise irritating to the skin, and in these cases, a more emollient or creamier moisturizer may be indicated, especially in the evening before bed because water loss from the skin is increased at night while you are sleeping.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.