Is makeup bad for acne?

You use makeup to cover up blemishes, but can it also aggravate acne-prone skin? See pictures of makeup tips.
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Whether you're a teenager enduring the trials of puberty or an adult dealing with a surprise onslaught of wonky hormones, acne can make you want to pull a paper bag over your head. Although the desire to disappear is understandable, it's definitely not practical. Whether you like or not, you have to face the world while you're waiting for your pimples to clear. Hiding those blemishes is easier than hiding your head, but using makeup to cover them can pose their own set of challenges as well.

First, you need to understand what causes acne. Contrary to popular opinion, you don't get acne because you don't wash your face enough or eat too much fried food. Dirty skin and a greasy diet don't cause acne; your glands do [source: American Academy of Dermatology]. Sebaceous glands in your skin produce oil designed to keep your tissues moist and protected. Acne results when your sebaceous glands make too much oil; that oil clogs your pores and encourages bacteria to grow. The inflamed bumps we know as acne appear not only on your face, but also on areas like your chest and back [source: WebMD].

Once you know why you have acne, you can work to hide and eventually heal it. If you're going to use makeup to conceal your acne, make sure that you're not creating new pimples by covering up the ones you already have. To avoid increasing oil production and clogging your pores, you need to know what's in your cosmetic products.

In addition to concealing pimples, you need to treat the acne so it will go away while you're hiding it. Treatment options include the following:

  • over-the-counter and prescription topical treatments
  • topical and oral antibiotics
  • hormonal therapy
  • skin treatments like dermabrasion, chemical peels and photodynamic therapy [source: American Academy of Dermatology]

To find the best treatment plan for your skin, you may want to consult a dermatologist. Once you get your acne treatment plan in place, you can use makeup to conceal your pimples while you're waiting for them to heal. Read on to find out how to use makeup without worsening your breakouts.