Once And For All, Does Foundation Actually Clog Your Pores?

November 17, 2016 by Lisa Fogarty
shefinds | beauty

Foundation is the one makeup product that can create a smooth and flawless canvas — and we know how important clear and radiant skin is to our overall appearance. But we also know that clogged pores cause pimples, blackheads, and whiteheads and it makes logical sense that foundation creates a barrier between our pores and the air. So, what’s the deal with the foundation? Should we avoid it like the plague if our goal is to have clear, beautiful skin?

First, the facts: dirt, sweat, oil, and, yes, makeup can all contribute to blocking our pores, leading to inflammation, uneven skin texture, and conditions such as acne, says Dr. Arash Akhavan, MD, FAAD, founder and owner of The Dermatology & Laser Group in NY. But a person’s individual skin type and even their lifestyle has more to do with the way their skin reacts to makeup than the makeup itself.

“When it comes to makeup, everyone is different in terms of the type and brands that work for their skin,” Akhavan says. “Someone with oiler skin and larger pores will generally have more makeup-related issues than those with normal skin. A person’s lifestyle also plays a role in how makeup affects your pores. Sweat and dirt can mix with makeup and change its characteristics, making it more likely to cause skin issues.”

If you’re concerned that the foundation you are using is causing breakouts, you needn’t swear off makeup for the rest of time. There are ways you can prevent pimples while wearing makeup.

“Foundation/coverup is the main area where people run into issues with clogged pores,” Akhavan says. “In general, powder based foundations are less likely to cause clogged pores than liquid foundations. And when it comes to makeup, people generally are better off going as light as possible. Even a non-comedogenic product can clog pores and cause acne if you use too much of it.”

Make sure you cleanse your skin thoroughly every night with a gentle makeup removing cleanser and that you check your pores in a magnified makeup mirror, Akhavan says. “If you see any remnants of your makeup in your pores, you are putting yourself at risk for pore related skin issues.”

If you have been battling acne issues forever, Akhavan cautions against getting into what he calls the “acne-makeup vicious cycle,” where you breakout and try to cover it up with makeup, thereby making your acne worse.

“Sometimes, you just need to bite the bullet and let your pores rest and breathe for a couple of weeks,” Akhavan says. “If walking around with acne and no makeup sounds like a dreadful option, talk to your dermatologist to see if there is a quick fix to get you through your first couple of weeks with less makeup. Options such as certain prescription medications, chemical peels, and certain other procedures we do in our office can clean out your pores, decrease skin inflammation, and give you a fresh start with your skin.”

For more skincare tips, check out 7 Skincare mistakes that are aging you and Do you need to change your skincare routine for fall?

Follow me at @lisacfogarty on Twitter.

[Photo: In The Frow]


Lisa Fogarty is a lifestyle writer and reporter based in New York who covers health, wellness, relationships, sex, beauty, and parenting.

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