The Catch-22 of Covering Up Acne

Nooooo! Has this ever happened to you? You wake up in the morning, look in the mirror, and all you can see are these hideous, inflamed, red pimples. Hello nasty friends on my face! You know you have to go out into the world today, but all you can think about is how embarrassed you are and how to make these zits as unnoticeable as possible. Did you know women used to wear little silk patches in the shapes of stars and moons on their faces to cover up their smallpox scars in the 15th century? That might work. A ski mask or huge scarf might look odd in summer. So you reach for the next best thing – a thick mask of make up!

That puts us in a catch-22 though doesn’t it? Of course we want to cover those zits. I used to wear tons of different primers, a thick layer of full coverage foundation, a lot of concealer, then more powder in an effort to hide the blemishes. It might work for the perfect Instagram photo, but in real life we don’t have perfect lighting and Instagram filters! And clogging your pores with the wrong type of makeup will result in even more pimples. Stop the cycle!

Make-up Rules

Number One: Don’t put any products on your face that will clog your pores. All of our makeup and skin care should be non-comedogenic (which means non-pore-clogging), hypoallergenic and non-irritating. Mineral-based makeup will help absorb the oil. Zinc oxide not only helps soothe the redness but also protects from the sun. Ichthammol will help minimize the inflammation.

And if you use natural oils, choose the right ones. There is a rating system for comedogenics, used by the Journal of American Academy of Dermatology. 0 – Will Not Clog Pores, 1 – Low, 2 – Moderately Low, 3 – Moderate, 4 – Fairly High, 5 – High. Shea Butter, Mango Butter, and Argan Oil are 0. But Cocoa Butter, Coconut Butter and Coconut Oil are 4, and Wheat Germ oil is 5!

Number Two: Don’t use too much! Slathering on layer after layer of make-up is tempting, but in the end a heavy mask will make your pimples even more noticeable. I read an interview recently with Bobbi Brown, saying she is using almost no foundation on girls anymore, because that mask look is out. Just a little concealer is often all we need. Lise Eldridge uses a “pinpoint concealing” technique to cover the blemishes. It takes more time to master this technique, but it is so worth!

Number Three: Choose the right color! Use colors that match and compliment your skin tone. I used to wear much darker foundation, because I thought that darker color covers the redness better! Nothing looks worse than a noticeable line between your cheek and neck. Yuck!

Number Four: Take it all off. Wash your face and allow your skin as much time as possible to breath and heal. And remember, never, ever, ever go to bed with the day’s grimy, bacteria-filled makeup on your face!

Number Five: Love yourself. Chances are good that you are thinking about those pimples a lot more than anyone else is. Most people are looking at you because they are noticing the gorgeous smile and sparkle in your eyes.

We say – Own your pimples!

Share your story with us!

Take care, Shawn


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