Is Makeup Bad For Your Skin?

When you get serious about taking care of your skin, the last thing you want to do is stymie the improvement you've achieved. That's seemingly why so many people ask us about the impact of makeup on their skin. Many of us apply makeup nearly as often as we brush our teeth, which can amount to foundation, concealer, powder, blush and more sitting on the surface of our skin for almost all of our waking hours. Thus, it's wise to ask . . . is makeup bad for your skin?

The answer comes down to several factors:

What is in your makeup?

Like skincare products, the impact makeup has on your skin comes down to what it's made of. 

To achieve the flawless finish so many of us yearn for, makeup products often include waxes, emollients and oils that can clog pores, encouraging breakouts in those with acne-prone, oily and even sensitive skin. This is especially an issue when it comes to stage makeup, which, by its very nature is heavy. (Read more about the impact stage makeup had on the skin of two Lexli customers: Kathryn and Sierra.) Additionally, some products use forms of alcohol to give them a weightless feel, which can quickly damage the skin and dry it out. 

Mineral makeup has grown in popularity over the past decade as consumers became more conscious about the ingredients in the products they apply to their bodies. And there's a lot of pluses to using mineral formulations over traditional makeup. Not only is mineral makeup formulated with fewer ingredients, it also provides the skin with a bit of added UV protection. Most skin types can tolerate mineral makeup well but keep in mind that it can be drying for some individuals.

Thankfully, there is no shortage of makeup brands that formulate high-quality traditional makeup products that do not harm the skin. 

What is your skin type?

Just as you choose skincare products that are formulated for your skin type to ensure optimal skin quality, it's often necessary to select makeup that is appropriate for your skin type. Normal skin generally has it pretty easy and can handle nearly any high-quality makeup product. Other skin types, however, may need to give more thought to the products they use. 

Those with dry skin should look to moisturizing formulations to not only provide a gorgeous finish but to also protect skin from further dryness. Have oily skin? Avoid heavy liquid formulations that can clog pores and, to minimize shine, consider matte formulations. If your skin is truly sensitive, you may find that certain ingredients exacerbate redness and/or irritation, such as fragrances and preservatives. If this describes you, it's wise to add new products to your makeup routine one at a time to ensure you don't react to them. This makes it easier to determine the product and even the ingredient that doesn't work for your skin.

Acne-prone skin must be especially careful to avoid potentially comedogenic ingredients like those mentioned above. Instead, consider a BB cream that is formulated for acne-prone skin.

How diligent are you with your skincare routine?

If your skincare routine is lacking or non-existent, correcting it is a necessary first step before worrying about your makeup. The goal is to implement a consistent and comprehensive skincare routine that is right for your skin and utilize high-quality makeup products that work in harmony with your skin type.

Do you cleanse properly?

On the topic of skincare, thorough facial cleansing is vital for everyone but especially those who wear makeup. (We assume we don't even need to tell you how bad it is to go to bed with makeup on!) Don't rely on facial cloths to remove makeup and cleanse your skin - they can't possibly do a thorough job. Instead, learn how to properly wash your face. If a significant amount of makeup is worn, a double cleanse may even be needed.

Washing makeup off your face before bed is key but, when possible, it's advised that you remove your makeup as soon as you get home. While you may have heard that skin needs to breathe, don't take the phrase literally. Skin doesn't truly breathe. Removing makeup does, however, remove the occlusive ingredients that can clog pores, leading to breakouts and redness. Additionally, the sooner you do your nighttime skincare routine, the sooner your skin receives a dose of the beneficial active ingredients found in your serum, eye cream and moisturizer.  

Final Tips

If you find you're suddenly breaking out after applying makeup, the issue might not be your makeup at all. Rather, it might be caused by dirty makeup brushes that harbor oil, bacteria, dead skin cells and other debris. Makeup brushes should be washed weekly using a simple combination of facial cleanser (like Lexli Cleansing Lotion) and water. Leave them out to air dry and you're done. 

Finally, if you have sensitive or particularly acne-prone skin and are having trouble finding a makeup line that works for you, talk to an esthetician. Many skincare professionals carry high-quality makeup lines that are formulated to complement at-home skincare regimens and professional treatments to optimize skin quality. 

Interested in further reading? Check out How to Prep Skin for Makeup.