We put a lot of time, effort, and money into looking beautiful (or handsome, depending on your gender). Americans fork over nearly $9 billion annually for creams, scrubs, concealers, and a drawer-full of other cosmetics that claim to keep our skin looking clean, clear, and more youthful.
Ironically, the very same products you rely on to keep your skin looking its best could be doing your pores a big disservice. Using the wrong makeup or cream could actually accentuate the pimples you're trying so hard to hide.
Caring for acne-prone skin requires some careful cosmetic sleuthing -- reading labels to find products that won't clog your pores and lead to more breakouts. WebMD has made the process a little easier by compiling a checklist of must-have makeup and grooming ingredients for people with acne.
Use this acne skin-care checklist when navigating the aisles of cosmetics and makeup at your local supermarket or drug store:
Moisturizers and Acne
Somehow the idea that moisturizers are a no-no for pimple-prone skin started circulating many years back, and now a lot of people with acne avoid them like the plague. In reality, moisturizers are an essential part of the acne skin care routine. The acne treatment your dermatologist prescribed or recommended probably contains drying ingredients like benzoyl peroxide, which can suck the moisture out of your skin and leave it looking red and irritated. A good moisturizer will keep the water in your skin and help avoid unsightly drying and peeling.
What to look for : Choose a lightweight, oil-free moisturizer labeled "non-comedogenic" -- which is just a fancy way of saying that it won't clog your pores. Also look for ingredients like glycerin and hyaluronic acid, which hold moisture in the skin. What to avoid? Heavy, greasy products that contain pimple-producing ingredients such as cocoa butter, mineral oil, or cold cream.
Should You Use Scrubs and Masks for Acne?
There's no need to slather your face in day-glo green or mud and scare off all the neighborhood kids. Experts say masks and scrubs do little, if anything, to improve acne. A gentle, non-abrasive cleanser that's formulated for your skin type (oily, dry, or combination) will do a lot more to keep your face pimple-free than some overpriced Dead Sea mud mask.
Acne-Friendly Aftershave Lotions
Men with acne need to pay attention to their skin care regimen, too. Shaving can be both a plus and minus for a man's skin. The plus is that shaving each day acts as a natural exfoliant, opening your pores so the excess oil can drain out. But if you shave the wrong way or use the wrong products, you could wind up with more acne. Or, you could get razor bumps, which aren't acne but look a lot like them. Razor bumps pop up when newly cut, sharp-ended hairs turn back into the skin and make the skin swell up.
What to look for : Use a non-irritating, lubricating shaving gel, or a prescription shaving foam containing benzoyl peroxide that's designed for men with acne. When you shave, use a sharp razor so you don't pull on the hair or cut your skin. Shave downward, in the direction of growth of the hair follicles, to prevent irritation. After shaving, skip the splash of cologne or alcohol-based aftershave, which can irritate your skin -- not to mention leave you in agony if you have any open cuts or recently popped pimples. Use an oil-free moisturizer instead.