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.
Lindsey Emery, a freelance editor in Portland, Ore., asked about her bumpy skin. We passed her question on to Julie Harper, MD, a clinical associate professor of dermatology at University of Alabama at Birmingham, and Paul M. Friedman, MD, a clinical assistant professor of dermatology at the University of Texas, Houston, and author of Beautiful Skin Revealed: The Ultimate Guide to Better Skin.
Q: I've noticed small red bumps on my face, jawline, and neck. Could it be rosacea? Or is it acne?
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.