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Does Makeup Hurt Your Skin? The Truth Once and For All

Posted by Nikki Wisher on Oct 30th 2020

Does Makeup Hurt Your Skin? The Truth Once and For All

Not to get too deep and existential, but when you think about it, so many of our day-to-day decisions come down to short-term benefits vs. long-term benefits.

Do you want to taste a delicious cupcake now or have a lower risk for health problems in a few years? Should you enjoy some relaxation now with a Netflix session or should you clean your house so you can enjoy the cleanliness tomorrow?

When it comes to makeup, most of us wonder if we’re doing the same thing. Are you hurting your skin in the long-term by rocking that glorious smoky eye tonight?

As it turns out, the answer is a not-so-simple “maybe.” In general, makeup is safe and doesn’t hurt your skin, so you don’t need to part ways with your trusty foundation. With that being said, there are still some risks based on the way you use your makeup.

How Makeup Can Hurt Your Skin

If you use makeup the way it’s intended, chances are that it won’t cause problems with your skin. That’s a big “if,” though. Let’s be honest: how many of us truly follow all the best practices when it comes to our makeup? Whether you know it or not, you could be putting your skin at risk for several issues.

Clogging Pores

As someone who’s been in a chronic battle with acne since I was a fetus, my first worry with makeup was always that it would clog my pores. It seems to make sense, right?

As it turns out, makeup won’t clog your pores enough to cause acne if you’re removing it every day. Rejoice, my fellow zit-prone beauties!

Don’t forget the second part of that sentence, though: you need to remove your makeup at the end of the day, every day. Write it on your calendar, paint it on your mirror, whatever you have to do to remember each night.

The cruel irony is that some makeup removers can clog your pores or dry your skin enough to cause acne. Can you even win in this game?

Yes, you can, by taking two steps. First, get a makeup remover for acne-prone skin, like my trusty La Roche-Posay Effaclar Micellar Water for Oily Skin. Second, after you remove your makeup each night, wash your skin with a cleanser right away.

Exposing You to Bacteria

If you’re obsessed with news and social media like I am, you may have heard the horror stories about women getting serious skin infections from their makeup brushes. If you haven’t, I’d advise that you don’t Google it while you’re eating lunch.

Makeup brushes and other applicators can harbor bacteria that you slather all over your skin when you apply makeup, potentially causing an infection. If you keep your makeup brushes on your bathroom vanity like many of us do, you probably don’t need me to tell you the types of particles that could get onto them in the course of a day.

The simple solution is to wash your brushes and applicators at least every two weeks. All you need is water and antibacterial soap. Run the brushes under water first until all the makeup is gone. Then wash them gently with antibacterial soap. Let them air dry completely before you put them in an enclosed space so they don’t grow mold.

Inflaming Sensitive Skin

The simple fact of life is that some folks get the short end of the stick. If you’re removing your makeup every day, keeping your skin clean, and washing your brushes regularly, you could still have problems with makeup if you have sensitive skin.

Makeup products with certain ingredients like fragrances tend to irritate sensitive skin more than others. If you notice that your skin seems inflamed on a regular basis, try an elimination diet for your skin. Stop wearing one type of makeup for a week or two at a time to see if it helps the inflammation.

Having sensitive skin doesn’t mean you can’t wear makeup. There are makeup products that are specifically made for your sensitive skin. Mineral makeup, for example, is often easier on sensitive skin because it’s made with more natural products. It’s all about trial and error and finding the products that work well with your skin.

How to Wear Makeup AND Have Great Skin

Yes, your skin could suffer from your makeup use, but there are plenty of ways to get the best of both worlds. I already mentioned how important it is to remove your makeup and cleanse your skin afterward, and to wash your makeup brushes, but wait! There’s more!

Know Your Skin

You’ll probably hear this about every aspect of health, but it’s true: everyone’s body is unique. There are no hard-and-fast rules about which makeup will 100% hurt your skin and which ones 100% won’t.

It’s all about paying attention to your skin. If it gets inflamed or irritated, make a note of what makeup you were wearing, what products you were using, and anything else different you did that day. Look for patterns and adjust your routines or your products if you need to.

Get Serious About Cleansing

Skin cleansing isn’t just important for teenagers who struggle with pimples. Between makeup, air pollution, sweat, and just general dirt and debris, your skin comes into contact with a lot throughout the day. The longer that stuff sticks around, the more likely it is to cause damage.

Invest in a great cleanser from a trusted brand like Dermaceutic and use it twice each day. Make it a mandatory part of your daily routine so you don’t have to worry about forgetting it. Pretend your makeup will explode at 2 am if you need to – just find a way to push your excuses aside and form the habit.

Beauty With and Without Makeup

Makeup serves so many purposes to so many people. For me, it makes me feel confident and ready to conquer the day. Maybe you see it as an art form you can practice every day or a way to express whatever style floats your boat at the moment.

No matter why you love makeup, the simple tips above can give you that freedom without sacrificing your skin’s health in the process.