Beautiful woman with brush: Can You Get Blackheads From Wearing Foundation?
(Photo: dolgachov/iStock)

We wear foundation because it is meant to improve the look of our skin. It is supposed to even out your skin tone, minimize the appearance of pores, cover breakouts, and act as the perfect base for the rest of your makeup. However, what if your foundation was making your skin worse? You’ve probably heard rumors before about how wearing foundation can give you blackheads. Blackheads are already annoying so no one wants a product that could potentially give them more. We investigated to see whether this is just a beauty myth or something to be concerned about.

Unfortunately, there is no definite “yes” or “no” answer with this one. There are a number of variables in the mix including the type of foundation you’re using, your skin type, and your cleansing routine.

Dr. Meghan O’Brien, a consulting dermatologist for Physicians Formula, explains that foundation is generally worn for a long period of time and if you choose one with irritating ingredients, it will have a negative impact on your skin. However, that doesn’t mean you should toss your bottle of foundation. Dr. O’Brien explains, “I never tell my acne patients to avoid make-up or foundation. Until the skin has improved from acne treatment, foundation and makeup can be an important part of feeling confident in one’s skin.”

(Related: Beauty Myths: Does Washing Your Hair More Often Make It Greasy?)

The best way to avoid a foundation that could potentially give you blackheads is to choose one that is labeled “non-comedogenic.” Dr. O’Brien explains this does not 100% guarantee you will not get blackheads, but it is an excellent place to start. Furthermore, go for lighter formulas as opposed to thicker ones because they may be less likely to clog pores. Mineral-based foundations are often lightweight. Plus, they help control shine on acne-prone skin. If you prefer a liquid formula, Dr. O’Brien suggests choosing a light, non-comedogenic, oil-free formula.

If you’re wondering about whether a primer will reduce the likelihood of getting blackheads, Dr. O’Brien says it will not make a difference. She does caution people to look at their primers because some do contain ingredients like salicylic acid. It is good for fighting pimples but it can cause irritation if you have sensitive skin.

Finally, Your cleansing routine at the end of the day is important for keeping your skin looking its best. The goal is to get all your foundation (and other makeup) off without irritating your skin. Dr. O’Brien says, “Avoid scrubs or harsh makeup wipes that can lead to irritation. Use a gentle foaming cleanser, gentle makeup remover with Q-tip or cotton swab, or a sonic device to ensure that makeup is removed without excessive irritation.” Sleeping with our makeup on is something that no one should ever do. It doesn’t matter if you have chosen a non-comedogenic foundation or not. So take those five extra minutes to ensure your makeup is all off before hitting the sheets to keep your skin looking its best.


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