Best Foundation for Acne Prone Skin

(Last Updated On: August 3, 2018)

Your skin is your main line of defence from the elements. Think about what it has to withstand on a daily basis; sun, wind, pollution, and chemicals from products you use. So, how can you keep skin in optimum health so it can do its job?

Tips for Healthy Skin

Tips for Healthy Skin

Protect yourself from the sun

One of the most damaging and ageing things for your skin is sun exposure. Over a lifetime, it can cause wrinkles, age spots, and skin cancers. Always use a sunscreen when you are outside. Wear at least an SPF 15 and at least SPF 30 if you are in a hot climate. Apply sunscreen generously, and reapply every 2 hours, especially if you are swimming or sweating heavily.

Try and avoid being out in the sun when it’s at its hottest, between 10 and 2pm, but if you must be outside, wear protective clothing, such as long-sleeved shirts or long trousers, and of course, a hat to protect your hair and scalp.

Avoid smoking  

Smoking is another very damaging thing you can do to your skin. It makes your skin look older and it causes wrinkles. It decreases the blood flow to the skin which deprives it of oxygen and nutrients that it needs to stay healthy.

Smoking also damages collagen and elastin which are what gives the skin its strength and elasticity.

Treat your skin with care  

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Don’t take hot baths or showers as this can deplete moisture from the skin. Avoid using harsh soaps or cleansers for the same reason, and pat skin dry rather than rubbing it. Always use a moisturiser, ideally one with an SPF.

Eat well

Eating a healthy diet will help you look and feel your best. Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Current research suggests that a diet rich in vitamin C and low in unhealthy fats and processed or refined carbohydrates can make your skin look younger.

Say goodbye to stress

Stress can make your skin more sensitive and can trigger breakouts and other skin problems. Try to live a more balanced lifestyle and try to do things that you enjoy.

Not all skin is equal

The thickness of your skin varies depending on where it is on your body. Some parts of your body are subject to more wear and tear than others, so it figures that the skin needs to be thicker to protect these parts, for example, the soles of your feet. Here’s how to adapt your skincare routine to meet your skin’s needs:


Just as skin thickness varies, so does the number of hair follicles, sweat and oil glands in different areas of the body. These protect your skin and keep it healthy.

Areas of the skin where there are more oil glands and hair follicles can potentially heal more quickly from injury than places such as the neck and chest where there are very few glands or follicles.

Splash your face with lukewarm water, then massage your cleanser all over your face using your fingers. Do this for about a minute to make sure the product is given time to work, rinse thoroughly and pat the skin dry with a towel. Don’t rub the facial skin as it’s a lot thinner than the skin on the body. And don’t cleanse too much or use harsh products as this will cause the skin to produce too much oil to compensate for stripping its natural oils away.


Just as you should use hair care products for your hair type, you should use the right products for your skin type on your face.

In general, use richer formulations for dry skin, or dry areas like the elbows and knees, and use an oil-free moisturiser if your skin is oilier. Look for ‘non-comedogenic’ on the label, which means that it won’t clog pores and cause breakouts.

Steer clear of fragranced formulas if you have sensitive skin as they can cause irritation.

The problem of acne

Breakouts on areas of the body such as the back may be hard to treat, as they are hard to reach, and they might be exposed to sweat more after a workout, for example. Bacteria can then build up in the hair follicles and cause breakouts.

If body acne only occurs occasionally, such as in the summer, use a body wash which contains ingredients like benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. Use it every day and avoid scrubbing the skin, as this can cause irritation and can make acne worse.

Protection from the sun

It’s also important to use a daily moisturiser with sun protection all year-round on any exposed areas of skin to keep it healthy, glowing and to minimise damage. Keeping the skin well-hydrated and using a sunscreen will help to protect the skin from ageing and disease-causing free radicals.


Acne is a common skin condition that affects many people at some point in their lives. It causes spots, oily skin and sometimes skin that’s hot or painful to touch, if it becomes infected. Acne most commonly develops on the face, back, and chest.

What causes acne?

Acne is most often caused by changes in hormone levels during puberty, but it can start at any age.

Certain hormones, particularly testosterone, cause the skin’s oil-producing glands next to hair follicles in the skin to produce larger amounts of oil.

The excessive oil changes the activity of a skin bacterium called P. acnes, which becomes more aggressive and causes inflammation and pus.

The hormones also thicken the lining of the hair follicle, which blocks the pores and causes breakouts.

Acne is also thought to run in families. If your mother and father had acne, it’s more likely that you’ll also have acne.

Hormonal changes that occur during the menstrual cycle or pregnancy, can also lead to the development of acne in women.

Who gets acne?

Acne is very common in teenagers and younger adults, due to hormonal fluctuations. As much as 80% of people aged 11 to 30 are affected by acne. Acne is most common in girls from the ages of 14 to 17, and in boys from the ages of 16 to 19.

Most people have acne flare ups for several years before their symptoms start to improve as they get older. Acne often disappears on its own when a person is in their mid-twenties.

In some less common cases, acne can continue into adult life. About 5% of women and 1% of men have acne over the age of 25.

Types of spots caused by acne

There are 6 types of spots that are caused by acne:

Blackheads: These are small black bumps that develop on the skin; the black is not caused by dirt, but by the appearance of the inner lining of the hair follicle which produces pigmentation.

Whiteheads: These have a similar appearance to blackheads, but they tend to be firmer and won’t burst when squeezed

Papules: These are small red bumps that may feel tender or sore

Pustules: These are bumps which have a white tip, caused by a buildup of pus under the skin

Nodules: These are large hard lumps that build up under the surface of the skin and can be painful

Cysts: These are the most severe type of spot caused by acne; they’re large pus-filled lumps that look like boils and can cause scarring if they burst.

Self-help for acne

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Don’t wash the affected areas of skin more than twice per day. If you wash the skin too frequently, this can cause irritation and makes acne worse.

Wash the affected area of skin with a mild soap or cleanser and warm water, not hot or cold water, as this can make acne worse.

Don’t squeeze spots. This can cause irritation and infection, and cause permanent scarring.

Avoid wearing too much makeup or other cosmetics. This may be tempting, as you will want to try and cover spots up, but it can clog pores and make breakouts worse. Use water-based products that are described as non-comedogenic on the label. This means that the product will not block your pores.

Always remove makeup before you go to bed.

Shower as soon as possible after exercise to ensure that bacteria on the skin won’t clog pores and cause breakouts.

Treatment for acne

There is no cute for acne, but it can be controlled with creams, lotions, and gels. If you develop acne, you will most likely need to use a product containing benzoyl peroxide. This can be effective, but be aware that it can bleach clothing.

If your acne is severe or it appears on your chest and back, it may need to be treated with antibiotics or stronger creams that are only available on prescription from your doctor.

When to see your doctor

Even mild cases of acne can be distressing for a suffer. If your acne is making you feel very unhappy or medication is not working for you, speak to your doctor.

If you develop nodules or cysts, they need to be treated properly to avoid scarring, so speak to your doctor about options. If you pick or squeeze them yourself, they can cause permanent scarring. Stronger treatments can take around 3 months to work, but they are usually effective.

Make up and acne

Make up and acne

The beauty industry is huge. We spend a fortune on cosmetics, creams, and wonder products that claim to help us look our best. But the products that are marketed with the claims of giving us better skin and making us look more radiant, flawless, and youthful might be the very things that are clogging our pores and making our skin woes worse.

If you have acne prone skin, it’s very important to read labels to check for ingredients that won’t clog your pores and cause breakouts.

How to choose makeup when you have acne prone skin

Throughout history, people have been covering up their perceived imperfections. We still do today, but unfortunately, applying layer after layer of makeup to cover up blemishes often just makes the problem worse.

When the correct type of makeup is applied, with the correct technique, it can cover up blemishes very well, but use the wrong kind of makeup and it can accentuate skin problems.

What to look for on the label

Every bit of makeup you buy should have the words non-comedogenic, hypoallergenic, non-irritating, and oil-free on the label, which means that it won’t clog your pores and irritate your already sensitive skin.

Mineral-based cosmetics contain added ingredients like silica, titanium dioxide, and zinc oxide, which both absorb oil and hide redness without irritating the skin and causing breakouts, which makes them a good choice.

The best foundations for acne prone skin

This product is packed full of natural ingredients; however, this does not mean that it’s automatically great for your skin.

Few beauty brands advertise whether or not their products are suitable for acne prone skin, and it would be helpful if they did! Here are some of the best foundations for acne prone skin that have actually been tested on people with acne and acne scarring:

Neutrogena Visibly Clear Correct and Perfect CC Cream

This is a great budget choice. It gives medium coverage and is very nourishing for drier skins. This foundation contains salicylic acid so it might not be suitable for people who are using prescription acne treatments.

Bare Minerals Blemish Remedy Mineral Powder Foundation

This is a light powder foundation that looks very natural, but which still easily covers any scarring or redness. The ingredients work to treat breakouts from the moment you apply the foundation and the natural formula doesn’t clog pores and lets skin breathe.

You will probably need to use a concealer to get complete coverage, but this is a great solution for people who want to reduce skin redness without looking like they are wearing too much makeup.

Vichy Dermablend Corrective Fluid Foundation

Vichy Dermablend Corrective Fluid Foundation

This foundation was created to help camouflage scarring and pigmentation, but this high coverage product covers acne and scarring, plus there’s a huge range of products to choose from. This foundation has real staying power, so the need for touch-ups will be minimal. It’s great for sensitive skin and can even prevent breakouts.

Argan Liquid Gold Multi-tone BB Cream

This is quite pricey, but it is recommended for the drier acne prone skin types. It’s packed with oils however, so if oils are a trigger for your acne, you should avoid it. The foundation is quite thick but it makes your skin look glowing and nourished.

Urban Decay All Nighter Waterproof Longwear Liquid Foundation

This foundation covers the angriest of spots and it stays put for the entire day. The formula is quite thick however, and you’ll need to make sure you remove it completely at the end of the day or it will sit in the pores and worsen your skin problems. It comes in 24 different shades too, so you’re bound to find your perfect match.

Charlotte Tilbury Magic Foundation

This is a long-time favourite of people in the know in the beauty industry. This foundation is light and soft and it cools and soothes the skin. It comes in many different shades to complement many different skin tones, and it lasts all day. If you have oily skin, you may need to retouch it during the day, but it’s a small price to pay for a product that feels luxurious on the skin, and that looks amazing on photographs. It’s a perfect choice if you’re a selfie fan but you’re not confident about your skin.

Guerlain Paris Lingerie de Peau

This is a liquid foundation that makes the skin look very smooth and natural. It mattifies any oily patches and covers any bumps on the skin caused by pimples and blemishes. The formula contains silk and linen fibres which means that the foundation lies on the skin really smoothly. This creates a very flattering effect on the skin. It does not clog the skin, even if you commit the cardinal sin of leaving it on when you go to bed. It’s quite pricey but overall, very worth the money. It comes in 14 different shades.

Inika Organic BB Cream

Burberry Fresh Glow Luminous Fluid Base

This product is packed full of natural ingredients; however, this does not mean that it’s automatically great for your skin. If you find that flower and nut oils cause skin breakouts, avoid this product.  But if you like the idea of a more natural solution to skincare and cosmetics, this is a great choice. After all, many chemicals in cosmetics can be a trigger for acne and other skin problems.

The main ingredient is aloe vera leaf juice, and it also contains castor and grapeseed oils. These ingredients soothe and treat the skin, promoting healing of blemishes, and fight the bacteria that cause breakouts. Skin coverage is quite light, so you will probably need a concealer, but the final result is glowing, healthier, and brighter skin.

Burberry Fresh Glow Luminous Fluid Base

This is actually a primer, and it’s a good choice for people who like to look like they aren’t wearing makeup. It helps to conceal any problem areas of the skin. It can be used alone or under foundation to make your skin look glowing, and it conceals any redness or lumps very well. There are only 3 shades available, but they can be blended to suit very different skin tones.

Written by Irina Radosevic MD
Irina graduated from the University of Belgrade, School of Medicine as a Doctor of Medicine (MD) and spent over 3 years working in the Clinical Hospital Center Zvezdara, in the Department of Emergency Medicine. She also undertook a postgraduate in Cardiology from the same University and had previously worked for over a year as a Physician and Nutritionist Dietitian for the Fitness club Green Zone. She eventually left her chaotic but fulfilling job in the ER to pursue her passion of writing, travelling and mountain climbing which has included writing a first aid course for the alpine club of Belgrade. Irina currently works as a VA for PintMedia focusing on medical and travel writing. Feel free to connect with Irina on LinkedIn and FaceBook. Her CV can be seen here.