It’s a real Catch-22. We have acne, so we wear makeup to hide it. But sometimes the makeup causes more acne. So, what do dermatologists recommend in this situation?
They say the best foundations for acne-prone skin are oil-free. Sometimes they are labeled as “non-comedogenic” because they don’t clog pores (1).
How do you know if your foundation causes pimples? It’s difficult to say because sometimes acne cosmetic doesn’t show up for a few days or even a few months. And it might not be the makeup after all. Pimples may develop if you don’t wash your makeup brushes or sponges often enough.
Here’s what the experts say about keeping your complexion clear:
- Choose foundation and concealer that’s labeled as oil-free or non-comedogenic
- If you aren’t already using acne medication, you may benefit from makeup with salicylic acid to keep pores clear
- Cleanse your face morning and night
- Remove makeup before sleeping
- Wash makeup brushes and sponges weekly and don’t share them
- When applying makeup, keep layers light
It may take a few days to a few weeks to clear up your complexion. Consult with your doctor for advice and hang in there. In the meantime, feel free to enjoy the best foundations for acne-prone skin.
|The best foundations for acne-prone skin||Why we love them|
|Almay Clear Complexion Makeup||
|Neutrogena SkinClearing Oil-Free Acne and Blemish Fighting Liquid Foundation||
|Clinique Acne Solutions Liquid Makeup||
|e.l.f. Acne Fighting Foundation||
|Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Full Coverage Foundation||
|Maybelline Fit Me Matte + Poreless Liquid Foundation||
|NYX PROFESSIONAL MAKEUP Can't Stop Won't Stop Foundation||
|Catrice | HD Liquid Coverage Foundation||
|Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Tint||
Best Foundations for Acne-Prone Skin in 2023
Almay Clear Complexion Makeup
At any time, any person could develop sensitive skin and have to deal with breakouts. Extra stress, a change in diet or level of physical activity, illness, or different medications can all affect how the skin behaves. But Almay comes to the rescue as the top cruelty-free brand of makeup for sensitive skin. Their products are hypoallergenic, non-comedogenic, and fragrance-free. Each one has been dermatologist-tested, too.
What we love about this foundation is that it comes in fourteen shades for pretty much everyone for oily or combination skin. It’s not hard to find a match, especially if you spend a little time blending. Moreover, the soft matte finish looks natural and clean, not cakey or flaky, even if you have dry cheeks.
Reviewers say it applies equally well with fingers, a brush, or a sponge. The coverage is light to medium but buildable.
The highlight is the anti-acne medication it contains. It has salicylic acid to unclog pores and reduce inflammation. Not only does it clear up blemishes, but it also prevents new ones from forming.
- Light to medium buildable coverage with a soft matte finish
- Available in fourteen shades from light to deep
- Features salicylic acid to clear up and prevent blemishes
- Hypoallergenic, non-comedogenic, and fragrance-free
- Blends easily with fingers, a brush, or a sponge
- From a cruelty-free brand that creates makeup for sensitive skin
- Not for normal or dry skin
Neutrogena SkinClearing Oil-Free Acne and Blemish Fighting Liquid Foundation
How about a sheer foundation that enhances your appearance without covering up your natural beauty? This one comes in a dozen light and medium-deep shades, all of which have salicylic acid for acne-prone skin.
Neutrogena is known for its acne-fighting cleansers and moisturizers, and this makeup is no slouch. The key ingredient here is encapsulated in MicroClear technology to penetrate deep into pores and resolve the problem at the source. In fact, 100% of the participants in clinical trials said that it improved their skin over time.
Furthermore, this dermatologist-designed foundation is oil-free, non-comedogenic, and hypoallergenic. It’s best for sensitive, combination, and oily complexions.
If there’s any downside (besides the lack of deeper shades), it’s the inclusion of parabens. These are preservatives that prevent spoilage and keep the 0.5% salicylic acid formula potent, but they could mess with the endocrine system. Many manufacturers are moving away from using them.
- Has 0.5% salicylic acid in MicroClear technology to clear up and prevent breakouts
- Dermatologist-tested formula is non-comedogenic and oil-free
- Available in a dozen shades with light to medium coverage
- Not paraben-free
Clinique Acne Solutions Liquid Makeup
When the lightest shade is “Alabaster” and the deepest is “Clove”, you can bet that pretty much everyone can find a color that matches their skin. Each one has moderate coverage with a natural, matte finish. It’s a foundation best suited for dry combination, combination oily, and oily complexions.
As you might guess, this is also oil-free makeup with salicylic acid. It goes on smooth (once you shake the bottle first) and it only takes a few drops to cover the entire face. It’s lightweight and long-lasting.
- Wide range of shades for all skin tones
- Has salicylic acid to keep the complexion clear
- Suitable for dry combination, combination oily, and oily skin
- Natural, matte finish with moderate coverage
- There are less expensive options, but there are also those who swear by this makeup
e.l.f. Acne Fighting Foundation
This drugstore brand has never let us down until now. We were disappointed that there are only six shades available.
The foundation itself is creamy with medium coverage and a matte finish. Users say it covers better than Neutrogena’s foundation.
What’s more, it has excellent acne-fighting ingredients like salicylic acid, tea tree, and witch hazel to refine pores and clear up acne. A dose of aloe keeps the skin hydrated, which is helpful if you have dry patches.
Lastly, like everything from e.l.f., it’s vegan, cruelty-free, and contains no parabens or phthalates.
- Potent anti-acne ingredients like salicylic acid, tea tree, and witch hazel
- Medium coverage with a matte finish
- Vegan, cruelty-free, and paraben-free
- Available in only six shades
Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Full Coverage Foundation
Here’s the best full coverage foundation for acne-prone skin. It lasts all day and offers SPF 15 sunscreen. Happily, almost everyone will be able to find the right shade, too.
The formula contains mineral pigments that don’t just cover up blemishes, but also soothe the skin. It relies on Amazonian clay to turn it into a longwear foundation. It helps control oil hour after hour. Plus, there’s vitamin E to guard against premature aging. Of course, it’s hypoallergenic and dermatologist-tested.
Reviewers say the foundation is excellent for mature skin because it doesn’t settle into wrinkles. For best results, use setting powder on the T-zone.
- Amazonian clay and mineral pigments control oil
- Available in a wide range of shades
- Formula calms the skin and protects against premature aging
- Hypoallergenic and dermatologist-tested
- A little pricey, but worth it
Maybelline Fit Me Matte + Poreless Liquid Foundation
What about the best foundation for oily skin with large pores? You could go with the Tarte makeup above, or get a lot of bang for the buck with this drugstore foundation. It’s effortless to blend and comes in shades for everyone.
People of all ages love this makeup because the moderate coverage doesn’t slide off during the day. It doesn’t settle and wrinkles or emphasize pores. Instead, it makes the face look flawless and protects it with SPF 18 sunscreen as well.
If you happen to have dry skin, there’s also a Dewy+Smooth version. Unfortunately, both appear to contain parabens.
- Available in a wide range of shades
- Long-lasting, doesn’t settle into wrinkles or pores
- SPF 18 sunscreen
- Also available in a version for dry skin
- Not paraben-free
NYX PROFESSIONAL MAKEUP Can’t Stop Won’t Stop Foundation
If you hate blotting, try this mattifying foundation that also happens to be waterproof. It offers full coverage in forty-five shades to match every person on the planet.
Apply it and forget it. This isn’t high-maintenance makeup. It exists to keep you looking good all day long. Seriously, it lasts up to twenty-four hours.
The best part is that it’s non-comedogenic and safe for sensitive, normal, combination, and oily complexions.
We looked hard for a downside and just couldn’t find one. The brand is even certified cruelty-free.
- Mattifying, waterproof foundation that lasts up to twenty-four hours
- Non-comedogenic and safe for sensitive, normal, combination, and oily skin
- Available in forty-five shades for everyone
Catrice | HD Liquid Coverage Foundation
Now we’re down to the hard choices. Should you go with this drugstore foundation or the one above? After all, both have a matte finish that lasts up to twenty-four hours. However, this one isn’t waterproof like the one from NYX.
Still, it’s a lightweight liquid formula that looks airbrushed when it sets. Although it comes in only twenty-three shades, those cover pretty much every skin tone.
Furthermore, the cruelty-free makeup is vegan and free of parabens, gluten, alcohol, and oil.
- Matte finish that lasts up to twenty-four hours
- Available in twenty-three shades
- Lightweight liquid that’s free of parabens, gluten, alcohol, and oil
- Not waterproof
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Tint
Let’s wrap up with the best foundation for dry, acne-prone skin. Acne medication can dehydrate the face, and sometimes it reddens it, too. But this gentle oil-free makeup restores hydration with hyaluronic acid. The gel-like texture blends easily and attracts moisture to plump the skin while you wear it.
Since it comes in ten shades, the lightweight coverage will suit most people. You won’t even have to feel bad about wearing it every day because it nourishes the skin instead of harming it. We’re pleased to report that the foundation is also fragrance-free and paraben-free.
- Ideal for dry, acne-prone skin
- Lightweight coverage in ten shades
- Gel-like and straightforward to blend
- Restores hydration with hyaluronic acid
- Fragrance-free, oil-free, and paraben-free
- Only ten shades, so some users may have to purchase two and blend them for a perfect match
Stick to oil-free foundations for acne-prone skin. Check out the dermatologist-tested formulas in the reviews above to find the perfect makeup for your needs.
We hope we helped you find a foundation today that helps you feel comfortable and confident. If it’s working well for you, we’d love to hear about it. Please feel free to leave us a comment below.
1. https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/acne/causes/makeup I Have Acne! Is It Okay To Wear Makeup? by The American Academy of Dermatology Association, accessed November 23, 2021