The Best Foundation for Acne Prone Skin
Posted By: Lindsay Schroeder Posted In: Makeup Date Posted: January 31st, 2013 Comments: 10

Many people think foundation is something that women “cake” on their face to cover every possible mark and flaw and leaves an apparent line between their jawline and neck. For anyone who still thinks this way, it’s a complete misconception. Perhaps in the days of Marilyn Monroe when “movie set makeup” was incredibly thick that was the truth but no more. In our modern society, foundation has completely revolutionized and is truly a staple to creating a beautiful canvass of the face – naturally.

Foundation – What Is It?

If you asked the general population of people (mainly women) what foundation, for makeup purposes, is, they would more than likely respond with liquid that you apply to your entire face. Yes, foundation is a liquid but it can also be a pressed powder, mineral powder, or tinted moisturizer.  It is a cosmetic product used to minimize minor imperfections and create an even skin tone of which to apply color (bronzer and blush). There are a variety of colors to match every skin tone out there so there should be no reason why everyone person wearing foundation shouldn’t be able to match their skin tone.

Will It Cause Acne?

Makeup is often believed to be a main culprit of causing acne. It definitely can be but not always – It depends on what kind of foundation you are using and what ingredients the foundation contains. Remember, if you are prone to acne, look for a foundation that is oil-free and paraben-free. Paraben-free skincare and cosmetics are gentler on your skin since they don’t contain harsh chemicals or preservatives that can irritate the skin. EVERYONE SHOULD WEAR PARABEN-FREE SKINCARE AND COSMETICS.

Liquid Foundation: If you want even and quick coverage that will last all day with minimal touchups, this is the product for you. Liquid foundation will give you pretty close to perfect coverage that will look natural. Since many are finally jumping on the healthy bandwagon of antioxidants and vitamins, many of the liquid foundations on the market today are infused with amazing antioxidants and vitamins that are nourishing for your skin and hydrating without making your skin greasy. Though some cosmetic lines only sell liquid foundation that contains oil, many cosmetic lines offer oil-free options. Oil-free foundation will not clog your pores or cause you to break out unless you are allergic to a specific ingredient in the makeup.  There are also options for full-coverage, medium-coverage, and sheer-coverage depending on what your skin type is and how much you are trying to conceal while still looking natural. Professional makeup artist, Lindsay Tosto, explains, “You should still look like you and your skin should still look like your skin while wearing makeup. Naturally amped.”

Tinted Moisturizer: Tinted moisturizer is a moisturizer that contains a bit of foundation and color to match your skin tone. It’s different than a liquid foundation because there is less foundation within the product and is meant to lightly even your skin tone and cover very minimal imperfections. Lindsay Tosto explains, “I love using oil-free tinted moisturizer on my own skin and on my clients that have fairly even skin tone and little to moderate breakouts and scarring. Tinted moisturizer also adds wonderful hydration to dehydrated skin. For days where a client or I have a pimple breakout, I will mix tinted moisturizer with a medium-coverage liquid foundation to help conceal the problem.” If you wear tinted moisturizer, still apply an oil-free moisturizer after cleansing your face and before applying your foundation. Skincare and cosmetics will not make you breakout if you use oil-free products.

Mineral Powder: Mineral powder is all the rage the past few years. People like how easy it is to apply and how natural it feels and looks on the skin. Many have found their skin to breakout less from using mineral powder but there is one thing to note about this type of foundation. You must read the ingredients labels when deciding on which brand to buy. If Bismuth Oxychloride is an ingredient in the mineral powder, steer clear. This is a heavy filler that is added to many mineral powders on the market and can clog your pores and make your pores look bigger due to the shiny appearance of this filler. You can also experience irritated, inflamed skin due to using makeup with this ingredient. It may or may not happen immediately but it has also been found to negatively impact people’s skin over a period of time. Make sure to not breathe in the powder while you are applying it to your face and neck. Breathing it in can negatively affect your lungs. So hold your breath!

Pressed Powder: If someone is looking for a quick way to even out their skin tone and reduce shine with no muss or fuss this is usually the go-to product. If you are a pressed powder user, there are two things to be aware of. Always opt for an oil-free powder (some mineral powders can be purchased in pressed powder form) and don’t use the little sponge within the powder for more than a couple weeks. The sponge will collect bacteria and oil very quickly allowing acne-causing bacteria to grow in the sponge and constantly be re-deposited onto your skin. Replace the sponge every couple of weeks.


1. Don’t wear foundation if it’s over 8 months old. Dispose of your old stuff and start fresh. Since everyone should be utilizing paraben-free foundation, it doesn’t have a long shelf life and if you use foundation regularly, you should go through your foundation in about 4 to 5 months.

2. Clean your makeup brushes every week or two with a gentle shampoo and conditioner (so the brushes don’t get brittle).  After cleaning them, re-shape them and lay them on a towel overnight to dry. Clean your foundation brush every day with a gentle makeup cleansing spray.

3. Use an oil-free foundation primer after your skincare routine but before applying your foundation. It will add additional antioxidants to your skin, less foundation will need to be used, and the foundation will wear better all day.

About the Author

Lindsay Schroeder


Lindsay Schroeder, professional makeup artist and skincare guru, is the writer of all the content on Acne Skin Site. She has personally dealt with acne all throughout her 20’s and knows firsthand what anyone suffering with acne is going through. She has worked with thousands of clients that suffer with acne and has been able to encourage and educate them on how to get their skin on the road to recovery.

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Let the discussion begin!

  • Jen - February 28, 2013 at 12:02 pm - Reply

    What do you know about MAC mineral powder. Should I use on my acne prone skin?

  • PHYL THIS - March 19, 2013 at 3:38 am - Reply

    I use bare Escentuals, but I have to use their matte foundation only and not the original and it is not a perfect match. However the chemical titanium dioxide is in it. Doesn’t this also promote acne?

  • Lindsay Tosto - March 21, 2013 at 5:21 pm - Reply

    Titanium Dioxide can clog pores and may cause skin to become inflamed.

  • Micah - March 27, 2013 at 4:08 pm - Reply

    Any thoughts regarding the Etude House BB Cream for Acne-Prone Skin? I’m planning to get one..

  • Lindsay Tosto - March 27, 2013 at 10:58 pm - Reply

    I am not familiar with that one! I would read reviews on it to help you assess buying it or not! 🙂

  • nikki - April 16, 2013 at 1:49 am - Reply

    In Most foundations I’m finding they contain titanium dioxide and/ methylparaben. Can you recommend one that doesn’t?

  • Michelle Malchow - April 23, 2013 at 9:28 pm - Reply

    Please can you recommend the best foundation and pressed powder for acne prone/sensitive skin? Thank you in advance!!

  • Clairey - July 2, 2013 at 11:24 pm - Reply

    How about BB creams? Are they any good for acne-prone skin?
    Thanks in advance!:)

  • Shimmy - September 15, 2013 at 5:35 am - Reply

    Would also like to know about BB creams.

  • Leave a Reply

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