12 Foundations That Won’t Irritate Acne-Prone Skin

12 Foundations That Won’t Irritate Acne-Prone Skin

As someone who has dealt with breakouts (and acne scars), I find myself in a constant dilemma between wanting to feel comfortable in my natural skin and using makeup to create the appearance of a smoother complexion. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with flaunting your skin—blemishes and all—but as a cosmetics-lover, there are just days when I want to show off my hard-earned makeup skills and get my glow on. So when those days come, I turn to foundations that are non-irritating to acne-prone skin, which minimizes the chance that my makeup will clog my pores or irritate existing blemishes. If you’re in the same boat, here are 12 foundations to try that you (and your skin) will love.

If You’re Looking For:

Acne-Fighting Foundation

Healing acne is an ongoing process, but it can be made easier with foundations that help fight it by incorporating specific healing ingredients into them. There are a multitude of active ingredients—like benzoyl peroxide and beta-hydroxy acids—that fight blemishes, so be sure to read the labels, do your research, or ask a dermatologist about what’s best for your skin type before purchasing.

  • Clinique Acne Solutions Liquid Makeup ($28): This brand is known for creating makeup that’s gentle on the skin, but this foundation in particular contains salicylic acid, which, according to Byrdie, “will dry up blemishes” and “work as an exfoliator to remove discolored and damaged skin cells to improve skin tone.”
  • E.l.f. Cosmetics Acne Fighting Foundation ($6): While it works to cover redness and blemishes, this foundation also contains essential acne-preventing ingredients like salicylic acid, witch hazel, and tea tree oil.
  • Lorac Natural Performance Foundation ($35): If you’re looking for coverage that’ will cover acne spots that are healed, then this one is for you. This foundation contains vitamin E, which “helps heal breakouts, supports skin elasticity, and stops cell mutation from pollution and the sun,” according to Byrdie.

If You’re Looking For:

Heavier Coverage

According to Byrdie, those with acne should “avoid all makeup that’s not clearly labeled as oil-free or non-comedogenic. These products can cause clogging of pores and ultimately more pimples.” However, this can make finding full-coverage foundation for blemished skin difficult. Thankfully, there are foundations which provide great coverage and are noncomedogenica feature that many people with acne-prone skin will appreciate.

  • Clinique Beyond Perfecting Foundation + Concealer ($28): With the promises of full-coverage and staying power of up to 12 hours, this foundation is long-lasting and won’t clog pores with its 100% oil-free formula.
  • Smashbox Studio Skin 15-Hour Hydrating Foundation ($42): This product provides medium to full coverage and is oil-free—perfect for those looking to hide any blemishes without clogging pores or irritating existing breakouts. Its hydrating properties will also help negate the effects of any drying acne-fighting ingredients you may be using in your current routine.
  • Nars All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation ($49): Another oil-free product, this noncomedogenic formula gives full coverage and a natural-looking finish without making you feel weighed down by heavy makeup.

If You’re Looking For:

A Matte Finish

Acne is often accompanied by oily skin, which can make applying foundation much more difficult and cause it to slip right off during the day. The following foundations help absorb that shine, allowing you to stay matte for hours—no matter the weather or the current state of your pores.

If You’re Looking For:

Sun Protection

“Acne products and exfoliants make you more vulnerable to sun damage,” says Byrdie, which is why wearing SPF during the day is crucial. These foundations save time and keep you from adding more steps into your morning routine since the sun protection is already in the formula.

What are your favorite foundations for acne-prone skin? Let us know in the comments below!

Featured photo by @jordynwissert.

2 Comments
  1. Love this article, very true and hard to find a genuine article on ance fighting make up that is cruelty free

  2. Thank you for this article! I’ve always been skeptical of acne-fighting foundations, but now that I have a few suggestions, I’ll have to take the plunge!

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