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Makeup for Sensitive, Acne-Prone Skin

author image Marnie Kunz
Marnie Kunz has been an award-winning writer covering fitness, pets, lifestyle, entertainment and health since 2003. Her articles have been published in "The Atlanta Journal-Constitution," "Alive," "The Marietta Daily Journal" and other publications. Kunz holds a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing from Knox College and is a Road Runners Club of America-certified running coach and a certified pole dance instructor.
Makeup for Sensitive, Acne-Prone Skin
Finding the right makeup for your skin type can be tricky. Photo Credit: Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images

If you have sensitive skin that is also acne-prone, it can be a challenge to find the right makeup that won't trigger breakouts or irritate your skin. By knowing which ingredients and products to look for, you can find makeup that complements your complexion without harming your face or causing a breakout.

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Sensitive, Acne-Prone Skin

According to "Teen Vogue," sensitive skin produces exaggerated reactions to stimuli, such as sun exposure, temperature changes and environmental changes. Sensitive skin often blushes and burns easily, and may also itch or break out in rashes. Acne-prone skin is characterized by excessive oil, often triggering breakouts. People with oily skin often have large pores and shiny-looking skin, and may have acne on other parts of the body as well. Combination skin is a combination of oily and dry skin, which may also be sensitive skin.

Makeup Solutions for Sensitive Skin

If you have sensitive skin, you can protect it by taking certain precautions such as avoiding harsh chemicals and products. Search for products with hypoallergenic and fragrance-free on the labels. Skincare-news recommends using black mascara and eyeliner instead of colors, as black tends to have less irritants. Also, eye pencils are less likely to irritate eyes than liquid liners. also advises using a powder foundation instead of liquid, as powder usually has fewer ingredients. Sensitive skin is often irritated by a change in products, so conduct a small patch test of a new product before using it.

Acne-Prone Makeup Solutions

"Allure" magazine recommends using a makeup that is formulated for acne-prone skin. Choose noncomedogenic makeup, which won't clog pores. Avoid oil-based foundations, as they can trigger breakouts. According to the Acne Resource Center Online, people with acne-prone skin should avoid lanolin, a common ingredient in lotions and sunscreens, as lanolin often triggers acne. Those with acne problems should also avoid isopropyl myristate, which is used in many foundations, as it can be a major skin irritant. The resource center also warns against D & C dyes, which are made from coal and tar, and are sometimes used in cosmetics.

Choose Fragrance-Free

Scents can irritate acne-prone and sensitive skin, so choose lotions, foundations and makeup that are labeled fragrance-free, as they have small amounts of scent. According to the Acne Resource Center Online, all cosmetics use fragrances to a degree, but some use stronger, more irritating ones than others. Fragrances that can be especially irritating to skin include ambrette, bergamot, cinnamte and the musk family of fragrances.


If you take precautions to find cosmetics for your skin type but still experience rashes, breakouts or irritation, consult a dermatologist for help. Sometimes, extensive allergy tests can determine allergies to specific cosmetics ingredients, or you may have a condition that requires medication.

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