Acne-prone skin needs special care to help counteract the causes of acne. From makeup to cleansers and makeup removers, manufacturers offer a bewildering array of products designed to help fight blemishes. When it comes to makeup removers, you have a choice between oil-based and oil-free formulas. Always choose the oil-free varieties; acne-prone skin tends to produce more than enough oil on its own.
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Acne-prone skin is characterized by periodic outbreaks of comedones — skin lesions such as blackheads, whiteheads and pimples. Three factors contribute to comedone formation: your skin’s excess oil production; dead skin cells; and bacteria. When excess oil and dead skin cells collect in your skin’s tiny hair follicles, they form a plug. The resulting lesion, usually visibly swollen, is a whitehead or a blackhead. If bacteria infects the comedone, it will become inflamed and enlarged, resulting in a pimple.
One of the best ways to fend off future acne outbreaks is to use oil-free facial products. Greasy makeup, concealers and even sunscreens can clog pores. Since you’re already dealing with an excess of oil, select water-based non-comedogenic skincare products. Other strategies include gentle washing instead of harsh scrubbing; the more you irritate your skin, the more likely it is your acne will get worse. Skin care expert Dr. Howard Murad recommends gentle cleansers that include calming agents such as chamomile, licorice or vitamin E.
The type of makeup you wear will influence the type of makeup remover you need. In “Unblemished,” Dr. Katie Rodan and Dr. Kathy Fields offer makeup selection tips for acne-prone skin. They suggest you read the labels of your makeup and avoid potentially acne-causing ingredients such as petrolatum and mineral oil. Choose products labeled “non-comedogenic” or “non-acnegenic.” These products tend to be water-based, making them easy to remove with an ordinary cleanser and water. Long-wearing makeup usually contains wax or oil, making it more difficult to remove without the help of an oil-based makeup remover.
Makeup removers are specialty cosmetic products designed to break up and remove the pigments of your makeup, allowing you to wash it off easily. Removers come in two varieties: eye makeup remover, and facial makeup remover, intended to wipe away foundation, concealer and blush. Both types of remover come in oil-based and oil-free varieties; your best bets for clearer skin are the oil-free varieties. Most drugstore and department store brands offer oil-free varieties for eyes and face.
Murad, Rodan and Fields agree that you probably don’t need to use makeup remover in the first place. Murad advises you to remove your makeup with a gentle cleanser and warm water. If you still want to use a makeup remover, use it only where you need it most, such as on your eye makeup, rather than wiping it all over your face. However, since cleansers cannot break up the waxy formulas created for extended-wear makeup, you may need to use makeup remover occasionally. Rodan and Fields suggest you use petroleum jelly or mineral oil makeup removers to do the job.