Heavy makeups, particularly foundations, have traditionally been associated with breakouts of comedonal or inflammatory acne. In this issue of Acne Briefs, Dr. Jan Hornets discusses how cosmetics have changed in the past decade and gives tips on finding noncomedogenic and nonacnegenic makeup that is appropriate for women with acne.
o The cosmetics that cause acne are most likely to be either moisturizers or foundations, both of which are applied to the entire face.
o Cosmetics can be either comedogenic or acnegenic.
o Some cases of “acne” caused by cosmetics are an irritant phenomenon rather than true examples of inflammatory acne.
o Products containing olive oil may be comedogenic.
o Flavored lip-glosses may cause a perioral dermatitis that resembles acne.
o Small specialty or “spa” products are more likely to cause skin problems, since manufacturers may not test their products in large population samples.
Improvements in Cosmetics Technology
o The use of silicone rather than vegetable oils as a base for foundation makeup has greatly reduced
o Silicone is nonocclusive and does not give the face a shiny appearance.
o The switch to pure, cosmetic-grade ingredients has minimized the chance that most name-brand cosmetics will cause skin problems.
o Quality cosmetics are now tested in large samples of women of various skin types, ethnicities, skin colors, and amounts of sun damage to identify products that may cause irritation or acne.
How the Skin Interacts With Cosmetics
o Each person’s face is covered with a biofilm composed of perspiration, oil, bacteria, and the fungus
o When applied to the skin, makeup mixes with the biofilm.
o Foundation makeup comprises tiny pigment particles that are suspended in a liquid. The distance between pigment particles determines the amount of coverage the makeup offers.
o The pigment particles initially rest on the surface of the biofilm, but over time, as the biofilm migrates, the pigment particles are dispersed and may collect in wrinkles or the follicles, where they may cause irritation. Cosmetics that “stay put” cause fewer problems.
Topical Retinoids as Part of a Beauty and Acne Care Regimen
o Acne patients should cleanse their skin in the morning and at bedtime.
o If a woman wants to apply more cosmetics before going out in the evening, she should first cleanse her face.
o Acne patients should use mild cleansers and avoid toners or astringents unless they are antibacterial preparations that have been prescribed by the dermatologist to control acne.
o If a woman has mild-to-moderate comedonal acne, she probably will benefit from a topical retinoid, such as adapalene, tretinoin, and tazarotene and/or a benzoyl peroxide preparation.
o Women with a mixture of comedonal and inflammatory lesions should do well with a combination of adapalene, tretinoin, or tazarotene in the evening and an oral antibiotic twice daily.
The Best Camouflage for Acne
o When women have a flare of acne, they want to use makeup to hide their lesions.
o The best foundations for camouflage are those with higher coverage.
o Matte finishes should be favored over those with a dewy or shiny appearance.
o Applying pressed or loose powder is an excellent way to absorb oil and minimize the shiny appearance of acne skin.
o Getting rid of acne helps build a positive self-image.
o The right cosmetics can help women feel confident about their appearance, even during an acne flare.
o Dermatologists should encourage their patients to bring in their cosmetics to help them choose the ones that are compatible with acne and acne therapy.
Cosmetics help camouflage acne lesions.