After speaking with several women with decades of experience with makeup application, and after applying and playing with makeup myself, I have added a makeup guide (click ‘Expand’ when you get to that page) to The Regimen instructions page. My goal is to help acne-prone people apply makeup more safely by reducing irritation. Feel free to take a look and let me know if there are any glaring omissions or changes that you think need to be made.


Brandy and I have been discussing makeup a lot lately and I think it’s time we had a better, more filled out page regarding makeup and how to apply and remove it safely. I’m going to include recommended brands, recommended ways of applying, and things to avoid.

Anything you can think of that you’ve been dying to tell people about? Have you found the perfect makeup brand? The perfect method of applying? Have you noticed that there is one thing that absolutely must be avoided that I might not be thinking about? Let me know.

acne cosmetica

What it is: Makeup is so well known for causing acne that it has its own term in dermatology, acne cosmetica. While this problem has subsided somewhat in the past few decades as large brand name manufacturers have become more careful with their ingredient choices, it can still remain a problem for some people. Acne cosmetica is often misdiagnosed as run-of-the-mill acne, but it shows up in different ways and can often be treated simply by no longer using the offending makeup. As opposed to acne vulgaris, cosmetic induced acne tends to show up as lots of little bumps on the skin instead of red, inflamed papules and pustules. It can take up to six months for makeup to cause this reaction, and people will often react by using makeup to cover it up, thus perpectuating the cycle.

What to do: In an ideal world, I like to see people forgo makeup until they get completely cleared up with the Regimen. When makeup is used at the same time as the Regimen, it presents an external variable that is hard to control. Once a person is completely cleared up on the Regimen, then it’s safe to add in makeup, one product at a time. I realize that many people feel that they absolutely must wear makeup. In that case, you can do a few things to reduce the chance that your makeup is causing problems:

1. Avoid well known pore clogging ingredients including anything that starts with “isopropyl”, “isostearyl”, or “myristyl”.

2. Choose a large brand name makeup. Large brand names have more at stake and do not want the reputation of breaking out their customers. Almay in particular is well known for keeping acne-prone customers in mind. Their makeup is normally light and pretty safe. Almay blog post here.

Bottom line: What I want to leave people with here is that makeup can cause problems. If and when it does, it can show up a little differently, as smaller bumps that come “out of the blue”. In fact, it isn’t out of the blue. The makeup has been taking months to cause the issue. If this sounds like something you’re encountering, cease using your makeup, get on the Regimen precisely, and then be patient. It may take a while to get your skin back to its balanced, natural state.

Years ago I dressed up as a drowning victim for Halloween. I wore blue makeup all over my face…and broke out. Another time, I wore a scary mask all night…and broke out. Here are a few tips to keep you from making the mistakes I made.

Makeup: If you look at ingredients in Halloween makeup, it’s not always a pretty sight. They often contain pore clogging oils and other highly comedogenic ingredients. Choose oil-free varieties and look for the term “non-comedogenic” on the packaging. Also, stay away from makeups which have “iso” ingredients, including isopropyl myristate and isopropyl palmitate. Myristal myristate is another big offender to watch out for. When applying the makeup, apply it as gently and quickly as you can, and wash it off before bed, performing your usual regimen after washing it off.

Costumes: Masks and other creative costumes can rub the skin and cause irritation. One of the most surefire ways to initiate a breakout is to irritate and rub the skin. People who play sports see this phenomenon with chin straps. Masks create a similar scenario. Try to choose a costume that does not have a mask or anything that rubs on acne prone areas. If you already chose your costume and it contains a mask or something that will rub your skin, wear it for only short periods of time if you can.

Have fun you guys!!