Makeup has been used for centuries to enhance female beauty. It has been relied on by women (as well as men) to cover up unsightly blemishes and imperfections. Sometimes, though, makeup can be the very culprit that causes pimples on the face and neck. This is what happens in a unique condition called acne cosmetica.
What is Acne Cosmetica?
Acne cosmetica is a mild form of acne caused by the use of cosmetics. It appears on the cheeks, forehead and chin as small bumps or rashes that are rough to the touch. Acne cosmetica develops when the pores of the skin become clogged by cosmetic products. These include makeup as well as moisturizers, eye creams, pomades or hair oils, and gels. These products are called comedogenic because they cause the formation of comedones or plugged, non-inflamed pores. Acne cosmetica may linger for weeks or even months if left untreated.
For people who are already prone to acne, cosmetics may worsen pimples and make them appear more inflamed. This is because certain makeup may irritate the skin, especially the comedogenic ones that clog up pores.
How to Treat Acne Cosmetica
The best way to treat acne cosmetica is by stopping use of the product that causes it. If you're having breakouts on your hairline or forehead, stop using some hair products to determine which one is causing acne. Small bumps on the eye area and upper cheeks may be due to heavy eye creams. Breakouts all over the face and neck may be caused by heavy moisturizers or foundation makeup. Discontinuing use of these products will effectively and immediately reduce your acne cosmetica.
To keep acne cosmetica from showing up again, only use non-comedogenic products on your face and hair. As a general rule, use cosmetics that are not too heavy or oily. When buying makeup, pick powder-based ones over the liquid formulas. Liquid makeup usually have an oil base, which is a big no-no especially if you are acne-prone. Powder makeup have the added benefit of making your face appear cleaner and less shiny since it helps absorb some of the excess oil on your skin.
It is also a good idea to clean your makeup brushes and applicators each week with soap. These things are filled with bacteria that can cause pimples. As much as possible, clean them after each use with alcohol. You should also try not to sleep with your makeup still on. Your pores are more open at night, which makes it easier for makeup to clog them up and cause pimples. Use a gentle facial cleanser and toner to remove all traces of makeup from your skin.
If you have acne-prone skin, switching to non-comedogenic makeup is just the first step to managing your breakouts. A fuller, inside-out approach is required so that you can manage acne both from outside and inside the skin. A healthy diet with minimal fats and starches, regular exercise, and getting sufficient sleep will do wonders for your skin. You can also get your daily dose of pimple-fighting vitamins from fresh fruits and vegetables or oral supplements to help keep your skin clear and acne-free.