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Is Makeup Bad For Your Skin? (+Tips For Going Makeup-Free!)

Written by Shelby Torrese

If you wear makeup you’ve likely heard that some makeup can cause skin issues—but is there any truth to it? We’re uncovering the truths & lies about makeup and skincare once and for all!

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Makeup can be your best friend or your worst nightmare. With such sensitive skin, I have gone through so many ups and downs with makeup. I thought it was just me, but after doing my research, I found that there are actually some great reasons it may be better to go au natural. Now, the question stands—is makeup bad for your skin or are certain brands and products better or worse for us?

This is a multifaceted question, and one that takes a few different angles to tackle the full scope of it. Today I’ll cover everything from does makeup cause acne, how much makeup is too much makeup, and really get to the bottom of the big picture question—is makeup bad for your skin.

is makeup bad for skin

True or False: Is Makeup Bad For Your Skin

These are the top five myths about makeup and skin. Does makeup cause acne? How about wrinkles? Read more and find out below!

1. Makeup causes wrinkles


It’s true, makeup can cause wrinkles. Especially if you pull or stretch your skin when applying. The best way to avoid wrinkles from makeup is to use soft bristle brushes, and avoid thick products that stick to and pull on the skin. So, is make up bad for your skin? Not entirely, but you want to be particular about the products you use and the way in which you apply them. 

2. Makeup causes acne


This is a tricky one. Does makeup cause acne? Yes and no. There is a particular type of acne that’s caused by makeup called acne cosmetica, which is a type of acne that can be worsened from makeup. [1] However, unless you have acne prone skin, it’s unlikely for you to break out from makeup. If you do have acne prone skin, be sure to remove your makeup thoroughly as soon as possible! Too much makeup buildup can definitely cause breakouts, acne prone or not!

3. You don’t need to wear additional SPF


Even though many concealers say they have SPF in it, it’s important to use a true SPF moisturizer before applying makeup. Wearing a daily SPF is said to help reduce the signs of aging, protect against UV light, and is especially important for those with fairer skin. [2]

4. Makeup expires


Yes! Makeup expires! Even the FDA has guidelines around cosmetics’ shelf life. [3] If your makeup doesn’t have an expiration date on it, toss it after a year. For mascara, once it becomes dry, toss it. This can happen between a month and six months. Again, is makeup bad for your skin? Expired makeup certainly is! And does makeup cause acne? It’s more likely to if your makeup is expired!

5. It’s OK to share makeup 


I used to be so embarrassed to be “that girl” that wouldn’t share her makeup, but it’s for a good reason! Makeup brushes and bristles can carry microorganisms that can transfer person to person and cause skin infections. [4] It’s best to keep makeup to yourself!

is makeup good for skin

How Much Makeup Is TOO Much Makeup?

Wearing makeup, and certainly the question of whether you’re wearing too much makeup, is subjective. One person may feel their best in a full face of makeup, whereas some people may feel overly glam in a few swipes of mascara! As long as you feel good, and your skin isn’t experiencing any side effects, then it’s up to you to decide what you’re comfortable with. If someone ever tells you you wear too much makeup, don’t take it personally. They just don’t know how to politely say you’re naturally gorgeous! 

Tips For Going Makeup-Free

Going makeup free for the first time can be intimidating. These are my top five tips for rocking a natural face with confidence (and a kick butt glow!)

  • Sleep—The better you sleep, the more rest your body gets, the more rest you get, the more rejuvenated your skin and face will look and feel! Aim for getting to bed as early as possible, and try to rise with the sun.
  • Moisturizer—Having a great moisturizer can be the difference between a gorgeous, glowing face and a seemingly oily face. Look for moisturizers that aren’t too thick, and that contain a low amount of SPF. Don’t shy away from the tinted ones, either!
  • Take a collagen supplement—A daily collagen supplement is one of the best things you can do for your skin! It’s packed with protein, which aids in anti-aging qualities such as reduced fine lines, improved glow, and firmer, tighter skin. My go-to is Super Youth collagen for its variety of collagen types, and delicious flavors. 
  • Hydrate—Drink quality water! This is one of the easiest ways to improve overall skin tone, texture, and brightness. Staying hydrated can also help to reduce wrinkles. Drink at least half your body weight in ounces of water every day and watch your skin transform!
  • Cleanse—Having a good face cleanser can make or break your goals of going bare. Aim for a daily cleanser that you can comfortably use once per day, and a gentle exfoliant that you can use two to three times per week. 

The Bottom Line: Is Makeup Bad For Your Skin?

The final answer to “is makeup bad for your skin” is no, not necessarily. You can wear makeup every day and have a great relationship with it. So long as you’re removing makeup thoroughly and properly, and not using expired makeup, you should be in the clear! Same goes for the question of “does makeup cause acne”? Not always. As long as you are wearing products that your skin gets along with, and you’re removing it as soon as possible, you are good to go!

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About The Author

Shelby Torrese

Nutrition, Movement & Meditation Coach

Shelby Torrese is a wellness enthusiast (and matcha fanatic!) from Miami, FL. She attributes her love of movement to her mom, a personal trainer, and her love of food to her dad, a farmer. She studied creative writing in college while getting her yoga certification, and went on to pursue fitness and nutrition in grad school. Her go-to advice is, “Balance,” and she is a firm believer that the ocean can cure just about everything.

  • Yoga Alliance Registered Yoga Teacher
  • NASM Certified Nutrition Coach
  • M.S. in Human Performance


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