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Makeup and Acne

Back in February of this year, a study in the International Journal of Dermatology made it official- severe facial blemishes do impact a woman’s quality of life. Not surprisingly, women hard-pressed to hide acne lesions go to extensive links to find the perfect concealer to lend a more polished look to their faces.

Ironically, with this zealousness to conceal acne breakouts, women simultaneously provoke the onset of new blemishes and shockingly exaggerate the very lesions they are trying to hide. Quit this beauty blooper.

There are five easy steps women can take now to creatively conceal acne lesions while preventing the onset of new lesions.

Step 1. A reminder, about your zit- it is not that big
Too often, the makeup mistakes start days before an acne lesion reaches the surface of the skin. For some women, like Alicia Owens of San Diego, “Watching a new zit form on your face is like watching an un-welcomed neighbor come to your home. You just want to avoid them and get them away.”

This feeling of “ugliness avoidance” prompts women to grossly overestimate the true size of the pimple and imagine the zit mushrooming to an enormous, attention-grabbing size. Frustrated with the possibility of a hosting a huge zit, some women prematurely pop a zit they see developing around their cheeks, chin or forehead.

One trick for getting around this psychological distortion is to remind yourself, “My zit is actually smaller than I think.” Next, you can take steps to reduce the inflammation that contributes largely to the size of a pimple.

Step 2. Reduce acne lesion inflammation
Foods containing vitamins A, C and E help calm inflamed skin as help neutralize free radical damage and reduce inflammation.

Vitamin A foods include: organ meat, sweet potatoes, spinach and apricots
Vitamin C foods include: peppers, lemons, strawberries, broccoli
Vitamin E foods include: shrimp, sunflower seeds, nuts, and oils

Additionally, using a rich clay mask to help detoxify your skin and remove irritants will help the pimple shrink faster.
Step 3. Remove makeup with witch hazel
Cream based foundations are preferable for concealing acne lesions, but these foundations, even though they make be “oil-free” contain several ingredients to contribute to product slip and ease-of-application. Ingredients like silicon and glycerin cling to the skin and lock-in the color-giving mica.

For healthy skin, remove your foundation completely at the end of each day. Soaps, which can contain coating substances like glycerin, shea butter or coco butter, may not completely remove the foundation. Instead, use a cotton ball saturated with witch hazel to remove the makeup. Most pharmacy brand witch hazel products contain 14% alcohol which will be gentle enough to remove excess oils, dead skin cells and bacteria from the face.

Just as a test, after removing your makeup with a soap cleanser, try cleaning your face with a witch hazel saturated cotton ball and notice if the cottonball removed extra waste from your face.

4. Cleanse your makeup applicators
The golden no-more-hiding-zits-rule is: Whatever touches your face must be clean. Most cosmetics come with reusable brushes, pads or sponges. These pads and sponges collect dead skin cells and bacteria, the very items that you want to remove from your face, not re-apply with your daily makeup.

You can avoid re-using applicators by using cotton balls to apply your makeup instead. If you have brushes, wash them weekly to remove dermal debris build-up.

Also, if you use a cream concealer with a wand-applicator, never use the wand. Use a cotton swab and this way you will not contaminate the bottle daily by re-using the wand.

5. Avoid the “caked on” look. Use a light powder instead of a heavy cream concealer
To go one step further, if persistent acne is your bane, you can avoid a cream concealer completely by using a light powder foundation on the area you wish to conceal. This way, you are not piling foundation on top of a concealer.

Most importantly, your makeup will not depress so dramatically during the day.

Here’s what typically happens with heavy cream concealers: As a heavy cream concealer seeps into your skin throughout the day the concealer loses its moisture content due to evaporation and absorption by your skin. Consequently, as the concealer gets reduced in volume, your foundation will follow the natural contours of your face, giving you that dreaded “caked on” makeup look, and revealing the outlines of your pimples.

Since the powder type concealer is already dry, you don’t have to worry about your concealer loosing its moisture content and ultimately exaggerating the size of your zits at the end of the day.

In short, you have a lot of control over the appearance of your pimples. You can let them heal or your can turn your makeup into a zit magnifying glass. Whatever you do, when it comes to concealers and makeup, just take a moment to ask yourself, “Am I taking the right steps to help my pimple get smaller, or am I committing a beauty blooper?”
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