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Makeup and Your Skin

What to know before you pick out foundation, powder, or cover sticks.
By
WebMD Feature

Foundation makeup, if worn correctly, can help to smooth out your skin’s little (or sometimes not-so-little) imperfections.

But how do you know which product will give your young skin the healthy glow you’re after, without looking caked on or like you’re wearing your mom’s makeup?

WebMD talked with skin experts who shared their thoughts about what teen girls should consider when choosing foundation makeup.

Prevent Blocked Pores

Hands down, the No. 1 skin complaint among teenage girls is acne, says Ellen Marmur, MD, associate professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York.

In fact, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, more than 40% of adolescents have acne or acne scarring by the time they're in the middle of their teen years.

 Acne is caused by three main factors:

  1. Too much oil made by enlarged oil glands in the skin
  2. Growth of bacteria, called P. acnes, within the hair follicles
  3. Blocked hair follicles that release oil

That’s why before applying any makeup to your face, it’s important to develop a routine aimed at keeping skin clear and acne at bay.

One way to minimize acne is to cleanse with over-the-counter acne treatments that contain products such as benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid. (These ingredients help to dry excess oil and remove dead skin.)

Choosing Your Foundation

To get the polished look of a foundation makeup and avoid worsening the underlying causes of acne, choose your foundation carefully.

That means searching the label of each product. Check for terms such as "non-oily,” “hypoallergenic” (which means the product won’t cause an allergic reaction), and “noncomedogenic” (meaning the foundation won’t block your pores).

Although the temptation to use makeup to hide blemishes is understandable, heavy foundations often make matters worse.

“The problem is that if girls have a lot of acne they often try to cover it up with a lot of foundation, which clogs pores more,” says Michele Green, MD, a dermatologist in private practice in New York.

That doesn’t mean you have to skip the foundation altogether, though. “I never tell anyone not to cover it up, but we try to treat the problem,” she says.

If you’ve used many over-the-counter treatments for your acne with no success, talk with your parents about seeing a dermatologist. Green and Marmur say professional acne treatments today are so effective that there’s no reason to struggle with the problem alone, particularly if it makes you feel shy or embarrassed.

Acne and Dry Skin

“Not all acne is due to oil,” Marmur says. “That’s a stereotype. Many teens have dry skin and acne, but a lot of [acne treatment] products dry skin out and leave you with irritation."

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