15. Blush Blunders and Foundation Folly

Doctor Jacob here, and today we're talking about blush blunders and foundation folly.

Blush, which is used to impart the red or pink hue on the cheeks, is a common cause of acne cosmetica. And with the use of blush, it's not that it happens overnight that the patient breaks out with acne, it could take four weeks up to four months before the patient develops the little comedones or whiteheads at the cheeks, typically. The main culprit, of course, has to be a comedogenic ingredient within the blush, and those in blush typically are the red dyes, the D&C dyes, which you'll see on the labels and the ingredient label, and many blushes contain them. In fact I should say that most blushes contain the D&C red dyes. So in particular, when you bring your list of comedogenic ingredients to shop with the makeup, to get blush, look for the D&C red dyes. In addition, if you happen to have a red-colored or rosy-tinted eye shadow or eye makeup, the D&C red dyes are not permitted by law to be in the eye makeup, so you can use the eye makeup as a blush if it's red colored, and then you won't be able to have that pore clogging effect from it. So that's a great tip.

I can't tell you, I've seen so many patients who have the little acne comedones, the little bubbles at the cheeks, right where they're applying the blush, and they've seen a couple different doctors about their acne, they can't get rid of it, but when they finally look through their makeup and they realize that there's comedogenic ingredients inside their blusher, and they get rid of the blusher or they switch to a non-comedogenic blush, then all their acne kind of melts away within a couple of weeks. It's really amazing.

Now we're going to talk about what I call 'foundation folly'. Of all makeup components, foundation is probably the biggest challenge for acne sufferers… in order to be able to find a good foundation that doesn't contribute to or worsen their acne.

Foundation is spread over the entire face and it's usually used on a daily basis for people who use makeup regularly. This recommendation may not be so easy to follow for many people who love makeup, but I recommend for acne patients to really avoid liquid makeup foundation altogether, and if possible to use a loose powder as a makeup foundation. Loose powders can help absorb a little bit of oil and they tend to be less comedogenic than the liquids, and here's why.

Almost every foundation has some sort of oil or something that makes it a little bit creamy to spread evenly across the face. Now, certain oils are more comedogenic, others less so. For example, mineral oil is zero or one on a five-point comedogenicity scale, and typically it's a zero if it's a high-quality mineral oil. But often times they don't use that in makeup; especially in more expensive makeups they use other more comedogenic fancier oils. Of course, for acne-prone skin we really don't need to be adding any oil to the mix. It's quite easy to test a makeup sample to see if there's oil in it or not, and sometimes the oil-free or grease-free claim is not actually true, because there's no legal definition for what it means to be oil-free. It could be a synthetic product that's technically not an oil but functions essentially like an oil. So if you take a piece of 25% cotton bond paper and you apply a streak of the makeup to it and you leave it for 24 hours and you come back a day later, you check for an oil ring around the streak of makeup that you applied, and the bigger the ring, the more oil. So you can compare a couple of makeups like that. Luckily, if you want to just go with the powder, I'll recommend some on my website, you don't have to get into all that business. But oil-free tends to be a gimmick and doesn't actually really correlate with a safe makeup to use for acne sufferers.

Also, a word about expensive makeups. Just because a makeup costs more doesn't mean it's any more acne-friendly. That's something that many patients say, "Oh, I got a good brand. I paid more for this brand." It doesn't really mean anything. It doesn't mean it's been tested. You really have to look at the ingredients and look for comedogenic ingredients in the makeup.

And one final word about makeup - especially foundation - companies are constantly reformulating their products to improve things as they see it. Maybe it's improving on the costs of the product for them to manufacture it, whatever it is, and sometimes patients have been using what they think is the same makeup, but when they buy more of it, they realize it starts to break them out, and they realize the manufacturer has potentially changed the formula on them. So makeups get reformulated all the time, so if you start to see breakouts and you suspect that your makeup has changed, be sure to pull the ingredient list and take a look.

That's all for today. I'm Doctor Jacob, we'll see you next time.