Is there a certain type of facial foundation that will not cause breakouts?

October 10, 2016
Zoe Diana Draelos, M.D.

Zoe Diana Draelos, M.D., is a consulting professor of dermatology, Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, N.C. She is investigator, Dermatology Consulting Services, High Point, N.C., and a Dermatology Times Editorial Advisor and co-medical editor.

An expert discusses available types of facial foundations and their effect on the skin in regards to acne.

There are some facial foundations that are formulated as OTC drugs with the addition of salicylic acid from the acne monograph.  It is not possible to add benzoyl peroxide to a facial foundation as it will destroy the pigment and make the facial foundation turn orange.  This is not the case with salicylic acid.  A salicylic acid foundation can be used on top of prescription acne therapy to minimally augment the effect.  Whether a facial foundation has salicylic acid, can be easily determined by turning to the back of the bottle and looking for an active ingredient disclosure that lists salicylic acid.

Facial foundations that will not cause breakouts are labeled as noncomedogenic and nonacnegenic.  The foundations that are least likely to cause problems in acne patients are oil free and based on dimethicone.  The dimethicone will not dry the face and may smooth down some of the scale found around healing papules and pustules.  It is easy for the patient to locate a facial foundation that is good for acne and oily skin by looking for the “oil free”claim on the front of the bottle and examining the ingredient disclosure on the back of the packaging for dimethicone in the first 5 ingredients.

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