How to Apply Makeup If You Have Acne-Prone Skin

Updated on November 22, 2019
viryabo profile image

As a young woman, I had terrible facial blemishes and didn't have the privilege of knowing the best skin-care tips at the time.

If you have acne or think you are prone to facial blemishes, it is important to know that having a flawless "photo-shopped look" face is not hard.

First, it’s good to know that most women have blemishes on their faces at one time or the other; that explains why there are thousands of acne and blemish treatments for sale over-the-counter.

Secondly, to conceal pimples, acne, and its scars, makeup is the best option. Almost everyone uses makeup to conceal blemishes, including movie stars, celebrities, superstars, and beautiful models on the runway.

Every woman wants to appear blemish free, and why not?

Makeup: What Not to Use on Acne Prone Skin

If your skin type is prone to blemishes or acne, keep the oils away!

Makeup that contains oily substances, no matter how good they may be for other types of skin, will worsen your face’s condition.

What this simply means is that when you buy makeup, you must make sure that whatever you choose to buy is not oil based. It will only take a moment to read through its ingredient list, so invest in that time.

5 Things to Do Before Applying Makeup to Blemished Skin

If you desire a flawless face, here are tips on what to do:

  1. Always apply makeup under a good light. White light is best. Never apply makeup in a dimly lit room. This is because once you go outside into the sunlight or sit in a well-lit office, your face is exposed for all to see and mistakes will stand out glaringly.
  2. Wash your face thoroughly (Do not scrub) and pat it dry before applying anything on it. Occasionally, you can exfoliate your face with an exfoliation wash (at least three times a week).
  3. Moisturise your face with a light water-based moisturiser then wait for a couple of minutes to allow it set in the skin.
  4. Apply a mattifying primer gel that will instantly minimize pore and blemish appearance. Use the clear water-based type which overpowers shine and absorbs facial oil all day long. Priming before applying makeup will give you a natural-looking matte finish.
  5. Allow a couple of minutes for the primer to set.

8-Step Makeup Applications

  1. Apply the base layer (liquid or cream foundation) with a clean soft makeup applicator or brush. Apply on 5 spots your forehead, nose, cheeks, and chin then blend it in circular motions. Don't try to cover all your blemishes at this point.
  2. Use a concealer to cover larger spots or prominent blemishes. Concealer sticks are best and easier to use. If you prefer the liquid type, use a concealer brush to apply a tiny amount on each visible acne or pimple spot and blend gently.
  3. Use a natural bristle powder brush to apply loose transparent powder. Brush in a circular upward motion around the face. Ensure you apply powder up to the hairline, under the chin and down to the upper neck area.
  4. Use an eyelash brush to brush and smoothen the hairs of your neatly plucked eyebrows. The brushing will also remove any excess powder from your brows. Darken and contour your lashes with an eyebrow pencil.
  5. If you need the hint of a blush, use a liquid cheek tint. Put four small dots on the 'apples' of your cheeks then lightly and gently blend it in with fingertips.
  6. Curl your eyelashes with an eyelash curler using a slightly upward movement then apply smoky black mascara to the top lashes only. It’s best to use lengthening mascara rather than one that thickens your lashes. Apply a second coat on just the tips of the lashes.
  7. Use a bronzer that is only a shade or two darker than your skin and apply it lightly to the hairline, nose and chin. Apply some to the eyelid outer corners as well.
  8. Apply lipstick with a colour that compliments your outfit, and if you prefer to downplay the lips, you can apply pink or red tinted lip gloss.

(For acne, oily blemishes, or pimples that are about to erupt, use a small brush to dab transparent powder directly on them and brush lightly in a circular motion. For stubborn blemishes, re-apply a tiny bit of concealer and set by gently dabbing some more powder over them.)

What Not to Do

When applying makeup on acne-prone skin:

  • Don't ever use heavy liquid or cream foundations. Use as little makeup as you can. Don't be tempted to slather foundation all over your face to hide skin blemishes because it will only make you look awful and only draw attention to your face!
  • Don't wear jet black mascara that’s thickly applied because it will look too harsh and stark. You need your eyes to appear nice and soft.
  • Don’t dab on more than a tiny bit when applying foundation directly on to blemishes.
  • Do not pick a pimple before applying makeup no matter how tempting it may be. It will make the spot look bumpy and irritated and the ensuing puffiness cannot be successfully concealed with makeup.
  • Don't under-moisturise before applying your make up. If you do, the final finish will look rough and chalky and the pimples and other blemishes will show through more conspicuously.
  • Don't leave makeup on overnight as it only makes acne worse. If makeup is left on, the skin will not breathe and your pores will get clogged up. Clogged pores will certainly develop into more ghastly pimples.

Your expectations must be realistic especially if you have large pimples or deep acne scars. These are a bit more difficult to conceal but you can conceal their colour, flakiness, dryness, and oiliness. You can try to brush on a bit of bronzer over the tips of large pimples. This will visibly reduce their appearance.

Finally, all that’s written here is based on the assumption that your acne and other facial blemish treatments are being strictly adhered to. Without the required treatment, acne and blemishes will not go away.

If your method of fighting acne seems to defy means of treatment, see a dermatologist who will test you extensively and recommend a form of advanced treatment.

Do you use makeup to conceal your acne and acne scars.

See results

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

  • Is it better use a brush or a sponge to apply makeup?

    From experience, I've found using a sponge much more effective than using a brush.

    All I do is lightly moisten it and then use it to apply.

  • Should I take off the makeup I put on in the morning, clean my face and reapply makeup if I'm going out in the evening or at night?

    I will advise you should.

© 2009 viryabo

Comments Are Welcome

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    • profile image


      11 months ago

      this is what im looking for

    • profile image

      kwanele meyiwa 

      2 years ago

      thanx guys

    • profile image


      6 years ago


    • profile image

      Natural organic cosmetics 

      10 years ago

      Your hub is so helpful especially for those who has pimples and acne on their faces. Nice post!

    • viryabo profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago

      Thanks for the visit and your nice comments Helen.

    • Helen Cater profile image

      Helen Cater 

      10 years ago from UK

      Good informative hub. Thanks.


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