Carolyn has been an online writer for several years. She loves giving advice to others about skincare.
There is nothing that can ruin your self-esteem like blemishes, whether you have one or many. The truth is, you can wash your face religiously, use the most expensive products on the market, subsist on a diet of only bread and water and still have a face full of blemishes. Hormones, genes and other factors beyond anyone's control can bless you with gorgeous skin or problem skin.
Essentially there are three things you can do. You can:
- Continue having a face tainted with blemishes and hope they disappear soon while wishing that your personality shines more than your forehead.
- Talk to your doctor about possible solutions via prescriptions.
- Learn how to use wonderful cosmetics and skincare products to create the flawless, blemish-free complexion you have always wanted.
Cleansing and Caring for Your Skin
When it comes to the cleansing and caring of your skin, there are certain things you should and should not do.
What Not to Do:
- Do not over-wash your face! Once in the morning and before you go to bed is all that is required.
- Do not use a harsh cleanser to clean your face. Even if your skin is very oily, it can cause great irritation to your skin causing it to inflame and become more blotchy/red than it was before.
- Do not use face cloths, facial brushes, or any other abrasive material to cleanse your face. They can damage your skin's delicate cells, as well as harbour bacteria that will only cause further breakouts on your face. Use only the pads of your fingers.
- Do not touch your face throughout the day
- Do not use harsh toners after cleansing your face that contain ingredients such as alcohol or witch hazel for example, because they strip your skin of moisture and cause your skin to produce even more oil.
- Do not use a blemish or acne treatment all over your entire face.
What You Should Do:
- Use a gentle cleanser to wash your face both in the morning and at night (this applies to all skin types, not just normal or dry skin!). Your skin should NOT feel dry or tight afterward.
- If you want to use a toner, make sure it is gentle and contains no harsh ingredients.
- Always use a moisturizer in the morning and at night. It should not clog pores and be sure that it is formulated for your particular skin type, i.e., oily, combination, etc.
- Always use makeup remover for any eye makeup before washing your face and definitely before going to bed.
- Always spot treat the blemish on your face only where needed and use sparingly.
- Ingredient Dictionary from Paula's Choice
Unsure of what is a harsh ingredient in your cleaners and toners? Paula Bergoun's alphabetical listing of cosmetic ingredients tells you what is good, fair and bad for your skin, and why!
Step One: Use Primer
I never fully understood the value of a foundation primer until I actually tried one. I just assumed they were a way for cosmetic companies to make money selling useless products. Wow, was I wrong!
Foundation primers do several wonderful things for your skin:
- They create a smooth canvas so that your foundation goes on smoothly and evenly
- They minimize the appearance of your pores
- They can be used in the place of a moisturizer unless your skin is very dry
- They can give you an extra glow or enhance the natural luminosity of your skin
- They help your makeup last longer
- They can give your skin a "lift"
If you want to use a primer, be sure to buy a product that is designed for your skin type. Unless your skin is really dry, do not use a primer on top of your moisturizer because you don't want to create too many layers of product on your face. Also, unless your moisturizer and primer are from the same line, they can react with one another and possibly cause your primer to peel, for example.
If purchasing a primer is not in your budget, don't worry. Most moisturizers work just as well as a primer in creating a smooth texture for your foundation. One product that is especially good if you have normal to oily skin is the Mary Kay oil control lotion.
Step Two: Use Foundation
Depending on the severity of your blemishes, it isn't always necessary to use a foundation. If you only have one or two blemishes, you may not need foundation unless your skin tone is uneven (redness, pigmentation, etc.) and you wish to correct that.
The Foundation You Use Should Do the Following:
- Match the colour of your skin on your neck. Some people have darker skin on their neck than on their face or lighter colour skin. Either way, you should match your foundation colour to the colour of your skin on your neck.
- Be lightweight in texture and have light to medium coverage, preferably on the lighter side. You do not want to mask the gorgeous skin you have that is not covered in blemishes, you want it to be as visible as possible.
- Even out your skin tone, not mask your entire face.
- Be properly formulated for your skin type- oily, normal, combination, etc.
- Not clog pores
Remember: When trying different shades of foundation, be sure to do it in natural light.
The last thing you want is to look like you have a mask on your face because the skin on your face is a different colour than the rest of your body and there is a definite line of colour along your jawline! This will just draw the wrong kind of attention to your face. You want people to see the beautiful, glowing features of your face, not draw attention to the obvious (your makeup) or your blemishes.
There is no definite rule for applying foundation. You can use a sponge, your fingers or a foundation brush. Sponges tend to absorb more foundation than what you would normally use so you may find yourself going through more product than necessary. This can be costly if you like to use a more expensive brand.
- How to Apply Foundation Flawlessly
How to apply foundation with your fingers, a sponge or a foundation brush. Find out, too, how to choose the right color and product for a flawless complexion, no matter what your skin type.
Tinted moisturizers, powder foundation
Light to Medium
Cargo liquid foundation, Cover Girl Clean
Maybelline Fit, Estee Lauder Lucidity
Revlon Colorstay foundation
Cover Girl Ultimate Finish foundation
Step Three: Use Concealer
When trying to create a flawless complexion many people make the mistake of using the wrong type of concealer. You want a product that provides excellent coverage because you are going to use that product on a specific area where you have a red blemish or purple acne scar. This is where you do not want lightweight coverage; you want full coverage.
Concealers are not meant to be used all over your entire face. They should be used only on specific problem areas and blended in completely so that you cannot see where you applied it.
Concealers that generally provide excellent coverage come in a pot or a stick. Concealers that come in a tube with a wand tend to be thinner and are more appropriate to be used under your eyes to cover dark circles.
When applying concealer, it is best to use a concealer brush because they tend to work best at blending the product with the rest of your skin on your face. I find that the heat from my fingers make the concealer melt and I don't get the coverage I want. I also find that I can't blend the concealer to match the skin on the rest of my face. It always ends up looking too obvious.
When concealing blemishes, you also have the option of using your foundation to create layers of coverage on your blemishes instead of using concealer if you wish. This depends on the amount of coverage you need. When using foundation to create layers of coverage on your blemishes, be sure to use the concealer brush as you would with a concealer product.
A stick concealer that provides excellent coverage if you can't afford the more expensive brands is the Maybelline Cover Stick Corrector Concealer. You can usually find this product at any drugstore, and for full coverage, it works very well.
Light to Medium
Clinique Airbrush, MAC Select Moisturecover
Vichy Dermablend, Smashbox Second Skin
Medium to Full
CoverGirl Simply Ageless, Maybelline Dream Mousse
Bobbi Brown Face Touch Up, Maybelline Coverstick Corrector
Step Four: Use Powder
The most important thing to remember when it comes to using powder on your face is to use it sparingly no matter what your skin type is. The best way to apply powder lightly is with a powder brush.
When selecting a powder make sure the colour matches your skin. Powder is essential for "setting" your look, whether you use only concealer or foundation or both. It helps ensure your makeup lasts longer, gives you a more polished, finished look and is the final step in creating a flawless, even complexion.
Pressed powder is ideal for touch-ups here and there when you are on the go or before stepping out the door, and loose powder tends to be softer and more natural-looking on your skin. The downside is that it isn't very portable unless you have a container with an airtight lid.
One of the healthiest things you can do for your body and especially your face is to pay attention to what you put into your mouth.
A diet high in processed, high fat, low fiber, sugary foods not to mention a diet that includes dairy and meat causes aging of the skin. Not only do these types of foods cause inflammation, wrinkles and various other sorts of damage to your delicate skin, but they also don't do much for your waistline either.
According to dermatologist Dr. Jessica Wu, author of the book Feed Your Face (available on Amazon in book or Kindle format), you want to incorporate a diet that is rich in vegetables such as greens, tomatoes, omega 3's, protein and zinc for example. The foods that cause the most damage to your skin are ones high in sugar or high on the glycemic index.
Foods that cause a spike in your blood sugar trigger a rapid release of insulin, not to mention as soon as these foods enter your mouth begin to cause inflammation and damage to the cells in your body. Insulin is not flawless skin-friendly. It is the opposite. You want to reboot your diet so that throughout the day your blood sugars remain steady and you do not have any spikes in your blood sugar.
Feed Your Face Diet
Foods for a Flawless Complexion
|Low Glycemic Fruits||Beneficial Vegetables||Grains||Protein||Omega 3 Rich|
Berries of any kind
Greens (kale, chard, collards, spinach, broccoli)
Hummus (chic peas)
Peppers, squash of any kind, sweet potatoes
Oats (rolled or steel cut is best)
Lamb (2 servings per week)
Citrus fruits such as limes, lemon, grapefruit, etc.
Green beans (best source of silicone for hair and nails)
Whole grain products
Tomatoes (raw or cooked) for licopene which reverses and prevents sun damage
Red meat (2 servings per week)
Extra virgin olive oil
Sunflower or almond butter
Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds
Foods to Avoid for Flawless Skin
- Highly processed foods
- White bread, pasta, cake, etc.
- Potatoes and other highly starchy foods
- Protein bars (high in sugar)
- In moderation due to high glycemic load: bananas, apples, dried fruits
- Syrups, molasses
- Jams/Jellies/sugary spreads
- Dairy- Milk, cheese, fruit on the bottom yogurt (low sugar Greek yogurt OK)
- Condiments containing high levels of sugar such as certain ketchups, sauces, etc.
- Foods high in salt and table salt (use sea salt instead)
- Foods containing trans fats or hydrogenated fats
More Tips for a Flawless, Blemish-Free Complexion
Here are some additional tips to help you create a blemish-free complexion:
- Be sure to flip your pillow each night and change your pillowcase every 2 nights
- Always remove your makeup before going to sleep
- Get plenty of sleep
- Watch for foods that trigger outbreaks for you such as chocolate, peanut butter or greasy foods and try to limit them as much as possible.
- Best acne spot treatments contain salicylic acid, a derivative from fruit acids. It can penetrate your pores and clean them from the inside out and prevent further breakouts.
- Give yourself a tan with self-tanning lotion, just make sure you are using a self-tanner on the rest of your body or you will have an orange face and white body. This will hide the redness in your face, give you a healthy glow and avoid any sun damage.
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.
© 2011 Carolyn Dahl
Have Your Say!
Nancy on July 13, 2014:
I have an oily skin and my powder don't last long on my face.