Don't aggravate the situation. Use these skin-friendly formulas instead...
Covering up spots is a bit of a conundrum, but our list of the best foundations for acne prone skin is here to help. On one hand, you want to cover up the blemish, so it’s invisible to the naked eye. But, on the other hand, you want to let your skin breathe, so you don’t aggravate the situation.
Dr Ross Perry, cosmetic doctor and managing director of Cosmedics Skin Clinics, has words of caution when it comes to pairing oily, acne-prone skin with makeup. “The temptation is to cover up oily skin with makeup, especially if there are blemishes as well. However, getting makeup to stay in place can be quite tricky and choosing the wrong regime or products can make your skin worse too.”
Luckily enough, there are some fantastic foundations on the market which actively treat acne whilst covering it, which is definitely multi-tasking at its finest. Look for salicylic acid on the ingredients list – the magic ingredient has spot-busting superpowers, and will help clear excess oil. We’ve already rounded up the best foundations for oily skin, so head over there for formulas that’ll keep you matte all day long – but there are also some pretty great oil-free foundations on this list that won’t clog your pores and cause breakouts.
As much as you can cover acne with foundation and concealer, it’s crucial to understand what’s causing it in the first place. We’ve already debunked the myth that foundation causes acne, so we can keep our beloved bottles and tubes. However, you’re most likely going to want some of our favourite spot treatments in your arsenal to layer under your makeup, so they can get to work throughout the day.
With the latest formulations on the market, you can have the best of both worlds. Find the best foundation for your skin below…
Oxygenetix Foundation Acne Control, £54.59, Amazon
It comes with a bit of a hefty price tag, but this foundation was initially created for doctors to prescribe to their patients. Luckily for us, it’s now a mainstream product, available over the counter. Infused with a supercharged oxygen complex called Ceravitae, this innovative formula optimises skin cell oxygenation, to encourage your cells’ repair and renewal processes, diminish scarring, combat dehydration, reduce redness and create the ultimate environment for healthy cells to thrive. It’s also water resistant for up to 90 minutes and contains an SPF20, making it perfect for beach holidays.
Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay In Place Makeup, £32.50, Fabled
You can find a bottle of Double Wear inside many a beauty lover’s makeup bag (especially those who like their coverage full), and for good reason. The formula sinks into skin and disguises any dark spots, scarring or active blemishes whilst still looking skin-like. What’s more, it lasts all day long – no joke. A little goes a long way, and you can even mix it with your moisturiser on a good skin day and still look flawless.
Surratt Beauty Surreal Real Skin Foundation Wand, £62, Cult Beauty
Sometimes a super matte formula can dry up and collect around pores, enhancing rather than minimising them, but this handy brush pen delivers a soft matte finish that manages to make pores unnoticeable, and the rest of your face look flawless.
Clinique Anti-Blemish Solutions Liquid Make-Up, £27, Fabled
This oil-free foundation, conceals, neutralises the appearance of redness and does a formidable job of keeping oily shine in check. Although it can’t treat acne by itself (you’ll need other products for this), the amount of salicylic acid can help to prevent future breakouts, by ensuring your pores don’t clog. It’s lightweight, which makes it an absolute dream to glide over bumps and you can build it up to a moderate coverage to hide blemishes without looking like you’re wearing anything at all.
Huda Beauty #FauxFilter Foundation, £32, Selfridges
The tiniest drop of this will outlast anything, and we mean anything. It stretches over skin to cover and conceal every blemish or patch of discolouration (dark circles included) to the point where you may not ever need concealer again. Yes, it puts the full in full-coverage, but it’s our go-to when you need a completely flawless face – and the range of 30 deliciously-named shades mean there’s something for everyone.
La Roche-Posay Effaclar Anti-Blemish Blur BB Medium, £16.50, Boots
OK, so this one’s technically not a foundation, but you won’t even care when you try out this guy. It keeps oily skin matte, lasts all day, and fights acne, but the mousse-like formula won’t offer as much coverage as you might hope. We love popping this under a light layer of your normal foundation – especially as it only comes in two shades.
Cover FX Natural Finish Oil Free Foundation, £34, House of Fraser
Formulated with Vitamin F and Squalene, this hydrating, water-based liquid foundation provides a long-wear, natural finish, without clogging your pores. The creamy formula is easy to blend and a little goes a long way, so you can build up quite a heavy coverage if you need. It also comes in 20 shades, so finding the perfect one for your skin tone is simple – all you have to do is choose your undertone (pink, neutral, gold) and then the shade that matches you.
BareMinerals Blemish Remedy Mineral Powder Foundation, £27, Fabled
bareMinerals’ formula tackles acne-causing bacteria to keep breakouts at bay, while covering redness and scars to perfection. Your skin will feel like it can actually breathe, although a light layer of one of the best concealers might just be needed on those days where your skin needs a helping hand.
See five more of our hero buys for foundation for acne prone skin below.
Consider your acne-prone problems solved…
Oily skin can also get dehydrated - sebum and water are completely different things, and your skin needs both to stay healthy. This one from Eve Lom manages to mattify the skin whilst hydrating it, thanks to Berry Flux Vita, and it even gives SPF protection and will improve skin tone over time.
As weightless as a slip dress, this hydrating gel provides slightly more coverage than a tinted moisturiser while instantly hydrating your skin thanks to encapsulated humectants and mineral-infused water.
It’s also easily blended and can be applied just as easily with a brush as with your fingers.
This is literally skincare in a bottle, but with a dreamy amount of coverage to hide any imperfections. It’s oil-free and non-comodogenic, so it’s perfect acne-prone skin, plus it lasts for the entire day and gives SPF 25 protection.
If your skin is quite oily, you may want to try a powder formula. Mineral foundations, like this one, absorb excess oil and can soothe inflammation, making them perfect for blemish-prone skin. Plus, because it’s a powder, it won’t slip throughout the day. Buff it into your skin in circular motions for the most natural looking finish.
If you find comfort in knowing that your foundation is doubling up as skincare, then Vichy’s formula is for you. Containing their thermal spa water to calm troubled skin and originally designed to cover up proper scars, hyper-pigmentation and even tattoos, it helps to prevent breakouts before they even occur.