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Ask any dermatologist if SPF-infused makeup replaces sunscreen, and he or she will give you a simple answer: no. "Even if your foundation has an SPF 30 in it, you're not getting the full SPF protection," says Beverly Hills-based dermatologist Dr. Ava Shamban. Now that acne-fighting makeup has entered the scene, it begs the same question. Can your foundation or concealer really prevent blemishes?
"You can't really fit that much active ingredient in a makeup without ruining the formula," says NYC-based dermatologist Dr. Debra Jaliman. "Foundations, powders, and concealers that are claiming they can help fight and prevent acne will probably not break you out. Unfortunately, they have a low concentration of active ingredients, such as salicylic acid and Bisabolol, which is anti-inflammatory." Jaliman demonstrates that the products are formulated with ingredients that help prevent blemishes, but they shouldn't replace your skin care. Besides, are you going to sleep in your makeup?
"That being said, while makeup can't cure acne alone, it can surely add to the effectiveness of your acne skin care regimen," says Dr. Shamban. Think of your foundation as an extra dose of salicylic acid after applying your normal skin care regimen.
"These products are certainly better than oily makeup that would break the skin out like comedogenic coverups," says Dr. Jaliman. Noncomedogenic products are far less likely to clog pores. Both Jaliman and Shamban recommend a makeup for acne called Oxygenetix. "It has aloe so it provides an anti-inflammatory," says Dr. Jaliman. "It also has grape seed extract so it has a lot of antioxidants. It is also noncomedogenic and has good coverage."
NYC-based esthetician Ildi Pekar (she's the woman behind Miranda Kerr's gorgeous complexion) suggests organic makeup to prevent acne. "Using makeup with coconut oil, tea tree oil, and honey are good ingredients for your skin and could help fight off acne," says Pekar. "Coconut oil and honey are both antibacterial and superhydrating to your skin. Tea tree oil could dry out some of the breakouts you have."
Bottom line: makeup won't solely prevent acne, but it can help. For the best acne-fighting makeup, check out our favorites below.