Finding a good non-comedogenic concealer is one way to avoid breakouts—but let’s back up a second. “Clogged” is never a fun word, especially when it pertains to your pores. Unfortunately, certain makeup products can contribute to congestion, causing breakouts. And what do we usually do? Cover up the zit with a bunch of concealer, which can cause even more breakouts. Thus, entering us into a never-ending clogged skin cycle. Not fun at all. But there are ways to break the chain of breakouts, and they don’t all rely on our skin-care routine, either. In fact, you can choose makeup products that are less likely to cause a 911 blemish emergency, even if they’re the kind that’ll sit on your skin for hours, like non-comedogenic concealers.
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“The term non-comedogenic is a term that denotes a skin-care product or a makeup cosmetic has been specially formulated in a way that will most likely not clog pores or cause blockages leading to comedones and pustules other forms of acne breakouts,” explains Dr. Ava Shamban, MD, a board-certified dermatologist based in Los Angeles. It’s obvious that acne-prone peeps will definitely want to make sure the concealers they use are non-comedogenic, and Shamban says that they’re beneficial for anyone with oily and “sluggish” skin, as they have a tendency for overproduction of sebum that sits on the skin surface. But there isn’t really a skin type that wouldn’t benefit from non-comedogenic concealers.
“Those with more sensitive and reactive skin and combination skin are also well served,” says Shamban. “Even the patient population with the category of regular skin who do not necessarily need these formulas can certainly use these products and benefit from the fact that the pore remains able to function optimally without build up.”
While most non-comedogenic concealers will state that they are on the packaging, you can also look for specific ingredients that go further in their acne-fighting. Shamban points out that many concealers contain skin-care quality ingredients or combine treatment with coverage. “Look for encapsulated retinol and light acids like lactic acid that help cell turnover and smooth texture, helping to keep acne blemishes from becoming angry,” she advises. Another tip? “Search out salicylic acid and sulfur inclusive formulas that will work on preventing further breakouts while covering current blemishes.”
Other ingredients she says to keep an eye out for are vitamins A, C, and E, which help keep skin hydrated, since dryness can result in the skin becoming inflamed and produce more sebum. And while oils that have a lighter molecular weight, like avocado, squalane, and sunflower can be great additions, you’ll want to avoid lanolin and coconut oil, which are highly comedogenic. “Isopropyl myristate and Isopropyl palmitate, which are great anti-aging ingredients functioning as emollients that support the skin barrier, are also highly comedogenic so they can clog pores for those who are already more likely to be acneic,” says Shamban.
If you have dark circles, age spots, or acne scars you like to camouflage with a full-coverage concealer, you do have to be careful with that heavier formula. “Full-coverage concealers are often more occlusive than other forms of foundation so they can inflame or aggravate sensitive skin or the very acne blemishes we are trying to camouflage,” Shamban warns. There’s that cycle again! But don’t worry, there are plenty of great concealers—full coverage ones, included—that won’t clog pores. Ahead, you’ll find the best non-comedogenic concealers from a variety of price points, including a few of Shamban’s favorites.
The best non comedogenic concealers
Dermablend Cover Care Full Coverage Concealer — $28.00
“[Dermablend Cover Care] includes options for warm, neutral, and cool undertones in a pretty diverse range of colors and effectively covers dark under-eye circles as well as acne scarring, hyper-pigmented discolorations and dark spots,” says Shamban.
BareMinerals Broad Spectrum Multi Use Concealer — $22.00
“The powder formula has very few tones, but most are generously forgiving with each shade working to blend with a relatively large range,” says Shamban. She also likes that it works well on blurring redness and has full mineral sun protection.
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