Acne Cosmetica

Acne CosmeticaHave you found that sometimes when you wear makeup you end up with a bad breakout later on? Even people who often have otherwise clear skin or wear make-up daily may experience breakouts after using certain products. It’s true–certain makeup products can cause breakouts! When this happens, you develop a type of acne known as acne cosmetica.

What does acne cosmetica look like?

This condition is often characterized by tiny bumps that can appear anywhere cosmetic products are applied, but is most often found on the face, neck, or along the hairline. Sometimes these bumps can even appear on your scalp if a certain hair product is to blame. Whiteheads and pimples can also be symptoms of acne cosmetica. These blemishes can take time to appear anywhere from a few days to a few months. This delayed reaction can make it difficult to see the connection between your products and the breakout.

Identifying the culprit

The key to identifying the culprit is to make note of products used around the affected area. For example, if the breakout is more concentrated along the upper cheekbones and around the eye area, an eye product may be to blame whereas bumpiness and breakouts over your entire face may be caused by a moisturizer, primer, or foundation.


We don’t suggest giving up makeup forever, but we do recommend taking a break from products to allow your skin time to breathe and heal. If you suspect that cosmetics are behind your recent breakouts and blemishes, it may be a good time to go through your products and follow these tips to help clear up your skin:

  • Be sure to purchase makeup that is right for your skin type and doesn’t contain harsh ingredients that may irritate your skin or clog your pores.
  • Check to make sure the products aren’t expired.
  • Do not share makeup or makeup applicators. Acne causing bacteria, dead skin cells, and oils along with other germs can easily transmit between you and other people by shared tools.
  • Remember to wash your makeup applicators weekly.
  • Wash your face when you wake up and before you go to bed using a mild cleanser followed by a moisturizer to hydrate your face

Acne cosmetica is still acne, so consider using an over-the-counter acne treatment to help heal the affected area. Look for a product that contains one or more of the following ingredients:

  • Benzoyl peroxide (fights acne-causing bacteria)
  • Salicylic acid (helps unclog pores)
  • Adapalene (helps unclogs pores)

If your acne persists, schedule an appointment with your doctor as other factors may be contributing to your breakout. For more information on acne cosmetica or to schedule an appointment, contact Dermatology Specialists, Inc. today.

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