If your skin breaks out faster than a Disney Channel star onto the music scene, it’s time to give one of the best foundations for oily, acne-prone skin a try. You’re probably well-aware of how hard it is to find a suitable foundation that’s devoid of pore-clogging ingredients and won’t leave you looking greasy, shiny, and — worst of all — with fresh breakouts. So what are we naturally glossy people to do?
According to both Connecticut-based board-certified dermatologist Mona Gohara, MD and cosmetic chemist Ginger King, salicylic acid is a key ingredient to look for in a foundation. As useful as it is in your cleansers, serums, and acne treatments, it also helps retexturize and even out your skin tone when infused into a foundation. The two experts also agree oil-free, noncomedogenic (meaning it won’t cause pore blockages, otherwise known as comedones) foundations are the way to go.
In terms of specific ingredients to avoid, King calls out myristyl myristate, a waxy emollient found in some foundations. But, generally speaking, “anything that is heavy — like petrolatum, mineral oil, and lanolin — has the potential to clog pores,” she adds.
A common misconception is oily skin can’t be dehydrated, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. “Dehydrated skin is [caused by] a lack of water, not oil — so you can actually have an oily complexion but still have dehydrated skin,” Ross C. Radusky, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City, previously told Allure. Therefore, you should enlist a foundation containing some form of hyaluronic acid (which doesn’t trigger acne, by the way) to increase hydration and strengthen your skin’s moisture barrier. This way, less water escapes, according to Dr. Gohara. She also recommends choosing a foundation spiked with antioxidants (like vitamins C and E) that have anti-inflammatory properties and fight off destructive free radicals.
Look for keywords on the packaging, like “oil-free, long-wear, mattifying, and 10- (or any other double-digit number) hour wear,” says makeup artist Mai Quynh. She also notes to check for ingredients with soft-focus microsphere powders and water as the first or second ingredient in the product. “Avoid ingredients like jojoba or any other types of oils or emollients,” says Quynh, as these can make oily skin look shinier.
Whew, that was a lot of information, and now it’s time to put it all into practice. We rounded up the best foundations for acne-prone skin and oily complexions — so say adiós to pore-clogging, face-drying, and skin-irritating complexion bases for good.