Best Foundation For Acne Prone Skin

Best Foundation For Acne Prone Skin In 2021

Anyone who battles acne and unsightly blemishes understand the importance of finding a foundation that will both cover up imperfections and not cause additional breakouts. When it comes to a great foundation for acne sufferers, the name of the game is finding a foundation that will both conceal and treat the skin.

​Why Should Acne Sufferers Choose Foundation?

​Sometimes you’ll hear advice about how those suffering from acne should avoid foundation altogether, as it is heavier on the skin and more likely to cause breakouts than alternatives like BB cream and tinted moisturizer. This can be frustrating for acne sufferers since most of them desire heavier coverage than these foundation alternatives can offer.

​It’s true that some foundations can exacerbate blemishes and breakouts. Cake foundations and some oil-based products are the usual culprits when it comes to clogging pores and causing new acne to emerge.

However, if you shop for foundations that are specifically designed for acne-prone skin, your chances of breaking out from your foundation will be drastically reduced.

​It’s also a good idea to use an anti-acne primer or an oil-free moisturizer on your skin before applying your foundation. This creates a barrier between your bare skin and the foundation itself.

If you use this technique in conjunction with a foundation specifically designed for acne-prone skin, your risk of breaking out from your foundation diminishes dramatically.

​How Should Acne Sufferers Apply Foundation?

​In 2010, a makeup tutorial went viral, accumulating over 28 million views to date. The video is by Cassandra Bankson, a professional model who’s suffered from acne her entire life. In the video, Bankson reveals her bare skin, plagued with severe acne. Bankson completely conceals her acne through a series of smart makeup techniques.

In this video, Bankson highlights some of the key techniques that are crucial when it comes to concealing makeup with acne. First and foremost, she uses the technique above of starting with a primer.

Next, she applies her foundation using her fingers. In an era of novelty sponges and new technologies in makeup brushes constantly emerging, many people are skeptical about applying makeup directly with the fingertips.

However, myriad industry legends such as Michelle Phan and Bobbi Brown extol the benefits of applying foundation with the fingers. One of the key benefits is that the product is truly blended into and distributed onto the skin.

While using a sponge or a brush can give a lovely sheer finish, a lot of the product is soaked into the bristles or the sponge instead of being transferred to the skin. With acne, the goal is typically full coverage, which is why the fingers can be the best application method.

​Bankson follows up by applying concealer to any areas where acne is still showing through, using a patting motion with her fingertips. She finishes with a powder specifically designed to reduce shine. Bankson’s routine went viral for a very good reason; indeed, it’s the best method for those suffering from acne who want complete coverage and the illusion of flawless skin.

​What Foundation Ingredients Should Acne Sufferers Look For?

​Acne-prone skin responds best to hypoallergenic formulas that are free of oils and known pore-cloggers. Most acne prone skin falls under the umbrella of sensitive skin, as harsh ingredients can trigger breakouts. For this reason, look for products that are designed to be gentle and non-irritating.

​Some acne foundations are designed to simply not cause any further breakouts. However, some contain ingredients that are designed to fight the breakouts that you already might have. For example, some foundations contain salicylic acid, a popular acne-fighting ingredient that gently exfoliates skin to diminish blemishes and encourage skin cell turnover.

​It’s always a good idea to look for a foundation that contains SPF. There’s no such thing as a skin type that doesn’t require SPF protection. Your biggest concern about your skin now might be blemishes, but in time your concerns will move to wrinkles and signs of aging. Prevent both of these by using sun protection now.

​One important myth to dispel is that acne sufferers don’t need moisturizing and hydrating products. This is simply untrue and antithetical to the actual best practices when it comes to acne-prone skin.

When acne sufferers don’t get enough hydration, they can end up suffering from more blemishes as a result. This is because the skin believes itself to be in a drought and overproduces oil to compensate.

The key is not to look for foundations that are free of moisturizers, but rather to look for moisturizers that are free of oils that are known to clog pores. Ingredients like aloe and hyaluronic acid will put moisture back into the skin without causing breakouts.

Almay Clear Complexion Makeup

​This foundation targets two issues that acne sufferers are all too familiar with, which is excess oil and redness. Excess oil is combatted with a special mineral formula designed to absorb and reduce excess shine, creating a matte finish.

Redness is soothed and minimized thanks to aloe and chamomile, two ingredients that are known to soothe sensitive skin gently. Fans of the foundation love how it also creates a pore-free, smooth finish. It appears matte on the skin and excellently hides flaws and blemishes.


  • Reduces oil and provides a matte finish, making it perfect for those for whom shine is a primary concern
  • Helps to not only conceal redness but soothe it and treat it thanks to the aloe and chamomile
  • Provides sufficient coverage


  • For acne sufferers who are also prone to dryness, it might be a good idea to skip this one.
  • Its oil-fighting ingredients are great for those who have a lot of shine, but it might be too drying for those susceptible to flakiness and dry patches
  • While it creates a matte finish, some users report that it can start to look a bit cakey if worn for too long, which is typical for matte formula foundations

Neutrogena Skinclearing Makeup

​When it comes to makeup that’s good for the skin, Neutrogena is perhaps the most trusted brand there is. All of their cosmetics are specifically formulated under the guiding eye of dermatologists.

They create cosmetics that are meant to act like skincare while still creating a gorgeous finish. The Skinclearing Makeup is made with Neutrogena’s patented MicroClear technology, a formulation of salicylic acid that’s meant to fight existing blemishes.

This formula is oil-free and non-greasy, making it perfect for anyone who struggles with oily skin. The finish is very natural, leaving wearers with a dewy and breathable complexion. Plus, a wide array of shade options ensures that individuals of all skin colors can find a shade that works for them.


  • Dermatologist approved
  • Contains salicylic acid, one of the best ingredients for fighting acne
  • Oil-free and non-greasy
  • Doesn’t sit heavy on the skin, but rather allows the skin to breathe


  • This foundation is specifically meant to provide a natural finish.
  • Additional concealer might be necessary if you want total coverage
  • Those with combination skin might find their non-oily zones get a bit dry when they wear this foundation, as it’s specifically designed to be oil-free and matte

bareMinerals Blemish Remedy Foundation

​If you’re willing to ditch the usual liquid foundation, then consider giving powder mineral foundation a try. When it comes to mineral foundation, bareMinerals is considered the best.

Their Blemish Remedy formula is a new take on their signature powder foundation, designed specifically with acne sufferers in mind. The formula contains willow bark to soothe irritation and tea tree oil to fight existing blemishes.

The foundation offers medium coverage, but thanks to its lightweight powder formula, a fuller coverage can be built by layering on multiple applications. This foundation doesn’t clog pores and looks extremely natural on the skin.


  • Lightweight and allows the skin to breathe
  • Contains tea tree oil, a natural antimicrobial that battles blemish-causing bacteria on the skin
  • Willow bark helps to soothe the skin and combat redness
  • The powder formula soaks up shine and creates an oil-free finish


  • If you’re used to liquids and like them, the powder foundation might not be for you.
  • While it gives a lovely finish, many simply prefer the full coverage foundation that only a liquid can provide
  • Because it’s a powder, the application can be a little messier than when working with traditional liquid foundations
  • Those who are prone to flakiness or dry patches might find that powder foundations only exacerbate these skin concerns

Clinique Acne Solutions Liquid Makeup Foundation

​Think of Clinique as Neutrogena’s grown up, sophisticated big sister. Like Neutrogena, Clinique is a beauty brand where all cosmetics are designed to work like skincare. This foundation is oil-free and contains salicylic acid.

Despite its medicated formulation, the product is extremely creamy, luxurious and blends into the skin easily, making it perfect for those who experience dryness in areas and need an anti-acne foundation that won’t create flakiness.

A wide array of color options ensures that just about everyone can find a bottle of this foundation that will perfectly blend into their complexion. This is the perfect choice for someone who wants the luxury of a department store foundation but the medicated formulas so often found in only drugstore brands. This is the best solution for those who want full coverage but also want to fight blemishes.


  • Salicylic acid helps to battle acne
  • Won’t clog pores
  • Despite its anti-acne formula, it’s extremely hydrating and won’t cause or exacerbate dry patches
  • Very long-wearing and won’t begin to cake as the day progresses


  • While this foundation helps to battle oil, it doesn’t dry down to a completely matte finish.
  • You’ll need to follow up with a powder to diminish the shine

Revlon ColorStay Liquid Makeup for Combination/Oily Skin

​This foundation is a bit different from the others on our list. It’s designed specifically for oily and combination skin, but it’s not specifically an “acne-fighting” foundation. That is to say that it doesn’t contain any acne-fighting ingredients like tea tree oil or salicylic acid.

However, a lot of acne sufferers flock to this foundation for the fact that it’s full coverage, and while it might not fight existing acne, it won’t cause new breakouts thanks to its oil-free formula.

This foundation is extremely popular with those who like makeup artistry and like to lay on multiple products for a truly complete look. It dries to a matte finish and photographs beautifully. It also contains SPF, making it a good choice for daytime wear.


  • Oil-free with a matte finish
  • Provides full coverage and will more than adequately conceal blemishes and redness
  • A wide range of colors makes it perfect for just about any skin tone
  • Hydrating and approved for those with combination skin or dry patches


  • No acne-fighting ingredients.
  • While it won’t cause further breakouts, it won’t do anything to treat the breakouts that you may already have
  • It’s full coverage, which might not be the best for someone who seeks a dewy, more natural finish


​Every acne sufferer wants two things out of their foundation: They want beautiful coverage and ingredients that will help to battle breakouts and improve their skin. For that reason, we prefer the Clinique Acne Solutions Liquid Makeup Foundation out of all the products mentioned on this list. It combines the luxury of a department store foundation with the skin-soothing and acne-fighting ingredients usually reserved for drugstore products.

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