Table of Contents
- 1 Ingredients to Avoid
- 2 Best Ingredients Found in Concealers for Acne-prone Skin
- 3 A Note on Salicylic Acid
- 4 For the Best Results Using Your Concealer
- 5 The 5 Best Concealers
- 6 While You’re Waiting for Your New Concealer to Arrive
Some of us can get by without foundation, but everyone needs a good concealer. Those of us with frequent outbreaks and dark circles from the occasional late night depend on concealer to give us confidence to face the day.
Not every kind of makeup works well when you have acne-prone skin. Some ingredients make pimples worse. For example, oil-based anything is generally a no-no.
Check the label on any makeup you plan to use to make sure these ingredients don’t appear in the top 7 slots. (Anywhere below number seven and it’s probably a very tiny amount.)
Ingredients to Avoid
- Alcohol will dry out your skin (watch for words like “Isopropyl” because that’s alcohol)
- Fragrances might cause irritation
- Cocoa butter, petrolatum, and lanolin are also oils that will clog pores
Instead, look for components that will help reduce inflammation, or at least won’t add to it.
Best Ingredients Found in Concealers for Acne-prone Skin
- Salicylic acid—a 2% solution will unclog pores and reduce swelling and redness
- Dimethicone and glycerin help skin retain moisture
- Zinc oxide soothes skin irritation and helps reduce oiliness; it also blocks UVA/UVB rays
A Note on Salicylic Acid
Be careful to not overuse makeup or other skin care products that contain salicylic acid. It can cause your skin to dry out, peel, turn red, and be irritated. If you are currently using acne medications, check with your doctor before also using makeup with salicylic acid.
Avoid salicylic acid altogether if you have an allergy to aspirin or willow bark.
For the Best Results Using Your Concealer
Clean your skin and gently exfoliate dry areas. While your face is slightly damp, apply moisturizer. Then makeup should be easy to apply.
Concealer should hide blemishes without looking too thick or dry. Be careful not to apply too much to bumps and indentations. Build up coverage slowly. If you hate having to reapply during the day, check out the waterproof MAKE UP FOREVER concealer described below.
The 5 Best Concealers
NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer
NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer comes in ten shades, and it’s possible to blend two or more shades to get just the color you want. It gives medium-thick coverage right out of the bottle so you don’t have to use very much. The silky texture goes on smoothly and doesn’t crease.
The bottle contains a wand applicator, but feel free to use a finger to blend the concealer into the areas under your eyes. When you’re covering blemishes like a pimple, gently stamp the area with the sponge tip instead of dragging it so you don’t irritate your skin. Lightly brush on a powder afterward if you desire.
NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer does not contain alcohol, parabens, or synthetic fragrances. It won’t clog pores, it won’t heal acne, but it will help hide blemishes. It also hydrates skin. It’s safe to use in conjunction with most acne medications.
Murad – Acne Treatment Concealer
Murad makes a number of products that fight acne. Their Acne Treatment Concealer is formulated with 2% salicylic acid, Vitamin A, dimethicone, Vitamin E, and green tea extract so it makes blemishes disappear while it hides them. It works well on very oily skin, but may be too thick to use on dry skin.
Murad says that 86% of users enjoy better skin within two weeks. Unfortunately, this concealer comes in just two colors: light and medium. The lighter shade may be too dark for very fair-skinned people.
SPF 20 Correcting Concealer
Bare Escentuals BareMinerals SPF 20 Correcting Concealer is a powder that won’t irritate sensitive skin. It adds a bit of brightness to skin tone without clogging pores. It doesn’t have ingredients to fight acne like some of these other concealers do, but it will hide blemishes.
It contains an antioxidant from lemon peel extract, as well as silica and copper to increase growth of collagen and elastin. It does not contain artificial oils, parabens, or synthetic fragrances.
The Correcting Concealer comes in 8 shades. It depends on titanium dioxide to provide SPF20 protection against UV rays. Unfortunately, it also contains alcohol. Both titanium dioxide and alcohol may irritate very sensitive skin.
We included this concealer in our lineup all the same because it reduces sun damage, and some people prefer powders over liquid concealers.
Bare Escentuals recommends using the brush to gently pat a small amount on blemishes, then using their BareMinerals foundation powder on top.
MAKE UP FOR EVER Full Cover Concealer
This may be the longest-lasting concealer in our lineup. When they say it’s “extreme camouflage,” they mean it. It’s waterproof with a high concentration of pigment. That means it stays on all day, and it does a great job at hiding blemishes, even scars and tattoos. It works on both your face and your body. There are 12 shades, more than any other concealer we reviewed here.
MAKE UP FOR EVER says that the color tends to darken as it dries, so they recommend choosing one that is two shades lighter than your skin tone. The concealer can be blended with foundation for best effect on problem areas. It can also be applied on top of or underneath a foundation.
Almay Clear Complexion Oil Free Concealer
Almay created the Clear Complexion Oil Free Concealer specifically to heal and hide acne. It contains 1% salicylic acid to unclog pores and dimethicone to soothe skin, as well as chamomile, Vitamin E, and aloe. Unfortunately, it does contain parabens. The jury’s still out on whether parabens are a hazard or not. The FDA hasn’t required companies to eliminate them from makeup or skin care products yet.
The concealer comes with a sponge-tip wand applicator. Almay suggests dotting it on a blemish and using your ring finger to blend it. Why the ring finger? Because you’ll use less force that way. They don’t recommend using it near your eyes because of the salicylic acid. It comes in 3 shades: light, light/medium, and medium.