Is Wearing Makeup Every Day Bad For Your Skin?

a woman with a full face of makeup

Updated 10/12/2021. I’m often asked, “Is makeup bad for your skin?” I’m never surprised when people ask this question, especially when there are so many people out there who avoid wearing a full face of makeup every day. They think wearing foundation clogs pores and “suffocates” the skin, so they need to go without it to let their skin “breathe.” The truth is that makeup isn’t as bad for the skin as people think. In fact, it can actually benefit the skin (yes, really!). Keep reading to learn more.

The Most Common Skin and Makeup Myths

As an esthetician, my number one goal is to get clients’ skin clear—free of blemishes and brown spots—so they don’t feel as though they have to hide under makeup. With that being said, I actually encourage my clients to wear foundation every single day, regardless of whether they’re going out or not. It’s actually one of 10 skincare rules I swear by! I’ll explain why, but first, let’s talk about the myths surrounding makeup.

Makeup Myth #1: Foundation Causes Clogged Pores and Breakouts

This isn’t necessarily true. As long as you’re using the right formula for your skin type, it shouldn’t cause any issues. If you have dry or mature skin, I suggest using a moisturizing liquid foundation. If you have normal to combination skin, I suggest using an oil-free liquid foundation. Let’s say you have oily and/or breakout-prone skin. In that case, I suggest using a powder foundation. (Here’s a list of the best foundations for oily, breakout-prone skin.)

Makeup Myth #2: Foundation Stops the Skin from Being Able to “Breathe”

A lot of people believe this myth, but I’m here to tell you that it’s simply that—a myth! The skin doesn’t respire the way our lungs do, so it’s not possible for makeup to “suffocate” it in the first place. I understand some people use the word “breathe” to indicate they don’t want something clogging their pores. In that case, choose the right one for your skin type and you’ll be just fine!

The Reasons Why You Should Wear Makeup Every Day

Reason #1: Foundation Offers Additional Sun Protection

Up until the age of 26, I lived in the North (Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Massachusetts). At age 26, I moved to the South (Dallas and then Austin, Texas, which is where I live now). One thing I noticed soon after arriving in Texas was how much better the quality of skin was for Southern women compared to Northern women. My clients who were 65 and older had a generally smoother texture with fewer signs of visible aging. How could this be? The Texas sun is strong and they’re outside more often, seeing as there’s no snow to trap them indoors in the winter. In theory, Southern women should show more sun damage, right?

Well, I figured it out. It’s because many Southern women wear makeup every single day and they have for years. Over time, makeup has been giving their skin an unknown advantage. You see, the ingredient used in most makeup is titanium dioxide. It’s also an ingredient commonly used in sunscreen. It acts as a barrier between your skin and the sun, protecting against harmful UV rays. How lucky are they to have been wearing sunscreen long before there was an awareness about the dangers of UV exposure?

Even if you wear makeup every day, sunscreen is still necessary. Makeup only serves as an additional barrier, not as the sole barrier. This is important since UV rays are dangerous. They’re also the number one cause of skin aging!

Reason #2: Foundation Offers Blue Light Protection

A study on visible light published in the Journal of Drugs and Dermatology found that metal oxides commonly used in foundation makeup offered significant protection against discoloration caused by visible light emitted from screens. In fact, this study found that foundation makeup did a better job at protecting the skin from blue light than traditional mineral sunscreens! Since we’re all spending more time in front of screens than ever, this is a pretty exciting discovery. (Read more about blue light and how it affects the skin.)

The Bottom Line

Because of the protective benefits of foundation makeup, I always wear it. On casual days, I wear a mineral powder. On days when I’m working or have an event, I wear a traditional foundation. Either way, I always have some kind of makeup layered over my sunscreen, and I’ve been doing this for years.

One more thing—you’re still getting protection from foundation makeup even if it doesn’t indicate an SPF number on the packaging. If there’s no number, all that means is the product wasn’t FDA-approved through testing as an official sunscreen (it all comes down to the brand’s decision on how they want to market their product). Most makeup contains titanium dioxide, which is a proven UV-protective ingredient and is used in many sunscreen formulas.

Just be sure you’re not relying on makeup alone for sun protection. Instead, think of it as an extra insurance policy for your skin! Remember, it’s much easier (and less expensive) to prevent wrinkles than it is to get rid of them once they appear.

Next, if you wear makeup, stop doing these 12 things to your skin.

Disclaimer: Content found on and, including text, images, audio, or other formats were created for informational purposes only. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website or blog.




Post a comment
  1. I love your posts! Great information. Do you have any favorite powder foundations for us combination/oily gals?

    Posted By: Karen  | 

  2. I am olive skinned. I never thought I’d wear foundation, but when I got melasma, during my pregnancy, I started wearing foundation to cover it up. Physical sunscreen left me white, a shy and the chemical ones hurt my eyes and gave me bumps. Finally I found a full cover foundation and have been happy every since. I still wear it 14 years later, even though my melasma is gone. My face, neck and chest are lighter than the rest of my body…foundation works for me.

    Posted By: Maria  | 

  3. You’ve just basically said it yourself that all our skin really requires is sunscreen. Foundation is just there for peacock purposes.
    (Not that that’s an inherently bad thing. But we can spell it out for what it is, can we.)

    tl;dr: necessary – sunscreen; definitely not necessary – foundation.

    Posted By: SweetAsHoney  | 

  4. I don’t understand this post AT ALL. As a woman, shouldn’t you promote natural beauty, love your skin as-is and what not? UV protection and moisturizing can be done without face paint, can it not? Also about studies, this complete dependence on foundation is a relatively new phenomenon but there are countless studies on the adverse psychological effects of wearing makeup everyday.

    Posted By: Tas  | 

    • My blog is for informational purposes so you need to do what’s right for you.

      Posted By: Renée Rouleau  | 


Post a Comment:

Find your
skin type

Great skin starts with knowing your skin type.

Take the quiz