Is Wearing Makeup Every Day Bad For Your Skin?

Is Wearing Makeup Bad For Your Skin?

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 www.ReneeRouleau.com and Blog.ReneeRouleau.com, 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.

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  1. Thank you so much! I’m a 13 year old who really loves makeup, but i only wear a dot of foundation and a bit of powder to school everyday because im scared of damaging my skin at a young age, my mum is unhappy with my decision of makeup even though i dont wear much. And i have cousins and friends who warn me about makeup and what it has done to their skin! im not sure what to do ahhh

    Posted By: anonymous  | 

    Reply
    • It’s up to you to decide but it definitely is protecting your skin from UV light.

      Posted By: Renée Rouleau  | 

      Reply
  2. Hi there! I have just discovered your blog because I am wanting to start a new skin care/make up regime. I am a 19 year old with fair skin, and in terms of foundation, I use a little bit of powder foundation, as I am nervous that liquid will clog up my skin… however it seems this isn’t the case when reading your article. I have normal skin, and I just got the 6th skin type on your quiz, however I do get clogged whiteheads around my chin area. I am looking for better coverage for my skin. Do you think I should start wearing liquid foundation (and is every day ok), and do you think it can actually be beneficial to wear liquid foundation-because as you said, it acts as a barrier? I have to admit, I am not very good with sunscreen and I know I should start protecting my skin more. Thank you!

    Posted By: Lainey  | 

    Reply
    • Hello Lainey! If you can find a lightweight liquid foundation that gives you the coverage and you like how it feels on your skin, then I would say yes, wear it daily. But please try to wear sunscreen in your moisturizer. Best anti-aging strategy you can do for your skin!

      Posted By: Renée Rouleau  | 

      Reply
  3. Hello I’m writing a project about makeup, and i was wondering weather makeup can have harsh long term effects if you wear it every day non stop. thank you if you could answer i would be very happy.:) thx.
    H.W.

    Posted By: Haley Withrow  | 

    Reply
    • I have never seen any studies showing this to be the case. Foundation makeup has been around since the 1920s so it has a long history without word of it causing damage.

      Posted By: Renée Rouleau  | 

      Reply
  4. Hi thanx alot I was in dilemma whether to wear o no but now i can wear foundation everyday

    Posted By: farheen  | 

    Reply
  5. Hello , i use fondation and eyeshadow a lot but everyone is telling me its bad it will make you have wrinkles and ages the skin because it have to breathe .
    Is it right ?

    Posted By: Marina  | 

    Reply
    • No, that is not correct. As you can read in the post, the skin doesn’t have a respiratory system so it’s impossible for the skin to “breathe.”

      Posted By: Renée Rouleau  | 

      Reply
  6. Your post is very interesting. After 1 year of daily liquid foundation use I have actually observed an improvment with my skin! So I was wondering what can be the explanation. I have initially suspected my skincare routine that I have improved but then it wasn’t enought to explain.

    Posted By: Glawdys  | 

    Reply
    • It’s hard for me to really know but perhaps the liquid is giving a good protective barrier for your skin making it less sensitive and reactive to environment. Again, hard to know but if you’re getting great results, then keep on doing what you’re doing.

      Posted By: Renée Rouleau  | 

      Reply
  7. Thank you for the advice.
    I have very pale dry skin and it gets red very easily. Is it better to put foundation every day? Will it help reducing the redness/ scars ? Or else what should I do ?
    N.Y.

    Posted By: Nancy Y.  | 

    Reply
    • If your skin is dry and gets red easily, then you need to be treating your skin with the right products to soothe redness and ease dryness. Makeup is simply going to cover things up but you always want to get the skin in the best shape possible. My skincare line has nine different skin types and it sounds like you would be a Skin Type #9. Take my skin type quiz to find out and get some amazing products suggested.

      Posted By: Renée Rouleau  | 

      Reply
  8. Hi, thank you for this post, it’s very useful! I personally am still not sure what would be better to do for my skin… my skin is very fair and gets red very easily, with cold and hot weather, so sometimes I think a liquid foundation would protect my skin… but then I have large pores, oily skin and I’m prone to breakouts, so maybe a powder foundation or nothing at all would be better… if you have any suggestions!!

    Posted By: Letty  | 

    Reply
    • Depending on your climate, perhaps consider a liquid foundation in the winter if your skin isn’t as oily and a powder in the summer. Ultimately, you have to experiment with liquid makeup to find one that works well with your skin.

      Posted By: Renée Rouleau  | 

      Reply
  9. Actually, makeup does damage skin! You are so wrong there. I agree that letting your skin breate is way better but if you cover it up liquid foundation isn’t good for your skin.

    It can make your skin wrinkly, make your skin look oily etc. You should be taking care of your skin better if you have to use foundation.

    After a couple of years of using foundation my skin was horrible, so I switched to mineral powder foundation/concealer. Its so much better for your skin.

    Posted By: Bella  | 

    Reply
    • I’d love to see any studies that you have come across showing that makeup causes damage in the way of wrinkles within the skin. Do share, thanks!

      Posted By: Renée Rouleau  | 

      Reply
  10. Thanks for this great post! I’ve been looking for a similar product for summer, and I had no idea that you partnered with this brand.

    I have a question and a comment though; Does this product contain any soy or soy derivative? And on that note, just as constructive criticism, I wish that you would post a full list of ingredients on your website for your products. I’ve been using your products for about a year, and I absolutely love them. My skin has never been better. But I’m very sensitive to a few things, soy being one of them, and it’s the first thing I look for when purchasing a new product. Often times I won’t purchase something because I don’t know the ingredients, so I’ll purchase from someone else other than you, just because I don’t have that information. Just a comment! I look forward to the next blog!

    Posted By: Meagan  | 

    Reply

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