Is Wearing Foundation Makeup Every Day Bad For Your Skin?

is foundation makeup bad for your skin

Updated 12/17/2020. Many people shy away from wearing a full face of makeup every day. They often believe that wearing foundation daily clogs the pores or suffocates the skin and that it’s good to let the skin breathe. Sound like you? Continue reading!

Is Foundation Bad for Your Skin?

In my profession as an esthetician, my number one goal is to get my clients’ skin clear and free of blemishes and brown spots so they don’t feel as though they have to hide under makeup. However, I actually encourage all of my clients to never let their skin be bare and I always suggest them to wear some sort of foundation or powder makeup every single day of the year— regardless if they are going out or not. Let me explain.

Why You Should ALWAYS Wear Foundation

First, foundation makeup can come in the form of a moisturizing liquid (best if your skin is dry and more mature), an oil-free liquid (best if your skin is combination to normal), or a powder (best if your skin is oily and acne-prone). As long as you’re using makeup that’s appropriate for your skin type, you shouldn’t find that it clogs your pores. Read my list of the best foundations for oily, acne-prone skin.

Second, as far as makeup suffocating the skin and preventing it from “breathing,” the skin does not respirate the way our lungs do. So there’s no worry about there! (Although I understand that people use the word “breathing” to indicate they don’t want something clogging their pores.)

Foundation Forms a Protective Barrier on Your Skin

The truth is, makeup (again, when appropriate for your skin type) offers a much-needed barrier that protects against harmful UV rays. This serves as an additional barrier above and beyond your daily sunscreen. You should still always wear sunscreen as your daily moisturizer. The sun’s UV rays are the number one cause of skin aging. The top cause is not genetics, smoking, or even really age! The sun and the rays it gives off is absolutely the skin’s WORST enemy. Therefore, foundation makeup or powder will act as an insurance policy to ensure your skin is adequately protected. (Since many people don’t apply enough sunscreen since many of them can feel too heavy.)

Safeguard Your Skin From Harmful UV Rays and Blue Light From Screens

If your makeup or powder doesn’t indicate an SPF number on the tube or bottle, it’s important to know that you’re still getting protection from daylight. This simply means that your product wasn’t FDA-approved as an official sunscreen and that was the brand’s decision in how they want to market their product. However, most makeup today contains titanium dioxide, which is a proven UV-protective ingredient and used in so many sunscreens.

In addition, a visible light study published this year 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. (Have you heard about blue light?) This study showed that foundation makeup did a better job protecting against the light from screens than traditional mineral sunscreens. Since we’re all spending more time in front of our screens than ever, this is a pretty exciting discovery!

For me, I always wear a mineral powder on my casual days. On days when I’m working and more in the public eye, I’ll use a regular foundation. Either way, I always have some kind of makeup layered on my skin over my sunscreen and I have been doing this for years. Please do your skin a favor and start wearing makeup NOW. Think of it as an extra insurance policy that will help ensure your skin ages in a healthy way. Remember, it’s much easier (and less expensive) to prevent wrinkles than it is to get rid of them once they appear.

Note: Foundation makeup IS NOT a substitute for wearing sunscreen as your daily moisturizer. Be sure one that you’ll enjoy wearing so you can have it on your face and neck every day!

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 our quiz to get personalized tips and product recommendations.

Take the Quiz