Acne is, among other colorful adjectives, frustrating. While covering up the redness and blemishes with a heavy concealer seems like an easy, albeit temporary, fix, certain formulas can actually be doing more harm than good beneath the surface, and can end up setting us back on our clear-skin journeys.
To find out which concealers are safe—and in certain cases, encouraged—to be used on blemish-prone skin, we turned to the experts.
Ingredients to Look For
Lucky for us, more and more concealers spiked with potent skin-care ingredients are hitting shelves, and some of them are even tailored to help spot treat blemishes.
New York dermatologist Julie Russak, MD recommends acne-prone patients to look for a concealer containing salicylic acid, a proven anti-inflammatory that works to clear up congested pores. Sephora’s Clear and Cover Acne Treatment ($14) offers high coverage and 2 percent salicylic acid to treat skin while concealing redness.
New York dermatologist Shereene Idriss, MD says to keep an eye out for oil-absorbing ingredients when shopping for a concealer, including zinc oxide, kaolin clay, sulfur or a gentle AHA/BHA complex.
The Never List
When scanning a concealer’s ingredient list, Dr. Russak says to stay away from formulas that contain mica, silicons and oils, as these may exasperate existing issues. More ingredients to scan for and avoid, according to Dr. Idriss: “Fatty alcohols such as cetyl acetate and Cetearyl alcohol, and certain oils like coconut oil, and lanolin.”
“If you’re not someone who is into reading ingredient lists, then stick to products that are marketed as oil-free and/or non-comedogenic,” adds Dr. Idriss”
Concealers with a dermatologist’s stamp of approval include Erno Laszlo Limited Edition Shake-It Tinted Treatment ($49), an oil-absorbing formula Dr. Russak says she uses herself, along with YSL All Hours Concealer ($34), which won’t budge even on the hottest day.
Dr. Idriss recommends IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Breakouts ($32), “because it helps to hide blemishes while making them disappear,” she explains of the active-powered formula. “DermaBlend Quick Fix ($26) is another favorite,” she adds.