Let's Talk Ingredients - My Foundation Gave Me Acne

 Last November, there was a lot going on in life and I was really stressed out-the most stressed out and anxious I've ever been in my entire life. A little backstory: I've hardly ever had acne. I would get one or two pimples maybe once a month in middle school/high school/beginning of college and it would clear up fast. So, in November of my Sophomore year of college, I noticed that all around my chin was breaking out. I shrugged it off thinking it was because I was so stressed out. 

A month passed and my face was still bad, if not worse. I once again blew it off thinking it was just because of the stress of finals and the hormones in my body.

Fast forward to the end of July. My face was terribly broken out for 7 months only around my chin. "Why?" I would say every time I looked in the mirror. I tried everything to force it to disappear! I tried facial scrubs, masks, cleansers, everything. It seriously became an obsession for me to see if I could get rid of it and what makeup would hide it best. I became so self-conscious the last seven months about this chin breakout that just wouldn't leave me alone. 

Let's go back to April. I was online one day looking at a facial mapping chart (if you have ever looked at Pinterest in your life, you will know exactly what I am talking about) and I decided this breakout was definitely caused by hormones. There was no doubt about it. I didn't know what to do about it so I kept thinking and thinking and thinking "what on earth can I do about this?"

In June, I gave up dairy cold-turkey. That meant no more creamer, so I completely quit coffee (which I was drinking every single day), I didn't eat any yogurt, I stayed so far away from dairy milk (it was like the plague to me) and so on. I did that for a month and I noticed a small change. The acne wasn't so bad, but it still wasn't enough for me. 

About a week and a half ago, I was talking to Gary about how stressed out I was that my skin has been so bad for 7 months and I explained my frustrations about wanting clear skin so bad, but nothing would work.

He told me to think back to November and just think of the tendencies that I had going on. So, I thought and thought and thought. I couldn't think of anything. (By this point, you already know what I'm going to say given the title, but I'll keep going with my terrible story telling)

A few days later, I was totally giving up on my face being so bad and Gary said "did you ever think that maybe it could be your makeup?" I laughed. I love makeup! It was practically an insult. I changed the subject convincing him it couldn't possibly be my makeup that I love (and quite frankly, spent a lot of money on). Unbeknownst to him, I thought back to November when I bought Make Up Forever's HD Foundation right after my birthday.

About a week went by and curiously, I decided to look up the most common ingredients in makeup that cause breakouts. That was fun. And eye opening. I then looked up the ingredients in the two foundations I was using interchangeably: Make Up For Ever's HD Foundation and Revlon's Nearly Naked Foundation. You can see the ingredients for these foundations here and here. The common denominator in both of these foundations I was lathering all over my face every day was: sodium chloride. If, like me, you're not into chemistry, or don't remember Chem 1 from those high school days, sodium chloride is the smarty pants way of saying SALT. Yes, TABLE SALT. Table salt practically broke out my face for SEVEN MONTHS.

"But how? Why didn't it break out my entire face?" I asked Gary once I finished researching ingredients. Gary (who hears too much about makeup and skincare because of his makeup-obsessed and skincare junkie girlfriend [sorry, bro!]) replied: "because different parts of your face react differently to different things." Wise. So wise.

What a humbling experience this was, ladies. If your face started breaking out and you can't figure out the cause, please look at the ingredients of your makeup! Don't learn the hard way like I did. It's so worth it! Yes, I know you may have spent $45 on a foundation, but a lot of makeup stores will let you return your makeup if you explain what happened when you used it. It's so worth it to be comfortable in your own skin! 

Since I found all of this out, I have quit using the two foundations (that I love so dearly) and my face has started clearing up more and more. Right now, I'm trying to fade the scars on my face that the breakout left behind. If you have any tips on this, please let me know!

*Just a side note: if you find that you are having breakouts due to your makeup, it is extremely difficult to find drugstore foundations without the common breakout ingredients. With sensitive skin, you have to be prepared to spend a pretty penny on something that won't aggravate your skin (I absolutely adore the Nars Sheer Glow Foundation-review coming soon).

Have you ever had a breakout due to acne?
Tell me your stories/comments/suggestions below please!


  1. See if you can get a sample of the First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream from Sephora. I started using it about a month ago. Since then, I've noticed my skin clearing up way faster! Maybe that will help, and it's made for people with sensitive skin :)

  2. @Leslie Parrish thanks for the suggestion. I'm going to have to try that out asap!




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