Friday, 1 January 2016

Is MAC Makeup Safe To Use On Acne-Prone Skin?

If my ongoing battle for clear skin has taught me anything, it’s that sometimes less is more: not overloading my skin with cosmetics is likely to prevent skin problems from even occurring in the first place.
Image credit: Maria Morri [Flickr - CC 2.0]

However, I still like to glam-up on occasion and I find I need to purchase the higher-end cosmetics to get the right shade of things like foundation (nothing worse than looking grey in photos where a flash was used!). But of course, the ingredients often used in these products are usually too rich and heavy for oily, acne-prone skin.

I feel like MAC is one of the few makeup brands that is worth the hype and extra cost. However, no matter how good the brand is you still have to be cautious when trying out new products.

So as someone who is prone to breakouts and cystic acne, I would probably avoid the following MAC products:

MAC Mineralise Powder Foundation
MAC Mineralise Blush
MAC Select Cover-Up
MAC Hyper Real Foundation SPF15

I pick these out because I’ve looked up the ingredients online (when I was thinking about buying a MAC concealer) and these products contain bismuth oxychloride, a common ingredient found in mineral and powder make up and incidentally, an ingredient that frequently comes up on numerous acne skin advice sites telling you to avoid.

Of course, breakouts and sensitivity to certain products are very individual. There is no one-size-fits-all: a product that might work wonders for you may wreak havoc on someone else’s skin, even if they have a similar skin type.

I know for me though, when I purchased the bareMinerals Original Matte Foundation, my skin started to severely breakout after a couple of months. Sure, it gave great coverage to my then-minor imperfections and I remember getting loads of compliments… but I made the mistake of using it every day and as a result, my skin ended up in the worst state it’s ever been in. A bit of research later and I found that it contained, you guessed it… bismuth oxychloride.

It may not have been that, but the remaining ingredients in bareMinerals foundations are found in most other drugstore cosmetics which my skin seems to be fine with, which leads me to believe it was bismuth oxychloride that was the culprit. As a result, I avoid it like the plague.

It’s a shame because if you have oily skin, powder make up seems like a good option. It’s an even bigger shame because in the world of cosmetics, MAC has been a game changer especially for those with ethnic skin tones.

But I’ve now been left too traumatised to try new products, especially ones with too many complex-sounding ingredients.

If you’re also worried about a product, it might be worth picking up a sample first if possible. There is nothing worse than splashing out on something, being forced to stop using it because it makes your skin react but having to stare at it until you can finally bring yourself to throw it (and essentially, your money) away.

I’m going through that at the moment, having recently purchased the L'Oreal Infallible Pro-Matte 24HR Foundation. Every time I use it, guaranteed I will get a new visitor on my skin the next day; those annoying, painful under-the-skin spots that stay on your face for weeks, eventually shrink on their own but not before leaving a mark on you face for 6 months!

This foundation contains titanium dioxide, an ingredient used in most SPFs. Incidentally it’s also used in pretty much every bareMinerals product, as well all MAC foundations and concealers, so perhaps it’s this that has been causing my breakouts.

I am still a fan of MAC though especially their lippies, which I’m happy to say really are amazing – the lipcolour won’t budge, even after eating and drinking. I have my eye on Media/Prince Noir.

So I guess all is not lost.


  1. This is such an interesting post to read! Thank you so much for informing me! While I don't have acne-prone skin, I do have friends who are and trying to wear makeup so I'll tell them which products to avoid. Thank you <3

    xx Bash | Hey Bash | bloglovin'


    1. Hey no problem! Glad I could help :-) it's such a nightmare trying to find safe cosmetics for oily skin, hopefully your friends will find the info useful.

      - Lubna xx

  2. In my opinion, I think you always have to bare in mind that your milage may vary. I have acne-prone skin, but some ingredients break me out more than others. That's going to differ from person to person. Then you also have to consider other factors that might be causing a break out, like diet, exercise, stress.

    I definitely agree that samples are key in finding out what works and what doesn't work for your skin. I loved the post, so informative.

    Sophie - eselle x

    1. Hey thanks a lot! You're right though, there are so many other lifestyle factors that might be causing the breakouts, so it's worth looking at those in-depth too to try and find the problem.

      Thanks for dropping by :)

      - Lubna xx

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  4. Great information about the specific ingredients that aren't good for your skin. Thank you!