For Those of Us With Acne, Acne Scars, or Red Marks on Our Faces!


Alright, so you know how you read all of those magazines and they tell you what foundation you should wear and how you should apply it for acne or scars but they ALWAYS feature a clear-faced model?  It’s annoying, right?  Well I once had severe cystic acne and I was SO embarrassed to go out in public (I took a form of Accutane and it worked wonders, I’ve been acne-free for about three months now!).  I used to walk with my head down and would rarely look at people when they talked to me (and I never did that before I had acne).  So I knew I had to find good make-up that really allowed me to feel confident and yeah, the make-up doesn’t make the bumps go away but it helps a lot!  And now that I have some scars and red marks left over from my acne that same make-up routine still works for me! Now let’s get started!
~Side note: I have yet to find a make-up that actually fills in the scars so with the make-up I use, at certain light angles, you can still see them but it’s not as bad if I weren’t wearing anything!

Step 1: Wear moisturizer, preferably one with SPF so you don’t have to worry about putting actual sunscreen on your face (I know for me even if the tube said oil-free I still feared a break-out!)  I’m currently using a moisturizer called “CeraVe” ($15.99 at Walgreen’s) which has worked wonders for me since my skin has severely dried out since taking Accutane, however it does not have SPF in it so I must rely on my foundation for that (which I will tell ya’ll about a little later).  However, if you don’t want a “super-moisturizer” like the one I use I suggest Neutrogena’s “Ageless Essentials Continuous Hydration” with SPF 25 (apprx. $12.97 at drugstores or Walmart).  I used this moisturizer before I was on Accutane and did not contribute to any break-outs and was very smooth on my skin and kept it moisturized!

Step 2: Primer!!  If you haven’t heard about this, you’ve definitely been missing out!  Primer essentially makes it so that your foundation will stay on your face and not sweat or melt off, which used to be one of my biggest annoyances!  For this, you will need to apply about a dime-sized amount or however much you need to lightly cover your face.  For this I recommend using “Smashbox Photo Finish” ($36.00, Ulta).  This product is amazing, it helps to reduce shine and is oil-free, so no break-outs!!

~The picture that I took after apply the moisturizer and primer shows some red (but not all) on my face which is right where my acne targeted.


My face after putting on moisturizer and primer


Step 3: Now is the time to start noticing the cover-up!  We are going to use a foundation.  Now I know it is strongly advised to NOT use your fingertips as a way to apply make-up but I have found that the heat from your fingers actually helps blend in the foundation more on your face.  If you don’t feel comfortable with this process, that is fine! You can still use a triangle sponge which helps cover your face at all angles but be sure to dispose of the sponge after every use as it can hold in the bacteria from your face and spread more acne if you use it again!  For my foundation I use Maybelline’s “Instant Age Rewind Eraser Treatment Makeup” ($11.99 at drugstores) with SPF 18 sunscreen but I DO NOT use the sponge applicator on the top of the product.  Now, I am young so it might be confusing as to why I would put on a foundation that is supposed to be for “lines & creases” but I have read that collagen (which is in the product) actually helps hide acne scars…which I am all for!!  Plus I find that this product just hides the redness and bumps really well, and trust me I’ve tried hundreds of products (and I’ll probably post another blog comparing them).  With this make-up I put on about a quarter sized amount which is enough to cover my face but not too much where I have to rub some of it off.  It’s also important with foundation to make sure you blend up to your ears and onto your neck so the look is more natural.

~As you can see in the picture there is some red present on my face still even after applying the foundation.

  After applying concealer

Step 4: Now ya’ll will think I’m crazy.  I use Dior’s “Air Flash” ($62.00, Dillard’s, Sephora, and other locations) which is another foundation but looks and sounds like spray paint.  Let me tell ya, this product is AMAZING!!  There is nothing out there that quite compares to it, and I know it’s on the pricey side but you will not regret buying this!  Yes, I use two foundations only because I want full coverage and that’s exactly what it provides.  This product is also tricky to apply.  My recommendation for application would be to hold it about 8″ away from your face and start by making a cross down your face.  Start from just below your hairline, as to not make you hair the same color as your skin, down your nose and down your neck a ways to blend in the color (we’ll go back and make sure the neck is completely covered a little later).  Then take the spray and go across your face horizontally from ear to ear.  Then go in a “Z” form across your face and spray any areas that may have been missed in the process.  Now, if you are fair skinned like I am you’ll want to make sure you spray your neck to really blend it in to look natural.  Even the lightest color Dior provides is a little too dark for my skin so I must blend, blend, blend!!  Let it sit for just a second and take about two fingers and gently push the product on your face and blend where needed.  I suggest letting this product sit on your face for about 10 minutes before you apply any powder products on top!  Beware though this product does get on your eyebrows and lips and will cause you to look like a ghost!  I would also suggest getting an eyebrow pencil to really amp up your look, and even though we might not always notice them, eyebrow’s sure are sexy!


As you can see this makes me look almost ghostly…but it will be fixed!

Step 5: After you finish possibly putting on some eye make-up, like I do, and you have waited about 10 minutes you’ll want to apply some powder products so you look normal.  I put on a light foundation powder by Revlon called “ColorStay-Pressed Powder” in fair (about $9.99 at Walgreen’s).  After that I put on a Victoria Secret’s bronzer in “Tantastic” (about $16.00) which adds more color to my face and gives it a soft, shimmery glow.  I finish off with Covergirl’s “Instant Cheekbones” in purely plum.  I really like this blush, especially for my fair skin, because it contours it very well and gives a nice pink sheen on my cheeks.  There we go! All ready to go!

Before and After!

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns please feel free to comment!  I have been battling with acne for years and have tried a lot of make-up regimes out there  and I finally found one that worked for me!  I owe a lot of my thanks to Sephora because one of their employees introduced me to a few of the products I mentioned and is the reason that I feel more confident! 🙂  I will also do a blog about my acne later on so stay tuned!


4 responses »

    • Thank you so much, I really appreciate that! It was definitely a struggle but I think it made me stronger in the end because I realized that appearance isn’t everything. It also made me realize how much I really do love make-up too 🙂 I’m really glad that you enjoyed my info!!

  1. I have some tips for you. I can see you have a regimine going on that works for you but I’m also a licensed skin therapist and makeup artist and I thought you might like some additional in depth information about products you chose to use.
    The first thing that I would say is for cystic acne something that will really help you control is is exfoliation. Many people like to use things like Apricot Scrub or physical exfoliants (meaning you can “feel” it scratching your face). However, the BEST exfoliants for cystic acne is a chemical exfoliant because the oil that your body is creating is very very sticky. The BEST chemical exfoliant I’ve used that you don’t need to have a license for is through Dermalogica. They have one you can use daily that is a chemical and physical called Daily Exfoliant and it comes in a powder form that you add a couple of drops of water too and then lather it up and you can use that on a daily basis. I’ve used it for years and it’s AMAZING! I don’t remember the name of the chemical exfoliant at the moment but they have another one that are individual finger “puppet” type things and are wrapped individually and soaked in a chemical exfoliant. Keep in mind that all of their products are made from nature. Even though they are “chemical” they are all extracts from plants and natural things.
    In regards to the moisturizing. I’m not sure if anyone told you that moisturizer doesn’t moisturize. Toner moisturizes and moisturizer seals in the moisture. So if you don’t have a toner, again, I would suggest going through Dermalogica. Their toner is, again, all natural, ok if you inhale small amounts, and can be sprayed over your makeup throughout the day if you need a refresher. The primer is great to use, however, Dermalogica has a primer as well as TONS of products specifically geared to control oil secretion throughout the day, it’s call the MediBack Line and all the products on it have a light green line on them.
    Then in response to your comment about makeup and a filler. There is such a product, most times you will not be able to find it over the counter because it’s considered to be a professional makeup product, so you would need to have some kind of pro card to purchase those kinds of products from different makeup companies. It’s more of a wax so you might not like it but I’m sure if you improved the products you are using to clean your face the waxiness will bother you a lot less.
    Just wanted to give you a tip about using Neutrogen, all of their products are very abrasive and striping. What I mean by striping is that the alcohol and chemicals they use in a majority of their products strips the bad and good oils from your skin. Even though I know your main concern is to get rid of the oil, our skin needs the good oil in order to be healthy. You might not notice it now but in the long run it will dehydrate your skin and cause early signs of aging. Speaking of dehydration, because of the cystic acne you will need to drink twice as much the daily dose of water required and that will also greatly improve the condition of your skin.

    My husband and I should be moving to Colorado in March, I can help you find some filler for you to use with your makeup and give you some more skin and makeup tips if you like! Hope this all helps!

    • Oh my gosh thank you so much for all of your advice! I would love to check out that wax product! Fortunately, I do not have cystic acne anymore thanks to Accutane. I tried literally everything, I went to my Dermatologist almost every month to try something new and even looked at alternative health treatments (such as acupuncture) and it didn’t work. My last resort was Accutane, I really didn’t want to try it because of everything I heard but it was finally the one thing that worked. While I was on Accutane I did try Dermalogica but it was way too harsh for my skin since it was beyond sensitive. I started using a Neutrogena facial wash because it was the only one that didn’t make my face feel like it was burning because it was gentle enough.
      My doctors suggested that I use “CeraVe” for a moisturizer because your skin becomes carzy dry while on Accutane and it actually worked. My lips were constantly dry so I always had Carmax with me at all times but my face never really felt the effects of the dryness thanks to this moisturizer. I still use it now even though I’m not on Accutane anymore because it makes my skin feel baby soft.
      I am so thankful that Accutane actually worked for me, it was a difficult six months of taking it that’s for sure. I had to make a lot of sacrifices for it (since I couldn’t be out in the sun for long periods of time) but it was well worth it. I’ve been off of it for three months now and I only get about one blemish a month! I still have the scars left over as I mentioned in my post but those are also gradually going away. I’m thinking about doing microdermabrasion over the summer to get rid of all of the scars. If I don’t do that I would love to take you up on your offer to find a filler! That would be amazing!! This all was great information!! Thank you so much!

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