Unhealthy makeup habits to avoid according to a dermatologist

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Dr. Shreya Andric is a dermatologist based in Sydney. She is passionate about skin health and her mission is to educate the public on how to care for their skin, and also clear up the vast amount of misinformation out there on this topic.

While Dr. Andric has independently chosen the products that appear in this article, she does not receive revenue from the links. Some of the links may return revenue to Yahoo Lifestyle Australia.

Dr Shreya Andric is a Sydney-based dermatologist on a mission to educate people on how to look after their skin. Photo: supplied.
Dr Shreya Andric is a Sydney-based dermatologist on a mission to educate people on how to look after their skin. Photo: supplied.

With lockdown over and masks no longer required in most outdoor locations, it's time for Aussies to ditch our trackpants and glam up for the fun social events ahead.

For many of us, that also means digging out makeup products and tools that haven't been touched for several months — but what does makeup actually do to your skin? Well, the good news is that makeup is not necessarily terrible for your skin, however, it can cause problems if you practice unhealthy makeup habits.

Below are some tips to get the most out of your makeup and care for your skin at the same time.

A white woman with brown hair wiping eye makeup off one eye using a cotton pad
A dermatologist shares her tips for keeping skin happy while wearing makeup. Photo: Getty Images.

Makeup tip #1: Use clean tools

Avoid applying your makeup with your fingers, which can transfer oil from your fingers to your face. Instead, use makeup applicators, such as brushes, to apply makeup directly to your skin.

Wash your brushes with soap and water (I use a gentle shampoo) every seven to 10 days to avoid acne breakouts, since makeup brushes collect product residue, dirt, oil and bacteria. Remember to always be gentle when applying your makeup because excessive tugging can irritate your skin.


Makeup tip #2: Do not share tools

Acne is not contagious, however, acne-causing culprits, including bacteria, dead skin cells and oil from other people's skin, can stick to your makeup and applicators. This can lead to new breakouts, so always use your own products and tools.

Makeup tip #3: Do not use makeup instead of sunscreen

Make-up can provide additional sun protection but it doesn't replace sunscreen. You would need seven times the normal amount of foundation and 14 times the normal amount of powder to get the sun protection factor on the label.

For this reason, it is important to apply the correct amount of sunscreen (1 teaspoon for the face and neck) underneath your makeup as the final step of your skincare routine.

$49 at Sephora

Ultra Violette Supreme Screen SPF 50+, $49 from Sephora. Photo: Sephora.
Ultra Violette Supreme Screen SPF 50+, $49 from Sephora. Photo: Sephora.

Makeup tip #4: Choose the correct makeup for your skin type/concerns

Wearing the wrong type of makeup for your skin type can aggravate it and cause issues. Certain makeup ingredients can cause allergic reactions for some people.

Those with sensitive/dry/eczema-prone skin may find that their eczema flares with some products. When the skin barrier is compromised, like with the aforementioned skin conditions, taking a break from makeup can help the skin to repair itself.

If you have oily/acne-prone skin you should choose products that state they are 'oil-free', 'non-comedogenic' or 'won't block pores' as they are less likely to cause breakouts. You may want to avoid heavy liquid makeup that can trap dirt and oil and block pores, and instead choose a mineral makeup that will sit on top of your skin rather than be absorbed into it.

If you notice that your skin breaks out after applying makeup, try to identify the product that is causing your acne and stop using it.

Makeup tip #5: Remove your makeup completely at the end of the day

Not washing makeup off your skin not only causes it to break out more frequently but the makeup and environmental pollutants that are accumulated during the day can seep into your pores.

This can break down collagen and elastin which can in turn speed up the aging process, leaving you with fine lines and wrinkles. Dead skin cells can also accumulate leading to dull, dry skin.

$17.99 $25.70 at Chemist Warehouse

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser for Face & Body 1 Litre, $17.99 from Chemist Warehouse
Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser for Face & Body 1 Litre, $17.99 from Chemist Warehouse

Makeup tip #6: Remove makeup before exercising

Wearing makeup whilst exercising can cause you to break out. When you work out, your makeup mixes with oil and sweat, which in turn results in congestion and prevents those pores from being able to release sweat.

This can cause breakouts, blackheads and skin irritation. It is always a good idea to remove your makeup before working out.

Makeup tip #7: Have a break every now and then

Wearing makeup every day will cause it to break out more frequently. Having a break will allow your skin to breathe and repair itself.

Make-up tip #8: Check the expiration date

Most cosmetics in Australia do not have a specific use-by date but generally, they need to be used within 12 months of opening them. Beyond this, a product may separate or change in its texture or colour.

For mascara and eyeliner, it is usually less than this – these products are best to be replaced every three months to minimise chances of infection and irritation around the eyes.

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