I Quit Wearing Makeup For A Year And My Acne Got Worse

I Quit Wearing Makeup For A Year And My Acne Got Worse
By: Kali Kushner


For the past year and a half, I've been makeup free for the sake of my skin. Struggling with persistent, adult cystic acne over the last few years meant I was willing to try anything to get rid of it- even giving up my love for all the latest and greatest cosmetics. If you're not a makeup wearer- this may not seem like a big deal. But for me, everyone else who wears makeup every day, and those who use it as a shield to feel more confident about their skin, just the thought alone is crazy. 

Growing up, makeup was always at the core of my existence. I started wearing makeup in middle school, and oftentimes I would get called into the principals office for wearing a bit too much. I couldn’t go a day without it. I would even wear it to the pool, during a workout, or if I was just hanging around the house with no plans to leave. For me, makeup was about self-expression and made me feel like a different, more confident person.

So, as you can imagine going without it this past year was extremely HARD for me but, but I was determined to figure out exactly what was triggering my acne- and to stop slathering 60 products on my face every day felt like a good place to start.

When I First Stopped Wearing Makeup

There weren’t any huge changes in my skin when I first stopped wearing makeup. If anything I noticed that my skin felt more oily, I was always under the impression that it was dry, or combo at the very least but I guess that my constant everyday makeup wearing habits were slightly drying out my skin. It took about three months for my skins sebum levels to naturally even out, but even then my skin was still slightly greasy and would become an oil slick by the end of the day. I also noticed that after a few months my skins tone improved, along with the texture.

Texture was one of the biggest issues I had with makeup. If I was breaking out, had hyper pigmentation issues, or indented scarring- I felt it always appeared more visible with makeup. Going without seemed like these issues weren’t as prominent, and if they were- I felt confident enough to flaunt them and own it instead of covering them up with makeup.

It Did Nothing For My Acne

Unfortunately, I continued to breakout. Regardless of what products, diet, or lifestyle I tried for my skin- I continued to breakout in cystic acne. Makeup really had no impact on the clarity of my skin. Sure going without it helped my texture and redness a little, but it didn’t stop my cystic acne from spreading all over my face, intact I think my skin may have gotten a little bit worse. In all, it was nice to check one thing more thing off of my list of potential acne-triggers.

The fact that going without makeup didn’t affect my acne meant two things for me; 1. My acne was an internal issue or imbalance and 2. I wasn’t using any pore clogging or hormonal disrupting ingredients. Infact, after about a year I started experimenting around and finally began wearing makeup again, this time focusing more on natural and organic ingredients.

The crazy thing? My skin started clearing up again AFTER I began wearing makeup again. That’s right, makeup actually helped heal my acne! Contrary to popular belief and what the internet might tell you, makeup may actually be beneficial to your skin. I found that since I suffer with sensitive skin, it acts as a protective barrier against free radicals and other irritants I may come in contact with throughout the day.

Some makeup also contains skin beneficial ingredients like titanium dioxide, which act as an anti-inflammatory. And, makeup that contains SPF, which helps to protect your skin against incessant redness and hyper pigmentation by slowing down the melanin pigmentation process in your skin. You shouldn't have to rely on makeup for clear skin and are totally able to clear your skin without it, but for me personally, it was something I was truly missing.

I Felt Like A Different Person

Throughout my experience without makeup, I grew more comfortable with myself, my skin, and who I was as a person. I no longer felt the need to wear makeup to hide behind my skin and I wasn’t trying to impress anyone because I found the only opinion that mattered was my own.

It was a liberating experience, but I still didn’t feel like I was being true to myself. I loved wearing makeup, and I missed it. Makeup made me feel creative and it was apart of my morning routine that I was beginning to miss. Routines can be comforting, and makeup was always a huge part of mine. Going without it for so long made me feel like a different person.

Sometimes in a good way, other times in a bad way. I love makeup, everything about it. It’s fun and at times, makes me feel girly or more confident when I need a little extra boost. Like I mentioned earlier, cosmetics have always been apart of my life. So, when I stopped wearing makeup I felt like I was no longer being true to myself.

Natural Beauty vs Full Face Glam

I started soul searching. I wanted to believe that I could live without makeup, that going makeup free must be better for my skin. That natural beauty is where its at- and you don’t need makeup to be beautiful. I still believe that beauty comes from the inside, and your cosmetics don’t define you but going makeup free did nothing for my acne (in fact it made it a bit worse).

If anything, makeup has actually helped my skin. I also slowly started realizing that whether your focus is letting your skin shine through or perfecting a cat eye, you should do whatever makes you feel the most like you. And what makes me feel most like me? Well most of the time it's a full beat face, a Smokey cat eye, and nude lip.

For a long time I tried to force the idea of a completely bare face as “me”, but my soul inside was screaming at me otherwise. I was missing the creative freedom and boost of confidence that came with makeup. That’s not to say I wont continue having my two or three makeup free days a week to give my skin a break, but for the most part I’m happy to say this full glam gal is back. And she’s here to slay.


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