Whatever your type of acne, we’ve asked the pros how to cover it with makeup
When you’re trying to cover up zits, it’s important to note that each pimple requires its own technique. One might work better with a light spackle, while the other might need a thick layer of a matte concealer. “Regardless, you’ll want to use oil-free makeup, and choose those geared for oily, acne-prone skin,” says Dr Rinky Kapoor, a Mumbai-based dermatologist. Once you have your products down pat, we asked Dr Kapoor, and makeup artist Vibha Gusain for their tips of disguising every kind of pimple you might contend with.
If you’re trying to cover up blackheads
“Before starting with your makeup, you can use a damp warm towel on the area and then apply a nose strip or any mask to help get rid of blackheads. Exfoliate the area using sugar or honey, and you can also use a clay mask or an orange peel-off mask,” says Gusain. As for coverage, start with a moisturiser or a pore minimiser to reduce the look of large, gaping pores. Then, apply light layers. “You can layer on light layers of a concealer, and then finish with a light powder,” says Gusain. If you can still see the blackheads in natural light, you can hit each specific area with an eyeliner brush laden with concealer for more precision.
If you have a whitehead
“You can start with ice application to bring down the inflammation, and apply ibuprofen gel to the spot before your makeup products,” says Dr Kapoor. Gusain suggests starting with a primer that has salicylic acid in it to improve cell turnover in the area. “Apply a thick matte concealer that matches the shade of your foundation. Use a thin brush and just dab on the acne and the area surrounded it, and then set with a same coloured setting powder (not the translucent kind).
If you’re dealing with red, inflamed zits
“These are difficult to conceal as they are pretty raised. So soothe the skin first with ice or cold water to calm it and reduce the inflammation. As an SOS solution, you can also use a mild steroid cream, and the redness will significantly subside,” says Dr Kapoor. When you’re working with an inflamed, just-picked on area, you want to make sure you don’t irritate it more–even an errant stroke with a concealer brush could inflame the area further. “Use a light to medium weight concealer. For application, deposit very little product on the centre of the pimple and blend it onto your skin,” explains Gusain. If the redness is too much for a simple concealer, look for a green-toned corrector for those parts, and feather out with a yellow-based corrector to smooth and blend it all in.
If you have flaky, peeling skin
“Acne medicines like retinoids and benzoyl peroxide can dry up the skin. This leads to peeling of the skin and applying a product on it will only make it look worse,” says Dr Kapoor. Especially if it’s a thick layer of foundation, it can look worse if it starts to peel off. “If the flakes easily come off with a tweezer, you can take them off. But if it doesn’t budge, leave it and tamp it down with moisturiser,” she warns. Then, cover the zit up with a super-hydrating concealer, leaving out the finishing powder step in the effort to keep the skin hydrated.
If you have a cystic pimple under the skin
In this case, if the zit is under the skin, but swollen and red, you want to cover up the latter without bringing attention to the bump. “The aim is only to minimise the appearance here,” says Gusain. “You should avoid heavy concealers with a matte finish, and choose something ultra-light, like a tinted moisturiser,” she says.