May 4, 2016

Cheek Breakouts and the Blush Brush Conundrum

Cheek breakouts?  It's not your brush, it's your blush !Have you ever experienced breakouts along your cheekbones that just don’t go away no matter what you do?  While there are several possibilities that could explain this annoying problem, my first go-to in diagnosing the problem is to look at your blush and bronzer.

You may have also come to a similar thought, but from a different angle.  After asking at Sephora, or perusing Pinterest, there's no doubt that you've come across the advice to wash your makeup brushes.  It only seems to make sense that your dirty makeup brushes would cause breakouts, right?


No, actually.  As I always tell my clients, "It's not the brush, it's the blush!"


Consider this:

The bacteria that fall on your brushes are the same bacteria that fall on your face all day.  The acidity level of the oil of our skin protects us from bacterial invasion, because so much of the bacteria that fall on our faces can’t survive the acidic environment.  If breakouts were associated with bacteria on our makeup brushes, not only would we be breaking out all the time without makeup, we would also be erupting in terrible infections all over our skin, as “dirty” makeup brushes swept over small cuts, scrapes or microscopic tears in out skin from things like rough towels and apricot scrubs!

So what is the connection between use of blushes and bronzers and the breakouts on the hollows of your cheeks, if there is one?

Cheek breakouts.  Their cause may not be what you think...
Most blushes and bronzers contain several problematic ingredients that clog and irritate pores, little by little, molecule by molecule.  Over a few months, clogging creates impactions, and irritation creates swelling and redness.  And boom, there's your breakout.

So, how can you avoid this, now that you know that washing your brushes every two weeks does nothing but ruin them?


Here are a few tips:

1)  Quite a few blush and bronzer ingredient lists begin with Talc.  Always look for this in the makeup you consider buying.  If you see it, put it back on the shelf.  Talc basically mixes with the oils of your skin to make something similar to spackle.  This combination accumulates inside pores, leaving new oil production to back up inside.  This can either create large open or closed blackheads, or become irritating enough to blow up into pimple.

2)  There are certain red and yellow dyes that can be irritating to pores and tend to create impacted breakouts along the blush-line and chin.  Many blushes contain these irritating dyes in order to be highly pigmented, especially from product lines that are preferred by makeup artists.  The solution to this is makeup that contains colorants called Iron Oxides, which are substances from the ground that give sedimentary rocks their many colors.  Most often you’ll find this in mineral makeup.

Mineral makeup - your best bet for adult acne prevention.
3)  Many pressed bronzers contain very pore-clogging ingredients that are meant to hold the cake together, to help spread the product around, and give it adherence.  The safest way around this is to always use loose powder bronzer instead of pressed.  If it’s too cumbersome to carry that around in your purse, you can transfer a small amount into a shaker jar and use a retractable blush brush.

4)  I hope it goes without saying that the last thing anyone with oily skin that breaks out is cream blush.  
I break out just looking at them.

Cream Blush - the last thing adult acne needs!
Bottom line :

Breakouts that correspond to areas of makeup application are never about bacteria on makeup brushes.  Instead, these breakouts are almost always connected pore-clogging or pore-irritating ingredients in the makeup itself.  For hygiene purposes, it's okay to clean your brushes with diluted dish-washing liquid or baby shampoo once every 8-12 weeks.  More frequent washing will ruin the quality of your brushes!

As soon as you switch to foundations, powders, concealers, blushes and/or bronzers that are not pore-clogging, your breakouts will start to subside regardless of how seldom you wash your brushes.  Of course, you must wash the pore-clogging makeup off your brushes and start again fresh.  But once you start fresh, you’ll be amazed at the difference in your skin!


Here’s a handy Makeup Breakout Prevention downloadable cheat sheet that you can take to the store so you can shop with confidence to help prevent acne aggravation.




Your acne problem has a source, and clearing your skin requires finding that source and either eliminating it or healing it.  You can start that right now by filling out my Eval by Email® Online Skincare Consultation Form created specially for ages Gen-X to Baby Boom!

Eval by Email, Virtual Skincare Coaching specially designed for acne sufferers ages 24 and up.


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