This Staple Makeup Product May Be Causing You to Break Out

It's time to check your ingredients


Primers have become one of the most essential beauty products. When it comes to helping your foundation look its best and last all day, primer can keep oils at bay, blur the look of pores, moisturize, and even color correct.

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But your primer may actually be causing you to break out.

One of the key ingredients in many face primers is silicone. If you put a little bit of primer on the pads of your fingers and rub it together, it’s hard to mistake that uniquely smooth, silky texture that silicone creates.

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When you then apply that on your face, the silicone fills in any imperfections — pores, lines, etc. — and gives your foundation a nice, even canvas. Silicone also helps give your makeup something to stick to, helping it to achieve major staying power.

However, silicone also blocks your pores like a thin rubber mask. If your face isn’t perfectly clean before you apply a silicone-based primer, the silicone will lock in the dirt all day, which can lead to acne.

Similarly, if you sweat while wearing a silicone-based primer, the sweat gets trapped in your pores with no where to go — this can also lead to acne. (Even if you don’t plan to run a mile while wearing your makeup, you can easily break a sweat throughout the day simply by walking, especially if the weather’s warm.)

That rubber-mask effect essentially stops your skin from going through its natural processes throughout the day, like moisture absorption, toxin releasing, and regeneration.

Unfortunately, silicone isn’t always obviously listed in a primer’s ingredients: It can be disguised under names like methicone, dimethicone, and dimethiconol. It’s important to always read the ingredients list of everything before you put it on your skin, especially if you’re acne-prone or have allergies.

If you’re not ready to give up the makeup primer life, thankfully there are great silicone-free primer options:

Becca Cosmetics Ever-Matte Poreless Priming Perfector, $36

Not only is this primer from Becca Cosmetics silicone-free, it’s also free of oil, alcohol, and fragrance — all of which can be acne-causing.

Cover FX Illuminating Primer, $38

While this primer doesn’t have silicones, gluten, mineral oil, talc, or fragrance (and it’s vegan!), it does have light-reflecting minerals to give you a healthy glow.

Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water, $32

If you need an extra dose of hydration with your silicone-free primer, this spray-on product can be used before makeup as well as after as a setting spray and a refresher.

The more you know!


Jackie Kolgraf
Jackie Kolgraf

Jackie lives in the suburbs of Boston with her dachshund and corgi. She loves flowers, snow, One Direction, and bad TV. When she's not writing about pop culture, she's probably reading about it.