Does Your Face Need a Vacation from Makeup? What a Derm Says

Ever since your first swipe of lipstick at 13, you've been painting your face faithfully every day. Does you skin need a break?


Early last summer, Alicia Keys made a grand pronouncement that she would be skipping her makeup routine, which was met with a collective gasp from fans and news agencies alike. But soon fellow celeb Gabrielle Union and Gwyneth Paltrow decided to do the same, joining a growing #Nomakeup movement. That’s pretty brave for celebs, considering that they have photographers pointing cameras in their face all the time. But should it be a lesson to the rest of us? What do they know that we don’t?

For most of us, the only time it’s critical to break up with makeup is at night, says Julie Russak, MD, FAAD, board-certified dermatologist and founder of Russak Dermatology Clinic and Russak+ Aesthetic Center in New York City. “To avoid clogged pores that can cause acne, it is very important to remove all makeup before you hit the hay,” she says.

Those of us who wear foundation need to be particularly regimented about its removal. “It is the biggest cause of clogged pores, especially the foundations with SPF,” says Olga Lorecin, celebrity esthetician and owner of Kinara Skin Care Clinic in Los Angeles.

So wipe your face clean first with a makeup-removing wipe or pre-cleanse oil (we like Erno Laszlo Phelityl Pre-Cleaning Oil, which dissolves trapped oils, impurities, and makeup); then cleanse with your favorite face wash and use a toner afterward to tighten pores and erase any remaining traces of makeup or other gunk that your cleanser missed. Russak likes to detox her skin from the inside out, by taking a supplement with collagen, such as NeoCell‘s Collagen Beauty Builder.

If you’re acne-prone, however, taking period breaks from makeup can give your skin time to recharge and purge itself, Lorecin says. Maybe skip foundation on weekends (you’ll still need sunscreen), and certainly go foundation-free when you’re heading to the gym. Lorecin’s go-to product for helping with a skin detox is Boscia’s Green Tea Mattifying Hydrogel Mask. She also advises avoiding makeup after receiving a facial treatment like a peel or resurfacing laser treatment. “This can lead to congestion and/or skin irritation, ” she says. Instead, treat yourself to nourishing serums like The Body Shop’s Drops of Youth Concentrate.

Whether you won’t leave the house without your face on or you wear just a touch of lipstick on special occasions, you’ll want to get in on the inexpensive beauty tricks that only stylists know.

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