A guest post written by Shirley Avila, Licensed Esthetician

The purpose of makeup is to improve one’s appearance and conceal an imperfect complexion. Ironically, sometimes makeup has the exact opposite effect for which it was intended. “Macne” is a specific type of acne (pustules, papules) caused by makeup; specifically, the super thick, long wearing type that is increasingly available on the market.

A similar phenomenon known as Acnegenic Reactions: sudden flares of acne, often due to a cosmetic, skincare product or topical drug. This perifollicular inflammation causes swelling of the follicle wall, creating an anaerobic environment, this creates an ideal for Propionibacterium Acnes to flourish.

Let me be clear, I love makeup and am not here to vilify makeup or discourage anyone from wearing it.  What really causes Macne is improper cleansing techniques, makeup alone is not the problem.

My 14 year old daughter suffered from Macne. She would spend hours watching YouTube MUA, trying to recreate the looks she saw – the more elaborate, the better!

I would see 4-6 pallets of shadows, blushes, concealers, foundations, setting AKA: baking powders, brow pomades; you name it, she would somehow manage to get her mitts on it. Despite the fact that I am licensed esthetician and could see the health of her skin deteriorating before my very eyes, she continued to ignore my pleas and advice.

It was only a matter of time before it all caught up with her and she reluctantly came to me full of open comedones, pustules and papules seeking help from MOM aka her professional esthetician. That was a HALLELULIAH moment; a happy dance moment and one I will cherish FOREVER.

5 Common Causes Of Macne

  1. Not using professional cleansers that will remove all makeup without leaving residue. Avoid using
  • Harsh cleansers with ingredients that will strip your skin.
  • Using a baby wipe or OTC makeup wipe to remove the makeup and thinking that is enough effort for the night and fall asleep with left on residue.
  1. Sleeping in a full face of makeup.   Even if the makeup done the day/night before is “on fleek” and you just want to touch it up in the morning.
  2. Not changing pillow cases at the very least weekly!  Bacteria can infiltrate your skin when you lay you face in all that gunk, week, after week.
  3. Wearing additional makeup to cover up the papules and pustules springing up every night.
  4. Not washing the makeup applicators at least once per week.

Contributing Factors to Macne

  • Not cleansing properly each night before going to bed or wiping off all makeup before washing face.
  • Using skin brushes that have not been sanitized and not washing makeup applicators (sponges, blender puffs, brushes

It is crucial that everyone understands the importance of proper cleansing and good hygiene, especially young clients. Often it is helpful to keep something to read on hand about proper skincare techniques.  You can view the printout I send home with clients here.

Anyone dealing with any type of acne needs a lot of encouragement, acne can be frustrating. It can also negatively impact a person’s self-esteem.  If you’re taking this first step to getting it cleared up, good for you!

BIO: Shirley has been a licensed Esthetician since 2012, has certifications in Oncology Skincare, Diabetic Skincare and was a Finalist in the Acne / Problematic Skin Category in The Skin Games 2018 an International Skincare Competition. She is an active member of NASNPRO, ASCP, CAA & an Admin for The Esthetician Connection a FaceBook group with over 25k members. She lives in Newport Beach, California and practices out of Voss Salon & Day Spa in Costa Mesa, California.

Follow Shirley on Instagram and Facebook, or visit her website.

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