The Scientist: Rebecca Fitzgerald, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist in private practice in Los Angeles, Fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology and clinical faculty member at UCLA.
The Answer: If you wear non-comedogenic makeup and wash it all off every single night, you should be okay. But taking a break from makeup definitely doesn’t hurt.
Oil, dry skin and, yup, makeup can clump together to form comedones, which are plugs of gunk that clog your pores. Non-comedogenic makeup is designed to not contribute to the problem, but no makeup completely avoids it (some are just better than others). So if you wear it daily, be diligent about cleaning it off every night to minimize how much builds up in your pores. In addition to washing your face, make sure to exfoliate to remove dead skin cells. You can use salicylic acid pads, alpha-hydroxy toner, a weekly exfoliating scrub or a Clarisonic brush, which you can use every day.
The benefits of exfoliation are exponential. Exfoliating keeps the outermost layer of your skin (called the stratum corneum) at its natural pH, which helps it effectively protect the layers of skin underneath. A well-functioning stratum corneum actually produces its own, naturally-exfoliating enzymes, meaning that cared-for skin continues to care for itself.
If you wear heavy makeup and find that you tend to break out, there’s probably a correlation, so taking time off (or choosing different makeup!) isn’t a bad idea. Even when we wash our faces thoroughly, we can leave behind makeup residue, so a weekend au naturale can ensure that by Monday morning, your skin is at its best.
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