Powder for Acne-Prone Skin (Powder Foundation and Setting Powder)

Which is the best powder for acne-prone skin?

Should you be using powder foundation if you have blemishes?

What about setting powder for oily skin?

These are all valid questions.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re struggling with cystic acne or just the occasional pimple, you don’t want your makeup to make it worse.

In reality, it doesn’t matter if you use liquid foundation or powder.

What matters is that it’s non-comedogenic. That means it won’t clog your pores.

Here are some other tips when selecting makeup for acne-prone skin.


  • Neutrogena SkinClearing Mineral Acne-Concealing Pressed Powder
  • Neutrogena Mineral Sheers Lightweight Loose Powder
  • ETUDE HOUSE Zero Sebum Drying Powder
  • bareMinerals Escentuals Blemish Rescue Skin-clearing Loose Powder Foundation
  • Mario Badescu Special Healing Powder
  • Mario Badescu Silver Powder
  • Maybelline New York Shine- Free Oil-Control Loose Powder
  • Physicians Formula Powder Palette Color-Corrective Pressed Powder
  • Physicians Formula Mineral Wear Talc-Free Loose Powder
  • Almay Loose Finishing Powder
  • Dermablend Loose Setting Powder
  • Dermablend Illuminating Banana Powder
  • Colorescience Sunforgettable Total Protection SPF 50 Mineral Sunscreen
  • Brush on Block Mineral Sunscreen Powder
  • COVERGIRL Clean Matte Pressed Powder
  • LORAC POREfection Baked Perfecting Powder
  • Glo Skin Beauty Mineral Pressed Powder Foundation
  • Maybelline New York Super Stay Better Skin Powder
  • Maybelline New York Fit Me Matte + Poreless Pressed Face Powder
  • Revlon ColorStay Pressed Powder
  • jane iredale PurePressed Mineral-Based Powder
  • iT Cosmetics Your Skin but Better CC+ Airbrush Perfecting Powder
  • Sacha Buttercup Setting Powder

Makeup tips that prevent acne

Dermatologists recommend wearing makeup that’s labeled “non-comedogenic” (1).

But there are other things you can do to avoid breakouts.

For one, wash your hands before you put on foundation. Or better, use applicators like brushes or sponges.

Then, keep those applicators clean by replacing them are washing them every few days.

Next, don’t share your brushes or sponges with anyone else.

At the end of the day, take off all of your makeup. Don’t scrub – use oil-free remover and wash with a mild cleanser.

Remember to moisturize morning and night to keep your face comfortable and healthy.

How to use powder to “bake” your makeup

Powder isn’t just for foundation. It’s also handy for keeping your makeup in place if you have oily skin.

Once you’ve applied base and concealer, dust on a thick layer of powder.

Let it sit for at least five minutes before you brush off the excess.

You can also apply a setting spray if you wish.

If you use powder to set your makeup, it will look freshly-applied for hours longer.

You won’t have to blot as often, either.

A note about talc in makeup powder

As you shop for face powder for acne-prone skin, you’ll see that some brands advertise that they are talc-free.

Why is that important?

According to the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel, talc is safe in cosmetics (2).

It’s the main ingredient in baby powder. It’s also known as magnesium silicate.

The FDA has also double-checked talc’s safety. They’ve labeled it as “Generally Recognized As Safe.”

Yet, some people say that talc should be avoided.

First, there was a study done with rats that developed lung tumors. The rats had breathed in high concentrations of the powder, far higher than the average human ever would.

Then, other studies looked at whether the talc particles could move from the private area through the body to the ovaries and cause ovarian cancer. This was proven wrong.

Yet there was one more problem with talc.

It should not be used on people where the top layer of skin has been removed. For example, if there were burns or open wounds.

The talc could cause granulomas– a type of itchy rash.

Therefore, if you have infected or open blemishes, it would be best to avoid face powder with talc until the skin heals.

As I go through the reviews below, I’ll highlight the talc-free powders.

Top Powder for Acne-Prone Skin

Neutrogena SkinClearing Mineral Acne-Concealing Pressed Powder

So, is a powder foundation better for acne-prone skin?

My answer is that it can be.

It depends on your skin type and situation. If you have naturally dry skin or skin that’s dehydrated from acne medication, you might be better off with a liquid foundation.

Learn more

Otherwise, normal, combination, and oily skin can benefit from a powder foundation like this one.

Better yet, Neutrogena’s pressed powder features salicylic acid to clear up breakouts.

The concentration is low – only 0. 5%. It’s just enough to keep pores clear and reduce inflammation.

Moreover, the powder absorbs excess oil to reduce shine.

It has buildable coverage and comes in eight shades for most skin tones.

Neutrogena Mineral Sheers Lightweight Loose Powder

What’s the difference between pressed powder and loose powder?

Usually, pressed powder is best for foundation and loose powder for setting makeup.

Neutrogena’s loose powder has sheer to medium coverage.

It’s fragrance-free and made for sensitive skin. It doesn’t have talc, either.

Plus, it’s enriched with antioxidants to promote a healthy complexion.

ETUDE HOUSE Zero Sebum Drying Powder

This Korean beauty product is perhaps the best powder for oily skin.

It mattifies the complexion to keep your skin velvety soft and clean for hours.

You can also use it to freshen up your hair.

The translucent powder consists of 80% minerals with sugar polymer and cotton extract.

It’s free of talc, animal derivatives, and artificial fragrances.

If you are looking for its alternative, find out it in our Best Korean Cushion Foundation guide, here.

bareMinerals Escentuals Blemish Rescue Skin-clearing Loose Powder Foundation

Among the best makeup products for acne-prone skin is this loose powder with 0.5% salicylic acid.

The salicylic acid keeps pores clear to prevent pimples.

But the powder also has oat protein and minerals to hydrate and soothe the skin.

Users say that the buildable coverage looks matte, but not flat. It reduces shine without caking.

Mario Badescu Special Healing Powder

Let’s take a slight detour to consider a powder that isn’t makeup.

Instead, it clears up acne breakouts with sulfur. It kills the bacteria that infect pores.

The sulfur, kaolin clay, and zinc oxide also dry up pimples and reduce oiliness.

Customers with cystic acne say that this product works wonders for them.

Mario Badescu Silver Powder

The same company also makes an absorbent powder to clear up blackheads.

It unclogs pores with silver, kaolin clay, calcium carbonate, and zinc oxide.

Use this powder and the one above to heal your complexion overnight.

Maybelline New York Shine-Free Oil-Control Loose Powder

Now, let’s get back to reviews of face powder makeup.

This one is suitable for acne-prone skin.

Maybelline’s inexpensive loose powder keeps your face looking natural and clean for hours. Use it to set your makeup so that it doesn’t smudge or slide off.

Instead of putting it across your entire face, you can dust it just on your T- zone or use it for touchups.

There are two shades available.

Physicians Formula Powder Palette Color-Corrective Pressed Powder

Physicians Formula labels this powder as “hypoallergenic,” but there are no hard and fast rules about what that means.

You’ll still need to read the list of ingredients.

In the meantime, it is fragrance-free, although it contains parabens and talc.

Still, the benefits are real.

The powder provides color-correction for problems like redness or dark circles. Plus, the blend of colors makes it look natural, not flat.

Physicians Formula Mineral Wear Talc-Free Loose Powder

You could opt for this loose powder instead.

It mattifies the skin and covers imperfections like a foundation, but it also sets other kinds of makeup.

It’s designed for sensitive, breakout-prone skin.

Almay Loose Finishing Powder

Almay offers three shades of this cruelty-free face powder.

It doesn’t contain any artificial fragrances, and it’s been tested by dermatologists for sensitive skin.

The particles are ultrafine, which makes the powder better at reducing shine while looking natural.

It provides light to medium coverage. Use it to fix your foundation and eye makeup in place.

Dermablend Loose Setting Powder

Dermablend’s setting powder is a must if you use their foundation.

It extends the wear time of their makeup for up to 16 hours. It also makes it resistant to rubbing off on clothes or smudging.

Still, you can’t tell that it’s there at all.

In other words, it’s an excellent baking powder.

While you wear it, it soaks up excess oil for hours on end and won’t settle into creases.

What’s more, it’s non-comedogenic and free of artificial perfumes and phthalates.

Yes, it has talc.

Dermablend Illuminating Banana Powder

Add radiance to your complexion with Dermablend’s banana powder.

It has pearl pigment for a subtle, warm sheen that doesn’t look glittery.

You’ll never look ashy or pallid again, no matter what your skin tone is.

Furthermore, it’s outstanding for highlighting and fixing dark circles.

Of course, it’s free of official fragrances and tested for sensitive skin.

Colorescience Sunforgettable Total Protection SPF 50 Mineral Sunscreen

How about a powder sunscreen? Use this product to prevent sunburn and premature aging.

It offers full-spectrum protection against UV radiation. Meanwhile, antioxidants and hyaluronic acid defend against dehydration and environmental pollution.

Amazingly, the powder resists sweat and water for up to 80 minutes, too.

Some women brush it along the part in their hair to protect their scalp.

The applicator has antimicrobial bristles to prevent contamination.

There are four shades available, but the coverage is sheer.

Brush on Block Mineral Sunscreen Powder

Here’s another brand of mineral sunscreen powder.

It’s reef-friendly as it’s free of chemical sunscreen filters. It relies on zinc oxide and titanium dioxide to reflect harmful radiation.

Fascinatingly, it doesn’t matter if you wear it over or under your makeup. But they do recommend touching up if you spend extended time outdoors.

The formula is vegan, paraben-free, and mild enough for children to use.

COVERGIRL Clean Matte Pressed Powder

Covergirl’s pressed powder is a budget option that works surprisingly well.

It’s ideal if you want to reduce shine whether or not you wear a liquid foundation.

The non-acnegenic powder comes in either normal or sensitive skin versions.

LORAC POREfection Baked Perfecting Powder

The LORAC face powder bakes your makeup to keep it perfect throughout the day.

It contains salicylic acid to reduce acne, plus antioxidants for a healthy complexion.

It’s made for all skin types, even sensitive, acne-prone skin types.

The formula is not overly drying, although it does control oiliness.

Plus, it’s free of perfumes and parabens.

Users say that the texture is very finely milled and silky.

Glo Skin Beauty Mineral Pressed Powder Foundation

Here’s a talc-free face powder made for sensitive skin. It’s non-comedogenic and rich in antioxidants.

The minerals provide a bit of sunscreen, too.

At the same time, the breathable texture mattifies oily complexions.

It’s best applied with a flat-top kabuki brush.

Maybelline New York Super Stay Better Skin Powder

Maybelline’s Super Stay powder features salicylic acid to clear up blemishes. It’s the first powder they’ve created with this acne medication in it.

The formula also controls oil without making the skin look ashy or cakey.

Use it to set your makeup or by itself to reduce shine.

Maybelline New York Fit Me Matte + Poreless Pressed Face Powder

On the other hand, this pressed powder is a foundation that lasts up to 16 hours.

It makes large pores disappear while it mattifies with perlite.

Yes, the first ingredient is talc. But the formula is non-comedogenic and tested for allergens.

Some repeat buyers explain why they keep coming back to this powder.

They say that it’s not sparkly and it’s scent-free. One layer provides sheer coverage, or you build it without it caking.

Revlon ColorStay Pressed Powder

Revlon’s pressed powder also endures up to 16 hours when you wear it over the top of makeup.

It’s fragrance-free, and it won’t clog pores.

Although it’s lightweight, it offers medium coverage that reduces shine.

A glance at the label shows that the first ingredient is mica, not talc. Other components include botanical extracts and synthetic sapphire.

jane iredale PurePressed Mineral-Based Powder

Fans of this pressed powder foundation refuse to use anything else.

It reflects harmful UV radiation, and it’s water-resistant up to 40 minutes.

While you wear it, pine bark and pomegranate reverse signs of aging.

Furthermore, it’s available in a wide variety of shades, all of which are vegan and talc-free.

iT Cosmetics Your Skin but Better CC+ Airbrush Perfecting Powder

Here’s one more powder that you’re going to love. It has anti-aging benefits plus all-day protection from the sun.

It has niacin to improve skin tone and prevent acne.

Not only that, but it’s talc-free.

It’s buildable from sheer to full coverage. In other words, you can wear it by itself or on top of your other makeup.

Then, it contains optical-blurring pigments that hide blemishes. The powder won’t settle into lines or wrinkles, either.

Sacha Buttercup Setting Powder

Here is a selfie-friendly setting powder. It won’t make your skin look ashy or white if you use flash.

The mattifying ingredients include talc and mica, but they reduce shine for hours.

Besides, this was the official makeup brand for the 2019 Miss Panama Pageant and the 2000 Miss USA Pageant.

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