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Post in Acne-Prone Skin

Makeup for Accutane users?

Hi everyone! I will be starting Accutane treatment this fall for acne in my T-zone, and I will need a new daily makeup routine to deal with dry, flaky skin. I'm very, very self conscious without makeup, so going fresh-faced probably won't be an option. I have very sensitive, very pale skin, and I'm worried that my usual makeup will look weird and fake if my skin is flaking. It would be amazing if y'all could help me choose some products for daily use! Thanks!
This is what makeup I wear on a daily basis:
-nude eyeshadow
-eyeliner (pencil)
-lip gloss

So if y'all could help me find moisturizing products that won't look conspicuous with dry skin, that would be amazing! Oh, and one last thing: my Sephora+Pantone Color ID is 1R02! Thanks so much!

Re: Makeup for Accutane users?

My daughter's dermatologist told her to order something called Dr. Dan's CortiBalm through Walgreens.  It is a Lifesaver!!!  I was on Accutane more than 20 years ago and tried everything.  I had to reapply constantly.  The Dr. Dan's CortiBalm is a miracle for those on Accutane.  My husband now uses it on his lips sense he has had dry lips for years due to working outdoors.  His lips are soft now!  

Re: Makeup for Accutane users?

I love mixing the Tarte Amazonian Clay foundation and the Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer together because you get the coverage an the hydration. You can also have the LM tinted moisturizer for afterwards for little coverage! The Fresh sugar Lipsticks are THE BEST and most moisturizing lip products! So many products have irritated my lips, but the Sugar ones are amazing. The Nars Radiant Creamy concealer is highly pigmented and won't irritate dry skin.

Re: Makeup for Accutane users?

Hey I am going to be starting my 3rd month of accutane and you don't even need to worry about make up if you keep your skin hydrated!!! Honestly, dry skin is unavoidable but I have discovered some skincare products that let me keep using my BareMinerals powder foundation (powder is the worst thing for dry skin but I can still use it) 

First, only look at products that say, "moisturizing". So your face wash has to be moisturizing, you will need about three different kinds of moisturizers/creams to even make it to 12pm without flaking/cracking, and use a nighttime moisturizing mask. Also, Aquaphor chapstick has been the only thing that keeps my lips kissable. 

If you ask your derm what he/she recommends they will tell you some amazing things. My derm recommended CerVe Moisturizing Cream (drugstores) and I honestly would use it if I didn't have dry skin because it's odorless and it lasts forever! CerVe also has a great moisturizing face wash. It's kinda weird because it's like washing your face with lotion but your skin won't be as tight after you wash it. I also use Clean and Clear morning burst with the beads to gently exfoliate the dried skin off so you can apply your make-up nicely. It's not recommended to exfoliate but I haven't had any trouble when I use a face wash with tiny microbeads, because lets be honest you will want to get rid of the dry flakes on your face. But nothing rough like St. Ives or any deep pore scrubs. Something gentle or even use a wash cloth. 

Next, I really like to use the Olay Regenerating serum (drugstores) to help get rid of my acne marks but you can still use your favorite serum to do that job. Then I even mix Kate Summerville's Dilo Oil into my moisturizer to give it that extra moisture I need and it also helps with texture/tone/dark marks. I do that day and night. Then at night I get really excited to put on FAB Facial Radiance Nighttime mask. It's so moisturizing and has made such a difference! I still wake up with the corners of my lips cracked and dry spots where I have pimples but no where near what it could be. I have used this in the day time as well. 

Finally, I will say what everyone else has said. Sunscreen isn't an option, you have to do it. Plus it will add extra moisture that you WILL need. I like Neutrogena and anything SPF 50 or higher. And don't wear make up if you don't have too. In the beginning your skin will be all over the place and the first 30 days are the worst. You might not even notice a difference in your skin besides that its really dry and irritated. I didn't notice a difference until the second 30 days. So yay to no make up days! But I am too really self conscious without make up and I don't leave the house without it.


Good luck on your accutane experience! It will change your life. 

Re: Makeup for Accutane users?

Honestly, when I was on accutane, I didn't wear ANY makeup. I tried, but everything looked terrible so I just stopped. My skin did get REALLY red in the beginning, but still, it was not worth wearing makeup. I agree with the other posters that less is more. I had insanely dry lips...the only thing that helped was the Burt's Bee's chapstick (the original kind...I tried others but they weren't enough), and I topped that with Aquaphor at night. Honestly, I used extremely minimal products (skincare or makeup) the entire time (I took it for 5 months). My dermotologist told me I would probably need a topical when I was done, but, almost 3 years later, I RARELY get any sort of breakout, and when I do, it is tiny and goes away quickly. And before going on the medicine, my skin was a mess. Based on my experience (and I know everyone is different) I'd say going without for a few months was completely worth it, because now I have people telling me I don't even NEED foundation/concealor because my skin is so good (I still wear it though!). I'd get a good sunscreen and lip treatment and call it a day. It will be worth it!

Re: Makeup for Accutane users?

Thanks laura819, Jessicaclara, Titian06, meecheroo, killerteeth, and lylysa for responding! Y'all are so incredibly helpful!

Re: Makeup for Accutane users?

Hey Skk150! I am a fair-skinned gal currently on accutane (month 4!), so I am excited I can offer you advice and maybe set your expectations a little.


First things first, your skin is going to be abnormally dry and sensitive so most of the types of face products you are currently using will not look good.  I was just a full coverage foundation/blush/concealer girl (plus eyebrows, whatever eye makeup, and lipstick) prior to starting my accutane treatment-- I would only leave the house without those things if I was going to the gym. So when my skin started peeling and feeling awful, after trying really hard to figure out how I could still have a full coverage foundation; etc I had to re-think my makeup routine and focused on really babying my skin.  Less truly will be more during your treatment-- at least for the first few months.


The next important thing to mention, to Lylysa's point, DO NOT SKIP SUNSCREEN. As a fair-skinned person, I hope your sunscreen game is already on lock, but it's SO much more important when you are on accutane because you will burn even more easily. You are smart for going through your treatment when the days are shorter, but you will still need to wear sun protection on your face and any exposed body parts (hands, neck; etc). 


Now, while I am fair-skinned, I have a neutral/yellow undertone so what may be a color match for me, may be slightly off for you (assuming that the R in your shade name means you are cool-toned). BUT during the first 2 1/2 months my face got super duper red to the point that it looked like I was wearing a weird foundation color, so something with a yellow undertone will help with that. Onto the recommendations!


-primer- I found that adding a few drops of Jojoba Oil (I got mine from Trader Joe's, but if you don't have one around you, I'm sure you would be able to find it at a health food store, or you can look online) to my moisturizer (Cerave day lotion w/ SPF-- this is what my dermatologist recommended) is the best primer for my crazy accutane skin. I've tried using other primers, but my skin just sucked the product up, which made everything settle in my pores and I looked and felt worse than before.


-foundation- Josie Maran's Argan Tinted Moisturizer all the way!! For a "tinted moisturizer" it has excellent pigmentation. Since I've been using it (i put it on after my regular moisturizer), I've noticed my skin has calmed down significantly, and my dry patches have almost all gone away. It is an oil-based moisturizer, but it doesn't feel heavy or gross, nor does it make me look shiny.  My skin sucks up the moisture, and I'm left with a natural finish. oh yea-- You don't need to use a lot of this. If you use too ugh, your skin won't absorb it and the excess will pool in your pores and will not look good.


If i'm trying to go for full coverage, I reach for the Bare Minerals Bare Skin foundation. The texture and finish is really nice, but when my skin tries to drink the moisture out of it the foundation pools in my pores and looks gross. The range of colors this comes in is great so you may have a perfect match-- I recommend getting a sample before fully committing if you're interested.

-concealer- OCC Skin Conceal is awesome, as long as your skin is well moisturized. You should try out either R0 or R1.

-powder- I only use powder to set where I put my concealer under my eyes. Whenever I tried to put powder all over my face it emphasized dry patches and took away moisture from my face- no bueno! So just for under eye setting purposes, I'm using the Kat Von D pressed powder.

-blush- Powder products will not be your friend. OCC's cream color concentrate is awesome (I have it in Newt, which may be discontinued, but Grandma would make a great blush color). Actually, I have been using lipsticks as blush lately- Kat Von D's Lovecraft and Lolita. They blend into my skin really well and don't make my cheeks dry. Something that i don't personally use (because i kind of discovered them too late) that you may want to try out are the Josie Maran Argan Infinity Creamy Lip and cheek oil. I don't recommend using it on your lips-- it will not feel good. (more on that later)

-highlighter/bronzer- These are both products that I don't personally use, but I recommend skipping them at least for the first half of your treatment. The less makeup you put on your face, the more your skin will like you.

-nude eyeshadow/eyeliner/mascara- My eyelid skin didn't peel or anything, so my eye makeup was the only thing not really affected. Just for fun, I'll recommend:

     Urban Decay's Antiaging eye primer because A. it feels good B. it works.
     Too Faced Perfect Eyes eyeliner. Hands down best pencil eyeliner I've ever used.
     Tarte Lights Cameras Flashes mascara. Volume AND serious length that does not budge.

-lip gloss- Saving the best for last! The chelitis (aka crazy dry lips) are THE WORST part of taking accutane. Even now as my skin looks more "normal" my lips are still peeling like crazy. and I'm a picker, so I just make things worse Smiley Sad Before we even talk about makeup, we have to talk about dry lip relief. Here's the main things I use and 1000% recommend:

     +A&D Ointment: If you're unfamiliar, this is a first aid ointment for surface skin ailments, like chapped skin.  You can find it at any drug store in the baby care section, and since it's safe for a baby's skin you can rest assure it will be ok for your newly sensitive Accutane skin. I use this when i'm around the house and/or before I go to bed.  I also use this on my dry flakey patches on my face prior to going to bed. 

     +Jack Black lip balm: Hands down best lip balm I've ever used. It's not sticky or thick, and it has SPF 25 (yes you need to protect your lips from the sun). The downside is, throughout the day your lips are constantly exfoliating themselves, so towards the end of the day there will be too many layers of dead skin to make the lip balm effective. This isn't a great solution, but if i'm not at home, I'll take a wet paper towel and rub it over my lips to get the dead skin off, then I'll pat them dry and apply lip balm. It doesn't always work, but you will soon experience this and know that you'll do just about anything for relief.

    +Trader Joe's Spearmint Lipbalm, or any cheaper lip balm that you like and can buy in packs. Keep one in every bag and never be without something to moisturize those lips. Trust me on this one. Those lips will be screaming for moisture frequently, and if you can't slather something on them when they need it, you will want to rip your lips off and throw them to outer space.


As for the cosmetics to use on your lips, I recommend using very sheer colors.  The flakes on your lips will show will ruin any awesome color you put on. I'm going to recommend some moisturizing lipsticks as well, to give you some options. I myself was a matte lipstick girl before going on Accutane, and had to give it up, but all of the following helped/is helping my lips not be or look terrible:

     +Clinique Superbalm: I have it in Black Honey, a sheer "my lips but better" shade. When the dead skin on my lips gets to be too much and i can't exfoliate them, I will put on my Superbalm and my lips will feel and look a little better (the sheer color evens out whatever wonkiness going on underneath). Plus, it has a glossy texture and generally feels great.

     +Bite Beauty Lush Lip Tint: This comes in a slew of shades-- I personally have it in Cherry (semi-sheer red) and Blackcurrant (sheer "my lips but better"). It smells good, and applies like a non-waxy lip balm. The downside is that i feel like i have to re apply it frequently to re-moisturize my lips. (if i don't want to build up the color, I will put a regular lip balm over top)

     +Urban Decay Lip Junkie lipgloss: Even though this is a relatively moisturizing lip gloss, I don't recommend using it on days your lips are beyond dry. Sometimes, even with all the moisturizers in the world, they are just sad and need to be left without makeup on. And because this is a thick lipgloss, it will emphasize every peeling part of your lip and if you're having a really bad lip day, the mint in it may burn slightly. Prior to my treatment, this was my favorite lipgloss, but I've had to pretty much shelve it til recently.


I know this was SUPER long, but if you're still reading, I hope I helped  you.  When my doctor offered Accutane as an option when nothing else was working, she recommended I research and what I found was terrible enough to decline taking it. Then a few months later I decided to go through with it because I was desperate :-P You may look or feel not like yourself for a little bit, but just keep telling yourself it's only temporary. I am super happy with my results so far (wish i had access to my pictures to show you), and I hope that your skin reacts just as positively.


Good luck!




Re: Makeup for Accutane users?

Thanks so, so much! It's great to get advice from someone who has experience with Accutane and the horrors it brings with it! I will definitely check out the products you mentioned, and thanks again!

Re: Makeup for Accutane users?

Hi, skk150!  Although I was on Accutane 25+ years ago, the one thing I remember more than anything was how dry my lips got (as two other posters mentioned).  I really don't remember my skin becoming overly dry, but I did have super, extra oily skin.  I think it just made my skin "normal."

Re: Makeup for Accutane users?

For starters, when I was on Accutane, I wouldn't have survived without Aquafor's lip treatment. I put that on every day. I used a gentle face lotion called Complex15 that you won't find in Sephora though. I was really bad on Accutane, meaning, I went to the beach all the time and I drank a lot in New Orleans during my trip. I came out just fine though lol I had to do my monthly tests of course. My makeup was worked the same for me, so you may be able to keep the makeup you have now and just make sure you use a lotion prior and should be fine. The dry lips were the worst for me though.

Re: Makeup for Accutane users?

For lips I really recommend the fresh sugar advanced lip therapy balm topped with the fresh sugar shine lip treatment gloss. The gloss is hydrating and nourishing to seal in moisture and keeps your lips looking and feeling plump. The bite agave lip mask is also nice, but I prefer to only use that at night.


Its hard to prepare too far in advance because you don't know how your skin will react. 

Re: Makeup for Accutane users?

Hi, Skk150, in addition to finding new cosmetics, please also be sure you're practicing sun safety (sport SPF even if it's not super sunny outside) daily and ensuring your skin care products and regimen are in support of your Accutane use in terms of being able to combat and address dryness and not counteract its affects (if needed, check with your doctor or skin care professional in regards to this).


For cosmetic items for your complexion and skin concerns, try nourishing primers like ones from Korres. The Greek Yoghurt Primer is silicone free and infused with yogurt proteins to soothe skin and can aid in easing inflammation/redness. Conditioning oils and extracts aid in hydrating skin in a healthy sense without being heavy or pore clogging. For something a little more basic, their regular Face Primer, is another silicone free formula that is infused with conditioning vitamin E and jojoba extract.


For a foundation, what type of coverage are you looking for along with what type of finish?

You can check out a range of BB or CC creams, along with tinted moisturizers for a more sheer, natural look on skin. Check out Tarte's 12 Hr BB Primer Treatment or Josie's Maran's Argan Matchmaker Serum Foundation to give skin a touch of color but also help with skin's texture and quality without having some thick formula on skin.


Do you have a preference for formula types in terms of concealer? Powder, stick, cream, potted, or liquid? 


Any particular colors or finishes you like in your bronzer, blush, or highlighter?

In terms of color cosmetics, what do you currently have? The use of Accutane shouldn't cause you to change up things like colors of eye shadow or liner completely. If areas of your face/cheeks are affected, keep in mind that finishes, application, and placement can actually be greater factors to take into account. For example, dry flaking areas can be enhance with super shimmery/glitter finishes, but in the same aspect you don't want to go entirely muddled with a matte finish either with a heavy hand as this can make dry areas appear ruddy. Find a balance between finish and how a product is applied, try to switch up to a stippling or fan brush for a lighter sweep of color, that way you can still make many products wearable.



Re: Makeup for Accutane users?

No problem! That's what myself and the users of Beauty Talk are here for! Smiley Very Happy

Re: Makeup for Accutane users?

Thanks! This is so helpful!

Re: Makeup for Accutane users?

For medium coverage, check out MUFE's HD liquid foundation or Urban Decay's Naked Skin as both give a natural, satin finish that won't make skin look dried out. I do still suggest checking out Tarte's 12 Hr BB Primer and Josie Maran's Argan Serum Foundation for lighter weight alteratives.

For dry skin, work with a creamy concealer, Nars's Radiant Creamy Concealer or Smashbox's HD Liquid Concealer are both great options that will allow for buildable coverage in a formula where you can control it so it's not too thick upon initial application and won't risk enhancing dry spots right out the date.

Laura Mercier and Urban Decay make some lovely loose powders to set make up, if you want pressed, MUFE has some lovely tinted options to multi-purpose as setting powders and touch up/foundation powders (Pro Finish Powder feels amazing).

Check out Too Faced for a variety in bronzers, their Sweethearts blush has a beautiful natural pink and peach option that give skin a glow without being a shimmer bomb. Tarte's Amazonian Clay blushes are another great option for cheek color and wear incredibly well. Highlighter powders that give skin a luminous glow can be found in lines like Hourglass (Ambient Light), Guerlain (pearls), and Laura Mercier (Matte Radiance Baked Powder). If you want more assistance with types of highlighters, check out my response in the below:

Re: Makeup for Accutane users?

Hi lylysa, thanks for answering! As far as my preferences on products, I generally like medium coverage foundations with a satin or natural finish. For concealer formulas, I like pretty much any formula other than powder. For bronzer, blush & highlighter, I usually like a slight shimmer, and I tend to lean toward natural pinks and peaches for blush colors, pale pinks such as the Benefit High Beam, and more light golden colors for bronzer.
Your reply was really helpful! Thanks again!
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