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Tips for preventing Halloween makeup breakouts

Last Modified: October 12, 2022

Family Medicine, Safety & Prevention

halloween makeup

This post was written by Amy Burns-Lewis, aesthetician, MD SkinCare, PPG – Dermatology.

It’s that time of year again when we dress up as our favorite characters in exchange for yummy treats. Often that means layering on the spooky Halloween makeup, which can have a negative effect on your skin. Costume makeup tends to be thick, heavy and unforgiving, leading to breakouts and clogged pores. So, to ensure healthy skin this season, let’s look at some tricks on how to treat your skin this Halloween.

Tip No. 1 – Ditch last year’s makeup

First, do not use last year’s Halloween makeup for your costume this year. Believe it or not, makeup has an expiration date. Old makeup can be a breeding ground for bacteria growth, resulting in skin irritations, infections and more. If the product has separated, changed color or texture, or has an odd odor, it’s probably expired, and you should throw it away.

Tip No. 2 – Properly prepare your skin

Before placing any fun or spooky colors on your face, it’s best to wash it thoroughly with a non-comedogenic cleanser (meaning it won’t clog your pores). Doing so will help prevent potential breakouts. You could even use a toner with slight astringents to thwart excess oil production. Additionally, placing a skin primer or barrier cream before applying your makeup can help the product stay in place while out and about and stop your skin from absorbing too much of it.

Tip No. 3 – Avoid harsh chemicals and skin irritants

Heavily pigmented colors can contain many chemicals that irritate your skin or cause an allergic reaction. To avoid significant inflammation, you may want to do a patch test before applying the makeup to your entire face. It’s also best to steer clear of products containing diethanolamine, heavy fragrances, parabens and polyethylene glycols (PEGs), to name a few.

Tip No. 4 – Adhesive removers are your friend

If you are a committed Halloween goer, chances are you will choose to use facial prosthetics with your costume. Whether it’s an oozing wound or a large nose like Elmer Fud, you’d be wise to invest in a quality adhesive remover. Remember, exposing your skin to higher temperatures can cause problems like sweating, itching, or a reaction to the glue or silicone.

Tip No. 5 – Cleanse your face after the festivities

The most crucial part of keeping your skin clear and preventing clogged pores, breakouts and skin irritations is thoroughly removing all makeup following the event. Start by rinsing your skin with warm (not hot) water for at least 30 seconds. Then add a small amount of makeup remover while the skin is still damp, working the product around in circular motions to loosen up the makeup. When done, rinse with water. Next, you'll want to place 3-5 pumps of cleanser on your damp skin in a circular upward motion until you've cleansed the entire area. Rinse, then repeat with your cleanser for a second time. Afterward, try using a toner or light exfoliation product on your skin. You'll also want to apply a moisturizer because using slightly astringent products could be dehydrating. It may seem counterintuitive, but it's essential to rehydrate even the most oil-prone skin.

Bonus tip!

Remember to have fun and stay safe this Halloween season!


If you have additional questions about your skin or would like to learn more about MD Skincare, their services, or book an appointment with Amy, please visit the MDSkincare page.

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