Kalos [KĀYˈ-los]: The highest form of beauty and handsomeness with purity of heart and life; moral, noble
Image Alt
Young woman smiling and applying her daily makeup

Research shows that makeup products may impact your skin’s health in numerous ways, but that does not mean you need to avoid the makeup counter. To help you feel more confident about your beauty routine, here are the side effects to look out for and what you can do to prevent common issues that cosmetics may cause.

Negative effects of wearing makeup

How makeup affects your skin depends on the type of makeup you use, how often you wear it, how long it stays on your skin, and your skin’s sensitivity. Many cosmetic products contain harsh ingredients that can compromise your natural protective barrier, allowing pathogens to enter your skin. And regular makeup wear, especially without proper cleansing, may result in side effects that impact your skin’s overall health.

Clogged pores

Your pores are the tiny openings in your skin around hair follicles and sweat glands that allow your skin to breathe and help move liquids and gasses through the skin’s surface. When makeup is left on the skin for long periods of time, your skin may react with breakouts, whiteheads, blackheads, bumps, or other skin issues. These issues may contribute to enlarged pores that are more visible and prone to chronic clogging.

Oily or dry skin

If you use products that are not made for your skin type, your skin may become more oily or dry. Excessive oil production may contribute to clogged pores and breakouts. Extremely dry skin, or xerosis, may result in rough, scaly patches that itch or even crack and bleed.


Your skin may break out due to diet, lifestyle, and hormonal imbalances, but makeup can worsen existing breakouts and trigger more frequent breakouts. Limit your makeup use if you have acne-prone skin and choose oil-free products that are non-comedogenic (will not clog your pores).

Premature aging

When worn for long periods of time, makeup clogs your pores and therefore limits collagen and elastin production in your skin, leading to lines and wrinkles. This is on top of exposure to the sun’s damaging rays, which cause 90% of visible skin aging. So, in addition to washing off your makeup at the end of the day, wear sunscreen daily (applying makeup is no substitute for sunscreen). Skimping on sunscreen accelerates the classical signs of aging such as lines and wrinkles, rough skin texture, skin laxity, vascular skin issues, and pigmentation changes.

Pigmentation changes

Cosmetic products that irritate or inflame the skin can also cause dark spots or postinflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH). (Hyperpigmentation is also commonly caused by environmental pollution and sun exposure, as they create harmful free radicals that damage your skin and cause hyperpigmentation.) Consider patch testing new products, and stop using any cosmetic that gives you a rash, itch, peeling skin, or other negative reaction.

Eye irritation

Carefully choose your makeup to reduce the possibility of irritants, especially any products used on thinner, more delicate skin around your eyes. Replace your mascara and eyeliners every 3 months, since they are prone to bacterial and fungal contamination.

Applying eyeliner or highlighters to the inside of your eyelid or “waterline” blocks oil glands that protect your cornea and may introduce bacteria or particles from the product into your eyes. Healthy eyes are able to clear away contaminates, but the “tightlining” technique could worsen symptoms for those with sensitive or dry eyes, or cause issues if you wear contacts.

Health concerns

Cosmetic products that contain toxic or carcinogenic (cancer-causing) ingredients may pose serious health risks. Unlike with medications, the FDA does not require cosmetic manufacturers to test their products for safety. This leaves the manufacturers themselves responsible for the safety of the ingredients and products.

When manufacturers do test their products for safety, the focus is typically on short-term side effects to the skin such as allergic reactions or irritation. Long-term toxic or carcinogenic effects are difficult to identify with cosmetic products, and more research is needed to understand if low doses of certain ingredients can build up and eventually cause harm. We advise our patients to use trusted medical-grade skincare brands, which are thoroughly tested for safety and efficacy and only available through a licensed physician.

The FDA does not require cosmetic manufacturers to test their products for safety.

How you can care for your skin if you wear makeup daily (or often)

If you wear makeup often, fear not! Here are some ways to help treat and prevent negative effects to keep your skin healthy and glowing:

  • Wear makeup with gentle, non-comedogenic ingredients that suit your skin type.
  • Keep an eye on expiration dates and toss old products.
  • Wash your makeup brushes and sponges weekly to kill bacteria and remove product residue, sweat, and dead skin cells.
  • Skip makeup before your workout when possible; your pores open to release sweat, and makeup can clog them and reduce your skin’s ability to breathe.
  • Double cleanse to fully remove makeup each night. The double-cleansing process typically uses an oil-based cleanser to help break down makeup, sunscreen, and other pore-clogging material, followed by a water-based cleanser to remove dirt and sweat and help the rest of your skincare products absorb easily.
  • Use medical-grade skincare products to keep your skin healthy and achieve more effective skin improvements in a shorter period of time.
  • See a skin care specialist regularly for specialty facials to cleanse your skin, clear clogged pores, and target your specific concerns.
  • Choose a physician-led medical spa for preventative treatments and to correct existing skin concerns using the latest skin rejuvenation procedures such as laser skin resurfacing, microneedling, and Hydrafacial MD.

Boost your skin’s health at Kalos Medical Spa

Led by female Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon Dr. Emily J. Kirby, Kalos Medical Spa in Fort Worth offers safe, proven treatments and products to improve your skin’s health and appearance. Our expert aesthetic professionals are here to pamper you while helping you achieve your goals with skin treatments like dermaplaning and laser, as well as injectables like Dysport® and Restylane®. Our Fort Worth med spa is conveniently located at Kirby Plastic Surgery within The Shops at Clearfork.

Call or text (817) 292-4200 or contact us online to schedule your Fort Worth skin consultation today.

Leave a Comment: