Help! Why Does Makeup Make My Acne Scars Look Worse?!

Acne scars are infamous for overstaying their welcome. While makeup can certainly help, there is a right and a wrong way to go about covering up those annoying acne scars. So if you’ve ever applied your makeup then wondered, why does makeup make my acne scars look worse, you’ve come to the right place. 

Girl wondering Why Does Makeup Make My Acne Scars Look Worse?

What Causes Acne Scars?

If you’re currently dealing with acne scars, just know you’re not alone! In fact, 1 out of 5 people between the ages of 11-30 who develop acne will experience scaring. 

According to the AAD: “When acne breakouts penetrate the skin deeply, they damage the skin and the tissue beneath it. As the acne clears, the body tries to repair this damage. 

During the healing process, the body produces collagen—a substance that gives skin support. If the body produces too little or too much collagen, you will see a scar.”

Why Does Makeup Make My Acne Scars Look Worse?!

If you’ve applied your glam only to wonder why does makeup make my acne scars look worse, you know the struggle.

Here are some reasons why your makeup may be making your acne scars look worse. 

You’re Not Using A Primer

Before applying your makeup, you’ll want to make sure you have a smooth canvas. Primer helps to fill in pitted acne scars, fine lines, wrinkles, and large pores, prepping your skin for foundation.

We love the Benefit Cosmetics POREfessional Primer for its silky, lightweight feel and its ability to keep makeup in place all day long. Bonus? It contains a vitamin E derivative that works to protect and nourish the skin. 

You’re Wearing Too Much Makeup

I know it may seem counterintuitive to wear less makeup to cover up acne scars. But if you overdo your glam, it could lead to cakey-looking makeup that makes acne scars stand out. 

Instead of packing on the foundation, leave the cover-up job to your concealer. Too much foundation will only emphasize your acne scars. 

The TARTE Shape Tape Concealer is adored by makeup gurus everywhere for its ability to concealer blemishes, dark circles, and acne scars. It’s creamy, hydrating, and it won’t dry out or further emphasize acne scars. 

Using Products That Aren’t Suited To Your Skin Type

If you’re using a foundation that’s not suited for your skin type, it will only make scars look worse. And we certainly want to avoid that! 

If you have dry skin, make sure you use a foundation that won’t further dry out and highlight acne scars. Our top pick is the It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream. It offers medium buildable coverage, color correction, and 50+ sun protection all in one!

If you have oily skin, the ​​Bobbi Brown Skin Long-Wear Weightless Foundation will quickly become your go-to. It minimizes the appearance of redness, discoloration, and large pores. Plus, it provides 16 hours of wear with a natural matte finish. Bye-bye, oily skin, and acne scars! 

You’re Skipping The Color Corrector

If you’re not using a color corrector before your foundation, this is your sign to start doing just that! Color correctors use contrasting hues to neutralize unwanted tones from acne scars, hyperpigmentation, or dark spots.

Purple Color Corrector: Brightens dull skin and acne scars with sallow tones.

L.A. Girl Pro Conceal HD Concealer – Lavender Corrector

Green Color Corrector: Neutralizes redness from acne or other skin concerns. 

NYX PROFESSIONAL Studio Photogenic Concealer Wand – Green

Red/Orange Color Corrector: Balances out discoloration for those with medium-dark skin tones. 

Urban Decay Stay Naked Pro Customizer – Pure Red

Yellow Color Correctors: Corrects purple/blue tones like under-eye circles and scars. 

ULTA Color Correcting CC Liquid Concealer – Yellow

The color corrector can be mixed in with your primer, or you can apply it directly to the spots you want to correct. But remember, a little goes a long way, so don’t overdo it. Once you’ve applied the color corrector, you can continue with your glam as usual.

Skin Care To Fade Acne Scars

While using makeup to cover up acne scars is one solution, what about using skincare to fight off these irritating scars for good? 

Girl getting a facial exploring the 10 Reasons Why Skin Care Is So Important.

Here are our favorite skincare products that help brighten your complexion and fade dark spots from acne. 

Vitamin C

If you have dark spots or acne scars, trust us when we say vitamin C will be a game-changer for your skin. This powerful antioxidant stimulates collagen production to brighten your complexion, smooth fine lines, and fight hyperpigmentation!

Our Top Vitamin C Pick: La Roche-Posay Pure Vitamin C Face Serum with Hyaluronic Acid & Salicylic Acid


A powerful chemical exfoliant, BHA works to exfoliate the outer layer of the skin while also dissolving blockage in the pores. BHA contains anti-inflammatory properties that reduce redness and speed up the healing process helping to prevent breakouts from occurring.

Our Top BHA Pick: Paula’s Choice – SKIN PERFECTING 2% BHA Liquid Salicylic Acid Exfoliant


You might be wondering how wearing sunscreen is going to help your acne scars but hear me out! 

While sunscreen won’t necessarily fight off acne scars, it will significantly prevent them from getting worse. That’s because the sun increases melanin in our skin, which causes it to darken. That means if you’re not wearing sunscreen, your acne scars will get exacerbated, causing them to become much more noticeable. No, thanks! 

Our Top SPF Pick: Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40 PA+++

Help! Why Does Makeup Make My Acne Scars Look Worse?!

While acne scars are an extremely frustrating occurrence, just know that there are solutions to fighting them off, or at worse, covering them up!

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