Can Mineral Makeup Be Bad For Your Skin?

Categories: Makeup, Paula Begoun
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mineral makeupMineral makeup has become all the rage lately, and I see infomercials for it constantly, stores devoted to mineral makeup that have sprung up, and now most of the mainstream drugstore companies have launched their own mineral makeup lines. All I ever hear about mineral makeup is that it’s the best thing ever for skin, and it can help acne and make your skin look fabulous.

My personal experience with mineral makeup is limited. At my Medical Spa, we sold the Jane Iredale line, so I’ve tried the pressed powder several times. The good thing about it is that it comes in a pressed form, so it’s not as messy as loose minerals, and it has an SPF 18 if you apply enough coverage. I didn’t like it because it dried out my skin out and accentuated my wrinkles, thus making my face feel tight and look older. I’ve tried a few other mineral makeups, including liquid foundations, but none of them looked good on my skin, and I can’t be bothered with loose powder since it makes a mess everywhere.

Can mineral makeup cause your skin to breakout or become irritated?
Until recently, I thought that mineral makeup would not cause cosmetic acne, nor would it be irritating to skin. Even though I didn’t like the way it looked on my skin, I thought it was always a good choice for acne-prone or sensitive skin. Lately, however, I’ve been reading a lot about one of the main ingredients in most mineral makeups: Bismuth Oxychloride. This is what gives mineral makeup its shimmer, and the ingredient adheres well to skin. It turns out a lot of people report skin irritation and breakouts after using mineral makeup with this ingredient! I haven’t added Bismuth Oxychloride to my cosmetic acne list of ingredients to avoid yet, since I don’t know “how” irritating or pore-clogging it is. However, if you are using mineral makeup with this ingredient and you are feeling your skin is irritated or breaking out, I would stop using the product for now, and switch to something that doesn’t contain pore-clogging, or irritating ingredients.

Paula Begoun has excellent articles about mineral makeup. She talks in detail about the ingredients in mineral makeup, and gives you a report on all the common mineral makeup brands. In the article, she dispels the belief that mineral makeup is all-natural, nor is it “healing” to skin. The good thing about mineral makeup, though, is that it usually contains fewer ingredients than most makeup, and it’s normally fragrance-free, so as long as the Bismuth Oxychloride doesn’t bother your skin, you will have less chance of having a reaction than with a makeup with long ingredient list. I’ve never had any breakouts or adverse reactions from mineral makeup, and I am very acne-prone.

Most mineral makeups are also composed of Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide, which is what gives them their SPF. These are excellent ingredients for sun protection, however I would still wear a sunscreen under mineral makeup to boost my SPF.  In the mineral makeup report, Paula Begoun says that Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide can possibly be pore-clogging! I’ve heard that Titanium Dioxide can be slightly pore-clogging (not enough to make my cosmetic acne list), but I’ve never ever heard anything bad about Zinc Oxide. I’m a huge fan of Zinc Oxide-based sunscreen, and have never had a problem with it clogging my pores. It actually has anti-inflammatory properties as well. Mineral makeup contains higher concentrations of Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide than regular sunscreens, though.

Bare Escentuals RareMinerals
I’ve had someone ask me about this product and didn’t know much about it til now. It’s an expensive mineral-based “skin care” product you put on at night, and it’s supposed to help reduce pores and wrinkles. In her mineral makeup report, Paula calls this product shocking, because you’re essentially wearing makeup to bed, which is never a good idea. Plus it will get all over your pillowcase. One of its main ingredients is jurassic, virgin soil, or as Paula refers to it – dirt! Ha! I bet this product was invented for those women that like to wear makeup to bed, but always felt guilty about it before. This product sounds ridiculous to me.

The bottom line is that if you’re using mineral makeup and love it and haven’t had any bad reactions to it, then obviously keep wearing it! It still can be a good option for a lot of people, and I wouldn’t be afraid to try it if you’ve been curious about it. Just know that it’s not a miracle makeup, and it’s probably no better for your skin than most makeup on the market.

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62 Responses to “Can Mineral Makeup Be Bad For Your Skin?”

  1. Nancy Says:

    Many small mineral makeup companies would never use nanoparticles in their mineral makeup. Not that there is a conclusion about all of the nanoparticles, anyway. Much more research has to be done and if you really read the sites that look at them, you will get opinions based on coal mining, not mineral makeup. There are sites out there that pick and choose which ingredients to be careful of and many of them post the Material Data Safety Sheets. They don’t post the sheets for everything, just the less common ingredients. If you’re worried, look up the sheet for Cornstarch, you know, what you cook with. That’scary reading. My point is that those sheets are worst case scenarios and ridiculous for the average consumer.

    I agree that there needs to be more testing of nanoparticles. Most mineral makeup companies have stopped using them. Most small companies won’t go near Bismuth Oxychloride either. The shape of the molecule lends itself to severe skin irritation.

    Some companies will not use Zinc Oxide, or Titanium Dioxide.

    There is no need of a preservative in mineral makeup, it’s an inert powder and cannot contain mold, germs, or fungus. They starve to death in there.

    Silicone? Many companies won’t use it, or have formulations without it.

    Why do I care? Because I’ve seen the hard work, research and dedication that so many of the mom and pop mineral makeup companies put into their products to be more natural. There is no, “all natural.” Once it’s put together it’s not natural anymore. People get very hung up on silly things, like a doctor on television saying that all mineral makeup contains nanoparticles. That is a bold faced lie. Don’t believe me? Look at some of the large suppliers to these small companies sites. Man of them have forums where you can read how concerned the small companies are about making the healthiest and best product they can.

    I hate it when good people have a hard go of it because of someone on television, or something a large company does. The mineral makeup in the drugstores is crap. Go to a small manufacturer. You’ll see a huge difference.

  2. damn a.t.t.r.a.c.t.i.v.e Says:

    i bought a dermacol make-up its cover your skin and any problems in your skin ..
    but i want to know more about mineral make-up whatever it is ..
    i really enjoy to read and take advantage .!! it’s really great site .

  3. Katy Says:

    I have been wanting to read something like this for a while… ever since I have started any type of mineral makeup… my skin has become far worse, although it was a slow progression, I have realized that it had to be the mineral makeup I was using……. I have used bare essentials, I stopped because it gave me more acne, then switched to Jane Iredale mineral makeup which has made my skin even worse!!! I have stopped wearing mineral makeup all together now and only use water based liquid foundation for special events, I can tell you my skin has been slowly getting better!!! I don’t know what it is, I think it could be the brushes and the fact that you really have to buff it in the skin that may cause the irritations on the skin.

  4. Lou Says:

    Hey, thank you so much for puting this website together and sharing your knowlege with us all. Im going to try using some of the same products that you use and see if they work for me to. Anyways I heard that Bare Minerals took out the Bismuth Oxychloride, do you know if thats true?

  5. getbeatufiulnow Says:

    When applied right, It definitely does not get on your pillow. Bare escentuals is an amazing line and I’ve been in beauty for ten years. I’ve tried everything, i’ve used everything and i’ve applied everything. From high end brand to over the counter products. I’ve never seen a reaction to the product except for some people being allergic to corn starch maybe in the mineral veil or allergic to goat hair in the brushes. It’s not always makeup. It could be the brushes too.

  6. Sarah Ellis Says:

    Awesome article!! I’ve been looking for info on this for quite a while and nobody seems to know why the BE Mineral Makeup cause me so much skin irritation. Now, I know which ingredients to avoid. Also, I have oily skin and not only did the mineral makeup make my skin itch, it also made it look cakey and greasy. The “shimmer” in the mineral makeups cause oily skin to look terrible & also cause blocked pores. Recently I’ve found an amazing mineral veil though, it’s called Mattify! Loose Powder. It’s super gentle and absorbs oil for several hours. I use it under and over liquid foundation and only need to use blotting papers once or twice a day. Previously, and when I used the BE Minerals, I had to use blotting papers every single hour! The ingredients don’t cause any irritation – it only has Kaolin Clay and Cornstarch. Some people say that Cornstarch will cause breakouts, but it’s been the complete opposite with me. Since I started using the Mattify Loose Powder, I’m down to only one or two breakouts per week. I’m thinking it’s because the powder absorbs so much oil – not allowing pools of oil to sink into pores during the day. Before I started using this, I had around 20 breakouts weekly. Oh, I got it at for 8 bucks. So if anyone is looking for an oil absorbent powder that doesn’t cause a bunch of facial problems, give this stuff a try.

  7. Desi Says:

    Everyday minerals is the best…i get at least 5-10 compliments on how beautiful my skin is a day! Half of them come from men! They have a wide variety of shades…when i’m not getting compliments I notice people staring at me…and you can tell it’s the look of jealousy from women. Now I am way above average, looks wise…Everyday Minerals just makes me look even better.

  8. Brandie Grant Says:

    I just want to say that on the rare minerals it does actually work. it was not made for people who like to wear make up to bed. I have excessive oily skin thats very congested and the mineral is meant to absorb the oils. It is pretty much like dirt in itself because the creator of the line wanted something natural so they go as natural as possible and wet dirt or mud actually has benefits. the rare minerals is very light on the skin and wont shake to the pillowcase.
    As far as bare escentuals go, I have noticed if you do not have oily skin you would be better off using their primer of skin revver upper. It helps the mineral stick a bit better, but it has no talc in it.

  9. june Says:

    I am from Indonesia. Where do I find bella piere cosmetic in Indonesia? I already but that product in Singapore, but I go to Singapore rarely.
    I use bella piere mineral foundation Ivory.

  10. Megan Says:

    So my story is that I started with Neutrogena liquid foundation, switched to Stilla tinted moisturizer, then Makeup Forever Matte Foundation, and I started to realize that liquid foundation was making me break out. So I VERY hesitantly walked into a Bare Minerals store and had the lady do the mineral makeup. I didn’t think it would look good at all, but I was pretty surprised. I mean, it definitely didn’t give me as much coverage as liquid foundation and concealer (obviously), but I needed so much coverage because I was wearing such heavy makeup that was making me break out! (kind of an oxymoron problem) So I decided to give BE a shot for a while and my skin never got the big pimples anymore! For a long time I used the Proactive system to clean and prevent acne and then I would ware the BE concealer, foundation, and mineral veil for my makeup. It’s been a year and a half and now I never expect to get big pimples but I still get the tiny bumps! Most of them are on my forehead, then my cheeks, and last my chin and nose. They are the kind of bumps you can’t see about 4 feet from a mirror but anything closer and you can see them. Some of them look like black heads, but others are just tiny raised bumps. So I’m starting to think that the Bismuth Oxychloride is causing the tiny bumps … so I’m going to try a new mineral makeup that doesn’t have the Bismuth Oxychloride. I was between Everyday Minerals and Faerie Organics … I got the Faerie Organics because they played up the lack of Bismuth more. I’ll post again and let everyone know how it works. If you’ve had a similar experience as me post something and let me know what you did and what worked for you (this includes what you use to cleanse and what foundation you ware).
    Thank You

  11. Della Simone Says:

    I’ve suffered from breakouts and acne for years…always thought it was just part of who I was. Try changing your makeup. I was using BE for years. Now I use only bismuth oxychloride free products. Two I highly recommend:

    Smashbox Halo (powder)
    Christopher Drummond (concealer) – His products are also organic.

    Once your face clears up, you’ll be surprised how much LESS makeup you will need. :)

    Good luck.


  12. Britt Says:

    Has anyone had a problem with Sheer cover? I used it about 4 years ago and am trying to decide if i should give it a try again. What do you think good or bad?

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