How do I stop my foundation from emphasising my acne scars?

<span>Illustration: Edith Pritchett/The Guardian</span>
Illustration: Edith Pritchett/The Guardian

Thankfully we now live in a more “skin-positive” society that recognises real skin doesn’t have to look airbrushed. But as you have asked for advice, let’s start with skincare. In perimenopause we lose collagen, which dermatologist Dr Sam Bunting tells me can “worsen the appearance of acne scarring”. After cleansing in the morning, Bunting recommends using a pre-moisturising treatment or serum containing azelaic acid and salicylic acid to “help improve any residual pigmentation and skin texture, refine pores and brighten the skin”. (Her Flawless Neutralising Gel contains both these ingredients.)

After moisturising, use a sunscreen of SPF30 or more to offset the collagen-depleting effects of UVA, then a primer. Benefit Porefessional Primer is silicone-based, which helps to fill in pits. Supergoop Matte Screen SPF30 is also silicone-based and has a mattifying effect. Finally, using a retinoid at night can support collagen production and minimise scars.

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Whatever foundation and powder you use (lighter, buildable formulations are best), apply them with a duo fibre brush to push the product into the crevices. And avoid using bronzer on top, which can add to the patchy look.

There are treatments that could help too, says Bunting, with the proviso of always seeking a medical professional who specialises in acne scarring: “Subcision can release tethered scars, which may be combined with dermal filler where appropriate, resurfacing laser or microneedling.”

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