Should You Take a Break from Wearing Makeup?

How dare we ask you such a thing?

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If you need a few days or a week without makeup to clear up your complexion, it's not because your skin needs to "breathe." (Skin doesn't actually do that.) It's because you're using the wrong makeup or you're not washing your face every night—or both, says dermatologist Jeannette Graf, M.D., of Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City.

Breakouts might mean it's time to change makeup brands or formulas. Look for products marked "noncomedogenic," which typically don't contain pore-clogging ingredients, or a foundation with acne-fighting salicylic acid.

No matter what you use, a nightly wash is nonnegotiable. "Your skin sheds old cells overnight, and extra product can interfere with this, promoting pimples, accelerating aging, and dulling your complexion," says Graf. So you can wear makeup every day; just cleanse to remove it at night. That's what your skin *really* needs to do its housekeeping.