Having acne and wearing makeup gets complicated. Complexion products with occlusive ingredients can add fuel to the breakout fire. But on the flip side, having coverage to even out texture and tone can be inseparably tied to self confidence. It’s a duality that Ego Iwegbu, who suffered with painful, severe acne throughout her teens and 20s, is all too familiar with.
“There is an acceptance of self, there is an acceptance of who you are. However, there is a social aspect to all of our lives and confidence is the most powerful tool a person can have” the Good Mineral founder says. “If you wake up in the morning and you have a moment where you look at your skin and think, ‘Oh my god, this is just not ok,’ you have to have options. You have to have the option to say, ‘Today, I’m not ok with this skin, so I’m going to give myself the option of coverage for my confidence.’”
But options weren’t always, well, an option for Iwegbu. “It wasn’t just a couple of spots as a teenager. My face was almost deformed. I’d get a lump that’s so big, that it just changed the whole shape of my face—that’s the kind of acne I suffered from,” she explains. “And I struggled to find makeup that matched my skin tone. And makeup that didn’t make my overly textured skin look like a bad paint job.”
Balancing the acne and makeup was her status quo for years. Sure, she’d try topicals to smooth texture, and general practitioners would even put her on a variety of antibiotics to help with cysts—but nothing worked. It’s no surprise why. Board-certified dermatologist Dr. Elizabeth Houshmand explains that severe acne, which is characterized by “red and irritated looking bumps that can be painful to the touch,” needs to be addressed by a board-certified dermatologist to “help avoid scars and get a customized program.” She further explains that treatment for severe acne needs to be monitored and adapted at different stages, as treatment is highly individualized.
Unfortunately, getting to a dermatologist wasn’t easy for Iwegbu, who was living in the U.K at the time. It took a breakdown in front of her doctor to get sent to a specialist. Once she was there—it was a game changer. She was officially diagnosed with severe acne, went on Accutane, and finally started to notice results. But the serial entrepreneur, who still takes Accutane to this day, didn’t want to just put this chapter of life behind her. Instead, she teamed up with her inventor sister, Natasha Iwegbu, to create and distribute Good Mineral, a mineral makeup brand that looked elegant—and wouldn’t further irritate acne or sensitivities.
Mineral or powder makeup has long been a dermatologist-recommended formulation for acne-prone skin as it’s not comedogenic. “They won’t clog your pores, are oil-free, and have extra benefits due to the included kaolin clay,” explains Dr. Houshmand. Liquid or cream formulas on the other hand, can “clog pores, which can lead to a worsening of any inflammation as well as lengthen the duration of a breakout.”
Good Mineral, which started as a two-person operation, has grown to have an international presence. While the brand has created a great line of products for people with acne, Iwegbu wanted to give her consumers more. She’s now turning her attention to creating a community amongst her customers. “As we’ve gone along, we’ve started to notice there is a whole community of skin-positive, acne-positive people. I can see women talking about all the things that happened to me, and then they’re talking about rubbing all this stuff on their face and I’m thinking, ‘No, no, stop.’” Education has come to the forefront—they host Instagram Lives with dermatologists to educate their consumer base and created a blog with tips and personal stories on their website. But most importantly, they’re aiming to create a safe space for anyone with a skin struggle.
“The more we’ve started talking about acne and sensitive skin, the more our DMs are filled with people actually showing us their skin,” Iwegbu says. “It’s less about, ‘This is my face,’ and more about, ‘What shade am I?’ You can see the marks and spots, so the feeling that this is the brand for me, is clearly beginning to show.” In short, Good Mineral has established a space where acne and makeup can coexist.
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Samantha Holender is the Beauty Editor at Marie Claire, where she reports on the best new launches, dives into the science behind skincare, and keeps up with the latest trends in the beauty space. She has previously written for Us Weekly, Popsugar, Makeup.com, Skincare.com, and Philadelphia Wedding. Follow her on Instagram @samholender.
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