Helping People Achieve Clear Skin Since 2007

Helping People Achieve Clear Skin Since 2007

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How to Hide Acne Using the Right Concealer

dr jaggi rao Reviewed by Dr. Jaggi Rao, MD, FRCPC, Double board-certified dermatologist

When you can’t get rid of acne, often you can cover it up. Using acne concealer to obscure whiteheads, blackheads, and pimples, however, requires more than just putting concealer on your face.

best concealer for acne
When you can’t get rid of acne, you can cover it up using a concealer, but remember to remove it completely every night so pimples can heal.

Concealing acne requires two products, not just one. You will need at least one small jar of concealer, and you will also need a brush to put it on your face. You may also need other cosmetics to smooth out the matte of your skin and to tint the concealer to match your natural flesh tones.


  • When you can’t get rid of acne, you can usually hide it with concealer.
  • Ideally, you need both concealer and a feather brush to apply it.
  • Green cancels the red in pimples, but yellow, brown, or dark brown concealer can also cover up pimples, and you can use the concealer skin problems other than acne, such as circles under the eyes.
  • A light touch is essential in applying concealer. You only want to use just enough to make the pimple less visible.
  • You must remove concealer completely every night so pimples can heal.
  • Remove blackheads with a clarifying lotion.
  • If you absolutely have no money to conceal pimples, you might get cosmetic improvement with a familiar household remedy known by its acronym “MOM”.
  • The best way to deal with blemishes is to get rid of them for good and keep them from coming back with an acne treatment system like Exposed Skin Care.

Choosing the Right Concealer

There are concealers for many skin issues besides acne. There are concealers for fine lines and wrinkles, for circles under the eyes, and for red and pink marks caused by acne. The concealer needs to set to a satin finish without flaking, cracking, or streaking, and it should not make fine lines more prominent, especially around the eyes. Liquid concealer works well on most of your face, but a creamier concealer is needed where your makes lots of lines, such as around your mouth and around your eyes.

A concealer does not conceal anything unless it matches your skin color and skin tones. You can’t put a pink concealer on black skin or a black concealer on fair skin and expect nobody to notice.

Also, a single layer of concealer usually won’t work. You need a treatment you apply directly to the blemish and usually also a layer of foundation in your natural skin tone. A concealer in your skin tone, however, will not cancel out redness in a pimple.

The best way to cover up a red pimple is with green concealer. If you don’t have a palette of different concealers at home, and you just can’t afford to buy green concealer (it’s usually about US $10 per jar), then you can start with:

  • Gold-toned concealer if you have Asian skin, or
  • Beige-toned concealer if you have fair or brown skin, or
  • A dark brown concealer close to your natural skin tone if you have black skin.

Choosing the Right Brush

When you conceal a pimple, you don’t want it to break out more. That is why concealer is best applied with a brush. A brush needs to be thin enough that you could use it to apply makeup at the corner of your eyes, and firm enough that your face will not cake with makeup. It’s easy to lose brushes, so it is best to keep them in a bag.

How to Apply Concealer

Wash and dry your hands, and then take a tiny lump of concealer out of the jar, about the size of a pea, about 1 or 2 grams. Place the lump of concealer on the back of your non-dominant hand, the one you do not use to hold the brush, and run the brush back and forth through the concealer to coat the brush. You don’t want any lumps or granules of concealer on the brush.

If you don’t have a brush, you can use your fingers, but you need to be extra-careful not to smear too much concealer on the blemish, and not to puncture the blemish with your fingernails.

Put just enough concealer on a pimple to cover up the redness. Then to conceal your concealer, place a thin layer of foundation makeup (which you have chosen to match your natural skin tone), or use a second layer of beige, brown, or yellow concealer to make the blemish less noticeable. If the pimple is still somewhat visible after applying the rest of your makeup, add just a dot of concealer over it as the last step in making your face.

It is important to remember that making blemishes less noticeable is the purpose of using concealer. Using just green concealer without a second layer hides acne, but then you might find yourself needing to explain why your face has green spots. Using a single layer of concealer that is very different from your natural skin tone can leave your skin looking worse rather than better.

Green Concealer Is Not Universally Accepted

Some cosmetics experts insist that concealer should never be any tone that does not naturally exist in healthy skin. Green, orange, pink, purple, rose, or ash concealer is a no-no, some cosmetics cops insist. There is general agreement, however, that concealer should be thicker under the eyes and thinner over the rest of your face. A matte finish product is best for oily skin, but there is no guarantee than any kind of concealer you use to hide acne will not also cause new breakouts.

What About Medicated Concealers?

For a medicated concealer to work, it would have to contain both an exfoliant, which loosens dead skin around and over clogged pores, and a disinfectant that kills acne bacteria without irritating the skin. Medicated concealers are a good idea, but there are no products on the market that both loosen dead skin and kill acne bacteria while they cover up pimples.

What About Whiteheads and Blackheads?

Concealer is not necessary for hiding whiteheads and blackheads. You can cover them up with your foundation makeup. Removing all your makeup every night, however, is essential for clearing up your skin. Blackhead remover strips such as the Biore product, however, can give you a red mark next to the blackhead that does not come out, requiring the use of concealer. At night you can use a product like Clinique Mild Clarifying Lotion that gets the “black” out of blackheads overnight and that removes the entire blackhead in a few days.

The Bargain Basement of Acne Concealers

If you have simply no money for acne concealers, but you can afford a bottle of milk of magnesia (MOM), you can use a dot of MOM on blemishes to make the blemish (it is to be hoped) less noticeable. Milk of magnesia is anti-inflammatory and will reduce the redness of pimples. It can also obscure blackheads, if you have the right skin color and tone. MOM is water-soluble, however, so the first time you perspire heavily or wash your face, your “concealer” is gone. But your pimple won’t be quite as red.

A Better Way

It’s better to treat acne than it is to conceal acne, and it’s better to prevent acne than it is to treat it. One of the best ways to treat acne and keep it from coming back is to use the very affordable set of products available from Exposed Skin Care.

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Katie Reply

Hi I'm 11 and I have pimples I so sick k of them that why I cAme on this website I'm hoping y'all could help me with my pimple problem

September 22, 2015 at 1:11 pm Reply
Kristina Privette Reply

Hello, i am 14 years old and I have been having problems with acne,I have tried so many remedies to cover up my acne for a day at least and nothing worked until I found this website. Thank you so much for writing the way to cover up acne,this website is very helpful.

February 17, 2016 at 6:02 pm Reply
Anunumus Reply

Hi Katie, unfortunately, your skin is never going to be as clear as it was when you were 9 (I know D'X ), and you will get breakouts as you progress into and through the rest of your teens, but there are SO many options out there! You need to wash your face in the morning and at night with a product made for acne, that has salicylic acid, and that the product is made for your skin type (normal, dry, oily, or combination, or sensitive). Make sure any products you put on your face are non-comedogenic (which means they won't clog pores), and oil-free. Lots of make-up is oil-free, and some are non-comedogenic. There are even lines of make made for acne, like Neutrogena, or Clinique (which, both are available @ drugstores like Walgreens and CVS). Don't use any cream concealers, which offer more coverage, but aren't good for acne. Powder foundations are good for oily skin. You can't wash your face too often, or it will remove too much oil and actually over-produce, making it worse. Moisturize or use a moisturizing face wash to prevent this. You can use spot-treatment, like zit cream in a small bottle. Pore strips are good for the nose, since the T-zone is more prone to the black heads X[ You can also exfoliate once or twice a week to remove dead skin, which can also clog pores, and it promotes new cell growth to heal skin. Only pop your pimples if you absolutely must, like if there is a visible dot of pus, because it can very easily scar, and instead treat it with a spot treatment and MOM. Right there and then, you may be very tempted, but your future, scar-free face will thank you. A toner will tighten your pores, which is good. Use a gentle one, like witch hazel or rose water. Simple is a face line that your mom will probably like if she's into natural stuff :P Try you best to not touch your face, spreading oils. If your going to apply any makeup, use the appropriate brushes, or other applicators. Once a month you can steam your face to open your pores and do a clay mask to deeply clean your pores. Then rinse off with cold water to tighten them. has articles on EVERYTHING -.- I'm sure you'll find something on anything you need to know there :) Gee cudos if you made it to this point, hope it helped and good luck on a clear face!! :D

April 14, 2016 at 12:50 am Reply
Rose Reply

Hi its Rose here I have a lot of acne I have oily skin and blackheads as well I'm not sure what products work for me. Please help. I'm so tired of using make up.

July 19, 2017 at 9:03 pm Reply
Maia Reply

Hi I’m Maia I’m 16 I have had acne since I was 9 I have tried so many different things to clear it up but nothing has worked I try and put makeup on but the foundation that I have used just cling to my acne I have no idea what to do after thi s please help

February 3, 2019 at 8:39 pm Reply

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