If you have a solid skin-care routine packed with toners, spot treatments, and oil-free moisturizers but still manage to end every day with a cystic pimple, it's time to look for another culprit. Besides stress and hormones, one primary suspect could be your dirty makeup sponge. While the texture of those beloved, egg-shaped tools applies foundation, concealer, and even powder seamlessly, it can also easily hold a lot of icky bacteria.
“Makeup applicators collect everything off your skin — oil, dead skin cells, bacteria, and other debris — which is then transferred back to your skin (and your makeup products) if you don't clean the applicators," Sejal Shah, MD, founder of SmarterSkin Dermatology, tells Refinery29. "This can potentially lead to acne, infections, or other skin issues. Additionally, they can become more dry and abrasive as makeup is caked on them, causing irritation and ineffective color application.”
With a proper cleansing routine, you can sidestep sponge-related breakouts. Keep reading to get a few essential tricks from makeup pros and product recommendations that will help keep your makeup sponge (and your pores) scum free.