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7 Best Foundations with Salicylic Acid for Tackling Acne

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I know you’ve all heard the buzz about salicylic acid, the beta-hydroxy acid (BHA) that’s a real lifesaver for folks with oily and acne-prone skin. This wonder ingredient is amazing at unclogging pores, controlling sebum production, and keeping breakouts at bay.

If you’re in the oily skin club, you surely have a BHA-infused cleanser or toner on your vanity countertop that you swear by. As a makeup fan, however, you’re thinking about using a foundation with salicylic acid—the idea is pure genius. I mean, who wouldn’t want to tackle pesky pimples and control skin oiliness while attaining the pinnacle of flawlessness with their makeup? So having a double-duty product is a no-brainer because it works to minimize flare-ups while you slay the day with infallible skin.

The best salicylic acid foundations

In my recent attempt at finding the best foundation with salicylic acid, I chanced upon a handful of formulas that stand out from the crowd. So, go ahead and give these foundations a try, I promise you won’t regret it!


Clinique Acne Solutions Liquid Makeup

As the name suggests, this foundation is handy for those with acne-prone skin caused by excess oil. It’s infused with 0.50% salicylic acid, encouraging pores to unclog and regulating sebum while it offsets the greasy look. The latter is also due to the matte finish that it leaves, making skin appear shine-free. Clinique Acne Solutions foundation is oil- and fragrance-free, non-acnegenic, and sweat-resistant, goes on creamy, and blends seamlessly for a flawless that lasts. It provides medium coverage and comes in 13 shades.

Clinique Best Salicylic Acid Foundation

bareMinerals Skin-Clearing Loose Powder Foundation

Loose powder foundations are generally great for absorbing excess oil from the skin due to the finely milled powder texture and for providing a matte finish and great coverage. Welp, and if it packs sebum-absorbing salicylic acid and kaolin—like Bare Minerals Skin-Clearing Foundation does—you know you hit it big. This foundation provides breathable yet full coverage and mattifies the skin to a velvety finish while helping clear acne. What’s more, it never leaves the skin dry as it’s loaded with honey and oat extracts and hyaluronic acid, and it skips fragrances and talc.

bareMinerals Skin-Clearing Loose Powder Foundation

Oxygenetix Acne Control Foundation

Oxygenetix made this foundation as an acne treatment, the reason it’s filled with 2% salicylic acid. It doesn’t dry out the skin since it has an aloe-gel base meant to soothe and hydrate, plus a yeast compound that lets your skin absorb more oxygen, helping it to heal and regenerate. Everything is in a breathable formula that gives buildable full coverage and a natural finish, like your skin, but better. We give this one extra credit for the airless pump applicator that raises the piston as the product runs out, allowing you to get every drop of product out while keeping bacteria out.

Oxygenetix Acne Control Foundation

Vichy Dermablend Covermatte Powder Foundation

This powder foundation creates a natural matte finish and covers blemishes and blurring large pores, thanks to high-performance mineral pigments. It’s great if you’re looking for a foundation that acts like a second skin and lasts throughout the day. In addition to camouflaging marks and pimples, it encourages healing and controls oil with salicylic acid and zinc. The sole downside is its limited color options, as it is available in only five shades and does not include any darker ones.

Vichy Dermablend Covermatte Powder Foundation

Neutrogena SkinClearing Oil-Free Makeup Foundation

This liquid foundation leaves a soft, natural finish, and it’s infused with 0.5% salicylic acid to counteract excess oil and pimples. Its lightweight, oil-free, and non-comedogenic formula is ideal for acne-prone skin that fights breakouts, prevents future blemishes, and controls shine. As a bonus, Neutrogena SkinClearing Foundation contains retinyl palmitate, chamomile, aloe extract, and vitamin E to give your skin a little extra TLC every time you wear it.

Neutrogena SkinClearing Oil-Free Makeup

Almay Make Myself Clear Foundation

This lightweight foundation camouflages imperfections and evens tone while controlling shine and minimizing acne flare-ups in a breathable formula that leaves a soft matte finish. In addition to 2% salicylic acid that tackles pimples, it soothes the skin with aloe juice and eases swelling with zinc and probiotics. There are 16 shades with various undertones to suit all skin tones.

Almay Make Myself Clear Foundation

Maybelline Dream Pure BB Cream

If you don’t like caking your face with heavy foundations and want something lighter and tinted, this BB cream is the perfect replacement. In addition to promoting a blemish-free and poreless look with salicylic acid, Maybelline Dream Pure BB Cream also soak up oil and mattify the skin with kaolin. Since it delivers enough coverage, you don’t even need to add foundation over it. For those preferring additional coverage, though, a light layer of mineral powder atop the BB cream will suffice, endowing the skin with a natural yet polished appearance.

Maybelline Dream Pure BB Cream

To end: Is salicylic acid foundation good for acne-prone skin?

The best salicylic acid foundations are a goldmine for those with skin prone to acne. Since salicylic acid clears the pores by breaking down the bonds between dead cells and regulates sebum production, it’s definitely one of the best ingredients in a foundation for acne-prone skin. And thanks to its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, it does wonders at eliminating bacteria and easing inflammations. While it may not replicate the acne-fighting benefits of a serum, a foundation with salicylic acid can provide additional support in balancing oily skin and diminishing the chances of breakouts from appearing. 

Tough, here’s something important to know before slathering your skin in one of these foundations with salicylic acid. This acid tends to dry the skin, so you shouldn’t use it with other acne-fighting treatments that include salicylic acid. Furthermore, make sure you hydrate your skin before layering the foundation and after you take it off—dehydrated skin may bring the sebaceous glands into overdrive.

Who wrote this?
Ana Vasilescu
Ana Vasilescu
Ana Vasilescu is the founder of Women's Concepts and a certified skincare consultant. She has over five years of experience working in the beauty editorial industry and over a decade as an acne sufferer. With a background in dermatological research, Ana brings a wealth of expertise to a diverse range of topics, from buzzy ingredients to anti-aging and acne advice. She holds a BA in Sociology and Political Sciences. Find her on LinkedIn or Instagram.
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