Why I Broke Up With My BB Creams…For Now

Let’s just say that 32 wasn’t a good age for me in terms of beauty. I broke out. A lot. Long story short, I eventually had to haul a$$ to my dermatologist who scolded me for disappearing on her for months (I was on an organic, all-natural beauty kick at the time—tell you guys about how that experiment went in another post.).

What's your scary age? Mine was 32.

What’s your “scary beauty age” number?

While my horrible acne did clear up, I couldn’t figure out why it kept coming back. I was doing everything right—I cleansed, toned, moisturized, lessened my makeup, ate more fruits and veggies, chugged water…you name it, I did it. As I was discussing this beauty conundrum over dinner with friends, one of my fellow BDJBox Beauty Ministers, Barbi Chan, looked at me knowingly and asked if my pimples were the painful, cystic kind. “Yeess,” I answered hesitantly. Then, she asked if I was using BB cream. “Darn,” I thought. I didn’t want to answer her, because it would mean that I’d have to let go of a product that changed my makeup life.

It's happens—even with beauty-related concerns.

Yup, it’s happens.

You see, I had suspected that my darling BB cream was the culprit. It was the only thing I didn’t change in my new, anti-acne beauty routine. And because I wasn’t ready to let it go, I went through the five stages of beauty grief:

1. Denial → “Why would it be the BB cream? I’ve been using it for years.”
2. Anger → “How could my precious BB cream betray me like this? It was so perfect!”
3. Bargaining → “Maybe if I use it just one more time, I won’t react anymore.”
4. Depression → “What am I supposed to use now? My skin will never be the same.”
5. Acceptance I begrudgingly reached for my liquid foundation. But really, I ran out of BB cream and had no choice. #tigasulo


Heartbroken about saying bye to BB creams, but excited to “date” new foundations!

Like an old boyfriend that’s no longer good for you, I had to break-up with my BB cream. I have no scientific evidence to explain why it triggered my breakouts. But I do have a theory: years of accumulated build-up from the heavy formula and my poor pores just couldn’t take it anymore. Oh well. C’est la vie.

It took a while before I found a good foundation that mimicked the BB cream effect by giving me the right amount of coverage + dewiness (it’s the MAC Pro Longwear Foundation SPF 10, in case you were wondering). And guess what? I stopped breaking out and my skin has been clear for weeks. Finally! I shall always think of my BB cream fondly though. We shared a lot of beautiful makeup days together. I’m still hoping we’ll get back together someday…but we’ll have to wait and see. For now, I’m going to enjoy having clear skin—and my “dating” life by exploring new kinds of foundations. ♥

What’s your take on BB creams? Did they make you breakout? Let me know by posting a comment below!

  • v

    Oh! I thought it was just me and I was in denial for a while simply because I’ve been a BB cream user for years and I never had a problem so I was surprised that all of a sudden I had cystic breakouts at 31!!!!!!! At first I thought it was the detergent I switched to, but soon after I changed to a hypoallergenic brand, my breakouts still didn’t go away (and it gets worse around that time of the month!!!). Still using BB cream, but I take meds recommended to me from Healthy Options. Gone are the breakouts but I’m definitely giving Mac Pro a try! :)

    • You’re not alone!! Hehe, I went to the derma for cleaning regularly first to calm down my skin (once or twice a month for around three months). But once I stopped my BB cream, no urgent need anymore and haven’t gotten cystic acne since! Good luck and let me know how it goes :)

  • Ako, I broke out with Maybelline’s BB Cream. So I went back to Bobbi Brown’s BB Cream =) Pang-mamahalin pala ang fez ko LOL

  • MyrtedCaldona

    What’s making a BB Cream cause cystic acne?

    ..And yes, it also kind of occurred to me, after reading your post, that yeah I might have gotten my acnes from that product. Ohnoes…. I’m actually, on a week of rest from using BB (kasi ubos na), and just concealing my scars here and there… Shall I change to foundation!?

    • Gosh, I wish I could pinpoint why it caused my cystic acne. All I really know is that when I stopped using it, my cystic breakouts completely stopped as well. Your skin changes, so sometimes, what worked for you before won’t work anymore. Since you’re out of BB cream na, I’d say it’s a good time to try liquid foundation and see if it improves your skin condition. Best to check with a derma also. Good luck!

  • Marsi

    Oh wow! I never thought of it that way. I’m even taking meds now for my acne and I’ve cleared up. But this is making me think that it may have been the BB cream I was using or the foundation.

    • Yay for your clear skin! But yes, your makeup base is something you should consider—especially if your breakouts come back. I hope that won’t be the case for you though!

  • thinacruz

    I share the same problem except that it wasn’t caused by BB Creams. I think it’s because I changed my skin care routine. I used to apply the medicines prescribed to me but I felt I was missing on what’s out in the market so I stopped. I started using moisturizer for the first time this year and changed my products/brands every 3 months. Skin care is my weakness kasi! Then I started getting these gigantic pimpleSSS! Huhuh! I always have to run to my derma to get them injected but I’m left with dark spots. :(

    • I totally get it! I have to try so many things also for my job and there are occupational hazards (like breakouts) when you’re a beauty guinea pig. My derma said I have to stick to what’s “hiyang” for now. No major experimenting first–I just add one new product…a day ;p Okay, every other day if kaya. Hahaha! What are you using on your dark spots?

  • What BB cream made you break out? :(

    • I was using Korean BB Creams from different brands. Can you imaging my heartbreak at that?!!

      • HDM

        I’m using a Korean BB cream brand too. The annoying breakouts appeared on my second bottle. :(

        • Me tooo!!! Second bottle :( My skin’s cleared up and getting so tempted to try BB creams again…but not worth the acne!

  • Ae

    Oh, that’s so sad to hear, Nicole! Me naman, all this time, I think my skin improved because of my long-time BB cream use, so now reading your post made me rethink that assumption. Hm..

    • Hey Ae! If your BB cream works for you, then just continue and watch out for skin changes in the future :) Everybody’s skin reacts differently to certain products.

  • Zo

    Awww, Nic! BB break ups are the worst! I looove my BB+ cream, so here’s me hoping you’ll find your own match soon.

    • Heehee, rebound BB cream! Thanks, Zo! Yes, will definitely let you know ;p Love your Baguio pics, btw! Freshness!

  • Judes

    Awww that’s too bad. Change is very difficult. So far I don’t have issues with my BB creams. I still do get some break outs but mostly due to those “red days” moments.

    • Oooh, glad to hear you’re not having issues with your BB creams :) Lucky, lucky!

  • That’s such a shame. :( It’s bad enough that you found The One~ after several tries of other products, but to have to give it up? It’s a good thing you found the culprit, though!

    • I knooow…but giving it up is waay better than having breakouts! Thanks for visiting my blog, btw :)

  • Ako naman I learned early on that BB Cream is not for me. It’s so hard to defend this to all my friends who got caught up with the hype. Mostly BB creams made my skin splotchy, pores larger, oilier and yes, broke me out, too.

    CC cream was a better for days di naman kailangan ng fonda. :)

    • Shen!!! Aww, thank you for visiting my blog :) I should try CC cream! Which do you reco? Late na ako to the CC cream game ;p

  • I had also suffered from cystic acne that made me shed a tear every time I wash my face. The kind that reminded me of those massaging slippers (with beads!) since if I try to feel my cheeks – which we all do when we wash our face – I could really feel the hard bumps.

    It sucked the confidence out of me for two months until I hopped into my third dermatologist
    and decided to ditch makeup temporarily (where only BB cream takes part of). And so far, my skin really did improve post BB cream avoidance.

  • anna

    Thanks for this blog post. I had been using the same bb cream and maybe added new skin lotionrecently and thought for sure it was those nnew skin lotion. But now that i stopped using it and I am pretty sure it is the bb cream !!!

    • You’re welcome, Anna! So happy this helped you and good luck with your skin :)

  • Jane Eyre

    Yes, i learnt that the hard way- cystic painful acne came out to have a rather big party on my face. I havent tried using foundations yet (im a foundation-virgin) cos i read that foundations are heavier than BB creams :( right now im just using a mosturizer with spf and mineral powder as my skin has turned sensitive. Im also trying to avoid parabens.

  • Kadi

    I just started using maybelline pure bb cream and I started to breakout !!

  • Kate

    So glad I found this! I was “blessed” with pretty good skin, pimples every so often, but no real breakouts. Suddenly at 30ish, my skin went to hell! And the only thing that has really changed is that I’ve been using BB Cream (which I thought was gonna make my skin even better!). Now to begin the quest for something else…

  • I’ve been using foundations from MAC and Bobbi Brown :) No breakouts so far!


    I also had to get regular facials to help get rid of all the build-up in my skin. Recently though, I’ve been drinking ACV and it’s really helped! Thinking of using it as a toner also to help calm active ones.


    Good luck with your skin and I hope it gets better soon :)

  • disqus_NH6iCRwQbz

    I was wondering.. I had this foundations that I loveee so much for its coverage and all that. It didn’t break me out at first but when I started using baking soda to whiten my acne marks (i didnt use foundation for a week) -I used foundation again while I’m still on baking soda, and I suddenly broke out within the day when I use my foundation (that didn’t broke me out before. HELP :(

    • Ooh, it could be the combo or the baking soda is making your skin extra sensitive. Please consult with a derma if you can :)

  • Yes, try it! I’ve also been reacting well to these foundations in case you want to try other options :) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8MlnPLamSE

  • First, I had to stop using my BB creams. I tried using anti-acne products, but because my pimples were huge and cystic, I needed to go to a derma for extraction/cleaning. After a few sessions, my skin cleared up and went back to normal.