20 Best Performing Primers for Acne Prone Skin

Which is the best primer for acne prone skin in 2019? Let's find out.

Primers are an amazing product to add to your makeup routine. You will get many more hours out of your makeup before you have to reapply, and with a really good product you can go an entire day. But if you suffer with acne, then the thought of something covering your skin is going to set off alarm bells.

The reason is that acne is triggered by pores becoming blocked and creating a breeding ground for bacteria. Your skin then reacts to this with inflammation and in really bad situations will develop those puss filled pimples.

Chances are that you’ve avoided using primer or only use it for those very special days out. Even then, you’ve probably ended up with quite severe reactions afterwards.

The good news is that you really don’t have to suffer in this way, as there are some suitable products available. What you have to look out for is a primer that is oil free, as that is the most common reason why pores become clogged.

To help you find the best options for your skin type, we’ve put together this list of tried and tested products. They have all proven very effective, and when used in combination with a regular cleansing routine will not cause you any major outbreaks.

View The Best Primer For Acne Prone Skin Below:

Our experts have tried out and reviewed the top 20 primers for acne-prone skin, working with a range of different skin types.

1. LORAC POREfection Acne Foundation Face Primer

LORAC POREfection Mattifying Face Primer is a base for make-up foundation infused with different antioxidants of Vitamin A, C and E that helps your make-up stay in place and make your skin look healthy, radiant and glowing.
Best For: Sensitive skin.

  • LORAC primer is an oil-free formula that guarantees the reduction of excessive sebum production controlling acne and pimples.
  • It does not contain parabens that lead to premature aging i.e. wrinkles and fine lines.
  • It does not clog pores, minimizes them in order to eliminate the thriving bacteria that causes blemishes.
  • It is infused with salicylic acid which is a key component in the treatment or healing of acne.
  • This long-lasting primer provides perfect complexion due to its matte finish.
  • It is fragrance free so it does not irritate the sensitive skins.
  • People with dry skin should apply a moisturizer before if they find this product drying.
  • It is not recommended for extremely oily skins as it might leave them greasy.
  • The pH of this formula is high for the salicylic acid to exfoliate the skin as the amount of salicylic acid used is very low.

2. Skindinavia the Make up Primer Spray - Blemish Assisting

Skindinavia The Makeup Primer Spray is a temperature controlled technology that helps the skin in maintaining its shine throughout the day. It is believed to reduce the need for frequent touch-ups and blotting, making it an ideal choice for the oily skins or skins having exposure to the environment for long.
Suitable For: Oily Skin.

  • This ultra-fine mist controls the face shine for up to 16 hours making it highly suitable for oily skins or skins that remain in a professional environment having no time for touch-ups.
  • It contains alcohol denat that absorbs all the excess oil from the pores giving you a fresh a clean look while reducing chances of blemishes.
  • It prevents the makeup from caking as its consistency is not creamy and instead it is in the form of a spray (liquid).
  • It is a hypoallergenic product so it also suitable for sensitive skins and do not make them break out.
  • It feels light on the skin making it suitable for all day long.
  • Dry skins might suffer from irritation due to alcohol denat that is a cosmetic astringent.
  • It contains fragrance that can cause allergy or irritation to sensitive skins.
  • While applying it should be applied evenly otherwise it can leave slight patches. For that it should be sprayed 2-4 times in ‘X’ and ‘T’ formation.

3. BECCA Ever Matte Poreless Priming Perfector For Sensitive Skin & Acne

BECCA Ever Matte Poreless Primer provides an immediate matte effect that lasts and helps minimize the appearance of the pores. This sweat resistant and humidity resistant formula is essentially ideal for oily skin.
Best For: Oily to combination skins.

  • This BECCA primer is a two in one formula i.e. it can be used in two different ways, as a pre-foundation primer and over makeup for touch ups.
  • Its consistency is water based that helps in keeping skin light weighted throughout the day.
  • The presence of clay-derived absorbent magnesium aluminum silicate provides everlasting matte look to the skin.
  • It does not clog pores due to which no dirt or sweat is accumulated in the pores reducing the chances of black heads, acne and blemishes.
  • It does not contain fragrance which makes it suitable for those who are allergic to fragrance or scent.
  • It needs to be applied by patting movements instead of rubbing method otherwise it might become flaky.
  • Combination to dry skins might feel dried out and they might appear flaky and patchy.
  • If after applying it is not dried properly, it might start to peel off.

4. Paula’s Choice SHINE STOPPER Instant Matte Finish Oil Control Acne Primer

SHINE STOPPER Instant Matte Primer contains an oil-absorbing formula that keeps oily skin free of shine. This light weighted formula dries to a soft, powder-like finish that hides skin imperfections and minimizes the appearance of the pores.
Best For: Sensitive and oily skins.

  • It contains active ingredient Methyl Methacrylate which is texture enhancing oil absorbent that provides an instant matte finish that lasts up to 6 hours.
  • Glycerin replenishes skin and Dimethicone provides great coverage hiding all the minor imperfections that lets the makeup stay in place.
  • It is suitable for sensitive skin as it is fragrance free and would not cause any irritation or allergic reactions to the acne prone skin.
  • It does not clog pores and does not cake acting as a barrier for any acne-causing bacteria.
  • Frequent touch ups and blotting needed throughout the day for extremely oily skins as Dimethicone is a hydrating agent and might turn your skin greasy.
  • When applying, it needs to be dabbed instead of rubbed otherwise the desired matte look would not be achieved.

5. bareMinerals Prime Time Oil Control Face Primer

bareMinerals Face Primer is enriched with anti-oxidants to provide you a nourished skin. It greatly extends the wear of your foundation giving you a fresh healthy skin for a longer period of time. As the name says it particularly controls the excess shine on face maintaining a matte look at the same time.
Best For: Oily skin.

  • This mineral primer combats rough patches and flaky dryness inducing hydration to maximize the effect of the foundation due to the presence of silica gel (silicon dioxide).
  • The acrylates present in this formula act as an absorbent which controls excess oil and reduces the building of sebum in the pores.
  • It does not block pores so no bacteria are trapped in the outer layer of skin minimizing the blemishes and pesky pimples.
  • This formula is fragrance free and gentle for the skin and does not lead to irritation or sensitivity.
  • It nourishes skin with anti-oxidants such as Vitamin A, C, E and different plant extracts.
  • Works beautifully on slightly oily skins but those with very oily skin may see only one or two hours of shine free skin.
  • If a bigger blot of the primer is applied it might feel sticky and gross. The quantity applied matters the most, half a pump only.
  • If your skin is dried and you apply this primer, it will flake off quickly in no time.

6. Benefit Cosmetics POREfessional Primer for Acne

Benefit Cosmetics POREfessional Primer as the name suggests is specifically designed to minimize the appearance of the pores. This in turn leads to a smoother and silkier skin ideal for makeup to stay in place. Generally, this formula complements all skin tones as it is specified to be reducing the appearance of pores.
Best For: Oily skin.

  • It quickly minimizes wrinkles, fine lines and pores which help in the de-accumulation of dirt and bacteria in the pores reducing the chance of break outs.
  • It is silky, lightweight formula that can be applied two ways i.e. under and over makeup.
  • It is a non-comedogenic product and does not let oil build up on the skin and stops sebum production.
  • It contains a Vitamin E derivative, silicone blends and film-forming agents that are known to protect skin from free radicals.
  • It contains strong fragrance and hence it is not suitable for sensitive skins or skins that are allergic to parfum.
  • Dry skins must moisturize before applying this primer as it might get cakey otherwise.
  • It is a bit expensive and a bit overrated for its tendency to hide pores completely.

7. Hourglass Cosmetics Veil Mineral Primer

Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer is believed to prepare the skin for flawless makeup application alongside protecting, nourishing and hydrating the skin. Unlike all the other priers on the list Hourglass Primer provides an additional sun screen protection.
Best For: Oily Skin.

  • It is a light weight formula with SPF 15 that glides on scars and makes the application easy on an acne prone skin.
  • Zinc Oxide is the main component of this primer which is a moisturizing agent and protects skin from sun damage.
  • Titanium dioxide is a whitening, lubricating and sunscreen ingredient used in cosmetics the way it does for this primer helping the skin in glowing while protecting it from UVA and UVB damage.
  • It is free from oil and parabens that may otherwise cause the clogging of the pores resulting in acne-causing bacteria thriving on the skin.
  • It does not contain fragrance and is suitable for sensitive skins.
  • It is a bit too high in price according to the quantity.
  • Dry skins are recommended to avoid this primer as it contains drying agents and might cause break outs.
  • The darker skin tones might get a ‘slight’ powdery white cast if not applied properly.

8. Too Faced Cosmetics Primed and Poreless

Too Face Primed and Poreless Primer formulated to wear under bronzers, foundation or alone does impressive job of temporarily hiding all the wrinkles and fine lines. Primed and Poreless provides a great canvas to allow powders and airbrush to fill your face seamlessly and causes the makeup to stay in place.
Best For: Oily Skin.

  • It virtually minimizes pores to protect the skin from building up excess oil and bacteria causing acne.
  • It hides imperfections including patches, fine lines, spotty and rough skin increasing and improving the skin complexion.
  • It comprises of Mulberry extracts and arctostaphylos UVA URSI that protects and brightens the skin making it suitable for long-time wearing.
  • Retinyl Palmitate and Cyclodextrin are the hydrating agents that restore skin moisture and provide the skin with collagen elastin proteins to maintain its elasticity.
  • It contains many anti-oxidants that revitalize the skin and makes it firm including Camilla Oil and Vitamin A essence.
  • It contains Ivy Extract that can be irritating to the sensitive skins.
  • It is not intended for dry skins as it might dry them more causing break outs.
  • Oily skins might feel the need for a touch up every hour or so and re-applying will cause the layers to accumulate in patches.

9. COVER FX Mattifying Primer

COVER FX Mattifying primer is a water-resistant gel primer that helps keep the skin matte and reduces the pores while healing acne effectively. It also facilitates the blending of foundation and extends the life of your makeup hiding any acne blemishes.
Best For: Combination skin.

  • COVER FX primer contains Willow bark extracts that naturally contains Salicylic acid, a main component in healing acne and the active ingredient t of this primer.
  • Salicylic Acid treats the larger pores and restricts oil or sebum from blocking them hence reducing the chances of break outs.
  • This water-based primer has a pH value of 4.1 which means that the Salicylic Acid will be able to function as an exfoliator which is an extra benefit that other primers do not provide.
  • It contains anti-oxidants such as Vitamin C, E and F that protect and soothe the skin while treating premature anti-aging.
  • It contains African Tree Bark Extract that is derived from chamomile plant which is believed to reduce redness and inflammation that might have been caused due to the pesky pimples.
  • This primer has been formulated without the use of Parabens, Sulfates and Phthalates.
  • It contains fragrant Citrus fruits extracts that poses slight risk of irritation to the sensitive skins.
  • Since, this product is not primarily intended for shine control, it would not absorb oil for more than an hour so it is not a good choice for extremely oily skins.

10. bareMinerals Original Prime Time Foundation Primer

bareMinerals Prime Time Foundation Primer is a preservative-free formula designed to make your skin silky and smooth throughout the day. It makes the application of foundation easier and lets the makeup stay in place.
Best For: Normal to Dry skin.

  • bareMinerals Primer is formulated without preservatives and irritants which makes it suitable for sensitive skins as well.
  • Its active ingredient is Cyclopentasiloxane i.e. is a skin conditioning agent and hides all imperfections including rough patches, flaky dryness and uneven texture.
  • Cyclopentasiloxane is also believed to boost collagen and elastin (skin proteins) that help maintain the elasticity of the skin.
  • It also contains Dimethicone, which is an absorbent and removes any excess sebum and oil from the skin providing you a sheer matte look.
  • Only a small quantity (small pump) is needed to layer up.
  • If a more than required quantity is applied this product will appear cakey on your skin.
  • You need to wait until it gets dried before applying foundation or it might flake up.
  • If you have an oily skin, opt for another option as you might feel greasy and slippery resulting in breakouts.

11. Clinique Super Universal Face Primer

Clinique Face Primer, recommended for casual wear makes your face an ideal makeup canvas. It makes the foundation stay in place and the makeup glides on evenly and stays true because it is a color-correcting primer.
Best For: Oily to Combination skin.

  • It contains Dimethicone and Cyclopentasiloxane as active ingredients, former one is an absorbent and the latter one is a skin conditioning agent that makes it completely suitable for all skin types.
  • Clinique Face Primer is colorless thin liquid that eliminates wrinkles and fine lines. Unlike other primers, it has a very thin texture that makes the skin look smooth.
  • It has an entirely different formula as compared to other Super-primers because it has a broad range of anti-oxidants to maintain the elasticity of the skin.
  • It nicely blurs the pores without clogging them maintaining skin hygiene and to reduce the chances of bacteria resting inside them, eradicating chances of acne.
  • It is hypoallergenic and fragrance free which makes it completely suitable for sensitive skins.
  • Very dry skins would not find any benefit as it will not have a noticeable effect due to its thinner consistency.
  • It is not a long-wearing primer and would not last longer than two hours.

12. Smashbox Cosmetics Photo Finish Color Correcting Primer

Smashbox Color Correcting Primer, as the name suggests, is primarily intended for skins that have an uneven tone and texture. It combats discoloration, dark spots and pigmentation.
Best For: Combination to dry skin.

  • Smashbox Primer is a blend of anti-oxidants and Vitamin A and C that helps reduce fine lines and wrinkles providing a visibly smoother and younger looking skin.
  • It offers a few strangely tinted shades including peach and lavender, focused to treat uneven skin tone and defying dark spots.
  • It is also effective for skins that suffer from redness and Rosacea.
  • It is a non-comedogenic product which means it restricts the sebum production minimizing your chance of getting acne or pimples.
  • It is not opaque enough to cover dark circles or in other words it does not act like a concealer.
  • Since it contains Cyclopentasiloxane as its active ingredients, it is not suitable for oily skin as it makes them heavy and greasy.

13. Laura Geller Spackle under Make-Up Primer

Laura Geller Primer is a silicone-based formula that not only just prepares your skin for makeup but also makes it feel and look better. It comprises various plant extracts and powerful anti-oxidants to enrich skin with vital nutrients.
Best For: Oily to Combination skin.

  • This primer has a silky consistency and dries to a completely matte finish that provides an ideal base for makeup.
  • It contains Aloe Vera gel that soothes and hydrates skin alongside healing your acne problem.
  • It has a watery consistency and is a film-forming agent due to presence of silicone.
  • This product contains shiny pigments that lead to a subtle glow in skin.
  • It contains White Tea and Centella Asiatica Extracts that protect and revitalize the skin.
  • This primer is not suitable for sensitive skin as it contains witch hazel extracts that can cause irritation leading to break outs.
  • Dry skins should apply a moisturizer underneath this primer in order to keep the skin away from drying out.

14. Smashbox Photo Finish More Than Primer Blemish Control

Smashbox Blemish Control Primer was specifically designed to make your blemishes vanish. This primer treats break outs and blemishes making your skin fairly clear. A clinical test proved that women who used this product had a clear skin after two weeks of use.

Best For: Oily skin.

  • This primer reduces blemishes, black heads, and white heads and makes your acne-prone skin clearer and manageable.
  • It includes 2% Salicylic Acid as an active ingredient that holds a pH which ensures proper exfoliation alongside preparing skin for makeup.
  • It boosts skin with Vitamin E added as an anti-oxidant that holds soothing effects for the skin.
  • It is fragrance free making it suitable for those who are allergic to Parfum or have extremely sensitive skin.
  • It contains Cinnamon Extract (Cinnamomum zelanicum) that has a tendency to cause irritation. Although the amount is too low to be problematic, it is better to take precautions.
  • If you are using serum and a BHA exfoliator then there is no need for this primer.

15. bareMinerals Blemish Remedy Mattifying Prep Gel

bareMinerals Prep Gel is specially formulated for treating blemishes while preparing your skin for makeup application. This mattifying gel is intensely light-weight and does not let your skin turn greasy.
Best For: Combination skin.

  • This Blemish Remedy primer is rich with anti-oxidants and plant extracts such as Aspen bark and tea tree oil that are essential ingredients in healing acne.
  • It contains Polymethylsilsesquioxane, which is a silicone based ingredient used as a lubricating or film forming agent which provides a smooth matte look.
  • It contains peptide complex which hides skin imperfections caused due to frequent break outs or pimples.
  • It is rich in oil-absorbing minerals making it a non-comedogenic product, safe for acne as it reduces sebum production.
  • It has been formulated without Parabens which makes it safe for sensitive skins.
  • Oily skins would not benefit from it because the claims of oil control are a bit exaggerated.
  • It contains fragrance which might act as an irritant for sensitive skins.

16. Maybelline New York Face Studio Master Prime Makeup, Blur Plus Redness Control

Maybelline Face Studio Master Primer is formulated for hiding all the redness on skin and blurring any imperfections giving you a natural and healthier looking skin.
Best For: Combination to dry skin.

  • This Blur Plus Primer keeps the drying skin hydrated due to the presence of Dimethicone which is a skin conditioning agent.
  • Since, it is a light weight product, it is easily and quickly absorbed in the skin leaving it perfect for makeup application.
  • Besides, Redness Control, it provides sun protection while having an SPF 30 to reduce any excess oil production due to heat exposure saving you from break outs.
  • It completely conceals pores without clogging them providing no space for acne causing bacteria invasion.
  • It is low on price.
  • It is not a long-wearing primer. It does not last for more than two hours making it non-ideal for professional environments.
  • It can cause allergy to sensitive skin leading to extreme redness and severe break outs.

17. e.l.f. Studio Blemish Control Primer

elf Studio Blemish Control Primer is ideal for your acne prone skin as it constitutes all the vital elements when it comes to treating blemishes and pimples leaving your skin a long-lasting satin silk finish.
Best For: Oily skin.

  • Elf Studio Primer is infused with Salicylic Acid, an essential ingredient when it comes to healing acne.
  • It also contains tea tree oil which is again good at treating acne as it dries the pesky pimples or blemishes on the face.
  • It contains anti-oxidants such as Vitamin E and natural botanical extracts including Rosemary, Thyme and Lemon Extracts that give the skin a natural glow.
  • It is available in different colors making it suitable for all skin tones hiding blemishes easily.
  • It costs way less than other primers on the list.
  • Since it has a thick consistency it needs to be applied out evenly in order to avoid cakiness and peeli
  • Not good for sensitive skins and might cause rash if the skin is overly dried because of Salicylic Acid.

18. SHANY Mineral Infused Face Primer

SHANY Mineral Primer is a perfect blend of minerals designed by professionals in the US to ensure a long-lasting makeup without damaging the skin.
Best For: Combination to Dry Skin.

  • SHANY is a paraben-free primer infused with essential Vitamins that extends the wear of makeup on the face.
  • It primarily acts as a bb cream and covers acne scars, large pores and blemishes to a great extent.
  • It is formulated with a variety of anti-oxidants including Vitamin A and E, grape seed oil and safflower seed oil that work as moisturizer for dry skin.
  • This primer is self-adapting which means that it can work for any skin tone.
  • It is talc-free and would not cause irritation or redness on the sensitive skins, avoiding break outs.
  • The face needs to be moisturized before the application of the primer.
  • Oily skins will feel greasy that might also lead to acne and the makeup would not stay in place giving a horrible look.
  • It needs to be followed with a dry foundation.

19. Organic Foundation Makeup Primer

Organic Foundation Makeup Primer is all you need when you are not sure which skin type you belong to and you are giving an experimental attempt as it works for nearly all skin types. It has a gel consistency but feels like a powder on face.
Best For: Oily skin.

  • Unlike all other on the list, Organic Foundation Primer is water-proof and has a unique gel formula that creates long-lasting effects and prevents smudging.
  • It is enriched with anti-oxidants (Vitamin A and E) that boost skin proteins (collagen and elastin) and cause cell reproduction to ensure the anti-aging property.
  • It does not clog pores and limits the sebum production that lowers the chances of getting acne.
  • It is paraben-free and fragrance-free which makes it suitable for sensitive skins.
  • It is light weight and easy to apply hiding all the wrinkles, fine lines and rough patchy skin.
  • Extremely oily faces might be disappointed with the shine control as it is not effective for their skin type.
  • It contains Dimethicone which is not organic as it is derived from silicone and opposes the product’s claim to be organic.
Sheikh has been blogging regularly at CAA for 4 years. He spends majority of his time studying health and technology or participating in discussions about these niches (online or offline).



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