10 Best Primers To Improve Your Acne Prone Skin

Acne Solutions

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When you have acne-prone skin, it can be the most frustrating feeling to figure out what primer works to cover your blemishes, reduce irritation, nourish skin, and prevent future acne. It’s a tall order – but you have some top-notch options. After your morning skincare routine, your primer is one of the best barriers between your acne and makeup. No one wants clogged pores, and picking the wrong primer when you have troubled skin can do more damage than good – no matter how fierce you look.

The right primer should protect troubled skin by mattifying oiliness, reducing environmental stress, and strengthening your skin microbiome. When looking for effective primer ingredients, you want makeup that enhances your skincare routine and uses ingredients that are primarily focused on healing and preventing acne. Whether you are trying to cover up old blemishes or stressing over your newest cluster of papules, the right primer is out there, and you may find it on our list. These ten primers have ingredients that can improve your acne-prone skin as you create a flawless makeup finish.

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If you’re on a budget but need a primer that won’t exacerbate your acne, then e.l.f. may have your answer. Their acne-fighting formula has salicylic acid to unclog deep within your pores, vitamin E to heal skin through anti-inflammatory properties, and tea tree oil to clear bacteria with its anti-microbial properties. The affordable brand is a beauty staple, and their blemish control face primer is 100% vegan, cruelty-free and paraben-free. With a light green color to counter excessive redness, this seamless face primer creates a smooth base that doubles up as skincare to fade blemishes and prevent breakouts caused by pore-clogging makeup. 

If you have more oily skin that gives you a natural spotlight at the center of your face, then Paula’s Choice may be your best choice. The weightless fragrance-free formula is an excellent choice for those with sensitive, acne-prone skin that don’t want to feel like their wearing a mask but also want to have a smooth powdery soft base under their makeup. It provides all-day shine control without parabens and can even be worn alone for a nice simple actual no-makeup look.

The invisible gel lays a silky smooth base for your next makeup look. If you have combination skin, this waterproof mattifying primer gives your skin a retextured surface for 12+ hours using Tarte’s optical matte-blur technology. If you have dry patches, the Centella Asiatica extract provides anti-inflammatory hydration, while the antioxidant-rich t5 superfruit complex blend nourishes and hydrates the skin. Hibiscus flower, rosemary, and echinacea root extracts give some nourishment while you’re flaunting your shine-free look, and the vegan formula is dermatologist tested and approved. 

Does stress make your skin break out? Well, Cover FX has created the Stress Remedy Primer to help you combat those bumps and blemishes. This cooling primer is filled with soothing cucumber extract, wound healing St John’s Wort Oil, calming chamomile-like Dragosantol, and skin barrier strengthening phytosphingosine. If your skin gets irritated or you suffer from rosacea, this gentle skin prep can support skin healing and neutralize the redness.

Real skin doctors designed this pore refining primer by Dr. Brandt. This popular primer is lightweight and mattifying with a gentle salicylic acid formula to gently exfoliate dead skin build-up while giving you the smooth foundation your makeup needs. You can wear this alone for a natural pore-minimizing look. According to their website, one primer sells every three minutes, so those doctors must know what they’re doing in the pore-minimizing primer department. The skin tint is also a huge plus if you want to wear it on its own or need that even base when using a lightweight foundation.

Another e.l.f. primer is on our list – and for a good reason! The putty texture hugs your skin while delivering skin-clearing ingredients to prevent breakouts with salicylic acid, draw out impurities with kaolin clay, and reduce redness with zinc. The affordable vegan primer comes with a hygienic putty primer application brush to keep bacteria out of your putty and off your skin, too. The velvety smooth base sets your skin up for all-day oil control and encourages an even complexion.  

Revlon brings a triple dose of mattifying ingredients, including artichoke extract, salicylic acid, and alpha hydroxy acid. The Prime Plus formula can help keep bacteria out of the pores, clears clogged pores, and improves the appearance of pores while reducing excess sebum within four weeks. It’s always a top-tier feature when your makeup doubles as skincare. This lightweight primer uses its Soft Focus Blurred Effect formula with spherical beads to leave behind a flawless, silky finish. 

Maybe she’s born with it….or maybe you just need a new primer. Maybelline Face Studio created a lightweight water-soluble base with active ingredients to reduce redness and even your skin tone. The non-oily formula is allergy tested for sensitive skin and dermatologist tested to ensure it does not clog pores. You can gently remove the all-day wear primer with micellar water whether you’re wearing it alone or under a heap of makeup. This affordable primer can be found in most drugstores, too.

You’ve probably tried your fair share of gel primers if you have oily skin. And it’s not often a skincare brand creates a formula that works for your oily or combination skin underneath your makeup, but La Roche-Posay seemed to be up for the challenge. Their gel-cream moisturizer doubles as a primer due to its mattifying properties and skin barrier-protecting ingredients. The iconic thermal water hydrates your skin, niacinamide calms redness and breakouts, and ceramides fortify your skin barrier.

TULA is known for its probiotic skincare formulas, and this primer is no exception! TULA’s luminizing formula uses golden light-infused pigments to give your skin a glowy vibe while blurring uneven skin tone and blemishes. The potent probiotics extracts (no worry of live culture issues) and skin superfood encourage a balanced skin barrier while the licorice root and turmeric extract brighten uneven skin tone for a healthy glow.

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