10 Best Primers For Acne-Prone Skin That Work Wonders

Written by Kirtana Divakar
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When you’re aiming for perfectly-settled, flawless makeup that stays intact, oily skin can be trouble, not in one, but many ways. While oil-prone skin causes makeup to melt and dissolve sooner than it should, it adds a grease-induced shine to the face and creates all the ideal conditions for your skin to break out. If you have oily, acne-prone skin, you need a product that keeps your pores safe from clogging, prevents your skin from breaking out, and absorbs excess oil to create a matte base for your makeup. Choosing the best primers for acne-prone skin is one solution for all the oily and acne-prone skin issues that we all encounter.

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e.l.f. Blemish Control Face Primer
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SOZGE Oil-Free Face Primer
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dr. brandt Pores No More Pore Refiner Primer
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Lauda Botanicals Oily Skin Control Moisturizer
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Tatcha The Silk Canvas- Filter Finish Protective Primer
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Monica Ann Beauty Dual Action Primer
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W-Airfit Pore Primer
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Paula's Choice Shine Stopper Instant Matte Finish Primer
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Cover FX Mattifying Primer + Acne Treatment
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Tarte Poreless Mattifying Primer
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A primer helps control excess oil and acne and hides enlarged pores, fine lines, and wrinkles. With the right ingredients on its list, it can also replace your moisturizer. We’re here to help you choose a suitable primer with our list of the 10 best primers for acne-prone skin to keep the unwanted shine and acne-monsters off your face.

10 Best Primers For Acne-Prone Skin To Blur Away Imperfections

1. e.l.f. Blemish Control Face Primer

Create a smooth canvas for your foundation with this primer and get an instant flawless matte finish. Be it subtle or bold makeup; this primer preps the skin by blending evenly to create a base for other products that follow. This good primer for acne-prone skin prevents breakouts and fades the blemishes with ingredients like salicylic acid, vitamin E, and tea tree oil. It also helps the makeup last impressively long irrespective of the skin type. The brand takes pride in being cruelty-free and vegan and hydroquinone and paraben-free, which add more awesomeness to this long-lasting primer for acne-prone skin


  • Controls breakouts and blemishes
  • Free of phthalates
  • Ethoxylate and triclosan-free
  • Suitable for all skin types
  • Vegan


  • May not cancel out redness

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2. SOZGE Oil-Free Face Primer

Oily skin can make it impossible to hold your makeup for long hours while also opening doors to more acne. If oiliness is what you’re trying to fight, try the SOZGE face primer for acne-prone skin. It is a lightweight formula enriched with green tea extracts and soluble collagen that absorbs the oil to keep off unwanted shine. It makes for an ideal base for your makeup regimen and is hardly noticeable once you massage the product onto your face. It conceals your blemishes, pores, wrinkles, and uneven complexion while making your skin visibly smoother.


  • Covers pores and wrinkles
  • Brightens the skin
  • Non-drying formula
  • Long-lasting effect


  • May not be suitable for all skin types
  • Contains EDTA

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3. dr. brandt Pores No More Pore Refiner Primer

Bid goodbye to pores with this Pores No More Refiner primer from dr. brandt. It helps your makeup stay put for hours as it is resistant to sweat and humidity. The pore filling primer for acne-prone skin creates an ideal canvas for makeup with a velvety formula made with lavender oil, linseed extracts, and tea tree leaf oil. It absorbs excess oil and covers the pores, thus preventing makeup from dissolving. You can use it daily, before you apply your foundation. You can also replace your moisturizer with it. For a quick fix when you’re going makeup-free, pat and blend it gently to cover the pores, and you’ll witness a beautiful matte effect with a healthy dose of hydration.


  • Quick fix for pores
  • Makes skin smooth
  • Suitable for everyday application
  • Sweat-resistant


  • May not be suitable for extremely dry skin

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4. Lauda Botanicals Oily Skin Control Moisturizer

A moisturizer that doubles as a primer is what every girl needs to make her life easier. This non-comedogenic primer is your one-stop-solution for moisturizing, mattifying, and minimizing pores. Slide this bottle into your bag, and you won’t need to splurge on multiple skincare products for your face. It is blessed with acne-fighting ingredients like salicylic and lactic acids, cinnamon, tea tree oil, witch hazel, pine tree extract, and lemon peel. It is ideal for oily and acne-prone skin as it controls the production of sebum, which is a mixture of lipids that make your skin extremely oily. Give this moisturizer cum primer a try, and you’ll never want to run out of it.


  • Restores pH balance
  • Controls breakouts
  • Non-greasy formula
  • Dries fast
  • Rich in antioxidants


  • May not be suitable for dry skin

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5. Tatcha The Silk Canvas- Filter Finish Protective Primer

Tired of trying countless primers that won’t stop irritating your skin? Try this dermatologist-tested, non-comedogenic priming balm to add a silky-smooth and even base for long-lasting makeup. It can be used as a primer for your face, eyes, and lips. It helps reduce clogging in pores and breakouts and fights the harmful effects of environmental stressors. The ingredients such as Hadasei-3, a trinity of Japanese superfoods, green tea, rice, and algae that help reduce wrinkles and dullness makes it a perfect primer for aging acne-prone skin. If you’re looking for a primer that minimizes excess shine, smoothes the skin, and nourishes, this is an ideal pick.


  • Acts as a barrier between makeup and skin
  • Evens out the skin tone
  • Anti-aging
  • Paraben and sulfate-free
  • Cruelty-free


  • Some may find the consistency too thick.

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6. Monica Ann Beauty Dual Action Primer

We know how aging skin demands products that address this skin issue; so, we bring you this primer for aging, acne-prone skin. It arms your skin against wrinkles and fine lines and helps reduce pores. It is a healthy blend of vitamin C and hyaluronic acid. These ingredients fight the damage caused by UV radiation to give you brighter skin while restoring the youthfulness of your skin. Pat it onto your skin and massage gently for a hydrated face and makeup that stays intact for a whole day.


  • Minimizes pores
  • Prevents wrinkles
  • Matte finish
  • Brightens your skin
  • Free from parabens and sulfates
  • Cruelty-free


  • May not be suitable for sensitive skin

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7. W-Airfit Pore Primer

If you’re looking for a primer that can conveniently replace your foundation on days when you’re too lazy for makeup, your hunt might end here. This pore filling primer for acne-prone skin is a healthy blend of skin-loving ingredients like orange flower, magnolia flower, tea tree, oats, rose flower, and lily extracts. It minimizes pores and sets a flawless base for your foundation while nourishing and caring for your skin. It is lightweight and helps keep skin dullness at bay while repairing blemishes. As a plus, it also offers protection from UV radiation and environmental aggressors.


  • Covers pores
  • Improves skin texture
  • Reduces fine lines
  • Brightens the skin tone


  • Some may find the smell chemical-like.

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8. Paula’s Choice Shine Stopper Instant Matte Finish Primer

If you’re on the lookout for a primer to primarily rid your skin of that added shine from oiliness, give this one a try. This oil-free primer for acne-prone skin absorbs excess oils to diminish the oil-induced gleam. What makes this primer stand out is its unique microsponge technology that renders it 6-hour oil control to prevent your makeup from melting or dissolving. It is a lightweight formula that dries quickly to leave behind a powder-like matte finish with a silky smooth texture. Invest in this thoughtfully formulated primer for all-day shine control.


  • Lightweight
  • Matte-finish
  • Paraben-free
  • Fragrance-free
  • Cruelty-free


  • Contains EDTA

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9. Cover FX Mattifying Primer + Acne Treatment

The Cover FX primer is formulated to treat acne and fade acne scars to reveal blemish-free skin. This primer reduces visible pores and fights acne with its weightless, 1% salicylic acid formula. You can either wear it under your makeup to control excess shine or use it as a moisturizer if you like a final matte finish. Among other ingredients that make it a restorative potion for acne are ancient African tree bark, sugar maple, bilberry, lemon, sugarcane, and orange fruit extracts for a healthy-looking, rejuvenated skin.


  • Free of harsh chemicals
  • Reduces the size of pores
  • Fades blemishes
  • Matte-effect
  • Vegan
  • Gluten-free


  • May not be suitable for oily skin

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10. Tarte Poreless Mattifying Primer

If your makeup dissolves within a few hours, it is time for you to switch to the Tarte primer for acne-prone skin. Designed with optical matte-blur technology, this Tarte waterproof face primer creates a perfect matte-finish canvas for your makeup. It contains safflower seed oil, avocado, grape seed oil, rosemary leaf extract, and several fruit extracts that nutrify the skin while resulting in an even tone over time. The mattifying primer for acne-prone skin controls shine and filters out the pores, fine lines, and other imperfections. Apply it before your foundation and stay fret-free as it delivers a lasting impact of 12 hours.


  • Waterproof
  • Hides acne scars
  • Long-lasting
  • Heals dry patches


  • Some may find it greasy.

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These are some of the best primers for acne-prone skin. If you are wondering how you can pick one that’s best for you, here’s how you can choose the right one based on your skin issues.

How To Choose A Good Primer For Acne-Prone Skin

  • Non-comedogenic

Choose a primer that is non-comedogenic because such primers are specifically formulated to prevent your pores from clogging. You can check if the product is comedogenic by reading the product label. Many websites also rank skincare products based on the comedogenicity scale— the lower the number, the lesser the chances of the ingredients to clog your pores. Primers with elements in the range of 0-2 are considered non-comedogenic.

  • Salicylic acid

Salicylic acid is usually used to treat acne and hyperpigmentation. So, primers with salicylic acid can double as a treatment for acne-prone skin as they not just cover acne up but also repair breakouts.

  • Oil-free

Look for oil-free and oil-absorbing primers as they can help you avoid excessive shine on your face and lock your makeup. Such primers are made from ingredients that absorb oil to control makeup-meltdown.

  • Additional ingredients

Ingredients like vitamin A and E can help hydrate and heal your skin. Vitamin E is an antioxidant and helps fight skin damage from sun exposure. Vitamin A prevents breakouts and speeds up the healing process of the skin. Other noteworthy ingredients to look for are tea tree oil that fights dryness, and aloe vera that prevents skin irritation.

  • Dimethicone

If a primer has dimethicone, a silicone-based polymer, it can help control excess oil leading to acne problems. It is used in skincare and makeup products to render soft, smooth, and velvety skin.

We recommend you keep an eye for these ingredients while choosing the primer for your skin. Now, here’s how you should apply primer for the best results.

How To Use A Primer For Acne-Prone Skin

  • Dab a pea-sized amount of the primer on your face and massage to even out the primer.
  • Give it a couple of minutes to dry completely before applying foundation.
  • You can also gently dab it over the foundation to control the shine due to excess oil.
  • Based on your preference, you can apply only a primer on your face to cover the imperfections to achieve a fresh, no-makeup look.

It takes a lot of time and effort to perfect any makeup for a flawless look. If you want your hard work to stay put for longer periods, you should make it a point to use a primer. A primer can add longevity to the makeup, save your pores from clogging, and fade acne scars and fine lines when you use the right formulation. For acne-prone skin, it is all the more crucial to choose the right primer that doesn’t aggravate your acne problem. We hope that we’ve made your search easier with our list of the 10 best primers for acne-prone skin so you can keep that oily, greasy shine and acne-monsters at bay.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a primer good for acne-prone skin?

Primers are good for acne-prone skin if they are non-comedogenic. They prevent the pores from clogging; hence, lower the chances of developing acne. They also help your makeup stay longer.

Can we use primers every day?

While it is not necessary to use a primer every day, it helps define the makeup and keeps it in place for longer hours. And a primer with several natural ingredients can also benefit your skin.

Can primers cause acne?

Primers help with oil control but can, under rare circumstances, clog your pores leading to breakouts, especially if you have sensitive skin. However, if you pick a primer formulated for acne-prone skin, it saves you from breakouts.

Can I use a moisturizer instead of a primer?

Moisturizers do not act as a substitute for primers. If you have dry skin, you can use a hydrating primer so that it does not make your skin feel dry.

Does a primer protect the skin?

This depends on the formulation of the primer. If your primer is infused with ingredients known to protect the skin from pollutants, acne-causing agents, signs of aging, etc., you may expect it to offer skin protection.

Are primers bad for oily skin?

No. Most primers not only help keep the makeup intact for long hours but also absorb excess oil generally. A good mattifying primer will also moisturize your skin without clogging your pores or causing excess oil secretion.

Is a primer really necessary?

Primer is an essential step that precedes makeup, especially for acne-prone skin, as it saves your pores from being clogged and further worsening your acne.

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Kirtana developed a deep passion for writing ever since she was a little girl after reading the brilliant works of Enid Blyton and Roald Dahl. She completed her Master’s in Mass Communication and Journalism from St. Joseph’s College, Bengaluru and has chosen a career that is driven by creativity. A fashion enthusiast who believes in communicating effectively with a personal touch, she writes about beauty, skin care, fashion, and just about anything else.