10 Best Primers For Acne-Prone Skin That Work Wonders

Use these excellent products to cover up your pimples and achieve a flawless makeup look.

Reviewed by Nyssa GreenNyssa Green, Makeup Artist
By Kirtana DivakarKirtana Divakar  • 
All products recommended on StyleCraze are independently selected by our editorial team. If you make a purchase through any of these links, we may receive a commission. Learn more about our product selection process here.

A primer smooths your skin and gives you an even skin tone. It controls acne, covers enlarged pores, fine lines, wrinkles, and controls excess oil. The best primer for acne-prone skin doesn’t clog pore or break out the skin but provides a matte base. It absorbs excess oil and retains a flawless makeup finish.

A primer is usually applied before using foundation, tinted moisturizer and enhances makeup coverage. The primer can also be an alternative to moisturizer. If you apply makeup directly to your oily or acne-prone skin, makeup may melt or shade. Oily skin or acne-prone skin may make you appear greasy, resulting in breakouts. So, applying primer is a necessary step before applying makeup on the skin.

However, choosing the ideal primer for acne-prone skin can be tricky when there are numerous products available in the market. So, take a look at our list of the 10 best primers for acne-prone skin that eliminate unwanted shine and ease your makeup application.

Check Price
Best Vegan: e.l.f. Blemish Control Face Primer
Price on Amazon
Best Daily Wear Formula: Jouer Anti-Blemish Matte Primer
Price on Amazon
Best Hydrating: dr. brandt Pores No More Pore Refiner Primer
Price on Amazon
Best Non-Comedogenic: Lauda Botanicals Oily Skin Control Moisturizer
Price on Amazon
Best Anti-Aging: Tatcha The Silk Canvas- Filter Finish Protective Primer
Price on Amazon
Best Long-Lasting: Monica Ann Beauty Dual Action Primer
Price on Amazon
Best For Pore Minimizing: W-Airfit Pore Primer
Price on Amazon
Best Lightweight: Paula's Choice Shine Stopper Instant Matte Finish Primer
Price on Amazon
Best Gluten-Free: Cover FX Mattifying Primer + Acne Treatment
Price on Amazon
Best Waterproof: Tarte Poreless Mattifying Primer
Price on Amazon

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

1. Best Vegan: e.l.f. Blemish Control Face Primer

e.l.f. Blemish Control Face Primer, Acne Fighting Formula, Preps & Soothes Skin, Small, 0.47 Fl Oz (14mL) Image: Elf Cosmetics

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 blemish-control primer for acne-prone skin prevents breakouts with the help of 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 Watch this video for a thorough understanding of the product.


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


  • May not cancel out redness

protip_icon Pro Tip
Before using the primer, prep your skin with a mild face wash and apply a hydrating moisturizer to keep your skin supple and healthy.

Why It’s Worth Buying: The product has more than 2,490 reviews and is a top choice all around the world.
Price at the time of publication: $7

2. Best Daily Wear Formula: Jouer Anti-Blemish Matte Primer

Jouer Anti-Blemish Matte Primer Image: Jouer Cosmetics

Want to hide your enlarged pores and reduce the excess oil on your skin? Grab the Jouer Anti-Blemish Matte Primer today and end all your acne woes. The magical formula contains salicylic acid that controls sebum production, treats blemishes, and minimizes the appearance of your pores. This vegan primer is also packed with vitamin E, ginseng, and ginkgo bilboba extracts that treat skin inflammation and reduce redness. Layer this dermatologist-recommended primer under your foundation and achieve a smooth and even skin tone.


  • Long-lasting
  • Suitable for sensitive skin
  • Fragrance-free
  • Vegan
  • Silicon-free
  • Oil-free
  • Paraben-free


  • Might dry out the skin

protip_icon Pro Tip
Apply the primer all over your face, especially around your nose, forehead, cheeks, and chin in gentle dabbing motion.

3. Best Hydrating: dr. brandt Pores No More Pore Refiner Primer

Dr. Brandt Pore Refiner Primer Image: Dr. Brandt Skincare

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 moving and sliding. 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. Click here to check out this YouTuber’s unbiased review.


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


  • May not be suitable for extremely dry skin

protip_icon Pro Tip
Pat and blend a light layer of the primer over redness and pores. Do not rub the product on your skin.

Why It’s Worth Buying: More than 1,181 customers have given the product positive reviews on Amazon.
Price at the time of publication: $30.0

4. Best Non-Comedogenic: Lauda Botanicals Oily Skin Control Moisturizer

Lauda Botanicals Oily Face Control Mattifying Primer Image: Lauda Botanicals

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. This acne-fighting primer is blessed with 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
Price at the time of publication: $16.95

5. Best Anti-Aging: Tatcha The Silk Canvas- Filter Finish Protective Primer

TATCHA The Silk Canvas Image: Tatcha

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 cruelty-free primer that minimizes excess shine, smoothes the skin, and nourishes, this is an ideal pick. Click here to check out a detailed personal review of this product.


  • 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.
Price at the time of publication: $54.0

6. Best Long-Lasting: Monica Ann Beauty Dual Action Primer

Monica Ann Beauty Dual-Action Primer Image: Monica Ann Beauty

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
Price at the time of publication: $34.0

7. Best For Pore Minimizing: 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. The lightweight primer also 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.
Price at the time of publication: $12.99

8. Best Lightweight: 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 moving. 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 fragrance-free primer for all-day shine control.


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


  • Contains EDTA
Price at the time of publication: $28

9. Best Gluten-Free: 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
Price at the time of publication: $29.96

10. Best Waterproof: Tarte Poreless Mattifying Primer

tarte Poreless Mattifying Primer Image: Tarte

If your makeup moves or seems to fade 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.
Price at the time of publication: $32

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 any high-end primer or drugstore 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.

Infographic: Primers For Acne–Prone Skin: Key Ingredients And How To Apply

A primer is a godsend when it comes to prepping your acne-prone skin to apply makeup. It smooths the canvas for seamless makeup application that can stay intact all day long. Here’s an infographic that will help you figure out the ingredients to look for while buying a primer. We have also added some tips on how to use it on acne-prone skin. Check it out!

Primers For Acne–Prone Skin: Key Ingredients And How To Apply (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Save the high-quality PDF version on your device now.

Download Infographic in PDF version Download Infographic
Download Infographic in PDF version

Priming acne-prone skin can be slightly tricky compared to other skin types. These primers for acne-prone skin contain salicylic acid ingredients that help cover the skin imperfections such as hyperpigmentation, stubborn acne, large open pores, wrinkles, and fine lines to restore the skin texture to provide you flawless makeup look. In addition, these primers help elevate the foundations and other makeup essentials to elevate your look by eliminating skin dullness. They are available in various shades to suit every skin tone. These primers for acne-prone skin are vegan, waterproof, and provide long-lasting results. However, some products may not suit oily skin types. The buying guide will help you choose the best primers that suit your skin type.

Why Trust Stylecraze?

Kirtana Divakar, our skincare expert, has a knack for researching and reviewing the best makeup products available. A good base can help you get a flawless makeup look, and hence, for this post on best primers for acne-prone skin, she has researched multiple sites and analyzed various reviews from existing users. In addition, an elaborate explanation of the pros and cons of these primers based on user reviews will help you pick the most suitable primer for your skin type.

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 hypoallergenic 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. Choose an SPF-infused primer, if you want protection against harmful UV rays.

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.

Should you use a primer if you have acne?

Yes. Primers can be used even if you have acne, provided that there are no comedogenic ingredients in the formula. Comedogenic ingredients like silicones can clog the pores and worsen acne conditions. Instead, try acne-friendly primers that will simply blur the imperfections without aggravating your pimples.

What are the side effects of using primer on the face?

Primers that are free from harsh chemicals will not have any side effects. But, those with harsh irritants like silicone can clog your pores, and develop pimples, blackheads, and whiteheads. Plus, such primers are not lightweight and cause excessive sweating.

Can you sleep with a primer on?

No. Sleeping with a primer on is very damaging to your skin especially if you have worn your makeup for the full day. Primers can clog your pores and attract dirt and grime to your face. Plus, residues from primers can hinder the natural renewal of your skin and make way for developing wrinkles.

Should I use a primer if I have oily skin?

Yes. Use a mattifying primer that is specifically formulated for oily skin. Such a primer controls excessive sebum production and is effective in controlling the shine. Plus, primers for oily skin also hydrate the skin without clogging the pores.

Related Articles

Best Primers For Oily Skin
Best Primers For Textured Skin To Minimize Pores
Best Water-Based Primers
Best Setting Sprays For Acne-Prone Skin

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