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Primers are essential to every beauty routine - they work to lock in your makeup base, neutralise oil, and provide a smooth, crease-free canvas for all-day makeup. However, poorly chosen primers can sometimes clog your pores that eventually lead to unwanted breakouts.

If you have acne, you should find a product that treats or combats acne while perfecting your complexion. In today’s guide, we have shortlisted the top primers for acne-prone skin to help you pick out one that suits you best.

Should you use a primer if you have acne?

Just because you suffer from breakouts does not mean you should skip primers. A primer can also be a light moisturising serum that acts as a buffer to protect your skin from harsh environmental factors. If you have acne-prone skin, you should invest in a gentle, non-comedogenic primer that gently treats acne.

For oily skin, oil-free and oil-absorbing primers are perfect as they won’t clog or block pores. If you have dry and sensitive skin, you will want to invest in a hydrating primer that can minimise your pore sizes and prevent future breakouts. 

Do check the ingredients list for hyaluronic acid and glycerine as they offer better moisturisation. Also, look for AHA ingredients such as glycolic acid that does not cause too much irritation to further aggravate your skin.

With that in mind, below are some of the best face primers for those with frequent breakouts and acne.

Cover FX
1. Cover FX Mattifying Primer with Anti-Acne Treatment
Best Overall Primer for oily and acne- prone skin
Best for acne and blemished skin
Cover FX
1. Cover FX Mattifying Primer with Anti-Acne Treatment
Best Overall Primer for oily and acne- prone skin

The Cover FX Mattifying Primer with Anti-Acne Treatment helps to create a soft, flawless look all day long. It’s formulated with Salicylic Acid and Ancient African Tree Bark to treat and reduce blemishes. This lightweight primer visibly reduces the appearance of pores while leaving skin feeling fresher and smoother. 

Best primer for acne holes

Regain your youthful lustre with Origins Original Skin Pore Perfecting Primer. This perfecting primer works to leave skin looking fresh, pore-fected, and glowing all day. Infused with natural Willowherb, the cooling and airy mousse primer helps to counteract dullness and smoothen pores for a flawless, brighter complexion.

Tarte
3. Tarte Poreless Mattifying Primer
Best primer for acne scars and large pores
Best for acne scars
Tarte
3. Tarte Poreless Mattifying Primer
Best primer for acne scars and large pores

Tarte’s 12-hour Poreless Mattifying Primer effectively fights shine and minimises the look of pores to create a smooth, matte surface. This silky, invisible gel reduces appearances of imperfections by erasing pores and resurfaces uneven texture caused by large pores and acne scars. Infused with nutrient-rich botanical extracts, the primer also neutralises free radicals and immediately boosts complexion even before makeup. 

Smashbox
4. Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer
Best primer for deep and pitted acne scars
Best primer for normal combination skin
Smashbox
4. Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer
Best primer for deep and pitted acne scars

Whether you choose to wear it alone or under makeup, Smashbox’s Original Photo Finish Primer seamlessly glides on to give your complexion a flawless finish. This vegan and cruelty-free gel primer works on all skin types to conceal pores for a smoother appearance. Formulated with Vitamin A and E, Smashbox’s powerful primer defends your skin against environmental stress. 

Best primer for oily skin with SPF
Hourglass
5. Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer
Best primer with SPF - suitable for sensitive-acne prone skin
Best primer for oily skin with SPF
Hourglass
5. Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer
Best primer with SPF - suitable for sensitive-acne prone skin

Going far and beyond, Hourglass’ state-of-the-art Veil Mineral works on sensitive and acne-prone skin that conceals redness and pores to create the perfect canvas for makeup. This oil-free, airy primer even waterproofs your masterpieces to withstand unpredictable weather and sweat. With SPF 15 protection, the primer shields your skin against the sun’s damaging rays.

Revlon
6. Revlon PhotoReady Pore Reducing Primer
Best drugstore primer for acne prone skin
Best drugstore primer for acne-prone and sensitive skin
Revlon
6. Revlon PhotoReady Pore Reducing Primer
Best drugstore primer for acne prone skin

Get selfie-ready with Revlon’s ultra-lightweight skin-perfecting primer. This luxurious primer seamlessly blends into your skin to soften and minimise the appearance of pores for a flawless, airbrushed look. With Revlon’s High-Definition Filter technology, this primer captures and transforms light to mimic photo filters so you’re always photo-ready wherever you go.  

Alima Pure
7. Alima Pure Smooth and Prime
Best natural/herbal primer for acne prone skin
Best natural/herbal primer for acne prone skin
Alima Pure
7. Alima Pure Smooth and Prime
Best natural/herbal primer for acne prone skin

Alima Pure’s au naturel primer works amazingly to create the perfect base for long-lasting makeup by refining skin texture and controlling shine. Smooth and Prime is specially formulated with calming and brightening ingredients to give you a naturally luminous complexion. Whether you prefer pressed, powder or liquid foundation, this mattifying primer works well to provide all-day coverage.

Laura Mercier
8. Laura Mercier Foundation Primer - Oil Free
Best foundation primer - suitable for dry, acne-prone skin
Best foundation primer - suitable for dry, acne-prone skin
Laura Mercier
8. Laura Mercier Foundation Primer - Oil Free
Best foundation primer - suitable for dry, acne-prone skin

Laura Mercier’s Oil-Free Foundation Primer creates a smooth buffer layer between your skin and makeup for longer-lasting wear. This mattifying primer has quite a high-water content to actively hydrate your skin and prevent future breakouts. It is also formulated with Vitamins A, C and E to defend your skin from harmful environmental damage. 

Disclaimer: The pricing shown is just a good indication of how much these products are worth. The prices could change based on the e-commerce promotions that are going on. If some of the products are not available, do email us at [email protected] Thank you!

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