The Ultimate Guide to Selecting the Best Primer for Acne Prone Skin

Fighting acne prone and oily skin can be genuinely troublesome; particularly during summer months, when it’s more maddening than during the winter.

Nonetheless, when you have the right combination of products in your beauty arsenal, there is hope. You’ve guessed it; we’re talking about having the best primer for acne prone skin in your kit.

We are aware that finding a high-quality primer for acne skin seems like an impossible mission most of the time. That’s why we searched the market for primers for acne prone skin and tested each one thoroughly so that we could give you our recommendations.

Before we present to you our top options, we would like to outline the qualities of a truly efficient acne primer.

Best Primers for Acne Prone Skin: Reviews and Comparison​

Featured Product

Best Overall  Primer 

2nd Choice

3rd Choice

4th Choice

5th Choice

Best Primers For Acne Prone Skin 2017

COVER FX Mattifying Primer with Anti-Acne Treatment
Hourglass Cosmetics Veil Mineral Primer
LORAC POREfection Mattifying Face Primer
BECCA Ever-Matte Poreless Priming Perfector
Neutrogena Shine Control Primer

Product Name

Mattifying Primer With Anti-Acne Treatment

Veil Mineral Primer

Foundation Primer - Oil Free

Ever-Matte Poreless Priming Perfector™

Shine Control Primer




Laura Mercier



Chief Ingredients

Salicylic Acid, Cyclopentasiloxane, Salix Nigra Bark Extract, Water and Dimethicone Crosspolymer

JPolysilicone -11Titanium Dioxide,Zinc oxide Cyclopentasiloxane and Isododecane

Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride,Water (Aqua), Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Stearic Acid, Isodecyl Isononanoate and Glycerin

Water, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Propylene Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, and Methylparaben

Butylene Glycol, Dimethicone, Methyl Trimethicone, Silica, Lauryl PEG-9 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone and Isododecane

Skin Type

Oily Skin

All Skin Types

Oily Skin

All Skin Types

Oily Skin


1 fl. oz.

1 oz.

1.7 fl. oz

1.35 fl. Oz

1 fl. oz.

Star Rating

Buy Now

What Should the Best Primer for Acne Prone Skin Do?

As someone who experiences breakouts now and then, you might feel hopeless when it comes to finding the right combination of skincare products.

On top of that, if you have oily skin, the odds are that you’re coping with other problems as well, such as increased sensitivity, blackheads, and so on.

In this respect, a decent product should deliver results, and address each problem in particular. For the most part, we advise you to stay away from products that contain fragrances, added oils or other chemicals.

Such products could do you more harm than good, clogging the pores and leading to breakouts.

A high-quality primer for acne prone skin could dramatically diminish acne. Likewise, it could increase the resistance of your makeup, enhancing your overall appearance.

So, which are those factors you should keep an eye out for when you’re on the lookout for the best primer for acne?

Oil Control

By all means, oil control is a crucial condition that your primer should meet. In case in oil clogs the pores, it facilitates the growth of bacteria. The result is, of course, acne.

On that note, stay away from primers that contain oils, such as shea butter. On the other hand, the product you carefully select should absorb existing oil and prevent the skin from excess sebum production.

Moisture Retention

As weird as it may seem, lack of moisture is also a common cause of acne. In this respect, the product you select should ensure moisture retention, keeping the skin hydrated during the day.

That is vital as it facilitates the healing process of the skin. What is more, this makes the skin firmer. You should know that firmer skin is also less responsive to breakouts. In other words, you must make sure that the primer you choose contains water.

Ingredients that Battle Acne

Ingredients that Battle Acne

This factor is self-explanatory. Acne is a serious condition, so you must find a product that has components that are able to fight the problem.

Some of the most common ingredients found in the best primers for acne are benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid. These contribute to the recovery process of the skin, facilitating the healing of the blemishes.

Another key ingredient is tea tree oil, which has been demonstrated to decrease the growth of acne-causing bacteria significantly.

No Artificial Fragrances

As noted before, manufactured scents can genuinely harm the skin, especially if it’s sensitive. Synthetic fragrances, in particular, could lead to excess dryness.

Nonetheless, active, natural fragrances are safe; we’re referring to lavender, chamomile, and others. Even so, if your skin is sensitive, you should avoid such products, to stay on the safe side.

Healthy, Nutritive Ingredients

The secret to having glowing skin lies in the skincare products you use. On that note, the best primers for acne prone skin should contain natural extracts, such as willow bark or licorice root. These play a vital role in maintaining the complexion radiant.

Also, vitamins aim at hindering breakouts. So, a primer should embody vitamin E and A.

In short: using a primer that is rich in antioxidants and vitamins could critically diminish the discomfort associated with blemishes and breakouts.

What Ingredients Should You Stay Away From?

If you’re prone to acne breakouts, you should be really careful when it comes to reading the label of your skincare products. Some of the ingredients that have a bad reputation for acne skin are silicones.

The question is: do silicones cause blemishes and should be avoided at all costs? Not necessarily. First, allow us to explain the concept of comedogenicity. This is the technical term that stands for pore clogging.

Comedogenicity represents the tendency of topical agents, such as emollients, to determine the development of comedones – blackheads, whiteheads, and papules. These develop under the skin’s surface. An element that determines the development of comedones is referred to as comedogenic.

When it comes to oily skin types, they are prone to clogged pores, cell buildup, which is also known as retention hyperkeratosis. What happens is that dead cells build up, being accompanied by sebum overproduction.

People who don’t cope with acne problems shouldn’t encounter any difficulties in this area.

Do Silicone Ingredients Worsen Acne Conditions?

What are silicones? These compounds are meant to offer a velvety, silky texture to the skin. Silicone-based polymers are commonly met in our skincare products.

They claim to fill fine lines and uneven textures, granting your skin that flawless, perfect look. Also, they ought to keep the skin hydrated for an extended timeframe.

Plus, they have light-reflective properties; which makes them a necessary addition to makeup primers. The most commonly met compounds used in cosmetics, primers included, are:

  • Dimethicone
  • Cyclomethicone
  • Cyclohexasiloxane
  • Cyclopentasiloxane
  • Cetearyl methicone

The Good Part

We’ll begin by enumerating the good aspects about silicones. Generally speaking, they are non-comedogenic, hypoallergenic, which makes them fitted for sensitive complexions.

In addition, they do a decent job at balancing dryness that is caused by ingredients such as benzoyl peroxide and others. As a general rule, silicones won’t make your skin greasy and oily, which is more than welcome for acne prone complexions. They also deter transepidermal water loss – TEWL, keeping the skin hydrated and moist at all times.

The Bad Part

So, what is the problem with silicone based polymers? They could maximize penetration of some ingredients. Also, you might be using a formula that isn’t entirely compatible with the oily skin, causing a blockage in your pores. This could eventually cause blemishes and breakouts.

One thing is for sure: silicones could have harmful effects on acne prone skin. But that’s not a general condition that applies in all cases. Each skin reacts differently to everything it comes in contact with. So, it’s up to you to determine the cause of your skin’s adverse reaction.

If you find that a silicone based primer has worsened your skin condition, you could always opt for a silicone free primer.

Our 10 Recommendations of Top Primers for Acne Prone Skin

1. COVER FX Mattifying Primer with Anti-Acne Treatment​

COVER FX Mattifying Primer with Anti-Acne Treatment

The best thing about this product is that it is double-purposed. It prolongs your makeup while aiming at treating your acne problems.

One of the ingredients it contains is salicylic acid, which, as mentioned before, diminishes acne breakouts without causing excessive dryness. On top of that, it contains alpha-hydroxy acids, which exercise an exfoliating function on the complexion. In other words, they eliminate dead skin cells that could clog the pores.

We also found that this product targets fine lines and wrinkles as well, shrinking large pores. This is a common problem in the case of acne-prone complexions. What this means is that you could apply makeup much easier, and the result obtained would be smoother.

It also includes vitamins C, F, and E that aim at decreasing the discomfort linked to acne, blemishes, scars and inflammation.


  • Two-in-one product: it treats acne while acting as a primer as well.
  • It incorporates important vitamins that target inflammation and blemishes.
  • You can also apply this overnight, as a spot treatment.


  • The content of salicylic acid is 1 percent; this means it could only treat mild forms of acne.
  • It promises to prolong the makeup for only eight hours.
  • It could cause tackiness and residue.​

2. Hourglass Cosmetics Veil Mineral Primer

Hourglass Cosmetics Veil Mineral Primer

Let’s move on to our second recommendation for a high-quality primer for acne prone skin. This product is specially created for the problems associated with such complexions.

First and foremost, the formula of the product is safe, as it doesn’t contain any harmful ingredients. In essence, this primer aims at absorbing the excess of sebum produced by the skin. The result it delivers is the following: an even, smooth texture.

Secondly, the formula also contains titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, which both work together at diminishing the inflammation. Also, they minimize the harmful effects associated with sun exposure. Due to this blend of ingredients, the color of the primer is white.

And lastly, we also liked that this primer is water resistant while being effortless to apply.


  • Lightweight formula
  • It absorbs quickly into the skin
  • It doesn’t contain extra oils or harmful ingredients
  • It maintains your makeup put for up to 12 hours.
  • Is minimizes shine by absorbing extra sebum.


  • The pump-style type of packaging prevents you from using the entire product.
  • It causes chalky residue; however, we found that it can be covered with foundation.​

3. Laura Mercier Foundation Primer - Oil Free

Laura Mercier Foundation Primer - Oil Free

In comparison with a cream-based primer, this item by Laura Mercier facilitates a smooth, effortless application. The gel formula is doubly refreshing. On top of that, it doesn’t contain any oils.

Furthermore, this product does a decent job at hydrating the complexion without growing the skin’s sebum production. In other words, you benefit from a moisturizer barrier against the makeup you apply.

The smooth finish is also a plus. We found that it actually enhances the makeup’s blend. The formula enlists of a combination of powerful antioxidants, such as vitamin A, cucumber, and green tea extract.In short, all the ingredients combined maintain the skin fresh-looking, while protecting it from acne.


  • It is dermatologically tested and approved
  • It decreases irritation and redness
  • Equally lightweight and hydrating formula
  • It withstands humidity
  • It doesn’t clog the pores


  • Unpleasant scent
  • The drying phase takes some time
  • The high water content could cause a greasy appearance to some people

4. BECCA Ever-Matte Poreless Priming Perfector

BECCA Ever-Matte Poreless Priming Perfector

This is an excellent primer for oily acne skin. It doesn’t contain any silicones, added oils, artificial fragrances or alcohol. In a nutshell, this product doesn’t enlist any of the ingredients that could worsen your acne problems.

If you find that silicone-based products are harmful to your skin, this product is ideal. It is specifically created for oily skin. Depending on how oily your complexion is, you could either apply this on the entire face or targeted areas, such as the T-zone.

After having tested this primer, we noticed that it delivered a smooth finish every time. Also, it keeps the skin fresh-looking and smooth the entire day.

Even if you had trouble with finding the perfect primer for your oily complexion until now, this could become your next favorite product.

As for the application of the product, bear in mind that you should warm it up in your hands before massaging it into the face. As soon as you apply it, you’ll notice how the pores seem to shrink, as this has a tightening effect on the complexion.

In comparison with other products, this keeps your makeup put for many hours – up to 12.


  • Quick-drying effect, which lasts for about 12 hours
  • It withstands sweat and humidity
  • It minimizes the size of the pores
  • It doesn’t contain alcohol, artificial fragrances, oils or silicones


  • You need to apply this quickly
  • After removing makeup, white residue is quite common
  • It embodies parabens
  • It has a heavy texture

5. Neutrogena Shine Control Primer

Neutrogena Shine Control Primer

This is the best primer for oily acne prone skin that comes at a decent price. In plain English, this is a great option if you’re on a budget.

To begin with, this primer has a lightweight, comfortable formula. After applying it, the white formula becomes translucent. It feels a tad grainy until it gets absorbed into the skin.

First and foremost, we liked that it made the face look matte and smooth. This product really diminishes that shiny look we all hate. Apart from that, it did a decent job at hiding the pores and minimizing them.

You could also add a little drop of this primer in your foundation, for an even finish.


  • Affordable price
  • Smooth finishing effect


  • Grainy texture
  • It doesn’t control shine as well as other primers do

6. LORAC POREfection Mattifying Face Primer

LORAC POREfection Mattifying Face Primer

For starters, this primer is filled with a bunch of antioxidants – vitamin A, C, and E – that ensure your skin’s health and wellbeing. Moreover, the formula contains salicylic acid.

It doesn’t have any fragrances, added oils or parabens. This blend of components is ideal for oily, acne prone skin.

The result obtained is a matte, pore-free finish. After each application, the skin appears smooth and supple. In other words, this product helps you to fight the imminent signs of aging.

Using a small amount of the product is more than enough, which means that this product is cost-effective. Your skin will look fresh and put together as the hours pass by, and your pores won’t look as big as they did before.


  • It’s safe for sensitive skin
  • It dramatically diminishes redness
  • It doesn’t contain any parabens, fragrances or oil
  • It contains ingredients that target acne conditions


  • It contains silicone, which means it could clog the pores. This isn’t a rule though; it depends on each person.
  • The low content of salicylic acne makes this effective only in the case of mild forms of acne.

7. Skindinavia The Makeup Primer Spray

Skindinavia The Makeup Primer Spray

Although the manufacturer of this spray primer isn’t widely known, this product has come to our attention. It appears that 90 percent of the ones that have used it agreed that it enhanced the resistance of the makeup, granting a natural, healthy glow.

The spray-on concept makes the product easy to apply. Furthermore, the touch-free design is excellent if you cope with sensitive or intense forms of acne.

We found that this primer prevents the makeup from settling into fine lines, wrinkles, and open pores.

As for the application of the product, what you should do is spray it over your face in the form of an X and T. Afterward you should leave it to dry.

The long-lasting effect of this primer is what won us over. It makes your makeup resist for up to 16 hours, which is a lot.


  • It is fitted for both oily and combination skin
  • The lightweight formula makes it easily absorbed into the skin
  • Hypoallergenic product, free of parabens
  • Easy application, long-lasting results
  • It doesn’t contain silicone, which minimizes the likelihood of clogged pores


  • It doesn’t reduce inflammation caused by blemishes
  • Too much product could make your face too oily

8. Sunday Riley Effortless Breathable Tinted Primer

Sunday Riley Effortless Breathable Tinted Primer

This primer is available in three different shades, namely deep, medium and light. It makes the skin appear radiant and supple after each application – this is precisely what you would expect of a primer. This enables you to improve the effects that makeup has on your appearance.

Apart from that, this primer promises to enhance the elasticity and firmness of the skin, diminishing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

However, what makes this primer unique is that it embodies Rejuvenox, which provides your skin with the oxygen it needs to battle acne breakouts.

If you want to opt for a light foundation or BB cream coverage, we would recommend this product to you as it provides a semi-matte finish. Still, this doesn’t mean you couldn’t use it as a makeup base, too.


  • It features anti-aging properties
  • It plumps the skin after each application
  • It serves both as a light foundation and primer


  • It doesn’t have SPF protection, which reduces its effectiveness against sun damage.
  • Limited range of tints

9. Murad Invisiblur Perfecting Shield Broad Spectrum Serum

Murad Invisiblur Perfecting Shield Broad Spectrum Serum

The reason we included this product on our list of top recommendation is its versatility and effectiveness. It is an all-in-one primer: it rejuvenates the skin while protecting it from sun damage.

It contains mushroom peptides, which aim at enhancing the elasticity of the skin, minimizing the effects of aging.

Other ingredients are extracts from barley, cucumber, and sunflower, which help the skin retain moisture, keeping it hydrated during the day.

Apart from that, it also reduces the size of the pores, while filling fine lines.


  • It reduces the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines
  • It evens the skin’s texture and tone
  • It contains SPF-30


  • It embodies parabens, which could harm sensitive skin
  • Unpleasant smell
  • Quite pricey – still, it is a multipurpose product

10. bareMinerals Original Prime Time Foundation Primer

BareMinerals Original Prime Time Foundation Primer

This primer manufactured by bareMinerals is another excellent option. The formula includes a combination of soothing vitamins, plant extracts, and antioxidants that work together for enhancing the condition of your skin.

The ingredients combined have a fantastic effect on the complexion, minimizing fine lines, wrinkles, dryness, rough spots and irritation. Plus, they also target the problem of excess oil.

This primer makes your skin smooth and silky, easing the makeup application process


  • SPF 15 – it offers adequate protection against sun damage
  • High vitamin content, which reduces dryness
  • It doesn’t contain preservatives, which could irritate sensitive skin
  • It targets large pores and minimizes them


  • It comes in a pump bottle format, which means that you won’t be able to use the whole product
  • Low wear time, in comparison to other products
  • It doesn’t withstand heat and humidity

Final Thoughts

We hope that our article has helped you discover some of the best primers for oily acne skin. We have tested all these products, and we were pleased by their performance and the results they offered.

However, you must keep in mind that what might work for someone may do the exact opposite for another person. So, as a general guideline, it is always recommendable to analyze the label of a product before purchasing it. You can also use samples to see if the product is fit for you before buying it full-size. This way, you can find the right primer for you without spending a fortune.