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What Primer Should I Use for Deep Acne Scars?

Written by Elizabeth Kessler • Updated on: 11/02/23

When you have acne-prone skin, makeup can be your best friend. It’s easy to cover up dark spots and hyperpigmentation with a great foundation or concealer. It gives you a boost of confidence when you see your smooth and clear complexion in the mirror.

But for deep, pitted acne scars, it’s not that simple. Even if you cake on the foundation, the roughness from your scars can still peek through.

With the help of the best primer for deep acne scars, you can smooth out the roughness and fill in the curves and narrow indentations on your skin. So when you’re done with your makeup look, you get both coverage and smoothness all day long. No one will have a clue about those ice pick scars!

If you’re looking for the best primer for acne scars, stick around! I’ll take you through the crème de la crème of primers to help you find it.

What Primer Should I Use for Deep Acne Scars

What is the Best Primers for Pitted Acne Scars?

1. NYX Professional Makeup Pore Filler Primer

Apart from acne scarring, oily skin gals will often deal with large pores as well. So to clear up and smoothen out your skin before applying foundation, you need a primer like this NYX one that will fill in both the pores and your deep acne scars.

This primer minimizes the appearance of those pesky, distracting, large pores on your skin by filling them in and smoothening them out. It eliminates the roughness due to your pitted scars, making for an ultra-smooth canvas your foundation can go on.

It also helps mattify the skin. Since it kills greasiness and excessive shine, you can look matte and fresh all day long.

The primer is tinted with a universal beige tint. It provides extra coverage for blemishes and dark spots, creating an even skin color.

It’s infused with vitamin E, which allows your skin to be more elastic and produce more collagen. This makes your skin firmer and healthier overall in the hopes of dealing with acne better.

It’s a breeze to apply on the face because of its silky smooth texture. That gives it a touch of luxuriousness, even if NYX is an economical drugstore brand.


  • Fills in large pores and pitted scars to create a smooth canvas for your skin
  • Mattifies the skin so that you don’t look shiny and oily
  • Tinted with a universal beige tone to cover up imperfections
  • Infused with vitamin E to promote healthier, stronger, more elastic skin
  • Has a smooth and silky formula that is easy to apply


  • You need to use a lot of this product to reap its pore-filling benefits.

This NYX primer is the best primer for large pores and acne scars you can get at an affordable price. It’s a fantastic option for a foolproof primer that gets the job done.

2. Maybelline Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser Primer

Turn your scar-ridden cheeks into baby skin with this Maybelline primer! It can blur pores and smooth out your deep acne scars, creating an even complexion before you put your makeup on.

This primer is suitable for all skin types because it’s lightly hydrating and yet mattifying at the same time. The finish is a soft matte, so it’s not too dehydrating nor too nourishing, which is great for normal skin types.

It’s clear in color without any beige tint. That means you can wear this primer even if you have darker skin. You won’t have to worry about it ever washing out your color because it’s designed for universal use.

I love this primer because you can use it even if you don’t plan on wearing makeup. You can wear it by itself and still see a world of difference in your complexion smoothness. Massage this into your pores and pitted scars to blur and fill them in for a fresh and naturally poreless everyday look.

This primer is perfect for acne-prone skin because it’s non-comedogenic. That means the formula doesn’t contain any ingredient that can clog your pores and make you break out.

One observation I’ve had with this primer is that it’s more effective under liquid foundations and concealers. When you use a powder or mineral foundation on top of this primer, it tends to clump and look cakey on the face.


  • Blurs pores and deep acne scars to make your skin even and smooth
  •  Gives your skin a soft matte finish that isn’t too drying
  •  It’s clear in color, so it won’t wash out darker skin tones
  •  Can be used even without makeup for a fresh, naturally poreless look
  •  The formula is non-comedogenic, so it won’t clog your pores


  • Powder and mineral foundations can look clumpy on top of this primer.

This Maybelline primer for acne scars and large pores is a steal at its economical price. It’s super effective and instantly gives you the radiance, softness, and smoothness of baby skin no matter what skin type you have.

3. Touch in Sol No Pore Blem Primer

This pink, charmingly packaged primer by Touch in Sol covers and hides imperfections on your skin that you’d like to smoothen out before makeup application. These imperfections include big pores, rough textures due to scarring, and fine lines.

The result after using this is a smooth and polished canvas for your foundation and concealer. It also makes your foundation last longer on your skin, so you never have to worry about it melting under the hot sun.

The formula contains green tea extracts to soothe acne and protect the skin with antioxidants. There’s also some collagen to promote elasticity and cell turnover, which paves the way for faster healing of your acne scars.

It’s incredibly lightweight and silky, like a thin but velvety lotion. It doesn’t feel heavy on the skin, so it’s great for ladies with oily skin. It feels like you’re wearing nothing under your makeup.

It’s also quick-drying, so you don’t have to wait too long before getting started on your makeup. It dries matte and without a greasy or sticky residue.

If your skin is naturally dehydrated and parched, you might want to stay away from this one and look for something more moisturizing. Because it’s matte and lightweight, it could leave your skin craving for moisture throughout the day.


  • Covers your pores, texture, and fine lines for a smooth canvas for makeup
  •  Extends the longevity of your makeup so it can stay put all day
  •  Contains green tea extracts and collagen to soothe and strengthen the skin
  •  Has a silky, lightweight formula that doesn’t feel heavy on the skin
  •  Dries quickly and doesn’t leave any greasy or sticky residue


  •  Not recommended for dehydrated skin

This is a terrific makeup primer for acne scars not just because of its ability to cover your pitted scars and pores, but also its skin-friendly ingredients that promote better skin health. It’s an outstanding option for oily girls who are self-conscious about their pores and scars.

4. e.l.f. Poreless Face Primer

This e.l.f. primer may be inexpensive, but it delivers extremely well—almost like a high-end brand. It minimizes the appearance of large pores and deeply-seated pitted acne scars, providing a smoother and more even texture to your skin.

It also prolongs the lifespan of your makeup during the day, so it doesn’t smudge off or fade so easily. That means your makeup will still look fresh hours after application.

It’s infused with tea tree, known in the botanical world to calm irritation and inflammation, which happens a lot with acne-prone skin. It also has vitamins A and E to help treat breakouts and promote natural elasticity and cell turnover, allowing your scars to fade.

This primer also works to lock in moisture into your skin, so it’s perfect for dry skin types. It allows your skin to look glowy and hydrated all day long.

A little goes a long way with this primer. You only need one pump of the product (sometimes even less, depending on your face shape) to cover your entire face. That means one bottle can last you a long time before the need to repurchase.

The only thing that throws me off about this primer is that it has a bit of a funny smell. It’s not necessarily unpleasant, but it smells of the chemicals. If you have a sensitive nose and don’t like distracting smells, you may want to opt for something else.


  •  Minimizes the appearance of pores and acne scars for an even texture
  •  Allows your makeup to last all day on your face without fading
  •  Contains tea tree and vitamins E and A to treat acne and soothe the skin
  •  Locks in moisture to keep your skin glowy and hydrated
  •  You only need a small amount of product to cover your face.


  •  Smells a bit funny, like chemicals

This is the best primer for deep acne scars and pores if you have dry skin. It soothes and treats your skin with top-notch acne-fighting ingredients, but at the same time seals moisture into the skin to make you look dewy and glowy all day.

5. Benefit Cosmetics POREfessional Pore Minimizer

The Benefit POREfessional primer is a holy grail among those who love blurring their imperfections, and for a good reason. It’s excellent at instantly eliminating the look of big pores, textured scars, and fine lines, giving you an airbrushed finish before you pack your makeup on.

The formula is translucent in color, which means you can use it even if you have a rich, dark skin color without worrying about any beige, biscuit-colored tint.

It’s infused with vitamin E, which helps moisturize the skin by promoting better elasticity and plumpness. It can also protect the skin against damage from free radicals in the environment or harmful UV rays.

This product goes well with any type of base makeup you love to use on your face, whether it’s a compact powder or a liquid foundation.

However, if you want to use it without makeup, you can do so as well. Using the primer by itself is perfect for a simple everyday look if you’re gunning to be au naturel.

When using this primer to cover acne scars, make sure you only apply a little bit at a time. Using too much product can make the primer pill and ball up, creating a less than ideal canvas to put smooth makeup.


  • Smoothens pores, texture, and fine lines for an airbrushed, “blurred” look
  •  Has a translucent formula, so all skin tones can use it.
  •  Contains vitamin E to moisturize and protect the skin from free radicals
  •  Goes well with all forms of base makeup, from powder to liquid
  •  Can be used alone for a simple look


  • Pills in little balls on the skin when you use too much product

It’s no surprise that this Benefit primer is loved by many since it’s so effective at smoothening out the skin and making your pores and scars disappear. There are so many uses for it, whether it’s for a glam party look or just another day at school, so it’s great to have in your makeup bag for any occasion.

6. Maybelline New York Master Prime Primer

Those with oily skin sometimes opt not to use a primer underneath their makeup because they think it can make your face even more greasy. But with a primer like this Maybelline one, you can enjoy grease-free, oil-controlled skin without the roughness from your acne scarring.

It blurs and minimizes imperfections that keep your skin from looking clear and smooth, like deep acne scars and large pores.

Your makeup will go on your skin smoothly and flawlessly after using this primer, thanks to its silky matte yet not too drying finish. It allows your makeup to be more long-lasting and stay put on your face all day without melting or being easily rubbed off.

It’s the perfect formula for oily skin because it’s water-based, so it doesn’t feel oily and greasy. It even helps manage sebum production to make sure you don’t look oily throughout the day.

If you have sensitive skin that always tends to break out, you’ll also love how gentle this primer’s formula is. It’s dermatologically tested to not clog your pores, so you don’t have to worry about it causing any pimples.

However, because of this primer’s clear color, it doesn’t cover up dark spots like pimples or hyperpigmentation. If you’re looking to conceal some darker blemishes for an even-toned complexion, you may want to consider a primer with a tint.


  •  Blurs and minimizes imperfections like deep acne scars and pores
  •  Allows your foundation to go on flawlessly due to its smooth matte finish
  •  Lets your makeup become long-lasting and stay on your skin all day
  •  Has a water-based formula that doesn’t feel thick and greasy
  •  Controls sebum production on the skin so that you don’t look oily
  •  Dermatologist-tested to not clog any pores


  • Doesn’t cover dark spots and blemishes because of its transparent color

This Maybelline primer for acne pitted scars creates the perfect base for your makeup without leaving your skin feeling clogged or greasy. It’s perfect for those struggling with oily skin, developed large pores, and ice-pick acne scars.

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7. Smashbox Photo Finish Minimize Pores Primer

If you have a penchant for luxury when it comes to makeup shopping, this opulent Smashbox primer might be the one for you.

It is highly effective in blurring out large pores and pitted acne scars to smoothen the skin, leaving you with a flawless base before putting on your foundation and concealer.

If you deal with unmanageable oily skin, this primer will be a lifesaver. It leaves your skin with a soft matte finish that will keep you looking fresh all day long. The formula also helps control oiliness and excessive shine that can ruin your makeup look.

The primer has a purple shade that cancels out overly warm tones to brighten the skin. It’s perfect for yellow-toned discolorations that make your skin look dull. Don’t worry, though—the purple color disappears as soon as you apply it onto the skin.

The formula is waterproof too, so it’s perfect for rainy days and hot summer nights where you expect to sweat a lot. No more fussing about whether or not your makeup has melted off because it’s so resistant to water. You could even use it by the pool if you like!

One con about this primer is that it doesn’t glide on the skin as easily as other silky primers. You have to massage it into your skin with your fingers to make sure you cover all the areas with acne scars.


  •  Blurs and smooths out skin with large pores and deep, pitted acne scars
  •  Leaves your skin with a soft matte finish that looks fresh
  •  Helps control shine and oiliness to retain that matte finish
  •  Has a purple tint that helps brighten dull, yellow-looking skin
  •  Waterproof, so your makeup doesn’t melt off even when you sweat


  •  Requires a light massage when putting it on the skin

This Smashbox base is a terrific primer to hide acne scars that cause rough textures on your skin. It also hides overly warm discolorations on your face, keeping your skin looking bright and glowy in the process.

8. DHC Velvet Skin Coat

This primer was designed to eliminate the look of big pores and pitted scars that create a rough texture on your otherwise pristine skin. It gives your face a softer, smoother, more flawless look without looking fake or airbrushed.

It also helps reduce oiliness on your skin so that you can keep your matte look fresh all day without looking like a total greaseball.

The primer has a unique powdery gel texture that is easy to work into the skin to fill in those pores and pitted scars. The color is clear, so it won’t wash out your natural skin tone, making it more universally usable.

It dries instantly with no waiting time, so you can apply your foundation as soon as you pat this primer into your skin. But if you’re planning on wearing makeup, you can also use it to smooth out and cover up those deep acne scars to enhance your natural beauty.

But if you’re looking to buy this to fill in your fine lines and wrinkles, you might not get the same results as you would with deep acne scarring. Try to find a primer that’s designed explicitly for more mature skin if that’s the issue you’d like to address.


  • Eliminates large pores and rough, pitted scars, giving a softer look
  •  Reduces oiliness so that you look matte and fresh all day long
  •  Has a clear, powdery gel texture that makes your skin look super smooth
  •  Can be used whether or not you’re going to wear makeup
  •  Dries instantly, so you can put on your makeup right away.


  • Isn’t as effective on fine lines and wrinkles as on deep acne scars and pores

This simple and no-frills yet super effective primer by DHC is the perfect base to go under your foundation for pitted acne scars. It’s the primer that does it all, from smoothing out your pitted scars to minimizing oiliness, so it’s perfect for your sensitive, acne-prone skin.

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9. bareMinerals Prime Time BB Primer-Cream

This bareMinerals primer is unique compared to the rest of the primers on this list because it’s a multi-functional product—a BB cream, primer, and sunscreen all in one base product!

This primer-cream has enough coverage to suffice for an everyday makeup look. It can fill in and conceal those pitted scars that make your skin look rough and textured, turning it into smooth-looking skin instead.

It’s infused with gorgeous botanical ingredients like aloe leaf juice for hydration and soothing of your sensitive skin. It also has licorice root extract, which is known to help fade hyperpigmentation and acne scarring.

It has a thin and weightless consistency, like an emulsion or light lotion. It’s easy to spread all over the face and creates a smooth, silky finish on your skin. That said, it never feels greasy or waxy; it just sits comfortably on the skin and feels very natural and light.

It’s formulated with SPF 30 to give you protection against harmful UV rays. Sun damage can aggravate your acne scarring and make hyperpigmentation darker, so it’s a must for sensitive, acne-prone skin.

The only thing is, this primer-cream doesn’t have enough coverage to conceal darker acne scars. That means you’ll still have to use a full-coverage concealer on top of it if you want an even complexion without any form of discoloration.


  •  A BB cream, primer, and sunscreen all in one
  •  Has enough coverage to fill in and conceal deep acne scars
  •  Botanical ingredients to soothe the skin and treat hyperpigmentation
  •  Has a thin, weightless consistency that’s easy to spread across your face
  •  Formulated with SPF 30 to protect you from harmful UV rays


  • The coverage is too light to cover darker scars.

This is the perfect product to use if you’re more of a low-maintenance girl and want as few products as possible in your makeup routine. No more fussing about foundations and individual primers—with this bareMinerals primer-cream, you can have it all in one!

10. Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer

This Hourglass primer is a go-to by many sophisticated women for an even complexion, even with blemishes and pitted acne scars.

This primer fills in and smoothes out deep acne scars and big pores to give your face a smooth, texture-free canvas before putting on makeup. But what’s unique about this primer is that it can also conceal redness, giving you an even tone as well.

It has SPF 15 to protect you against sun damage that can make your acne scarring worse. It also has an airy and silky feel that allows it to glide onto your skin easily, making it a breeze to apply.

The formula is oil-free and waterproof, so you don’t have to worry about looking greasy or your makeup melting off your face during a hot, sweaty day. You can maintain the freshness of your matte makeup, keeping you looking snatched until the end of the day.

This primer is perfect for sensitive skin because it’s formulated without any harsh and irritating ingredients. There are no parabens, sulfates, phthalates, and even synthetic fragrances and colorings.

The only bothersome thing about this primer is the pump bottle. The bottle tends to get clogged after you’ve used the product for a long time. At some point, you might need to take the cap off to take some product out.


  • Conceals imperfections like deep acne scars, big pores, and redness
  •  Contains SPF 15 to give you protection against sun damage
  •  Has an airy, silky texture that glides on super easily on the skin
  •  Oil-free and water-resistant so that your makeup look snatched and fresh
  •  Doesn’t contain parabens, phthalates, fragrance, and more


  • The pump bottle can get clogged after you’ve used it for a while

This is a dream primer for anyone with large pores and pitted acne scars, not just for its smoothing properties but its velvety texture, protection against the sun, and formula that repels water. It’s also designed with sensitive skin in mind, so Hourglass gets even more bonus points for that!

What to Look for When Buying a Primer for Deep Acne Scars

Buying a Primer for Deep Acne Scars
  • Has smoothing properties to eliminate roughness and uneven skin texture
    One of the most crucial factors to look for when shopping for a primer for pitted acne scarring is pore-filling properties.

    Primers designed to blur and minimize the appearance of pores will be your best friend because of their ability to fill in and eliminate gaps and holes in the skin. So it’s perfect for pitted acne scars that run deep.

    Use these smoothing primers to get rid of the rough texture that comes with deep acne scars. If you use them to smooth out your skin, you’ll be rewarded with an even complexion that’s free of any distracting textures and indentations.

  • Gives your foundation and concealer the power to stay on all day long
    The point of wearing primers is to extend the lifespan of your makeup on your face. So when shopping for a primer, don’t forget to look for one that claims to help your makeup stay put without fading or smudging, no matter how active busy you get that day.

    You could also opt for a waterproof primer, so you won’t have to worry about your full face of makeup melting under the sun, as you sweat, or when you run into the rain. It allows your makeup to stay intact for longer, no matter the circumstances.

  • Mattifies your skin if you’re dealing with excess sebum production
    If you have oily skin, make sure your primer can help you manage oil production. There are lots of mattifying primers out there. Take your pick among those that claim to keep grease and shine out of your face all day long.

    Keeping your face matte also means looking fresh, even if it’s been hours since you first applied your makeup. Opt for a primer that can help keep you snatched because of its light and matte formula.

  • Hydrates your skin if you have parched, dehydrated skin
    On the other side of the spectrum, go for a more hydrating primer if you have dry and dehydrated skin begging for some moisture. Look for primers with aloe extract or glycerin to get some light hydration out of them.

    The remarkable thing about hydrating primers is that they create a healthy, dewy look to your makeup, similar to the glass skin trend. It’s a great way to elevate your look while taking care of your skin.

  • Contains ingredients that are fantastic for treating acne or hyperpigmentation
    If you’re lucky, you could come across brands infused with ingredients that treat acne and hyperpigmentation.

    Among these are tea tree oil and green tea extracts, which soothe active acne and inflammation and eliminate redness. You could also go for licorice root extract or vitamin C to fight against hyperpigmentation and pitted acne marks.

    Vitamins A and E are also amazing for promoting overall skin health, even if they don’t directly target your acne and hyperpigmentation. They strengthen the skin and improve its elasticity, which in the long run can make you less prone to acne.

  • Non-comedogenic formula that won’t clog your pores and cause acne
    You must remember that the root cause of deep acne scars is uncontrolled acne. If you have sensitive, acne-prone skin, a great rule of thumb is to always go for non-comedogenic primers. Non-comedogenic formulas are those that won’t clog your pores.

    When beauty brands keep sensitive skin in mind as they design and formulate their primers, they almost always ensure the final product is non-comedogenic. Thus, you should keep brands like these on your radar.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Primer Good or Bad for Acne

Using a primer before putting on foundation is excellent for acne-riddled skin for multiple reasons.

First, it creates a gentle barrier between your acne and the foundation, so your makeup is less likely to irritate you.

It also allows your foundation and concealer to stay put on your skin for a long time. That means your pimples will stay covered all day long without peeking through.

Lastly, primers give the skin a smooth and flawless finished look. Pimples tend to make the skin look rough, but the right primer can hide away rough textures and make the skin look flawless.

Does Primer Cover Acne Scars

If your primer has a beige tint, it can cover acne scars like a concealer. There are lots of products that have a subtle tint for this very reason so that you won’t have to pile on the concealer just to cover those blemishes.

Can Primer be Used without Makeup

Yes, it’s quite common for women to use a primer without putting makeup on top of it. A primer can be a one-and-done step for your everyday look if you can’t be bothered to do a full face of makeup and want to embrace your natural beauty.

Pore-filling primers and color-correcting primers are both amazing for freshening up your look, even if you don’t pack on makeup afterward. It’s a great way to brighten up the skin and ensure you don’t have distracting imperfections peeking through.

How Do You Cover up Acne Scars

There are lots of ways to cover up your acne scars. The most important thing is to start your makeup session with a good primer. This primer can help fill in pitted acne scars to reduce your skin’s roughness, allowing it to look smoother and more even in texture and tone.

Next, you’ll want to use base makeup, like a BB cream or foundation. The coverage from this will hide those acne scars efficiently. If you have darker acne scars, you could also whip out a full-coverage concealer and pat it lightly onto the areas with scarring.

Does Hyaluronic Acid Help with Acne Scars

Hyaluronic acid is an amazing hydrating ingredient found in a lot of skincare products. It’s loved by those who have dry, dehydrated skin.

While it’s not primarily used for targeting acne and hyperpigmentation issues, it promotes a healthier skin barrier that is plump and hydrated. The healthier your skin barrier, the less likely you are to get acne and the consequent scarring that comes in its wake.

Where is the Best Place to Buy a Primer for Acne-Prone Skin

You have a lot of options for where to buy the best face primer for acne scars. You likely have a makeup retailer near you, like Ultra or Sephora, where you can purchase the best primer for your condition. You can even get a salesperson’s help to assess your skin right then and there and recommend the perfect primer for you.

But if you want to take a more convenient route, you can always go online and do your shopping there. Giant shopping websites like Amazon have a cornucopia of makeup brands you can explore, so you’ll never run out of options.

The advantage of shopping online is that you can research before purchasing your primer. You can check out reviews made by other people on a product you’re eyeing, whether it’s on a public forum like Reddit or on the brand’s website itself.


It can get frustrating to try and perfect a flawless foundation look when dealing with pitted scars. But trust me when I say a smooth complexion is always possible, as long as you have the best primer for deep acne scars in your makeup bag.

A generous dollop of primer and one swipe across your face is usually all you need to smoothen out those deep scars and create an airbrushed makeup look. Pick out your favorite primer among this list and see for yourself how it can make your skin go from rough and textured to clear and smooth.

Best Primers for Deep Acne Scars