You can't have good makeup without good skin. If you don't have a healthy and thriving canvas, how else will your artistry truly shine? And nowadays, the divide between makeup and skincare isn't so rigid: Gone are the days that chalky foundations are guaranteed to break you out — and same goes for primers. In fact, there are so many new 2019 primers that are good for your skin that it might be hard to pick the right one, especially if you're acne-prone or sensitive.
Before you apply your foundation or tinted moisturizers, primers act to give a smooth surface to the makeup, Dr. Purvisha Patel, dermatologist and founder of Visha Skincare, tells TZR. "They come in many flavors, and have different active ingredients to help with skin issues when the primer is on the skin."
Like serums, moisturizers, and possibly every other product in your skincare routine, vitamin C is also a major player for primers, too. “It's an essential part of skin health, both as an antioxidant and as a critical factor for collagen synthesis. Vitamin C contributes to photo protection, decreases photo damage, and is needed for wound healing,” Dr. Hadley King, a New York City-based dermatologist, tells TZR. “The antioxidant activity of vitamin C protects against UV-induced damage caused by free radicals.”
You can also borrow another practice from your skincare routine while choosing a primer, too: combine your ingredients for optimal results. "Topically-applied combinations of vitamin C and vitamin E have been shown to be more effective in preventing photo damage than either vitamin alone,” Dr. King notes.
And if you struggle with acne, look for a formula with salicylic acid. “It’s an excellent comedolytic because it exfoliates the stratum corneum and penetrates into pores to remove sebum," Dr. King continues. "This helps prevent pores from becoming clogged and can help remove clogs that have already formed. It is a great ingredient for people with oily and acne-prone skin, and particularly for treating and preventing comedonal acne, [which are] blackheads and whiteheads.”
Keep reading to shop the buzziest primers that derms love — no prescriptions needed.
The main ingredient in this acne-fighting primer is salicylic acid, which is a beta hydroxy acid. "Beta hydroxy acids are similar to alpha hydroxy acids in that they are used for chemical exfoliation of the skin. They dissolve the bonds that hold dull, dead skin cells on the surface of the skin so the skin will gently shed, revealing smoother, brighter skin underneath," Dr. King explains. "The difference is that while AHAs are water soluble and work on the surface of the skin, BHAs are oil soluble so they can penetrate into pores and work on the surface of the skin as well as inside the pore."
Dr. King says that the gingko biloba extract in this primer contains quercetin, a natural flavonoid and antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties. "It has been found to improve the skin's protection from UVB rays and improve the production of collagen, which helps to keep the skin firm," she notes.
"This is a silicone based primer, so the dark spot correcting is also cosmetic. This primer is not for sensitive skin, but better for oilier skin types," Dr. Patel says. "The added retinol helps exfoliate the skin and encourage skin turnover, which helps with collagen production. This exfoliation helps diminish the appearance of the sunspots over time, too."