My birth certificate states that I’m a few years shy of 30, but my complexion suggests that I’m 16 and in the midst of SAT prep. Regardless of my stress level, cycle day, or how much makeup I’ve been wearing, a constellation of blemishes is often scattered across my chin and the upper-lip area of my temperamental skin. From face masks to spot-treatments, I’m always on the lookout for an effective product that will shrink zits, calm redness so breakouts easier to conceal, and isn’t too time-consuming to add into my usual skin care routine.
Fortunately, a lot of acne treatments fill these requirements. Unfortunately, my erratic skin has absolutely no chill and both salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide—the two main blemish-killing ingredients found in many of these said treatments—not only dries out my pimples, but also leaves my skin dehydrated and flakey. My solution? Rely on color corrector and a concealer with buildable coverage, and let breakouts run their course.
My approach to my breakouts changed when I came across Laura Mercier Blemish-Free Makeup Primer ($36; sephora.com). This lightweight, water-based gel formula primer quickly soaks into skin once it’s applied, and creates a clear base that helps hold foundation throughout the day while minimizing blemishes, pores, and shine. At first I was skeptical about applying it all over my face since it does contain salicylic acid, but the percentage infused in the formula is so low my skin has remained flake-free, but not without sacrificing its zit-zapping prowess.
While the primer can be used traditionally by massaging it all over the face over moisturizer before putting on face makeup, personally, I’ve been dabbing it on my blemishes in lieu of a spot treatment and on areas I’m prone to breakout before applying concealer in the morning. Since the average spot treatment is a white, rich cream that never completely absorbs into my skin even after I’ve watched an entire season of a show on Netflix, I have to reserve time at night if I want to use one. Unexpectedly, after my first use, my blemishes were visibly smaller the next morning. Perhaps, due to the formula working on keeping my pimples in-check throughout the entire day, whether I’m at work, riding the subway, or grabbing coffee, my breakouts have become a lot calmer and less severe. Laura Mercier Blemish-Free Makeup Primer, if you were to take the SATS, you would have a top-ranking score.