How to Conceal Acne Scars With Makeup

In my early 20s, my skin decided to have a year of doing whatever it felt like. Those ‘adventures’ included some super-red (and sore) acne breakouts.

I followed the rules and did NOT pick at my acne. Still, I was left with some scarring that I like to hide when I’m vibing a flawless complexion.

In the same boat? You’re not alone. Up to 85% of teenagers get acne. And 40% to 55% of adults are diagnosed with low-grade acne and oily skin.


When you experience a breakout, it can be tempting to camouflage it with the first cover-up you find.

But the wrong skincare products can contribute to acne by clogging your pores, irritating existing breakouts, and even allowing bacteria to fester into a full-fledged infection.

If you feel comfortable rocking your acne scars without makeup, we totally applaud you. Keep doing you. But if you’re feeling called to explore some makeup options, we rounded up products specifically formulated to help conceal those acne scars when you wish they would disappear.

Primer: your skin’s trusty sidekick

When covering acne scars, you might be tempted to head straight to foundation and concealer. But prepping your skin with a primer can improve your results.

After you apply your serum(s) and moisturiser, reach for your primer. Priming products are mostly used to help makeup last longer, smooth the skin's surface, and even out skin tone. This means the primer does some of the heavy lifting to hide acne scars—neutralising any redness and evening out the dips to pave the way for your foundation and concealer.

When it comes to choosing a primer, a great option is one specifically formulated to target redness and correct colour. A green-tinted product might look strange at first! But by cancelling out redness, it helps you conceal pimples and scarring.

Primer for acne scars

This professional-quality, lightweight primer utilises green Spectraflex pigments to neutralise the redness of acne scars. The result? Nothing remotely witchy; only a more even skin tone. When applying a colour corrector primer, use a small amount for the most natural look. Place it precisely on and around the acne scar. Then blend carefully.

Primer for acne scars

Try a soft blending brush like the M.A.C Cosmetics 224S Tapered Blending Brush for seamless coverage. Remember: you want to neutralise redness, not turn your whole face green (we’re not aiming for a Hulk look!). Apply your primer and then use the blending brush in circular or windshield-wiper motions to completely blend.

Other priming options include The Ordinary High-Adherence Silicone Primer. This affordable option uses advanced adaptive Silicones to create a matte, hydrating, blurring primer for makeup. Apply this primer as the last step in your skincare regimen, either on its own or as a makeup prep. Do you have sensitive skin? Don’t worry: it’s alcohol-free and oil-free, plus vegan-friendly.

If you want to control oily skin, opt for MAKE UP FOR EVER Smoothing Primer 30ml. This silicone-based primer is great for preventing oiliness and shine. Primer can be a lifesaver for reducing the appearance of pores and evening out your skin tone. Pop some primer on your T-zone and around the mouth and eyes to create a flawless base for your makeup.

Shop Primer for Acne Scars:
    • MAKE UP FOR EVER Redness Correcting Primer 30ml
    • MAKE UP FOR EVER Smoothing Primer 30ml
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Foundation: create a flawless base

Next up in the acne scar-concealing process, we have foundation to create a uniform skin tone. Many people use concealer before foundation, but then the former just ends up smudging and blending in with your foundation.

If your acne scars are limited to a few trouble spots, you may prefer to apply foundation to only these areas, blending until the colour disappears into your skin. If you have scars all over or suffer from redness, apply foundation all over your face, blending carefully with a sponge or blending brush.

Since acne-prone skin tends to get oily as the day goes on, prevent shine by using Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay In Place Makeup. This bestselling foundation to cover acne scars has 24-hour staying power, so you can feel confident that your foundation won’t smudge, oxidise, or fade throughout the day or night. Although it provides maximum coverage for imperfections and skin tone, the makeup still feels comfortable and lightweight. No cake face here!

Another option that ticks all the boxes is IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Mini. If you’re the queen of multitasking, you’ll love this CC cream. It combines the full coverage of a foundation, the hydrating and anti-ageing ingredients of a serum, and the pore-minimising feel of a primer. What’s more, you get an SPF 50 broad-spectrum physical sunscreen (remember to apply your normal sunscreen as well!). The CC cream also incorporates Collagen to help smooth and firm skin, and Niacin to strengthen the skin barrier and even tone.

Concealer: the end game

After you've applied foundation, it’s now time to use concealer to hide any acne scars that can still be seen. Apply the concealer directly to the scar and to any red or discoloured areas surrounding the scar. Blend so that there are no obvious edges, but not so thoroughly that the mark becomes visible again.

If you want the best concealer to hide acne scars, the Kryolan Concealer Wheel is for you. Presented in a 6-pan concealer palette, the full-coverage shades can be used individually or blended for an exact colour match. With high concentrations of pigment, this workable concealer formula creates your ultimate level of coverage, even for concealing deep pitted acne scars.

Other concealer options include Clinique Beyond Perfecting Super Concealer is non-acnegenic and oil-free. ‘Non-acnegenic’ means it won’t clog your pores and is less likely to cause further breakouts. This tube concealer also provides immediate hydration to keep eye-area skin feeling comfortable and looking fresh and natural.

And to keep your makeup on-point throughout the day, throw Clarins My Clarins Pore-Less Blur & Matte Stick into your bag. Like a blotting powder in stick form (but with skincare benefits), this matte product can be used under or over makeup to instantly blur the appearance of pores and shine.

Brand and product inclusions are at the sole discretion of Adore Beauty. We do not seek or accept payment from brands or individuals listed in our guides.

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