Ever glance in the mirror during your morning routine only to discover a new zit decided to move in overnight? The bad news: Pimples happen to everyone. The good news: With the best acne spot treatment, you can kick your spot to the curb in no time.
These potent little lifesavers deliver active ingredients to the area that needs it most. They clear up the bacteria, swelling, and redness that accompany your new pimple, all without over-drying or irritating the rest of your skin. Most targeted spot treatments contain salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, or a combo of the two. “Salicylic acid works to dissolve dead skin cells that are clogging pores, while benzoyl peroxide kills bacteria,” says Rhonda Klein, MD and partner at Modern Dermatology.
Sulfur can also help reduce the size of your pimple. “It is a natural mineral and can more gently work to decrease the bacteria that causes acne, remove oil from the skin’s surface, and exfoliate dead skin cells to prevent clogged pores,” says Dr. Klein.
So the next time you encounter another pesky pimple, try one of these best acne spot treatment for your skin type.
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BEST FOR UNDER MAKEUP
Murad Rapid Relief Acne Spot Treatment
Looking for a spot treatment that won’t interfere with your regular routine? Reach for this clear gel formula that works well under makeup. The patented formula is loaded with salicylic acid to clear out pores while pine and thyme extracts fight irritants.
BEST FOR INFLAMMATION
AcneFree Terminator 10
This powerful formula contains 10 percent micro-benzoyl peroxide and calming ingredients like chamomile and ginger to help decrease inflammation.
“Micronized formulations are helpful because they cause less irritation to the skin and they stabilize the molecule so the shelf life can be longer,” says Dr. King.
BEST FOR ACNE-PRONE SKIN
SkinMedica Acne Treatment Lotion
A combo of witch hazel, willow bark, and two-and-a-half percent benzoyl peroxide extract reduces the appearance of your pimple, exfoliates the skin, and cleans out your pores. If you have acne-prone skin, you can also apply it to your whole face to prevent bad breakouts from happening.
BEST FOR WHITEHEADS & BLACKHEADS
SLMD Skincare Acne Spot Treatment
Dr. Pimple Popper (aka Sandra Lee, MD, a dermatologist famed for her pimple popping videos) crafted this salicylic acid formula to help patients keep their breakouts at bay. “Have it handy for when you feel one coming or even when you just need a little reminder to keep your hands off of an area,” says Dr. Lee.
BEST DRUGSTORE BUY
Differin Adapalene Gel 0.1% Prescription Strength Retinoid Acne Treatment
Once only available with a prescription, the FDA cleared this formula for over-the-counter purchase in 2018, making it a powerful and affordable option that works to unblock pores and treat acne.
BEST TO USE OVERNIGHT
Kate Somerville EradiKate Acne Treatment
Alpha hydroxy acids minimize pores and zinc oxide absorbs excess sebum. But due to the pastel pink hue, it’s best to use overnight. “I put this on those deep cysts that were just starting to show before I went to bed, and to my amazement the next morning they had magically disappeared,” raves one Sephora user.
BEST FOR OILY SKIN
Peter Thomas Roth AHA/BHA Acne Clearing Gel
This fragrance-free, oil-free formula is made up of two percent salicylic acid and 10 percent glycolic acid to fight zits and reduce pores.
BEST FOR SENSITIVE SKIN
Kiehl’s Breakout Control Targeted Acne Spot Treatment
If you have sensitive skin, your best bet is a sulfur spot treatment that has antibiotic and anti-inflammatory properties to help you control your zit. This formula, which is packed with 10 percent sulfur, also contains Frankincense to reduce sebum production and ginger root extract to soothe.
BEST FOR BRIGHTENING
Dermalogica Age Bright Spot Fader
Salicylic acid targets current pimples while niacinamide and hexylresorcinol help fade dark marks, improve skin texture, and brighten skin.
BEST FOR DRY SKIN
TATA HARPER SKINCARE Clarifying Spot Solution
Copper, zinc, magnesium, and essential oils gently minimize the appearance of redness and blemishes. Tazman pepper berry, a natural antioxidant, reduces redness while white willow bark and wintergreen clean the area and unclog pores.
BEST UNDER $ 10
Neutrogena Rapid Clear Stubborn Acne Spot Treatment Gel with Maximum Strength Benzoyl Peroxide
This affordable formula is loaded with the maximum amount of benzoyl peroxide, (10 percent, to be exact), to help banish your bad breakout in mere hours.
ReVive Acne Reparatif
Adult acne, meet your match! This potent formula contains salicylic acid, which gently clears out pores and calms inflammation, and the brand’s propriety Renewal Epidermal Science, which promotes cell turnover to minimize signs of aging.
This article is part of Women’s Health 2019 Skincare Week. Want more skin tips, product recommendations, and all things anti-acne? Click here!
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