Do an online search for the best acne spot treatments and you’ll end up having to sift through literally millions of pages of results. Chances are, you don’t have time for that – all you’re looking for is a tried-and-tested acne treatment that’ll get rid of pesky pimples while preventing future breakouts.
Well, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve done all of the hard work for you – our team has been busy trying out the most popular acne treatments around so that we could narrow down the thousands of options available to create a shortlist of the most effective formulas.
Whether you only have a couple of small pimples to clear or you’re looking to treat severe acne, these are the products you’ll want to consider.
|Editor's Choice||#2nd Best Choice||#3rd Best Choice|
Peace Out Acne
#2nd Best Choice
Mario Badescu Drying Lotion
#3rd Best Choice
Clean and Clear Advantage Spot Treatment Gel
Table of Contents
- Peace Out Acne Dots
- Mario Badescu Drying Lotion
- Clean and Clear Advantage Spot Treatment Gel
- Proactiv Emergency Blemish Relief
- Kiehl’s Breakout Control Targeted Acne Spot Treatment
- Origins Super Spot Remover
- Renée Rouleau Night Time Spot Lotion
- Tula Acne Go Away Spot Treatment
- La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo
- Differin Gel
- Blume Meltdown Acne Oil
- Rosen Skincare Break-Out Spot Treatment
- ZipSticka Killa Kit
- Dr Dennis Gross Skincare DRx SpotLite Acne Treatment Device
- The Right Choice for Your Skin
Peace Out Acne Dots
These pimple patches are truly a godsend. Designed to be applied directly over each pimple for six hours (there are 20 in a pack), the Peace Out Acne Dots make use of Hydrocolloid polymer technology.
Simply put, this allows the patches to extract impurities while protecting pimples from further external aggravation. They’re also infused with salicylic acid to treat blemishes and clear clogged pores, vitamin A to mildly exfoliate, and aloe vera to soothe skin.
Even better, with these pimple patches covering over each of your spots, you won’t be able to pick at your skin. This will allow your breakouts to heal faster, while also saving you from dealing with acne scars.
Mario Badescu Drying Lotion
Drying lotions are designed to dry up excess sebum to treat acne, whether this may be on the face, the chest, or the back. While some have a high alcohol content that will leave you with overly dry skin, Mario Badescu’s award-winning Drying Lotion is different.
The active ingredients in this acne drying treatment include salicylic acid, sulfur, and zinc oxide, all of which draw out impurities to clear whiteheads and inflammatory acne. This formula also contains calamine to soothe the skin and reduce redness.
Clean and Clear Advantage Spot Treatment Gel
While some acne spot treatments can be quite pricey, there are some fantastic drugstore products out there too. The Clean and Clear Advantage Spot Treatment Gel is one of our favorites. Why? Because this acne spot treatment gets to work immediately to reduce excess oil, destroy acne-causing bacteria, and purify the skin.
Formulated with 2% salicylic acid, along with a number of pimple-fighting botanical extracts, just a thin layer of this weightless gel is all you need to start treating acne. What makes us love this salicylic acid spot treatment even more is how quickly it dries on the skin – you’ll be able to wear it both under or over makeup without any issues!
Proactiv Emergency Blemish Relief
You’ve probably heard of benzoyl peroxide, one of the most popular acne-fighting ingredients out there, and the Proactiv Emergency Blemish Relief spot treatment contains this superstar in a 5% concentration.
Developed by dermatologists to reduce active breakouts while also preventing future pimples from forming deep within the pores, this is the product to try if salicylic acid treatments haven’t been working for you.
Keep in mind that, while effective, benzoyl peroxide can cause unwanted side effects. For this reason, always introduce a treatment like this into your skincare routine gradually – your skin will need some time to grow accustomed to the ingredient.
Kiehl’s Breakout Control Targeted Acne Spot Treatment
If you have sensitive skin and find benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid to be too harsh, then look into Kiehl’s Breakout Control Targeted Acne Spot Treatment. Its main active ingredient is 10% sulfur, which has both antifungal and antibacterial properties . This enables it to effectively kill bacteria, remove dead skin cells, and dry up inflamed pimples.
The downside is that the high concentration of sulfur gives this formula a strange scent, but, in our opinion, that’s more than worth it for a product that truly works.
There aren’t many acne spot treatments out there that are suitable for all skin types, which helps this one to really shine. As a bonus, this formula has also been infused with glycolic acid, niacinamide, and aloe vera extract. Together, they improve skin texture, reduce redness, and brighten the skin.
Origins Super Spot Remover
We’ve already featured a few salicylic acid-based spot treatments, but Origins Super Spot Remover appeals to us because it’s 100% vegan. With 1.5% salicylic acid, this topical gel is best suited for those with oily skin and mild acne. It also contains witch hazel, which is an astringent that tightens pore openings to reduce excess sebum production.
You’ll notice a subtle tingling sensation in your skin after applying the Origins Super Spot Remover, but don’t let that put you off. It’s down to the clove and oregano oils in this product, both of which are antibacterial and anti-inflammatory ingredients that your skin will more than appreciate!
Renée Rouleau Night Time Spot Lotion
There’s nothing quite like the relief that comes from noticing an angry breakout in the evening, applying an acne spot treatment before bed, and then waking up to a clear and smooth complexion in the morning, which is why Renée Rouleau’s Night Time Spot Lotion just had to make it on our list.
This overnight treatment takes all of the hassle out of dealing with breakouts, as it can easily be incorporated into your existing night time skincare routine.
What’s in it? Its key ingredients are sulfur and zinc oxide, both of which have antiseptic and antibacterial properties. It also contains camphor, which has a drying effect on the skin. While we weren’t in love with this formula’s slightly medicinal scent, the benefits certainly outweigh this one small downside, and we appreciated the lack of irritating chemical fragrances.
Tula Acne Go Away Spot Treatment
If you’re looking for a product that’ll not only treat existing acne, but will also fade and brighten dark spots, the Acne Go Away Spot Treatment from Tula is just what you need.
Suitable for all skin tones, it contains a number of interesting ingredients, including benzoyl peroxide to clear pimples and reduce inflammation, probiotic extracts and tea tree oil to soothe the skin and increase smoothness, and a potent combo of niacinamide, retinol, and azelaic acid to brighten hyperpigmentation.
The clinical studies that have featured this product back up its efficacy. After just 24 hours of use, 90% of participants noticed a reduction in inflamed pimples, with this figure increasing to 93% after the acne treatment was used for just a week.
La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo
If you’ve seen improvements with benzoyl peroxide but wish the ingredient could take things further, then you need to know about La Roche-Posay’s Effaclar Duo. It contains 5.5% benzoyl peroxide, but this isn’t the same benzoyl peroxide that you’ll find in all of those sub-par spot treatments you’ve wasted money on in the past.
Instead, La Roche-Posay makes use of the ingredient in a micronized form. This means that it has smaller molecules, enabling it to penetrate even deeper into the pores.
So, it should come as no surprise to learn that this formula, which also contains lipo hydroxy acid and salicylic acid to unclog pores, is a go-to for many. We found that this product was not only great at providing results, but it was able to maintain them.
The fact that it can be applied all over your face if you have acne-prone skin, rather than being used solely as an acne spot treatment, is another big bonus!
Now for an acne spot treatment that contains an active ingredient that we haven’t yet mentioned; the Differin Gel, which features adapalene. You may not have heard of adapalene, but you’re probably familiar with retinoids; potent forms of vitamin A that are often found in prescription acne treatments.
Well, adapalene is a retinoid, but it’s one that you no longer need a prescription for.
Thanks to that, it’s now available in over-the-counter acne spot treatments, and the Differin Gel is our favorite. Why? Because of how gentle it is. It’s water-based, doesn’t contain a long list of filler ingredients, and can be used all over the face.
We won’t lie – unlike some of the other products on this list, this one isn’t going to dramatically transform your skin overnight. However, stick with it for a few days and you’ll notice clear, pimple-free skin as a result of your dedication.
Blume Meltdown Acne Oil
It may seem a little strange to apply an oil onto skin that’s already overly oily, but hear us out before scrolling on. The Blume Meltdown Acne Oil, which is 100% natural and vegan, is made with a specially-chosen blend of essential oils, each one capable of either fighting acne-causing bacteria, reducing inflammation, or fading/preventing acne scars.
You’ll find blue tansy oil, black cumin seed oil, jojoba oil, and rosehip oil in these little bottles, along with several other natural extracts.
Worried that this product will leave your skin feeling oilier than ever? We were too, until we tried it. However, it’s actually more serum-like in consistency. Suitable for all skin types, it sinks into the skin quickly, leaving it feeling fresh and hydrated rather than weighed down and greasy.
Even better, in addition to using it as a targeted acne spot treatment, you can also mix it into your regular moisturizer for use all over your face.
Rosen Skincare Break-Out Spot Treatment
We’re all too familiar with how annoying it can be to spot a zit rapidly emerging soon after you’ve left the house for the day, which is why those with acne-prone skin should always have an on-the-go spot treatment that they can rely on. Whether you keep it in your car, your handbag, or your office desk, the Break-Out Spot Treatment from Rosen Skincare won’t let you down.
This acne treatment contains a zit-zapping cocktail of zinc oxide, apple cider vinegar, and peppermint oil, which gives it a zingy scent. Its applicator makes it easy to apply this product even if you aren’t in front of a mirror, and we were happy to discover that its paste-like consistency didn’t interfere with makeup.
ZipSticka Killa Kit
Want to put a stop to an early-stage zit before it erupts into a full-blown, inflamed pimple? Take a look at the Killa Kit from ZipSticka. These pimple patches contain tiny micro darts that flood the skin with a powerful, acne-busting blend of salicylic acid, oligopeptide-76, hyaluronic acid, and niacinamide.
In order to ensure the deepest delivery of ingredients, each patch (there are eight in a box) comes with a Cleana swab – a cleanser that will rid your pores of any debris, ensuring that the ingredients from the patch are able to soak right through, without any obstacles blocking their way.
Dr Dennis Gross Skincare DRx SpotLite Acne Treatment Device
While not a conventional acne treatment, we couldn’t end this list without mentioning the DRx SpotLite Acne Treatment Device from Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare. If you’ve ever looked into professional acne treatments, you’ve probably come across LED light therapy.
There are several studies out there supporting its efficacy as a spot treatment , with the only downside being that you’ll need several sessions to produce results, and that can get expensive.
This is why at-home LED light therapy devices have been such a game-changer in the skincare industry, to the point where several brands now have their own version. Out of the many we tried, the DRx SpotLite Acne Treatment Device was our favorite.
Blue light technology is most commonly used for acne, but combining this with a red light treatment gives you even better results, and that’s exactly what this device does. 100% of participants in a clinical study experienced a significant reduction in their acne after using this device daily for two weeks, making it worth considering in a longer-term acne treatment and prevention plan.
What are the best acne spot treatments?
That depends on whether you have mild acne or severe acne, and whether or not you have sensitive skin. However, no matter which you’re dealing with, you’ll find all of the best acne spot treatments listed above!
Does removing dead skin cells help acne?
Yes, keeping your skin clear of dead skin cells is a must for treating acne. If not, those dead skin cells will clog up your pores and contribute to new breakouts.
Is benzoyl peroxide the best treatment for acne?
Benzoyl peroxide is effective, but it’s not necessarily the best treatment. Salicylic acid, sulfur, zinc oxide, and retinoids are also effective choices. It all depends on which your skin prefers!
The Right Choice for Your Skin
As you can see, each of the products that we’ve featured is unique in its own way. The best acne spot treatment will not only target existing zits, but it’ll prevent new ones from forming too, and all of our featured products do exactly that. Take our word for it – they all work!
So, pick the spot treatment that’s best suited to your skin type, as well as the type of acne you’re dealing with. Look for a formula that you’ll enjoy using, whether this may be pimple patches, a serum, a paste, or a cream. So long as you use this list for guidance, you can’t go wrong!