One fine morning you wake up and you discover that one or more unpleasant pimple(s) or acne have pushed their way to the surface of your skin. And then you wish if you could quickly zap them away. Good news! Yes, you can with an acne spot treatment!!
What Are Acne Spot Treatments?
Spot treatments are over-the-counter acne products that help you to get rid of those annoying pimples. Unlike other kinds of acne treatments, they are specifically formulated to be used only on existing blemishes.
Some spot treatments are meant for overnight use; others are almost not visible to the eyes so you can wear them out even during the day.
You can even find tinted spot treatments that help conceal breakouts.
Whichever product you choose, keep in mind to read and follow the usage instructions provided on the product label.
Why And When You Should To Use Spot Treatment for Acne?
Spot treatments are most beneficial for people who are afflicted with occasional zit here and there. Pimples seem to strike us at wrong times, be it that you have to appear for an interview day after tomorrow or have to go to a teenage party on the coming weekend. You don’t have time to visit a dermatologist or even try an acne treatment system that will clear your skin for goods.
Useful Related Post: Powerful Blackheads Removing OTC Products
So you need a speedy way to nip in the bud. With this objective you start scouting for the best hard-hitting product that will shrink your skin’s new resident in no time.
You may be tempted to pop that pimple away – which, in 90% of the cases, will make your acne situation worse.
Here is good news for you. Topical spot treatments can help to quicken the acne healing process, shrink existing pimples and prevent acne scars from forming. But with so many over the counter products available on the market, it can become a herculean task for you to figure out which zit-zapping formulas are the most effective. So we talked to skincare specialists to find out which spot treatments work best for which skin types, and the specific pros and cons they have.
This was indeed a time consuming process. I’ve written this comprehensive guide reviewing top powerful acne spot treatment OTC products after taking into consideration the skincare professionals expert opinions. It was arduous and time-consuming project to collate all the relevant information, but if you find it helpful, it’ll worth the effort.
Here we go!
Dermatologists recommend this drugstore spot treatment to help unclog pores and prevent future breakouts. Because it contains glycerin, it also helps with dryness. It’s a maximum strength acne treatment that clears breakouts fast and helps prevent emerging breakouts before they become visible. This breakthrough formula features microclear, a proprietary technology, with micro-spheres containing a powerful acne-fighting medicine that penetrates through and gets deep into plugged pores . This clear gel is formulated with 2% Salicylic Acid and botanical extracts to clear up breakouts quickly.
(i) Easy to use, soothing and smells great.
(ii) Effective, helps reduce breakouts in 8 hours. A maximum strength acne treatment for breakout emergencies that clears breakouts fast and helps prevent emerging breakouts even before they become visible.
(iii) Dermatologist tested, oil-free and non-comedogenic. Won’t clog pores. Minimize the existing pores.
(i) Excessive dryness of the skin may occur.
(ii) May irritate skin.
Note: If bothersome dryness or peeling occurs, reduce application to every other day.
The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends retinoids, including adapalene (a third generation retinoid designed to treat acne effectively while still being gentle on skin), as the first treatment option for all types and severities of acne. Differin® Gel is now available over-the-counter for the first time.
(i) Differin Gel isn’t like other over-the-counter (OTC) acne treatments. It contains adapalene, a multi-benefit dermatologist recommended retinoid that clears and prevents acne. It helps restore your skin’s natural tone and texture.
(ii) Differin works differently than other acne treatments by normalizing skin cell turnover and effectively targets two primary causes of acne, clogged pores and inflammation.
(iii) Water-based formula contains no oil, alcohol, or fragrance.
(iv) It contains the first new FDA-approved OTC active ingredient to fight acne that clears and prevents pimples, blackheads, whiteheads and clogged pores
(v) Reduces redness and inflammation caused by acne.
(vi) Developed by dermatologists and proven to be safe and effective.
May cause skin dryness or irritation. So always use a gentle cleanser and moisturizer when using Differin Gel. Use of a moisturizer will help decrease dryness and other signs of irritation.
ProactivMD combines prescription-grade Adapalene with Proactiv’s Combination Therapy approach to provide an effective skin-clearing system. It helps clear acne where it starts and prevents future breakouts from forming. As it clears blemishes, it also helps restore the skin’s tone and texture, unblock and shrink clogged pores, and reduces acne redness and inflammation.
(i) Earlier it was available only by prescription. First FDA-approved over-the-counter topical retinoid for acne treatment
(ii) Dermatologist developed and tested, oil and fragrance free.
(iii) With the easy-to-use ProactivMD system, it provides benefit from a benzoyl-peroxide free regimen. This therapy includes cleansing, toning, hydration, sun protection and the acne-fighting power of Adapalene, a prescription-strength retinoid that treats and prevents acne at the cellular level.
(iv) Adapalene can be used on the face and the first effects of Adapalene may be visible in just two weeks, but it may take up to 3 months of daily use for you to see consistent results.
(v) Adapalene has been a celebrated acne-fighting ingredient for decades and has proven itself in clinical tests.
(vi) It’s great for comedonal acne, which manifests as stubborn blackheads and whiteheads.
Best For: Oily and Acne-prone skin for treating mild to moderate acne.
(i) When first used, Adapalene can cause dryness, redness and irritation for some individuals.
(ii) In some instances acne may appear worse for a short time. If this occurs, you can try a gentle, non-comedogenic moisturizer, preferably one with sunscreen protection, to counteract the dryness.
(i) If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, talk to a doctor before using Adapalene as an acne treatment.
(ii) Adapalene is a topical retinoid medication that can used for the treatment of acne in people age 12 years and older.
Neutrogena Rapid Clear Stubborn Acne Spot Gel is formulated with maximum strength Benzoyl Peroxide, the acne medicine dermatologists recommend most for clearer skin, without a prescription.
(i) Formulated with benzoyl peroxide, the gold standard for killing acne-causing bacteria.
(ii) Clinically proven to reduce the two key signs of stubborn acne, size and redness, in just two hours.
(iii) Dermatologist recommended.
(iv) Light-weight, easy-to-us, effective sheer gel texture.
(i) 10% benzoyl peroxide isn’t more effective than lesser strengths (but potentially more irritating)
(ii) Lacks anti-irritants to help offset sensitivity from benzoyl peroxide.
Note: Since 10% benzoyl peroxide strength can cause extreme drying of the skin, start with one application every day, then gradually increase to 2 or 3 times every day if required or as directed by a doctor. If bothersome dryness or peeling occurs, reduce application to once a day or every alternate day.
If going outside, use sunscreen after using this product. If irritation or sensitivity occurs, stop use of the product and ask a doctor.
Create Cosmetics BPT3.1 is a moisturizer that helps prevent and eliminate acne outbreaks and treat mild to moderate acne, zits, blemishes, spots, cysts, whiteheads. It contains tea tree oil for its anti-inflammatory, acne fighting property and Benzoyl Peroxide for its proven track record at effectively and safely combatting acne.
(i) Nurturing Formula: This potent moisturizer is formulated with organic plant based ingredients that nourish skin, is parabens-free and does not contain any fragrance. Made in the USA.
(ii) Safe And Effective: It works by boosting skin turnover and clearing pores. The plant based non-comedogenic oils help it to penetrate deeper into the skin, making it more effective and less drying than water based Benzoyl Peroxide formulas. Benzyol Peroxide is used in such a form, which is less likely to bleach fabric. So unlike other Benzoyl Peroxide products, this product is safe and effective.
(iii) Anti-Bacterial: It has organic tea tree oil, which is both anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory, supplementing the formula’s efficacy without conceding its gentleness.
(iv) Its lightweight oil-in-water formula is designed in such a manner so that its acne fighting ingredients are absorbed quickly into the skin, leaving no residue.
(v) Its natural non-comedogenic oils enable quick absorption of the active ingredients and prevent the skin from drying out.
(i) It doesn’t suit some individuals and may cause irritation.
(ii) In a few cases, it may dry out skin.
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This milky gel is about as light, invisible, and non threatening as an acne treatment. While the combination of salicylic and glycolic acids sloughs skin and degunks skin pores, the dimethicone and squalane ingredients moisturize. Plus, it’s so fast-acting that it can shrink a major zit overnight. Specially designed, Philosophy Clear Days Ahead Spot Treatment utilizes salicylic acid and a unique antimicrobial formulation to get rid of your acne, without irritating your skin.
(i) An advanced rejuvenating, acne spot treatment.
(ii) Helps aggressively target active breakouts. If you’re looking for a product that fades your acne spots fast and doesn’t over dry your skin, this might be the right choice for you.
(iii) Specially designed anti-microbial formula that immediately kills acne-causing bacteria.
(iv) Contains salicylic acid that dissolves into pores to clear acne blemishes.
(v) Formulated with a barrier rejuvenation complex that relieves redness of blemishes.
(vi) Unveils a calmer, more radiant and healthier looking complexion.
(i) Added moisturizer can cause excessive oiliness on your skin.
(ii) A bit costly.
Best For: All skin types. Not an ideal option for oily skin.
This unique blend of sulfur and salicylic acid is in cream form that eliminates blemishes rapidly, while allantoin and licorice attack inflammation and redness.
(i) Use this acne spot cream fast acting remedy on your acne spots to repair, heal and clear up blemishes and reduce redness. You’ll get relief within a few hours. And with regular use, you should be back to having a clear skin.
(ii) This powerful formula contains sulfur to minimize the severity of current acne breakouts.
(iii) Salicylic acid exfoliates to accelerate healing. Zinc oxide soothes and reduces inflammation.
(iv) Hydrolized oat flour helps to counteract dryness and flaking.
(v) Oxysomes (powerful blend of vitamins C and E), help keep skin protected.
It’s not exactly invisible on skin. So meant for use at night.
Best For: All types of skin, especially acne prone.
Clean & Clear Advantage Acne Spot Treatment is in the form of a gel with a unique breakthrough technology. This pimple spot treatment dissolves surface oils on the skin so that the acne fighting medication penetrates into pores and banish pimples fast, without over-drying your skin.
(i) This unique formula begins to work on contact to swiftly reduce the size and redness of the pimples. In fact, 100% of people in a clinical study showed improvements as early as day one!
(ii) Doesn’t over dry skin.
(iv) 100% of people showed clearer skin in just one day.
(v) Salicylic Acid acne medication knocks out your pimples fast.
If bothersome dryness or peeling occurs, reduce application to once a day or even every other day.
9. TreeActiv Cystic Acne Spot Treatment, Best Extra Strength Fast Acting Formula for Clearing Severe Acne from Face and Body, Gentle Enough for Sensitive Skin, Adults, Teens, Men, Women (0.25 Ounce)
This Cystic Acne Spot Treatment is the most effective treatment for severe and cystic acne. Packed with all-natural ingredients that calm the skin while banishing acne from within. Continuous use clears existing acne while averting future breakouts by balancing the oil production of your skin and reducing the bacterial accumulations on your face. Works both as a spot treatment and cleanser. Has a nice smell and leaves your skin with a smooth and fresh sensation.
(i) Bentonite Clay sucks out toxins, removes impurities and helps in soothing irritated skin. Effectively banishes acne by providing oxygen to cells via drawing out excess hydrogen produced in the cell, allowing oxygen to replace it.
(ii) Pink Grapefruit Essential Oil decreases inflammation and swelling while combating infection. It contains high dose of vitamin C, which plays an important role in collagen production.
(iii) Witch Hazel is a highly potent astringent that gets rid of acne by curtailing inflammation, clearing away excess sebum, and balancing the oil in your skin.
(iv) Peppermint and Spearmint water have antiseptic and antibacterial properties which control blemishes by exterminating bacteria inside pores and balancing oil production on the skin surface to maintain pores clear and skin properly moisturized, thus decreasing scarring and smoothing complexion.
(v) Tea Tree Water and Essential Oil have powerful antibacterial, anti-fungal, moisturizing, toning and astringent properties that all together help clear severe acne while leaving skin looking beautiful and refreshed.
(vi) Lemon essential oil balances overactive oil producing glands, helps eliminate acne, and boost the exfoliation process of dead skin cells. Aloe Vera ensures that the essential vitamins E & C are immediately available to encourage new, healthy skin growth.
(i) Leaves a residue on your skin after rinsing off.
(ii) All natural ingredients don’t work for everyone.
Best For: All skin types, including dry and sensitive skin.
This targeted spot treatment is clinically shown to help reduce the appearance of blemishes without irritating skin. Formulated with Tea Tree, Calendula, Yarrow, and Parsley Extracts, this natural acne treatment helps calm and reduce redness while the Borage Extract promotes healthy-looking skin.
(i) This 0.26 oz. bottle comprises of 99.9% natural acne treatment.
(ii) Clinically shown to reduce the appearance of blemishes in 48 hours.
(iii) Naturally derived salicylic acid open up and cleanse pores, eliminates acne spots and prevents breakouts.
(iv) Tea tree, calendula, yarrow, and parsley extracts help calm skin.
(v) Dermatologist tested, noncomedogenic (doesn’t clog pores) acne treatment.
(i) Has an unpleasant smell, and can also leave your skin with a stinging sensation.
(ii) Salicylic acid doesn’t suit everyone; so make sure you’re not allergic to it before using this product.
Best For: All skin types, including dry and sensitive skins. But extra caution needs to be observed with dry and sensitive skins.
ACNEdote skincare is formulated with willow bark extract, maximum strength 2% salicylic acid, aloe and chamomile. Clinically tested to reduce inflammation and banish prime acne perpetrators like dirt, oil and pore-plugging dead skin cells. This botanicals blend zap zits on contact so skin is left clear, soft and smooth – never tight or irritated.
(i) 100% vegetarian ingredients, containing no parabens, sulfates, phthalates, artificial colors or synthetic fragrances.
(ii) Powerfully natural, botanically effective, ultra light, non-sticky gel is powered with willow bark extract that not only eliminates the acne, but also prevents breakouts for squeaky-clean, soothes, and delivers moisture where you need it most.
(iii) Zap those zits with maximum strength 2% salicylic acid to get deep down right where zits start.
(iv) Delivers reduced inflammation on contact and clearer skin in just 4 hours.
(v) It’s 100% invisible when applied, and the gel penetrates fast.
(i) Easy to over apply, which then can result in dryness and irritation.
(ii) Not a good option for dry and sensitive skins.
Best For: Oily skin.
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Emergency Blemish Relief is an invisible spot treatment for unexpected blemishes that contains a powerful double dose of microcrystal benzoyl peroxide to target acne-causing bacteria inside pores to clear up acne blemishes and provide you instant relief from acne.
(i) Contains an extra dose of tested and proven acne fighting prescription-grade, micro-crystal Benzoyl Peroxide (5%) to eliminate acne causing bacteria on your skin.
(ii) Penetrates deep into the skin pores to clear pore clogging and help prevent new blemishes from forming.
(iii) Formulated to unclog pores and specially designed to help absorb excess oil and clear emergency blemishes fast.
(iv) Doesn’t cause as much itching, burning, and issues that most other acne spot treatments cause.
(v) Non-Comedogenic; Dermatologist tested.
(vi) Perfect for on-the-go spot treatment
(i) Proactiv products tend to work better with their complete regimen. Standalone products don’t have the same success rates.
(ii) A bit higher priced, but it’s effective overall.
Best For: For oily skin to combination skin, but can be safe for all.
13. Unblemished Acne Spot Treatment by Elements of Beauty – Best Skin Care Acne Removal Treatment: Reduce Blemishes – Natural Acne Treatment – Acne Cream – Salicylic Acid, Retinol, Niacinamide
Unblemished Acne Spot Treatment helps reverse the results of damaged skin by providing moisture and nourishment to affected areas while reducing and preventing acne spots, blackheads, breakouts and blemishes. Specially designed using Salicylic Acid, Retinol, Niacinamide, Lavender Essential Oil and Aloe Vera, it helps to heal skin by acting as an exfoliator for your pores. While this deep skin cleanse will leave your skin feeling refreshed and revitalized, it also helps slow the affects of aging and can even be used as a facial mask.
(i) Infused with all-natural, organic ingredients such as Salicylic Acid, Retinol, Niacinamide, Lavender Essential Oil and Aloe Vera. These dermatologist recommended ingredients help to exfoliate and heal damaged, dull skin for a brighter complexion and clearer skin!
(ii) One of the best treatments to eliminate and prevent pimples, blackheads and breakouts. Also, Niacinamide works well on acne and helps prevent aging, while lavender essential oil clears pores and helps relieve tension in the skin. The results: younger, repaired, clearer skin!
(iii) This unique cystic acne treatment is blended with Aloe Vera, which works to gently treat and deep cleanse pores for a refreshed and rejuvenated appearance and feeling.
(iv) Provides hydration and nourishment, which penetrate deep into skin pores, reducing the lasting effects of aging and leaving skin feeling silky smooth!
(i) Can be over drying.
(ii) Only works for treating mild to moderate acne blemishes.
Best For: For combination skin, but can work with dry skin too.
Blended with salicylic acid, calamine and other quick-drying ingredients, this product will shrink ugly whiteheads virtually overnight while you sleep. Heals and prevents spreading of acne. Excellent spot treatment, formulated with a blend of Calamine and Salicylic Acid to clear up and soothe unsightly whiteheads overnight. A dab of this lotion will heal and dry pimples fast!
(i) Salicylic acid: Boasts keratolytic properties known to help promote clear, even-looking skin.
(ii) Sulfur: Draws out oil and impurities to purify pores.
(iii) Calamine: Provide a cooling, soothing effect and lends drying lotion its ionic pink shade.
(iv) This drying lotion works by drying out the oils and blemishes that you have, without having to spread it across your entire face. If you have whiteheads, apply this directly to them, and within 24 hours, you will see results.
(v) Good at tackling mild forms of acne including blackheads/whiteheads and mild pustules.
(i) Formulation is heavily based on harsh ingredients such as titanium oxide and talc.
(ii) Can’t help fighting cystic acne.
(iii) Sulfur (ingredient present in it) is a good anti-acne ingredient. But it doesn’t suite everyone. So, before buying it, make sure you don’t have sulfur intolerance.
Best For: Oily skin and combination skin.
While targetting the underlying causes of chronically problematic skin and reduces the appearance of all kinds of blemishing – Cystic, White & Blackheads. The advanced delivery method purifies, exfoliates and controls overly oil producing glands.
(i) Draws out impurities, toxins & cleanses skin pores, without drying out or dehydrating.
(ii) Reduces redness & irritations of the skin. Targets the underlying cause of problematic Skin & reduces appearance of all types of blemishing (cystic & chronic).
(iii) Balances sebum, pH level & kills bacteria. Reduces pore size & clarifies Skin.
(iv) No Synthetic Allergens, Parabens, Phthalates, Petrochemicals, Synthetic Fragrances / Dyes Or Sulfates.
(v) Contains only 100% pure ingredients. “Safe For Sensitivities”.
(vi) Has moisturizing properties that help with soothing your skin.
(vii) Appropriate for even the most sensitive skin types; tested safe for pregnant women,nursing moms & babies.
(i) It’s higher priced than others, but that’s because it’s so effective, and it’s very concentrated.
(ii) Can cause redness for short periods of time.
Best For: All skin types, including dry and sensitive skins.
A rapid spot & blemish healer. The presence of Salicylic Acid helps to cure blemishes & lessen redness instantly. Contains Oregano & Clove Buds to fight spots. Doesn’t not irritate tender skin or cause extra sensitivity.
(i) Formulated with natural ingredients that help to heal & conceal acne, and improve skin on the go.
(ii) Acts as powerful antioxidant, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory solution.
(iii) Promises to give results in a matter of hours.
(iv) You don’t need much of it. Just a little tiny spot and you’ll be able to feel the penetration of medication through the skin.
(v) Contains a blend of time-tested salicylic acid acne treatment with a touch of natural ingredients to clear out your breakouts fast.
(i) Can be rough on dry skin.
(ii) Not a cheap option to go with.
Best For: For oily to combination skin, not for dry and sensitive skins.
Neutrogena Naturals Acne Spot Treatment helps treat acne and prevent breakouts. This clinically tested and proven acne medicine contains wintergreen, a source of naturally derived salicylic acid, which is effective in treating acne and blackheads, and preventing their further occurrence. The non-comedogenic formulation penetrates down into skin pores to strongly treat acne without clogging pores.
(i) Formulated with 93% naturally derived ingredients for clear, healthy-looking skin.
(ii) Contains wintergreen, a unique potent natural salicylic acid, an anti blemish compound.
(iii) Not only treats and helps prevent acne and blackheads, but also reduces redness and soothes your skin.
(iv) Safe for daily use.
(v) Acne spot treatment is clinically proven acne product to treat and help prevent breakouts
(i) Salicylic acid included in this product can be over drying for sensitive skin types.
(ii) Takes longer to see results.
Best For: All skin types.
From the #1 Acne Skincare Brand in Europe, this dual action acne treatment is recommended by 25,000 dermatologists worldwide. La Roche-Posay offers this oil-free product, formulated with benzoyl peroxide and micro-exfoliating LHA to penetrate clogged pores and clear blackheads & whiteheads. This unique daily skincare treatment is made using a stringent formulation charter and rigorous clinical testing for efficacy and safety, even on sensitive skin.
(i) EFFACLAR DUO is the only acne treatment that contains both benzoyl peroxide medication (5.5%) and micro-exfoliating lipo-hydroxy acid to address breakouts.
(ii) It not only penetrates clogged pores to clear blackheads, white heads and acne blemishes, but also provides precise cell by cell exfoliation to clear away dulling cellular debris .
(iii) Developed with dermatologist, EFFACLAR DUO has been dermatologist tested on sensitive skin, is oil free/non-comedogenic, fragrance-free and paraben-free. This acne treatment cream has fast absorbing texture.
(iv) Winner of many beauty awards including; InStyle Best Beauty Buys, 2015 and Nylon Beauty Hit List, 2014.
(v) A treatment for mild to moderate acne.
(vi) Recommended for blemishes, blackheads, and whiteheads.
(i) Doesn’t always provide instant results.
(ii) Works optimally in conjunction with other products.
Best For: All skin types.
Are you using any acne spot remover? Have we missed any good acne spot treatment? Please share your thoughts with us under the comments section below.