Blame it on stress, hormones, chocolate or Mercury Retrograde…nearly all of us have experienced a breakout pimple one time or another. Usually the first line of defense for a breakout is an acne spot treatment. These targeted-treatments are generally used for the occasional blemish and help to fade, shrink and reduce redness.


Acne Spot treatments

The most effective acne spot treatments are formulated with ingredients like salicylic acid to dry oil, benzoyl peroxide, which has antibacterial properties and/or sulfur (anti-inflammatory). While spot treatments are OK to use on an occasional breakout, they shouldn’t be used as a long-term solution. For frequent or recurrent bouts of acne, it’s best to consult a dermatologist.

Some of the spot treatments that I like best (in no particular order) include:

Origins Super Spot Remover

My favorite spot treatment is Origins Super Spot Remover ($15). I used the “original” version (before it was Super!) and have always found it to work quickly and effectively. Origins Super Spot Remover is a gel that you dab onto the affected area. Active ingredient is Salicylic Acid 1.5%, along with caffeine and Red Algae for calming. Highly recommended!

Mario Badescu Drying Lotion

Mario Badescu Drying Lotion ($17) uses a combination of calamine, camphor, salicylic acid and other zit-zapping ingredients to heal and dry the offending blemish quickly. Apply the Drying Lotion after cleansing the affected area. The solution is separated (it’s supposed to be that way); when you dip a cotton swab down into the bottle you pick up a bit of the pink sediment, then dot it onto the pimple. This way the sediment stays concentrated and forms a mini mask over the blemish. I also like the Drying Cream (not pictured), which is really helpful for when you can “feel” the blemish just starting to form. A little goes a long way and it works fast!

MD Complete Skin Clearing Breakout Spot Treatment

MD Complete Breakout Spot Treatment ($24.99) is a new am/pm treatment using Benzoyl Peroxide, natural botanicals like Lentil Seed and Algae Extract to bolster skin’s barrier and Allantoin, Chamomile and Bisabolol to soothe and calm stressed skin. The MD Complete line was developed by Dr. Brian Zelickson, a Minnesots dermatologist and features clinically effective ingredients at an affordable price point. You can find this line in select Target stores and


Murad Acne Spot Fast Fix Acne Treatment

Murad Acne Spot Fast Fix is another favorite. Benzoyl Peroxide (3.5%) is micronized so that it’s powerful, but not irritating. Of all the treatments I tried, I think this one smells the best. There is niacinamide for redness-reduction, plus Witch Hazel for it’s antiseptic and pore-shrinking properties. I also like the light lotion formula, which works quickly while being gentle and soothing.

Estee Lauder Clear Difference Blemish Treatment

I love that Estee Lauder Clear Difference Targeted Blemish Treatment (review) has a rollerball applicator. Although it delivers a generous amount of product, it’s really the most sanitary way to apply an acne treatment. The active ingredient in Clear Difference Targeted Blemish Treatment is Salicylic Acid 1% . The gel has a fresh smell, so if you’re looking for a treatment that smells good, while working gently, this is an excellent choice.

June Jacobs Anti-Aging Blemish Control Spot Treatment

The June Jacobs Anti-Aging Blemish Control Spot Treatment is designed for those affected by breakouts caused by stress and hormones. A gel-blend of Salicylic Acid 1% and botanicals lie blue daisy, arnica and chamomile extracts help to calm, soothe and reduce skin redness.  In addition there are anti-oxidants and other anti-aging ingredients.


Neutrogena Naturals Acne Spot Treatment

If you’re looking for more of a natural and budget-friendly remedy, Neutrogena Naturals Acne Spot Treatment is formulated to be 93% naturally derived. With natural Salicylic Acid 1% and other skin conditioners like glycerin, this lightweight lotion formula is an excellent drugstore find.

 Clarisonic Acne System

Although not a spot treatment, if you experience frequent breakouts, you might want to consider changing up your cleansing routine to incorporate the CLARISONIC Acne Clarifying Cleanser Set. The Clarisonic Acne Brush Head has extra-plush bristles to provide ultra-gentle cleansing, while the Cleanser has salicylic acid to help eliminate and prevent new blemishes from forming.

Disclosure:  Press samples have been provided by the brand/PR for editorial consideration, product testing and review. Affiliate links have been used in the post; see Disclosure Policy for additional information.


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