The Best Acne Spot Treatments to Get Rid of a Pimple Fast
The Best Acne Spot Treatments
Okay, so you’ve got a pimple—it might seem like the end of the world or at least a major downpour on your parade, but the truth is, you actually have tons of tools at your disposal to treat, diminish, and expedite the healing of acne spots faster than you might imagine.
First thing’s first, follow the cardinal rule of acne: no picking. Seriously, as tempting as it can be to pinch, prod at, and pop a pimple, all the fussing rarely leads to anything good. Attempting to drain a pimple prematurely can lead to the spread of bacteria, increased inflammation, and acne scars.
Instead, your best bet is to clean the affected area thoroughly with a gentle cleanser and follow up with one of these tried-and-true solutions for getting rid of a pimple. Scroll through to see the best acne spot treatments for making your unwelcome guest go away fast.
Best Pimple Patch: Nexcare Acne Blemish Cover
Pimple patches, although new-ish on the scene, are an invaluable tool for treating pimples fast. These small, circular stickers are made of hydrocolloid bandage material, a gummy-like dressing that draws moisture away from your skin and into its center.
This solution is best used on "open" acne, or pimples that have come to a head. Stick one of these bandages over your pimple at night, and wake up in the morning to find your spot totally flattened and the hydrocolloid filled with a milky white substance—that’s the contents of your zit sucked from your face.
Best Benzoyl Peroxide Treatment: Glossier Zit Stick
You might remember this product’s lead ingredient, benzoyl peroxide, from the harsh cleansers of your middle school days. But don’t let the memories of those sulfate-heavy solutions sully your view on BP, one of the most effective ingredients for treating pimples.
This topical treatment kills P. acnes bacteria—the pesky bacteria that causes, you guessed it, acne—by oxidizing the area where they are found. (FYI, for this reason, it’s suggested not to use alongside vitamin C or other antioxidants, as the benzoyl peroxide can render them inactive.)
Best Salicylic Acid Spot Treatment: Clean & Clear Advantage Acne Spot Treatment
Salicylic acid, a chemical exfoliant, penetrates the oil-soluble layers in your skin to dissolves the bonds that hold dead skin to fresh skin beneath. By aiding in shedding layers, especially in the oily pores where bacteria lives, salicylic acid disrupts the P. acnes ecosystem. Translation: Bye, breakouts! Plus, this clear gel applies transparent to your skin, so it’s perfect for daytime acne-fighting use.
Best Clay Spot Treatment: Sand & Sky Australian Pink Clay Porefining Face Mask
Various types of clay, from bentonite to kaolin, are godsends for diminishing pimples fast. The clay creates a closed environment around your spot, and as it dries, it pulls moisture away from within your pores.
This highly Instagrammable mask by Australian brand Sand & Sky includes both bentonite and kaolin, plus a ton of moisturizing and brightening ingredients that clarify and replenish your skin at the same time. As clays can be quite drying to the clear parts of your skin, make sure to follow up with a hydrating toner and moisturizer.
Best Sulfur Spot Treatment: Mario Badescu Drying Lotion
This cult-loved spot treatment has been battling breakouts for years and has even been touted by celebs like Bella Hadid and Kylie Jenner. The suspended pink solution includes calamine, a skin-calming agent, and sulfur, a natural ingredient proven to fight acne-causing bacteria.
Best Essential Oil: The Body Shop Tea Tree Oil
While many essential oils are actually unsafe to use on your skin, tea tree oil is a notable exception. It’s a valuable resource for eradicating a pimple—the natural antibacterial properties in tea tree oil will knock acne bacteria out. Pure tea tree oil can be irritating when applied directly, so this particular tea tree oil by The Body Shop has included a stable solution of carrier oils, plus other nourishing ingredients to aid in a swift recovery of your pimple. It's so good, a bottle is sold every eight seconds worldwide.
Best Light Therapy Treatment: Neutrogena Light Therapy Acne Spot Treatment
Light therapy treatment might sound a little out there in the realm of home acne spot treatments, but there’s actually a good deal of research supporting the use of UV waves in fighting P. acnes. Red and blue light waves can be alternated on a targeted point for as little as two minutes a day, and can greatly reduce inflammation without the potential irritation of a topical solution.
Best All-Inclusive Solution: ProactivMD 3-Piece System
Kendall Jenner-approved acne company Proactiv has taken its all-inclusive acne solution to the next level with ProactivMD, a three part treatment that includes Adapalene gel — which has only recently become available without a prescription. What’s more, this system is benzoyl peroxide-free, and therefore a great route for anyone with BP sensitivities.