By Kali Kushner and Elizabeth Nguyen
I don't know about you, but I'm past the days of pretty packaging and sly marketing. When it comes to my skincare, I want to know that a product works. And when it comes to my acne, I want to know that it works fast. Whether you’re someone who constantly struggles with their skin or just get the occasional hormonal blemish, treating your acne shouldn't have to cost an arm and a leg. That's why I've compiled this list of spot treatments that actually work.
Tried and true by the masses with at least a few hundred positive reviews, these spot treatments are the cult classics- the best of the best. What's even better? They're all pretty darn cheap- but still, stand up just as well to some of the pricier heavy-hitter brands on the market. That being said, here are the top 10 best acne spot treatments that get rid of pimples FAST at an affordable price.
These cute little pimple patches are a sure way to protect your skin from infection while extracting impurities and encourage healthy skin healing. Acne patches are Ideal for whiteheads and popped pimple as these patches work overnight to reduce overall redness and inflammation. It also helps with proper skin healing and is a great aid for anyone suffering from acne scars, slow wound healing or even hyperpigmentation.
Do you know that salicylic acid is one of the active ingredients in an acne treatment patch? Aside from this, it also includes tea tree oil, calendula, and rosehip seed oil which are for treating the pimple and hydrating your skin. Acne treatment patch may be considered as one of the best acne spot treatments as it sucks out all that dirt and pulls it off your skin (careful as it may cause an infection) the next day. I love this as it almost works like magic!
It is also a good way for you to prevent picking on your pimples. If you still didn’t know, picking pimples to increase the inflammation and is also a great contributor in slowing the healing process; So fight it as much as you can! Before you heal your open wounds or even popped pimple, your skin needs to be hydrated. Dried skin causes the collagen and elasticity in your skin to be destroyed which makes you prone to scarring.
Acne treatment patches are awesome for skin with open, popped pimples. You can find them in some beauty stores, or you may also order online, like one Korean brand.
The Neutrogena Light Therapy pen works to visibly reduce blemishes and kill the acne-causing bacteria as little as 2 minutes. This can be carried along with you whenever and wherever you go.
Formulated with 2% salicylic acid, Kiehl’s blue herbal spot treatment helps to combat breakouts and diminish any acne-causing bacteria. It also contains both frankincense and ginger root which helps to absorb the excess oil and calm your inflamed or irritated skin.
This product helps target acne breakouts to clear blemishes, blackheads and whiteheads. Kiehl’s Blue Herbal Spot Treatment helps keep your skin look clearer and feel more comfortable.
Tea tree oil is well-known for its powerful pore unclogging properties and helps clear and calm your blemished skin. Its anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties make a great option for those suffering from both problematic and sensitive skin. Tea Tree Oil can be bought at The Body Shop for $18. This acne skin care product is such a popular spot treatment that it’s sold out every 8 seconds.
However, there are also precautions of using tea tree oil as it may cause irritation or even an allergic reaction especially if you have sensitive skin.
Another affordable acne spot treatment is the Murad Relief Spot Treatment which contains 2% salicylic unique gel formula which can be applied alone or under makeup without causing peeling while treating blemishes and concealing. This skin care product is infused with oat extract as well as witch hazel to tone, fight acne and nourish your dry skin while its pine and thyme ingredients fight irritants and maintain a healthy skin barrier.
This acne spot treatment also exfoliates, clears, balances and soothes your skin.
6) Banish Pumpkin Enzyme Masque - $39
The first thing to know about cystic acne is that it is a pimple lying under the skin’s surface with no opening, causing the bacteria to dive under the skin, especially those layers of dead skin cells piling up. TIP: Topical spot treatment for acne such as benzoyl peroxide won’t work as you’re applying it on a layer of skin that doesn’t have an opening to pull off the dirt.
One of the product recommendations you can use to spot treat this type of active acne is the Pumpkin Enzyme Masque from Banish. I personally consider this as one of the best acne spot treatments since this masque contains AHAs which is naturally derived from the pumpkin fruit.
What is AHA? Alpha Hydroxy Acid or otherwise known as AHA is a glycolic acid that helps remove the first layer of dead skin cells. What makes this product so awesome is that it helps exfoliate your skin, which is its primary function and prevents any further breakouts from occurring.
Since it sloughs off dead skin, it will make the new skin layer brighter. It also promotes collagen production, reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, promotes blood flow to the skin, minimizes and correct discoloration and increase product absorption.
The FDA approved AHA concentration is less than 10%. If it’s over that amount, you will already experience the side effects such as burning, itching and sometimes blisters or rashes like skin reactions. So this ingredient is definitely not for those who have sensitive skin types.
When I started using this amazing spot treatment for acne, I began to use it every other way, which is also the recommended time of use. When you use products with AHAs such as the Banish Pumpkin Enzyme Masque, it will make your skin more sensitive to the sun’s rays so be sure to wear sunscreen when going out and wear at least a cap or a hat. If you can, avoid sun exposure from 10 am-4 pm where the rays are most harmful.
The moment you apply this pumpkin masque, the best thing you can do is wait for 10-15 minutes for it to do its job by chemically exfoliating your skin. You may wipe it off with a clean damp cloth or paper towel. Best to spray on the Vitamin C Beauty Elixir as the last step before snoozing off to dreamland.
This natural acne spot treatment is formulated with tea tree oil, calendula, yarrow and parsley which help calm the skin, reduce redness and unclog pores. Burts Bees Natural Acne Solutions Targeted Spot Treatment has a naturally derived salicylic acid from willow bark which is responsible for treating and preventing future acne from occurring and effective for treating whiteheads and blackheads without over-drying the skin.
This drying lotion from Mario Badescu is a fast-acting, medicated spot treatment that works virtually overnight to help shrink your whiteheads and reduce inflammation. It contains zinc, sulfur and salicylic acid as its ingredients which eliminate acne-causing bacteria while its calamine lotion heals, calms and soothes your skin.
A one-of-a-kind affordable acne spot treatment that is completely organic. This turmeric stick from Cocokind contains turmeric, tea tree oil and ginger as its ingredients to fight acne-causing bacteria while balancing your skin tone. Turmeric is a perfect key ingredient to reduce inflammation, remove hyperpigmentation and brighten your skin complexion.
When you’re wanting to fight, fade and heal your blemishes fast, Origins Super Spot Remover is one of the best or go to acne spot treatment in fighting off acne without breaking the bank. Another one of those best acne spot treatments that is formulated with salicylic acid (to bust acne) and anti-spot technology (to correct post pimple darkening before it even happens). It also contains caffeine and red algae as its ingredients that work or help lessen the redness and keep your skin looking spotless.
A botanically-based spot treatment that utilizes natural salicylic acid (willow bark) and soapberry to calm inflammation, cleans and purifies the pore is not such a bad acne skin product after all. The Willow Bark Spot Treatment by Boscia safely provides relief from your breakouts, even for those with sensitive skin.
This acne spot treatment product contains ingredients such as Jojoba Oil as well as Vitamin C and E which are responsible for helping control oil, maintain clear skin complexion and combat any free radicals.
12. Galderma Benzoyl Peroxide - $9
As you know, benzoyl peroxide is an active ingredient recommended by dermatologists to reduce acne-causing bacteria and eventually treating pimples. This active ingredient is also effective in exfoliating the skin.
Though this spot treatment for acne may seem to be a controversial topical treatment for most of us as it can dry out our skin and cause itchiness as well as a burning sensation, benzoyl peroxide’s side effects can be offensive, its effectivity can be proved by killing the bacteria and even preventing further breakouts. Also, the good thing with this topical treatment is that you can combine this with some of the best acne spot treatments that can be purchased in the market.
What if your skin is super sensitive? One suggestion or recommendation for that is to start with the lowest percentage (2.5%). Initially, your skin may dry up really quickly with a 2.5% of benzoyl peroxide, but when you get used to it, you may adjust the strength to 5%, depending on your skin’s tolerance.
Some people may not agree at all with calling benzoyl peroxide as the #1 spot treatment for acne as they hate the thought of it. Again, it all depends on every person’s skin type and how compatible it is with yours..
It is very possible that your skin may adjust to the side effects of this topical treatment. It may appear red and feel like flesh open wounds. I would definitely suggest that you give your skin some time to adapt to it if you experience this phase.
Using benzoyl peroxide as a topical or spot treatment for acne can be a little bit disappointing or frightening in the beginning but as you and your skin are adjusting to it, in the long run, it may show massive improvements.
Take precautions though as benzoyl peroxide may not be applied on open wounds as it would destroy the elasticity and close in on your skin. Instead, you may apply it to large areas or just spot treat it. Another reminder is that benzoyl peroxide may only be applied on surfaced pimples that are not open. Don’t forget to use sunscreen as well as your skin may be sensitive to the UV rays of the sun.
13. Ice Facial
Yes, you heard it. Another cool (forgive the pun) spot treatment for acne is by using ice. This is one natural way that you can add to your list in treating that stubborn acne. This is a great alternative especially if you are doubtful of your skincare’s chemical ingredients.
The best acne type to use ice on is the inflamed ones. When used, it decreases redness and when this happens, it makes them less noticeable. Since it also has the effect of numbing the skin temporarily, it can also treat the pain felt with cystic or nodular acne. Use ice cubes on blemishes at the first sign of a pimple to slow down inflammation.
Before indulging in this, make sure that your skin is still thoroughly cleansed first, just like before applying any other type of treatment. To avoid the mess of melted ice, I would suggest that you wrap it around a clean thin cloth. Hold the ice on acne for a few seconds to 1 minute after your morning or evening cleanse. If the pimple is extremely inflamed, you can do this multiple times instead for a period of 1 minute, then rest for 5 minutes before you leave it on again for another minute. This will prevent skin damage.
This ice facial is not only good for pimple treatment but also helps relax the eyes. I would usually do this as well as a replacement for cucumbers if I don’t have any in my fridge.
14. DIY Treatment: Warm Water + Natural Salt
Last but not least from my list of affordable acne treatments is a combination of warm water and natural salt. It is a home remedy that people suffering from acne can also do or try at home. Just mix warm water with one tablespoon of natural salt in a clean container and dip the cotton there then dab it on the affected areas.
Just be careful not to overdo it as salt can also possibly dry out your skin and cause it to become oilier. Do this at least twice a day to prevent your skin from becoming irritated.
Given this list of acne spot treatments, which one would you use or think works best for you? Kindly share your thoughts by commenting down below.