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18 Acne Spot Treatments to Banish Pimples, Stat

Pimple? What pimple?

acne spot treatment
Edward BerthelotGetty Images

When an uninvited guest (hint: a pimple) pops up, we tend to go into panic mode. From DIY classics like tea tree oil to prescription remedies, we'll do anything to banish that pesky blemish. But when you're looking for a spot treatment that really works, lean on hero ingredients, like alpha-, beta-, and poly-hydroxy acids, plus hydrating materials that won't leave your complexion dry and flaky (especially if you deal with sensitive skin). Without further ado, allow us to present the acne spot treatments we swear by—the ones equipped to handle even the most stubborn breakouts.

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Best Drugstore Find
Advantage Spot Treatment with Witch Hazel
Clean & Clear

Behold, a drugstore staple that starts working in as little as four hours. Salicylic acid and witch hazel pair together to clear out clogged pores and calm inflammation for smooth, blemish-free skin. 

Best for Preventing Scarring
Super Spot Remover Acne Treatment Gel

This treatment tingles, but don't be alarmed—it won't trigger irritation, thanks to the soothing effects of cucumber extract and red algae, which reduces redness. You'll notice breakouts disappear within two to three days, with no lingering signs of scarring.

Best Dark Mark Fader
Go Away Acne Spot Treatment

There's nothing more annoying than noticing a dark spot post-pimple. Thanks to licorice and niacinamide, this targeted treatment gets rid of blemishes fast, while simultaneously fading hyperpigmentation to reveal zero trace of a breakout. 

Best for Sensitive Skin
Pharma BHA Acne Spot Treatment Gel
First Aid Beauty

Your whiteheads and blackheads will be a thing of the past with this high-powered, yet gentle spot treatment. Salicylic and glycolic acids, papaya, and willow bark extract team up to unclog congested pores and quickly resurface the skin to reveal bright and glowing skin. 

Best Pimple Shrinker
Succinic Acid Acne Treatment
The Inkey List

Here's a gentle spot treatment that uses succinic acid to quickly shrink pimples and absorb excess sebum. In addition, salicylic acid and sulfur work to exfoliate and prevent new blemishes from popping up. 

Best Drying Lotion
Drying Lotion
Mario Badescu

This drying lotion is a triple threat for banishing breakouts. It's comprised of salicylic acid to unclog pores, sulfur to kill bacteria, and calamine to calm inflammation. While it goes on a bit intense, many have witnessed its blemish-erasing results after just one night of use.

An Acne-Fighting Classic
Rapid Relief Acne Spot Treatment

Here's an OG spot treatment that still reigns supreme. Formulated with salicylic acid, witch hazel, and oat extract, this bestseller rapidly unclogs pores to erase existing breakouts and prevent emerging pimples from surfacing.

Best for Using With Makeup
Dynaspot Treatment

With a universal tint that seamlessly blends in with all skin tones, this spot treatment can be applied under or over makeup. It's formulated with tea tree oil and salicylic acid to quickly clear blemishes, plus soothing botanicals like chamomile and fennel to calm irritation. 

Best Tea Tree Treatment
Tea Tree Anti-Imperfection Daily Solution
The Body Shop

FYI: Tea tree oil is a natural antiseptic that does amazing things when applied to a blemish. This lightweight serum penetrates deep into the pores to extract impurities and ward off bacteria from forming. The result is a fresh and renewed glowing appearance. 

Best Sulfur-Based Treatment
Breakout Control Targeted Acne Spot Treatment
Kiehl's Since 1851

Do away with mild breakouts in no time with this acne-fighting gem. The fast-acting treatment is powered by sulfur, which works to reduce excess sebum, kill bacteria, and promote exfoliation for a clear, blemish-free glow.

Best for Maskne
EradiKate™ Acne Treatment
Kate Somerville

This pink solution contains 10 percent sulfur to effectively clear out pimples without drying out the skin or causing more irritation. Simply dip a Q-Tip into the solution and tap it on to the area in question. Prepare to witness results in as little as one hour.  

Best Luxe Find
Clarifying Acne Spot Treatment
Dr. Barbara Sturm

The beauty in this clarifying spot treatment is that it isn't chalky or drying and comes untinted and in seven different tinted options—something for every skin tone. Tea tree oil and zinc are blended together with hydrating hyaluronic acid to simultaneously fight breakouts and keep the skin glowing. 

Best Gel Treatment
Acne Gel
PCA Skin

PCA is best known for offering an array of acne diminishing treatments and this strong and mighty gel is no different. It boasts salicylic and mandelic acids to gently exfoliate the skin, erase current breakouts, and prevent future impurities. Plus, this gel is safe to use as a spot treatment or as a preventative treatment all over the face. 

The Anti-Ager
AGE Bright Spot Fader

Dealing with breakouts and age spots? Look to this dynamic product. Dermalogica's AGE Bright Spot Fader clears blemishes in no time and smoothes away signs of aging without stripping the skin of its needed oils. 

Best Pimple Patches
Acne Pimple Master Patch

These hydrocolloid patches are a beast when it comes to drawing out impurities and soothing irritation. For best results, cover up your unexpected pimple(s) with these mini patches before bed and awake to a renewed complexion in the a.m. 

Best Pore Shrinker
Saturn Sulfur Spot Treatment Mask
Sunday Riley

Thanks to the combination of sulfur, zinc, bentonite, and niacinamide, those annoying pimples and clogs don't stand a chance against this skincare hero. The fast-acting treatment zaps away zits and prevents new ones from forming, all while minimizing the appearance of pores. 

The Skin Perfector
Skin Perfecting BHA 9 Treatment
Paula's Choice

Trust us when we say that this skin perfector will rapidly reduce the most stubborn pimples. This treatment is loaded with salicylic acid to draw out imperfections and glycerin to keep the skin bouncy and hydrated. 

Best Deep Cleansing Spot Treatment
Acne Relief Maximum Strength Spot Gel
Perricone MD

This invisible gel does wonders for penetrating the skin to target existing breakouts and diminish acne-causing bacteria. For optimal results, cleanse the affected area before applying a thin layer of the treatment. 

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