January 28th 2019
A targeted spot treatment is a must in everybody's bathroom cabinet, whether you’re 16 or 60 (adult acne is rife and even the post-menopausal among us don’t get an out). Here are our most relied upon blemish extinguishers, some old, some new, some innovative and a few with textures and benefits you may not expect. If you're particularly looking for a spot treatment to go under your face covering (curse you, maskne) we'd like to point you in the direction of our edit of the best pimple patches. Otherwise, read on...
Well-known for his at-home peels, Dr Dennis Gross has delivered another cracker of a skin-improver with this easy to apply gel. The ingredients list for this little white tube is really quite something; as well as 2 per cent salicylic acid to help dissolve break-up causing debris, it also included monk's pepper to rebalance oiliness while niacinamide and green tea team up to diminish blemish scars and soothe skin for a clearer, smoother complexion. Never one to make an under-performing product, Dr Dennis Gross' blemish buster also works to break the vicious spot circle, helping prevent further pimples from popping up. It can be applied several times a day, depending on how severe your skin issues are.
This invisible, lightweight gel works immediately and over time to nix current blemishes and reduce further skin troubles by unclogging pores and absorbing excess oils without drying the skin. Lactic acid is responsible for clearing out the pores while salicylic acid attacks bacteria to help create healthier skin microbiome. The calming powers come courtesy of citrulline, an ingredient found in watermelon that nourishes and soothes skin for a smooth texture. Lastly, tea tree is added to calm redness.
If you fall head over heels for this, you might want to try Perricone MD's Blemish Relief 90-Day Regime, two steps that work with the microbiome of the skin to treat the causes of blemishes. It adapts to your skin’s unique microbiome without disturbing the natural balance of your skin.
We're used to seeing the same tried and tested ingredients in spot clearers, so we were intrigued by the mention of anti-bacterial may chang, eucalyptus and spruce knot in this serum. Lesser-know maybe, but they still work wonders on pesky pimples, especially on teenage skin. It calms and soothes eruptions (thanks to aloe vera in the mix) without leaving dryness in its wake.
We've been consistently impressed by Beauty Bay's skincare offering and this budget buy is no different. It's ormulated with salicylic acid (of course) along with prebiotic to soothe and balance the skin. It creates a protective barrier over the blemish (great under masks) to clear the pore and stop excess bacteria getting in.
This is strong, salicylic stuff and will make your eyes water if you get it too close to your lid (do not), but it’s never once aggravated our skin or cause an adverse reaction- it firefights even ferocious spots. Go easy as the alcohol content can be drying, but when quite literally spot-applied at desperate times, it works quickly to reduce the size and severity of blemishes.
Containing skin barrier-boosting niacinamide, LHA, a derivative of salicylic acid, and the brand’s signature soothing thermal spring water, this SOS treatment is less abrasive than others on the market but by no means less effective. A ‘chill pill’ of sorts for angry blemishes that need to take a minute to calm themselves, it reduces redness and soreness to help take the sting out of your spots.
This spot treatment works and it works fast. A clear gel that you can use over or under makeup, it tingles slightly on application but even = sensitive skin is comfortable with the 2 per cent salicylic acid - it’s definitely one for all skin types. The USP is that it promises to reduce spot size and redness within four hours and - hallelujah - it really does. According to our sensitive skin columnist, she dabs this on any red spot which dares to appear and within a mere few hours it shrinks back to where it came from and looks a lot less angry; a couple of days of repeated application and it’s gone completely. She kind of wishes could go back in time to give it to her 13-year-old self.
This gentle blend of anti-inflammatory natural plant oils packs a punch thanks to a lightly exfoliating 2 per cent salicylic acid formula that aims to coax blemish-causing bacteria from pores. The oil helps skin to heal itself without the flaking and irritation oft associated with strong spot treatments, and our tester reported that prognosis for scarring and redness is much improved, plus you only need a dab to deflate a nasty eruption.
Another herby pustule fighter, this cooling gel is fragrance-free and and majors on oregano, eucalyptus and tea tree to evict bacteria, with salicylic acid to do its pore clearing thing and zinc and vitamin E to bring down inflammation. It doesn’t leave skin feeling too tight or dry either.
From one high end plant oil to another, this forest green formula smells calming and herby, and has the same tranquilising effect on pimples in our experience. With a slightly milder 1.5 per cent salicylic acid concentration, this antibacterial oil can be massaged all over the face as well as applied in a more targeted manner, and soothing milk thistle and cucumber help to dial down irritation. If you’re a facial oil fan and find that many spot lotions leave your skin stripped, Sunday could be right up your street, but the fragrance aspect could throw a spanner in the works- patch test if you can, particularly if you have sensitive skin.
Apparently around 70 per cent of menopausal women suffer from breakouts, but what’s required for older skin isn’t always catered for by the skincare market- often spot treatments are excessively drying or aggressive (which isn't really good for any skin, but particularly not if yours is on the parched side in the first place). Editor Victoria rates this for generally dry, hormonal, sensitive skin, but actually labelling it ‘menopause’ perhaps doesn’t do it justice- it’s appropriate for anyone with combination or dry skin that’s been hit by a blemish bomb. Spot disposal wise, it’s a cocktail of salicylic acid, sulphur and zinc, and the clay-like texture purges impurities without leaving behind a warzone. Makeup applies nice and smoothly the next day, and you might even need a little less thanks to its zit hitting capacity.
As the name would suggest, this is a non-drying spot saviour that's good for even sensitive skin. It won our award for the best results-focused skincare in 2019, so you know we rate it. It's gentle yet still hardworking enough to fix unruly complexions. Salicylic acid reduces the size of spots while maritime pine and thyme soothe.
January 28th 2019
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