Pimples have the unique ability to pop up just before major life events—think wedding days, first dates and job interviews
— but that doesn't mean you can't get rid of them on the fly.
All of us (excluding Jorja Smith) have had to deal with a dreaded pimple at some point. Sometimes the odd one crops up unannounced, other times it can be caused by hormones, or you might be fighting the good fight against acne. Whatever the cause, there's a solution that can help you fix it, honest.
When it comes to getting rid of spots (aka the most unwelcome of face visitors), you want to treat those buggers immediately and hopefully try and stop them making a reappearance in the future. That's where spot treatments come in.
The best spot gels usually contain a concoction of anti-inflammatory and bacteria-reducing ingredients, like salicylic acid and niacinamide, to help reduce the painful swelling and spot-causing substances. Salicylic acid, in particular, can get deep into your pores to help decongest them, speeding up the spot shrinking process.
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However, know that spot treatments work best on pustules (traditional pimples filled with pus). If you have cystic acne or papules (inflamed red pimples that haven't quite reached the surface), spot treatments won't cut it. But if you're dealing with a pesky pustule, we've got the best hard-hitting products that will shrink your skin's new resident in no time.
Keep scrolling to see the best spot treatments your money can buy.
Our prayers were answered the day that Glossier reformulated their Zit Stick and brought it to Ireland. The little pink stick is meant to be kept in your bag for at all times for emergency top-ups. It contains 2% salicylic acid, capryloyl salicylic acid and tea tree, to zap spots on the go. Use up to three times a day.
Zit Stick, €14, Glossier
There's a reason this cult formula has been dubbed a lifesaver by celebs and models alike. One of the fastest working treatments - put it on before bed and you can bet ya that blemish is gone come morning. Salicylic acid and calamine get to work ASAP, the best part is, despite its potency, it's still safe to use on even the most sensitive skins and doesn't cause any redness or irritation.
Drying Lotion, €19, Mario Badescu
As cheap as this is, it’s also effective and gentle on skin—nowhere near a clumsily formulated acid bath. The Ordinary’s solution contains acne-fighting salicylic acid as well as a milder form of witch hazel, an astringent that cuts oil and deflates pimples without choking the moisture out of your skin. Thanks to its exfoliating and soothing properties, the solution clears closed comedones, ingrown hairs, blackheads, and whiteheads while reducing redness, even balancing oily skin.
Salicylic Acid 2%, €5.30, The Ordinary
A spot treatment that doesn't contain salicylic acid? Yep, this is it. Non-drying, it's packed full of natural bio-actives that help restore equilibrium to the skin's microbiome, boosting good bacteria and keeping breakouts at bay. It's also incredibly calming, so if you find your skin gets really red and angry, this is probably your guy.
Non-Drying Spot Treatment, €17, REN Skincare
This two-in-one spot treatment reduces the appearance of active breakouts and post-breakout marks. Salicylic Acid works to clear breakouts, while Niacinamide and Hexylresorcinol work synergistically to fade post-breakout marks, improving uneven skin tone. AGE Bright™ Complex reduces visible skin ageing and helps prevent over-drying.
Age Bright Spot Fader, €49, Dermalogica
This gel spot treatment has everything—salicylic acid, red algae to (ironically) remove redness, and exfoliators to flush out dead skin cells and excess sebum. It's every pimple-busting weapon wrapped into one. Breakouts clear within two to three days, with minimal scarring. There’s even a slight tingle if you like to feel products working.
Super Spot Remover Blemish Treatment, €20, Origins
For those times when an angry bump rears its head practically before your eyes, this spot treatment for Kiehl's is invaluable. Specifically formulated for sensitive adult skin and blemish-prone skin, it uses a down-to-business approach and visibly reduces pimples overnight.
Kiehl's Blue Herbal Spot Treatment, €24, Kiehl's
Main image by @jorjasmith on Instagram