We’re all prone to the occasional breakout. In our 20s, 30s, and 40s, those breakouts are the result of hormones (which are a lot harder to control than the acne!) and environmental stressors. Luckily, there are a bevy of incredible acne spot treatments that target the adult breakout blemish. You don’t want to use the same ingredients/ products you did as a teen (note: benzoyl peroxide is horrible for adult skin). You’re not a teenager anymore (thank God) and your products need to adjust accordingly.
Out of the 6 acne spot treatments that I have reviewed, 4 are made with natural ingredients (for the eco-green girl) and all are formulated without benzoyl peroxide. I have personally tried and tested each and every one of these products and I continue to use all of them depending on the type of breakout I am having. Find the one that works for you and be sure to let us know your favorite.
1. End Zit ($16) – A similar ingredient list to the coveted Mario Badescu Drying Lotion, although End Zit is great for day use too. The formula is tinted and you can blend to virtually cover (aka conceal) the red, inflamed pimple. This is a major plus in my book because I want to treat and cover the blemish – and this is a treatment first, with a hint of tint. Comes in 3 shades – light/ medium, medium/ dark, sun bronzed. Dries out the zit with sulfur – if you are allergic to sulfur, stay away from this product!
2. Medik 8 BetaGel Anti Acne Gel ($80) – This powerful, all-natural spot treatment is great for shrinking the big ones. The three main ingredients – azelaic acid to calm and soothe, salicylic acid to unclog pores, and vitamin B3, (niacinamide) used to exfoliate and balance oil production – won’t dry out your skin. BUT, you have to apply multiple times a day for serious results (up to 6 times). I love the light, fluid consistency. To apply, use one drop onto a clean finger and dab directly onto the zit. Dara Kennedy of Ayla Beauty says, “adult acne often occurs along with other symptoms of stressed skin (due to hormonal changes, internal imbalances, or external factors), and betaGel helps calm and balance skin instead of aggressively drying it out or causing further inflammation.” P.S. This is their top selling acne product!
3. Elemental Herbology Perfect Clarity ($48) – A natural alternative to the harsh spot treatments. Great for sensitive skin that still gets the occasional blemish. A laundry list of natural ingredient such as lactic acid to exfoliate the dead skin, rosemary oil to tone, and Copaiba Balsam, Andiroba and Acai Oil, the orgnaic ‘super blend’ of antioxidants that are highly anti-inflamatory and anti-bacterial. Applies with a bristled wand tip directly onto the blemish (if you are concerned about transferring bacterias from the wand to your skin, I suggest dabbing onto a clean finger then applying the the pimple). This stuff does a great job of reducing the redness and swelling associated with inflamed pimples.
4. Arcona Herbal Compound ($30) – Another natural alternative to harsh, chemically-filled acne spot treatments. This stuff combines a proprietary blend of herbs to fight skin eruptions, unclogs pores and kills bacteria. Antimicrobial burdock extract increases micro-circulation, tightens pores and combats blemish causing bacteria, while aloe heals the skin. The yellowish liquid can be applied as needed to areas of concern (I soak a Q-tip and apply directly to the blemish). You can apply a thin layer to an entire area of the skin (like the forehead, chin or nose) too. It will leave a slight orange/ yellow tint on the area, but it didn’t bother me. In fact, I loved how natural it smelled and felt!
5. Mario Badescu Drying Lotion ($17) – Still my favorite for the big cystic pimples, this spot treatment quickly and effectively dries out whiteheads (do NOT use all over the face – it will dry you out! Just apply to the actual blemish at night and sleep with it on the skin). A combination of Calamine, Camphor, Colloidal Sulfur, Salicylic Acid, Zinc Oxide, Titanium Dioxide, and Talc work in conjunction to bring the clogged bacteria to the surface. If you are allergic to sulfur, this is not the product for you.
6. Burt’s Bees Natural Acne Solutions Maximum Strength Spot Treatment Cream ($13) – A 99.5% natural, drugstore alternative to acne spot treatments. Willow Bark, a natural Beta Hydroxy Acids, exfoliates and unclogs pores while Licorice Root Extract reduces redness and Tamanu Oil promotes clean, healthy skin. A great treatment for whiteheads that have already surfaced.