The Mario Badescu Drying Lotion is an acne spot treatment formulated with salicylic acid, sulfur and zinc oxide to draw out impurities as you sleep. Its fast-acting shrinking powers have made it a firm favorite with beauty editors, industry insiders, and celebrities like Kylie Jenner.
While salicylic acid and sulfur are common ingredients in spot treatments, the drying lotion also contains calamine lotion to provide a soothing effect on your skin. The treatment can be easily applied with a cotton swab and is recommended to be used at night due to the pink coloring.
Our director, Ellen Hoffman, is a fan, calling the product "magic." She also said that it "dries out whiteheads while you sleep so they're virtually gone by the next morning." The drying lotion has won numerous awards, including a 2017 Acne Award from Teen Vogue for Best Spot Treatment.
The lotion has an Amazon's Choice recommendation because of its high ratings, with 2,855 buyers giving it a 4.3 out of 5-star rating. Plus, more than 9,800 reviewers on Influenster gave it a 4.5-star rating. One reviewer named Erica wrote, "This drying lotion is perfect for helping my pimples disappear overnight! I put it on the break out before bed and in the morning it is gone."
While most reviewers raved about the product's zit zapping powers, a few noted that they wished it wasn't pink so they could use it during the day as well.
Pros: Shrinks blemishes overnight, works quickly, calms skin, draws out impurities
Cons: Can't wear during the day if leaving the house
The Clean & Clear Advantage Spot Treatment is a clear gel that works quickly to shrink zits of every size. The product's maximum strength 2% salicylic acid helps dissolve surface oil around the blemish and penetrates the pore to clean it from the inside out.
The gel also features witch hazel, which helps soothe skin and prevents it from drying out. The gel has been clinically proven to give 100% of testers clearer looking skin in just one day. Since the spot treatment is a clear gel, it can be used during the day or night.
One shopper named Ashlee raved, "This is the best nonprescription acne medicine you will ever try. It decreases size within a day and it lessens redness overnight. This is the best you can get for the money. I would buy it again and again."
Some buyers did note it they weren't a fan of the strong chemical smell but said it fades quickly after application.
Pros: Affordable, acts fast, clinically proven to give users clearer skin, shrinks pimples, reduces redness
Peter Thomas Roth Acne-Clear Invisible Dots are clear round patches formulated with salicylic acid and tea tree oil that work together to eliminate pimples fast. Just cover your zit with one of the sticky patches, and the dot will work overnight to shrink the pimple's size while also helping to prevent future breakouts.
Each box comes with 72 patches total in a variety of small and large dots so you can switch up the patch size depending on how big the blemish is. The patches work on all skin types including normal, oily, dry, combination, and sensitive.
The product has over 10,000 likes on Sephora, with one reviewer saying, "I've tried so many on-the-spot acne treatments, that I was skeptical when someone recommended this product. However, I was wildly impressed with the results and felt it my duty to tell everyone I know about this product. The stickers are easy to use, comfortable, and hardly noticeable. I'm so pleased with this purchase, and so relieved to have these in zit-emergencies!"
Some buyers were put off by the high price point, but most said the product was worth the cost. If you want to spend a little less, you should try the Mighty Patch, which we also like.
In her review of the Mighty Patch, our writer Connie Chen wrote, "As someone who has struggled with acne-prone skin for years, I'm often skeptical of supposed quick-fix solutions, but the effectiveness of the Mighty Patch stickers have made me a convert."
The handy product is a concealer and acne drying lotion in one. It features zinc oxide, clay, witch hazel, suffer, and tea tree oil, which work together to shrink the zit, while the color-infused skin treatment's full-coverage pigment conceals the pimple.
In a clinical study, 100% of users said the product covered their blemishes, while 84% said it also reduced the blemish's size. The clever treatment has a 4-star rating and more than 20,000 likes on Sephora.
One reviewer commented, "It flawlessly conceals my blemishes and works well with my other facial products. I noticed a bump I had covered with the concealer had shrunk in size. This stuff works! A definite must-have for any make-up bag!"
The spot treatment concealer is sold in seven different skin tones but some customers did recommend testing the product with a sample first to find the right color.
Pros: Comes in a variety of skin tones, dries out zits, offers full coverage
If you prefer to buy clean beauy products, opt for Origins' Super Spot Remover Blemish Treatment Gel. The acne treatment features salicylic acid to zap zits quickly and red algae, which helps soothe skin and reduce redness. It is also made with the fruit of the Saw Palmetto to help eliminate excess oils and prevent future breakouts.
The product has a Clean at Sephora seal which means it's made without the ingredients shoppers told Sephora they'd like to avoid. It is sulfate, paraben, and formaldehyde-free and features less than 1% of synthetic fragrances.
With over 50,000 likes and 1,000 reviews, it is one of the most popular acne spot treatments at Sephora. The fast-acting skincare treatment also has a 4.32-star rating on Influenster with more than 1,500 reviews.
A shopper named Sarah is a huge fan of the product saying, "This little bottle is like liquid gold. I've had a pimple appear and I'll put this on at night and my pimple is legit almost flat. This is by far the best spot treatment I've used in my life and I have tried quite a few. I also like that's it's more like a gel so if you want to use it during the day and have no makeup on you can go out with it and it just dries clear."
A few reviewers did complain about the size of the bottle, but most said a little goes a long way.
Pros: Eco-friendly, shrinks pimples fast, reduces redness, clean seal at Sephora
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