The first spot cream I have ever tried was some tinted weird Clearasil jawn that used salicylic acid to attack the bacterial aspect of the zit. I don’t remember this pasty goop being very kind to my teenage skin.
I made it to 21 years old thinking that the only way to get rid of acne was with lasers and doom and that the skin around the zits was just collateral damage. Learning how to hydrate skin regardless of sebacious-ness was a hard-won battle, and when you go from being scolded by a facialists to being praised, you can high-five yourself.
But the war, for me, rages on. When I have PMS and hormonal breakouts, I know I have to break out the big guns. Slather on that AHA/BHA cleanser, check. Aztec Secret Mask time, check. Break out the African Black Soap, check. Spot cream, the Captain America of face products, is called in to save the day when you have active, inflamed, and subordinate zits that don't listen to reason.
Some spot treatments can be as simple as a dab of essential oil; others can be complicated DIY projects. There are so many options, and trial and error is really the only way to find the best one for you.
Since I’ve had acne for roughly half my life, I have tried oh so many. Here are three of my favorites—some old, some new, some crazy-expensive, but all very effective!
An amazing Indian market find, this spot treatment is the bee’s knees! It contains black pepper, turmeric and neem, well-known for their antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, especially in Ayurveda. At six bucks per tube, you can really slap this ish on thickly over any active pimples.
Calamine, sulfur, zinc oxide, and clay are a perfect base for the powers of the other herb and spices. Fuller’s Earth and chalk round it out. The clays and minerals help to soak up any plasma or pus that an angry zit could be spewing while the herbs get to work.
I’ve used this bb for about five years now and always repurchase. To me it’s an Ayurvedic dupe for Mario Badescu’s Drying Lotion, which I will forever remember as Britney Spears' favorite spot treatment.
Boy oh boy, this mask. At first, I wanted to balk at this insane price tag—$122! But this is one of those things, if you want it badly enough and it’s made for your needs, treat yo self, indeed.
Myrrh, frankincense, benzoin, and rosemary use their oleoresinous powers to reach deep into pores to help kill infection and purge the yuck. Clay, plantain and zinc also are found in this mask, which I use as a spot treatment. I bust this out for the worst of the worst, and it works best on deep cystic stuff rather than open and inflamed pimples.
Whenever I use this stuff, it makes cystic meanies come to a head the very next day. That's some popping power. The faster it goes, the faster it heals!
This cream is the best of both worlds. Clay, sulfur, and tea tree are the big three, but awesome flower extracts such as lavender, ylang-ylang, and calendula help to soothe skin in addition to attack the acne. Moisturizing ingredients help avoid casualties around the spots you are trying to treat, and it also has vitamins A, E and B5.
I love the way this cream smells, the fact that it already has tea tree in it, and its aspirations to not only treat the pimple, but heal the skin.
Spot treatments can be the difference between a ruined photo and a well-concealed secret. When I wipe any of these three off of a what was once a heinous bump, it’s always significantly smaller and far easier to conceal with makeup. Though I may hit the pillow like a beauty caricature, spackled with spot creams and glistening with oils, I wake up that much closer to princess.
- What do you slather on your acne?
- Any other hormonal acne sufferers with tips to share?