When I feel like a pimple is about to form, I want to do everything in my power to clear it… and fast. As someone who has experienced acne pretty much all of my adult life, I’ve tried more products than I can count to clear acne fast at a bunch of different price points.
Today I’m sharing the four spot treatments that I feel work the best and quickest to shrink and eliminate acne– even overnight in some cases. There’s a pick for every budget, but they’re all under $25 so you can achieve clear skin without breaking the bank.
1. Hanhoo Dermafix Blemish Patches ($2.50 for 36 Dots, $3.50 for Custom Patches)
These hydrocolloid patches help absorb oil and pus from your breakout to reduce inflammation and the appearance of your zits practically overnight! Grab them if you feel a zit beginning to form, or if you have a raised whitehead that needs coaxing out. I’ve also had luck using hydrocolloid patches on flattening cystic acne, though that could take a couple nights of use. They typically work better if your zit is already starting to come to a head, making them surface and purge more quickly, and will save you from picking at your face and causing more damage and scars. While they are available in standard dot stickers, I like the custom patch option which comes with two sheets that you can cut to fit over your breakout whether that be single zits or a cluster of multiple spots.
2. Zapzyt Acne Treatment Gel ($8.08)
This is a maximum strength spot treatment cream that contains 10% Benzoyl Peroxide to target acne-causing bacteria and treat pimples and blackheads. Zapzyt is one of my “secret weapons” when I have really stubborn spots, both cystic and whiteheads. It works quickly to reduce swelling and dry out my acne to make a big difference by morning. Especially if you catch a pimple in the beginning, this works wonders to help it clear and heal at rapid speed. For deeper acne, it can take a couple days but still cuts the healing time significantly. Keep in mind: benzoyl peroxide is the culprit for lightening fabrics such as towels or pillowcases, so be careful about washing your hands after applying and leaning on colored linens.
3. Mario Badescu Drying Lotion ($17)
This is my personal favorite on this list, because it checks all the boxes at once— drawing out impurities while exfoliating and drying out pimples. The Mario Badescu Drying Lotion uses Salicylic Acid to exfoliate and shed pore-clogging dead skin cells, Sulfur to absorb excess oil, and Calamine and Zinc to pull out impurities and soothe the skin. It works like an overnight mask on your pimples, with the pink clay-like consistency completely covering the bump. You leave the formula separated (with the clear liquid on top and pink lotion on the bottom of the bottle) and pick up a dollop of the pink solution with a cotton swab. Dab it on your pimple and let it sit overnight. This makes the biggest difference for almost all pimple types that I experience. I also notice that my pimples don’t leave as dark of a hyperpigmentation spot after being treated with this.
4. Pixi Zero Zit ($24)
If you’re looking for a clean beauty product for acne, Zero Zit from Pixi is one of the more effective ones I’ve tried. The star ingredients are Wintergreen leaf extract (a natural salicylic acid) which clears blocked pores, sea salt to purify and reduce blemishes, and Sulfur to absorb oil. It’s a super lightweight gel consistency that works well morning and night. I find that it visibly reduces redness and inflammation of pimples after one use without irritating or drying out the skin— shrinking them by half at least. My biggest gripe is that for the price, you get the least amount of product/usage out of this whole list.