Not everyone battles severe acne, but nearly everyone gets a pimple or small breakout at some point in their lives. While a proper skincare routine (we’re talking cleansing, treating and moisturizing twice a day, every day!) is the most effective way to keep your skin at its best, there are times when you need a quick fix — aka something that can target and attack that stubborn pimple that cropped up overnight.
Spot treatments were created to do just that — treat a specific blemish or area of the skin. There are a variety of spot treatments that can be effective, depending on the type of pimple and your skin type. While a spot treatment can be a very regular part of an acne-focused skincare regimen, there are some specific occasions where it can be especially useful.
- When you know the breakout is coming. For those who experience hormonal breakouts or can feel a pimple forming under the skin, a spot treatment can be used to encourage the breakout to surface and therefore, leave the skin faster.
- When your pimple is red and inflamed. Pimples come in all forms, but when it seems like there’s suddenly a bright red volcano on your face, a spot treatment can reduce swelling and redness.
- As a way to introduce your skin to new ingredients. Active ingredients in skincare (especially those used in acne products) are known to be irritating and can cause side effects, so using a spot treatment is a great way to introduce a new product to your skin while minimizing any possible side effects.
- To combat scarring and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Depending on the active ingredients, many spot treatments can also be used to prevent post-acne scarring and lighten dark spots, aka hyperpigmentation.
Spot Treatment Ingredients
There are lots of spot treatments available over the counter, but for the best results, you should choose one with an active ingredient that works for your acne, skin type, and lifestyle. For example, some spot treatments are meant to be used overnight, while some dry clear so they can be worn during the day. Find a spot treatment with one of these acne fighting actives:
- Benzoyl Peroxide. This antiseptic destroys bacteria in pores, acts as an anti-inflammatory agent, and is an oxidizer that can help to inject air into the pores and loosen oils and bacteria trapped inside. The SLMD Acne Spot Treatment contains 10% benzoyl peroxide and is a great option for drying out pimples and zapping bacteria.
- Salicylic Acid. An antibacterial, salicylic acid helps to clear out pores and is an anti-inflammatory and keratolytic, which means it helps to dissolve keratin and exfoliate the skin. The SLMD x Dr. Pimple Popper Acne Spot Treatment is a great option for those who want a daytime spot treatment. It dries clear, which means it can be worn under or over makeup on those stubborn breakouts.
- Sulfur. Great at drying out pimples, sulfur also works to reduce inflammation and is an excellent alternate ingredient for those who are sensitive to other acne ingredients.
In short: A spot treatment is the perfect way to combat an unsightly blemish and prevent new pimples from forming. While we can’t always predict our breakouts, finding the right spot treatment for your acne and skin type will keep you prepared and ready to treat acne — no matter when it happens.