We’ve all been there: You get a pimple just before a big event, yikes. So, you immediately reach for anything that could get rid of it ASAP (toothpaste, anyone? ).

But all you end up with is a dried out, irritating mess that even the highest coverage concealer couldn’t hide. 

READ MORE: Free the pimple – Rihanna claps back at trolls, plus, London photographer showcases the real faces of women 

What are spot treatments?

Enter spot treatments and pimple patches. Spot treatments often contain salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide as active ingredients. Salicylic acid is a chemical exfoliator that helps to dissolve the ‘glue’ that holds skin cells together, making it great for treating blemishes caused by clogged pores.

Benzoyl peroxide, on the other hand, helps to kill the bacteria that causes pimples, making it’s a great active ingredient to treat inflammatory pimples. You’ll find that most spot treatments and pimple patches contain these two ingredients or other active ingredients (such as niacinamide and alpha-hydroxy acids ) which zap zits in no time.

We’ve gathered 11 products that will tackle breakouts almost overnight — without drying out your skin — or leaving it minty fresh. 

Cosrx Acne Pimple Master Patch, R85 on GlowTheory.co.za

A favourite in the skincare community, these protective pimple stickers clear up pimples overnight. Made from a thin clear hydrocolloid,  that feels similar to a hydrogel sheet mask in texture, they literally suck all the gunk from the pimple. It also treats breakouts by eliminating infection and bacteria, and even flattens the pimple- all while you sleep! 

spot treatment

Beautiful Earth Spot Treatment, R115 on Faithful to Nature

Made with pure tea tree, lemon and lavender essential oils, this spot treatment is antibacterial and cleansing, helping to detoxify and sterilise your spots without any harsh chemicals. 

spot treatments

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo, R245 at Dis-Chem 

La Roche-Posay’s Effaclar Duo uses a micronized form of benzoyl peroxide, which means it has smaller particles that can penetrate the pores more deeply. Lipohydroxy acid, the second part of the spot-fighting ingredient duo, gently exfoliates to keep pores clear without causing irritation. 

spot treatments

REN Clear Calm Non-Drying Spot Treatment, R300 at Clicks

Packed with natural bio-active that help to restore the skin’s microbiome, boosting good bacteria and keeping breakouts at bay. It also contains calming ingredients that help soothe red and inflamed skin. 

spot treatment

Sebamed Clear Face Spot Control Gel, R79,95 at Clicks 

Sebamed helps to quickly clear your skin of acne and pimples. By cleaning pimple-causing impurities in your pores like dirt, excess oil and bacteria, it aggressively fights acne without harming your skin’s protective barrier. Instead, nourishing ingredients like allantoin and panthenol work to heal and soothe your skin. 

spot treatments

Yardley Oatmeal Super Clear Spot Buster, R69,95 at Clicks

Contains 89% purifying ingredients to help reduce the appearance of spots. It also helps soothe the affected area and fight the four causes of blackheads and unwanted blemishes. 

spot treatments

Pond’s Pimple Clear Leave-On Expert Pimple Gel, R45,95 at Dis-Chem

Infused with active Thymo-t technology. Pond’s says that their pimple gel is clinically proven to reduce pimples, yet gentle enough to soothe skin and reduce redness. 

spot treatments

Dr Oracle+ A-Thera Peeling Sticks, R350 online at Luxe Loft

This targeted spot treatment uses AHA and BHA, powerful acne-fighting acids, to effectively clear pores and blackheads. The sticks are shaped like cotton swabs to allow for precise application, so you can even target those pimples on the side of the nose. Lactic acid gently lifts dead skin cells while glycolic acid works to exfoliate and resurface the skin, smoothing bumpy skin texture. 

spot treatments

Pyunkang Yul Acne Spot Cream, R195 online from Glow Theory

Pyunkang Yul’s fast-acting Spot Cream works to rapidly heal and calm acne while suppressing spot-causing bacteria from growing in pores. Formulated with copper tripeptides to calm inflammation and fight bacteria, while liquorice extract and niacinamide work to minimise post-acne scars and even skin tone. 

spot treatments

Jumiso AC Cure Spot Cream, R355 online from Glow Theory 

Packed with acne-fighting ingredients, most notably phyto-silica, which helps the active ingredients penetrates deeply into the skin. Add tea tree’s antibacterial properties and the skin-evening abilities of niacinamide, which tackles any pigmentation leftover once the spot has healed and regulates sebum production. 

spot treatments


Etude House My AC Daily Pink Powder Spot Patches, R80 online at Luxe Loft

Formulated with their pink spot powder, this patch contains salicylic acid, tea tree oil and madecassoside, all which help to dry out pimples and lighten the spot as it heals. 

spot treatments

This article was originally published in Women's Health SA

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