We all know it: You get a pimple. You immediately defend yourself against said pimple with the strongest, best spot treatment you can find. You end up with a peeling, parched, and irritated mess that’s virtually impossible to hide. Most spot treatments contain varying percentages of either salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide as active ingredients.
In short, salicylic acid is an incredible chemical peel: “Once it penetrates the skin, [it] dissolve[s] some of the intercellular ‘glue’ that holds skin cells together,” cosmetic chemist Randy Schueller previously said Curls. Because of this, it’s great for treating blemishes caused by clogged pores (blackheads, blackheads—you get the idea).
On the other hand, benzoyl peroxide thwarts the bacteria that causes pimples in the first place, making it an ideal ingredient for treating inflammatory acne breakouts. The best spot squelching products balance anti-pimple ingredients (including those above) with skin-soothing ingredients to prevent that dreaded dryness.
Below are 19 products that will quickly fight breakouts without damaging your skin.
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