Acne Treatments That Really Work

Still plagued with breakouts? Beauty editors trust these six pimple-shrinking picks to clear skin, stat.


Burt’s Bees Natural Acne Solutions Clarifying Toner


Acne forms under the skin long before you see it on the surface, which is why dermatologists recommend treating your entire face (not just the pimple) when you want to prevent breakouts. Douse a cotton pad with the toner, then swipe it over your skin once a day after cleansing. Witch hazel and lemongrass rid pores of dirt, oil and makeup, while salicylic acid kills bacteria.

To buy: $10,

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Renée Rouleau Anti-Cyst Treatment


For those painful, underground pimples that don’t want to budge, use this. The gel contains a hefty dose of ethyl lactate to reduce inflammation, lactic acid to dissolve dead skin cells blocking the pore, and carboxymethyl cellulose to deliver the ingredients deep within the skin. Continue dabbing it on trouble zones, even after the pimple has cleared, to prevent future cysts from forming.

To buy: $43,

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Peter Thomas Roth Acne-Clear Invisible Dots


If you’re tired of going to bed covered in white spots, try this discreet alternative. The circular blemish “bandages” go on clear and are virtually undetectable, yet infused with salicylic acid and tea tree oil to clear pores and heal zits. Wear them at night to treat pimples without leaving a trail on your pillowcase.

To buy: $12 for 24 dots,

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Orgo Lactic Acid Blemish Spot Treatment


The lactic acid in this spot treatment is powerful enough to help clear acne, reduce scarring, brighten skin, and even soften fine lines, yet gentle enough not to irritate sensitive skin (read: no stinging or dryness). The organic formula exfoliates away dead skin cells and unclogs pores to help solve problems fast.

To buy: $15,

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Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask to Clear Pores


On those days when your entire face is angry, slather on a clarifying mask. This one is made with active charcoal and white clay to pull impurities like dirt, excess oil, and pollutants out of your pores. Also use it as a spot treatment overnight to deflate a pimple by morning.

To buy: $26,

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Almay Clear Complexion Concealer


Until your pimple clears, this concealer will be your best friend. Not only will the creamy formula disguise glaring red bumps, but it will also help clear it, thanks to salicylic acid. Dab formula onto the blemish, then blend outwards for seamless coverage.

To buy: $9,

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