The best spot treatments to zap your pimples into oblivion

Stock up on these your products to get an angry spot under control

woman with spots
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Why is it that a giant, painful spot always appears just before a really important event? This unfortunate turn of fate is exactly why you need the best acne treatment products to hand: to get rid of 'em.

While we all know that the best way to avoid spots is to nail a good skincare routine for acne which involves gentle daily sloughing off dead skin cells and keeping inflammation in check, when that falls short, you'll need to use something more targeted.

That said, if you're caught short, don't panic: you can always use a bit of your usual clay mask as a treatment, just applying it a couple of times a day to help resolve the spot. 

But if that's not doing the trick, you're going to need something a bit more potent. Enter the best spot treatments going to dab on and let do their thing while you get on with life. (Btw if it's acne patches you're after, we tried and tested the best of those, too.)

How do spot treatments work?

The best spot gels usually contain a combination of anti-inflammatory and bacteria-reducing ingredients, like salicylic acid and niacinamide to help reduce the painful swelling and declog. Salicylic acid in particular can get deep into your pores to help decongest them, speeding up the spot-shrinking process.

Should I squeeze my spot before I apply spot treatment?

Short answer: no. Long answer: no, but we know that you're going to do it anyway. We get it. We've all been there. Please do yourself a favour and learn how to do it like the pros by reading our guide to how to pop a pimple with the help of Dr Pimple Popper.

The best spot treatments going:

Team Marie Claire took to testing the below with aplomb, and, though we all have different skin types and concerns, spots seemed to plague a fair few of us, so there were plenty of the blighters to zap with these.

We kept notes on how quickly they worked, and how effectively they took down inflammation.

Katie Thomas

Katie Thomas is the Senior Beauty Editor at Marie Claire UK. With over 10 years of experience on women's luxury lifestyle titles, she covers everything from the best beauty looks from the red carpet and stand out trends from the catwalk, to colonic irrigation and to the best mascaras on the market. She started her career on fashion desks across the industry - from The Telegraph to Brides - but found her calling in the Tatler beauty department. From there she moved to Instyle, before joining the Marie Claire digital team in 2018. She’s made it her own personal mission to find the best concealer in the world to cover her tenacious dark circles. She’s obsessed with skincare that makes her skin bouncy and glowy, low-maintenance hair that doesn’t require brushing and a cracking good manicure. Oh and she wears more jewellery than the Queen.

With contributions from