23 Best Acne Spot Treatments Rated by Beauty Experts

23 Best Acne Spot Treatments Rated by Beauty Experts

LAST UPDATED: 07/05/2019

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WRITTEN BY: TAMRYN BURGESS
Licensed Aesthetician 

This article may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy for more details. To learn more about how we selected the products featured on this list, check out our product review & research standards.

What do 40 million+ people in the United States have in common? Here’s a hint for you… it’s a condition that occurs when the pores become clogged with oil, bacteria, and dead skin cells. Of course, we’re talking about acne.

Whether you or someone you know suffers from acne, there are two ways to approach a sudden acne breakout: 1) reach for a “quick fix” over-the-counter acne spot treatments that simply mask the problem and can even cause major skin dryness and irritation or 2) try using a natural acne spot treatment which will treat your acne from the inside out. 

What’s In Your Acne Spot Treatment?
Quick fix acne spot treatment solutions use cheap and overly potent ingredients like ultra-drying denatured alcohol and damaging synthetic acids to quickly “solve” the breakout. While denatured alcohol works wonders to remove excess oil and kill acne-causing bacteria, it can also damage your skin’s acid mantle, throw off your pH balance, and (as a result) cause further dryness and breakouts. What you get in short-term effectiveness, you give up in the long-term beauty of your skin. 

Additionally, many acne spot treatments available today are packed with water, preservatives, and tons of cheap fillers that offer no real benefit to your skin. You have to ask yourself, what are you really paying for?

The solution? Try an acne spot treatment made from incredibly potent acne-fighting ingredients that are also nourishing for your skin! Forgoing harsh and drying alcohol-based acne treatments for an all natural acne spot treatment doesn’t mean that you have to make trade-offs for effectiveness. In our over eight month trial of testing natural acne spot treatments, we found several natural products that worked shockingly well at removing blemishes. You just have to know which acne spot treatments are using high-quality ingredients and which ones are just selling snake oil. 

Best Acne Spot Treatment Ingredients
The best acne spot treatments on the market take advantage of naturally powerful anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and antimicrobial plant oils, waxes, and acids. Some of the most effective natural acne spot treatment ingredients are:

  • Black Cumin Seed
  • Cajeput
  • Tea Tree Oil
  • Willow Bark/Salicylic Acid
  • Honey
  • Green Tea
  • Neem
  • Grapeseed, Jojoba, & Sunflower Oils 
  • Rose Oil
  • Aloe Vera
  • Turmeric

These ingredients offer a range of benefits as acne spot treatments. Ingredients like honey, tea tree oil, rose oil, and neem have potent antibacterial properties while also having skin-protecting abilities as well. Grapeseed oil, aloe, and turmeric work well at reducing the redness and inflammation that generally occurs along with breakouts. Grapeseed, jojoba, and sunflower oil are non-comedogenic, so they can hydrate the skin without clogging pores. 

Note: Acne can be caused by a variety of issues ranging from lifestyle choices to environmental stressors. If you acne is caused by lifestyle choices (for example, poor diet), then there is little an acne spot treatment can do in the long-term to prevent future breakouts. Acne spot treatments are great for temporary flare-ups caused by hormones, clogged pores, and oily skin. Ultimately, if you want to prevent breakouts you should look to address the root cause of your acne. For more information, see our “Major Causes of Acne” section at the bottom of this article. 

Finding The Best Acne Spot Treatment
To help you discover truly effective acne spot treatments that are bursting with natural ingredients, our team went out and tested over 100 different acne spot treatments to bring you this list of the very best. Each acne spot treatment on this list was thoroughly researched and vetted for effectiveness, ingredient quality, and brand reputation. Not only did our team try these spot treatments themselves, they also researched third party reviews and customer reviews online. In short, whether you have hormonal acne, cystic acne, or just the occasional blemish, there is an acne spot treatment for you on this list. There are even a few natural overnight acne spot treatments for those who need results fast. Enjoy!

FILTER BY TYPE

Blume – The Meltdown Natural Acne Spot Treatment ($26)

Get rid of your zits ASAP with this powerful blend of natural ingredients formulated to take down pimples overnight without skin sensitive ingredients like salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. This natural acne spot treatment is made with black cumin seed oil (a natural acne fighter high in zinc) and rosehip oil (helps repair and regenerate damaged skin tissue). This magical formula is perfect for those with very sensitive skin and has a nice tea tree scent. All it takes is one drop on your breakouts.

Pai Skin Care – Copaiba & Zinc Natural Acne Serum ($78)

Pai is a skin care line focused on providing effective natural products for those with sensitive skin. This blemish serum works to kill acne-causing bacteria, reduce redness, and clear congested pores all while hydrating the skin. Star ingredients like copaib and zinc PCA (antibacterial and protective) work together to tackle every challenge of sensitive acne-prone skin. Made without harsh chemicals or fragrances! It has a light citrus scent from natural essential oils of orange and lemon.

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Osmia Organics – Organic Spotless Blemish Treatment Oil ($22)

This organic acne spot treatment tackles acne differently by giving the skin TLC rather than aggressively drying it out with alcohol. This powerful blend of essential oils noticeably diminishes the appearance of blemishes, while evening primrose oil prevents over-drying and helps keep the top layer of skin cells healthy. Unlike most pimple solutions, this spot treatment doesn’t strip the skin of its oil and does not leave blemishes flaky and crusted with healing. Use it early and often.

OSEA Malibu – Essential Corrective Complex Spot Treatment ($32)

An overnight acne spot treatment that will give conventional skincare brands a run for their money. This blend of botanical and essential oils targets blemishes by removing surface impurities for a balanced complexion. Made with tea tree, white thyme and juniper oils to help minimize the appearance of pores and act as a gentle yet potent blend for treating acne. Roller ball applicator that’s easy to throw in your purse for on-the-go acne treatment. Apply morning or night for face and body blemishes.

The Organic Pharmacy – Organic Acne Spot Clearing Gel

A highly effective acne spot treatment for calming the skin and reducing breakouts. Crafted with powerful ingredients like aloe vera, cedarwood, tamanu and essential oils, this gel works to reduce redness and spots without drying or irritating the skin. Other ingredients like tea tree, manuka and lavender provide a strong but gentle antiseptic action. This spot treatment quickly penetrates into the skin without feeling sticky. Great for all skin types and is scented with natural essential oils.

True Botanicals – Clear Anti Acne Repair Night Serum ($140)

A potent natural overnight treatment for acne-prone skin. This repair serum from True Botanics is specially formulated to combat breakouts by fighting infection and clearing congestion. Key ingredients include hyaluronic acid (moisturizes), black willow bark extract (nature's salicylic acid: exfoliates + reduces fine lines and wrinkles), and olive leaf extract (anti-inflammatory + antioxidant). Reviewers rave that it cleared up their skin, reduced breakouts, and created an "insane transformation" in their skin.

Cocokind – All Natural Turmeric Spot Treatment ($10)

Turmeric is a cure all, especially when it comes to inflammation. This turmeric acne spot treatment helps tackle signs of inflammation and the appearance of dark spots. Packed with additional acne-fighting ingredients like ginger and tea tree oil to ward off clogged pores and brighten complexion. Because turmeric is the key ingredient, the color is very strong so be careful not to get it on clothing. Leave on for at least 20 minutes and wipe off with damp cotton pad. Great for on-the-go spot treatment.

Odacite – BL + C Natural Acne Spot Treatment ($36)

This miracle serum is formulated specifically for problematic skin, and works to reduce the appearance of blemishes. Containing just three ingredients—purifying black cumin oil, cleansing cajeput oil, and soothing vitamin E—this blend is so potent you only need a couple of drops to see results. Whether used as a preventative serum or as a spot treatment, this formula treats and calms, leaving behind a clean and clear complexion. A little goes a long way, feels light on the skin and it even smells nice.

Farmaesthetics – Organic Blemish Spot Tincture ($22)

A roll-on herbal oil spot treatment that safely attacks congestion head on with only two ingredients. The lavender-tea tree oil blend sinks in to accelerate the fading of blemishes and blackheads you already have, while helping prevent future flare-ups. While it’s a small amount, it packs a powerful punch to heal breakouts. Apply the anti-bacterial, antimicrobial herbal tincture directly to any blemish to accelerate healing. Can be applied after cleansing or for spot treatments over makeup.

Plant Apothecary – Not A Spot Natural Acne Spot Treatment ($24)

An organic acne treatment mask powered by just three ingredients - organic basil oil as an antibacterial to fight acne, a highly absorbent activated charcoal to draw impurities from deep within the skin’s surface and white clay to absorb excess oil and dirt away from skin. Mix a half a teaspoon of powder with a few drops of water in your palm to make a thin paste, then apply to blemishes. Let dry, rinse thoroughly and moisturize as usual. Makes skin super smooth and clear without the flakiness.

Laurel Whole Plant Organics – Organic Blemish Spot Treatment ($68)

With an impressive resume of certified organic ingredients, this acne treatment is designed to address cystic acne and breakouts in two different ways. First, by effectively healing and treating the breakout and second by aromatically reducing stress, a primary cause of inflammation and skin flare ups. Crafted with carefully chosen ingredients like black cumin seed oil (fights bacterial strains) and tamanu oil (anti-inflammatory) to support health skin function and stimulate skin immunity.

Juice Beauty – Organic Acne Clearing Serum ($30)

An organic solution to annoying breakouts and oily complexion. This natural acne treatment is created with organic fruit juices to cleanse and hydrate the skin and sweep away acne-causing bacteria. Contains willow bark with natural salicylic acid to prevent and clear breakouts and CoQ10, Vitamin C and organic aloe to renew the skin for a healthy, clear complexion. Ideal for all skin types, this serum is easy to apply and a little goes a long way. Moisturize after use as it may leave skin dry.

Kypris – Organic Acne Clearing Serum ($90)

This acne clearing serum is supercharged with zinc and lilac leaf stem cells to balance oily complexions and reduce the appearance of blemishes, as well as a blend of astringent essential oils like tea tree and lavender to help prevent them in the first place. Packaged in a glass bottle and suitable for most skin types, especially those with fussy, pollution-irritated or hormonal skin. Formulated to support the skin’s inherent healing capabilities to minimize the appearance of blemishes.

Nature’s Brands – USDA Certified Organic Spot Treatment

A certified USDA organic herbal treatment for acne. Packed in a roll-on glass bottle, this organic acne spot treatment stays true to the knowing that nature gave us what we need to keep our skin healthy. Unlike synthetic ingredients that tend to exacerbate the skin further, this spot treatment naturally heals blemishes with its antiseptic, calming and healing properties. Manages all types of complexions and even extra sensitive skin. Contains organic vodka to help brighten the skin without damaging.

ILIKE – Herbal Clay Acne Spot Treatment ($58)

A natural acne spot treatment crafted with only three ingredients - herbal clay, clove oil and zinc oxide. Herbal clay removes impurities, tightens the pores, tones the skin and exfoliates dead skin cells as it reduces inflammation. Astringent clove oil provides antiseptic benefits to heal the skin faster for a clear complexion. This formulation soothes and repairs damaged and compromised skin that suffers from breakouts, age spots or environmental damage. Can be used under makeup or by itself.

Tata Harper – All Natural Clarifying Acne Spot Treatment ($35)

A creamy natural acne spot treatment that targets blemishes without irritating or over-drying the skin. Contains salicylic acid to help reduce the appearance of blemishes while soothing inflammation and vitamins to nourish problem areas and clear breakouts. Great for all skin types, especially blemish-prone, oily and combination. Not only is the formula effective, it also has lovely scent and works quite quickly for an all natural product. Small enough to travel with in case a sneaky breakout appears.

Nurture My Body – Organic Acne Clarifying Serum

Ideal for oily or acne-prone skin, this all natural blend prevents and heals blemishes without the harsh chemicals. Key ingredients like burdock root, aloe vera and coneflower have anti-inflammatory properties to reduce redness in skin and fight acne. Added tea tree oil’s natural antibacterial properties aid in correcting acne blemishes, while potent antioxidants help heal and soothe uneven skin tones. Packaged in recyclable glass bottles that protect against UV rays that can alter and spoil the ingredients.

Vered Organic Botanicals – Therapeutic Organic Acne Treatment Oil

A heavenly therapeutic blend of organic ingredients formulated to balance sebum production and help calm inflammation. Ideal for normal to problematic skin, this acne treatment facial serum is packed with healing ingredients like chickweed (eliminates blemish-causing bacteria), speedwell (anti-inflammatory and antiseptic) and black cumin seed oil (promotes healing, fights acne and leaves skin soft). It smells as amazing as it feels on the skin and it’s free of all synthetics and harsh chemicals.

Herbivore – Blue Clay Detox Acne Spot Mask

Say sayonara to cystic acne and hormonal breakouts with this powerful detoxifying mask. This blue clay detox mask only has three ingredients. Mineral-dense cambrian blue clay penetrates deeply into pores to draw out toxins, helping reduce the appearance of breakouts. Rose geranium essential oil, boosted by the rare clay, works to balance both dry and oily skin types, while reducing inflammation. The result is smaller pores and a softer, clearer complexion. Ideal as a spot treatment or full face mask.

French Girl Organics – Clear Skin Acne Spot Treatment Oil

A blend of organic essential oils and tea extracts to gently reduce redness and inflammation and soothe irritated skin. This organic acne spot treatment is packed with skin healing ingredients like sunflower seed oil (fights acne and inflammation), rosehip oil (helps fight free radicals) and hemp seed oil (anti-aging and heals blemishes). The roll-on applicator is small enough to take with you on-the-go and can be used as a spot treatment or for continued use to prevent future breakouts.

Osmia Organics – Balance Natural Acne Treatment Serum ($50)

A favorite oily and combination skin treatment, this serum brings skin back into natural balance. Absorbing quickly, it regulates sebum production to help oily skin act less oily and combination skin self-regulate. Blended with skin nourishing ingredients like squalene oil (deeply hydrates), rosehip extract (helps protect skin against environmental stressors) and rosemary extract (increases circulation and blood flow), this organic acne spot treatment enables you to enjoy fewer breakouts.

Juice Beauty – Natural Acne Clearing Powder ($29)

An organic acne treatment that comes in the form of a powder to control oil and camouflage redness - truly the best of both worlds. The perfect on-the-go armour for last-minute breakouts. Blended with organic extracts and natural ingredients to soothe inflammation and protect your skin from damaging free radicals. Formulated with natural antimicrobials, this light and loose powder leaves a matte finish while battling pimple-causing bacteria. Designed for oily, combination and blemish-prone skin types.

Captain Blankenship – Sailor X Marks the Spot Treatment ($15)

Action-packed plant based serum soothes skin on the spot and helps prevent blemishes. A powerful blend of astringent organic witch hazel, organic aloe vera, white willow bark extract, and essential oils of juniper berry, clary sage, geranium, eucalyptus and frankincense helps address blemishes and inflamed skin. Apply easily with the roller ball applicator whenever you feel a blemish coming or use it even if the pimple has already broken free. Refreshing, effective and smells amazing.

The Major Causes of Acne Breakouts

Acne is almost always manifested from poor lifestyle choices, environmental toxins, or stress. Because of this, we can’t possibly generalize “one central reason” for acne. Contrary to popular belief, acne is not simply caused by clogged pores. While clogged pores do create the perfect environment for acne-causing bacteria to grow, they are only a symptom of some other issue. Here are some of the most common contributing factors to acne breakouts:

Poor Dietary Choices

Certain foods have been proven to cause inflammation in the body which presents itself as acne. Dairy, processed sugars, starches, and greasy food all make up a bulk of the Standard American Diet. It’s consumption of these very foods however that disrupt the gut microbiome balance and cause acne (1,2). An increase in fruits, vegetables, ancient grains, healthy fats, nuts and seeds, as well as staying hydrated can all help to stave off breakouts.

Hormonal Fluctuations

An increase in androgens (male hormones) during puberty causes elevated levels of keratinocytes and oily sebum; leading to acne. In fact, over 75% of people aged 11-30 deal with acne at some point, in varying degrees because of hormonal changes. Hormonal fluctuations women experience during their period, before/after pregnancy, and during menopause also increases sebum production.

Poor Skin Care Habits

Some skin types may react adversely to certain ingredients in skincare and makeup. This has a lot to do with our skin’s natural pH balance, which is at a healthy level between 4.5 – 5.5 (3). Unfortunately, if you apply a formula which is too acidic (below 7.0) or too alkaline (above 7.0) this can throw off your skin’s acid mantle. A disrupted acid mantle can creates a perfect environment for bacteria growth. Additionally, washing your skin too much or too little could also be the cause of acne. Excessive cleansing (or cleansing using harsh soaps and detergents) can strip your skin of natural oils and cause your skin to overproduce oil as compensation. Cleansing infrequently allows for sebum, dirt, and dead skin cells to build up within your pores and create a breeding ground for acne-causing bacteria.

Stress

Although anecdotal at the time, a 2003 study conducted at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, showed links between emotional stress and acne (4). Experiencing stress can stimulate various situations both in the body and mind. Corticotrophin-releasing hormone (CRH, a stress-related hormone), binds to the skin’s sebaceous glands which increase oil production, causing pimples, according to Dr. Adam Friedman, an associate professor of dermatology at George Washington University (5). Increased stress also contributes to poor life choices such as lack of sleep, eating junk foods, and steering away from a proper skincare routine – all of which may promote acne breakouts.

SOURCES & REFERENCES

1. (2009) The relationship of diet and acne https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2836431/

2. (2011) Acne vulgaris, probiotics and the gut-brain-skin axis – back to the future? https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3038963/

3. (2017) Skin Surface pH in Acne Vulgaris: Insights from an Observational Study and Review of the Literature; The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5605222/

4. (2003) The Response of Skin Disease to Stress Changes in the Severity of Acne Vulgaris as Affected by Examination Stress https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamadermatology/fullarticle/479409

5. (2017) You Asked: Can Stress Really Cause Acne? http://time.com/5014072/stress-pimples-acne/

6. (2018) Anti-Inflammatory and Skin Barrier Repair Effects of Topical Application of Some Plant Oils; International Journal of Molecular Sciences https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5796020/

PRODUCT BADGES LEGEND
100% NATURAL

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The product contains only natural ingredients (non-synthetic or lab created). It does not contain anything artificial or synthetic.

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