Why Most Acne Spot Treatments DON’T Work—But What Will

best spot treatments for acne

Updated 7/20/20. Whenever a blemish appears, the goal is to use an acne spot treatment to get it to go away as fast as possible with the least amount of scarring. However, in my experience, the way most people use their spot treatments is actually making a blemish stick around longer. This leads to a prolonged recovery time with increased scarring. I’m here to tell you that much of what you have been doing may not be giving you the best outcome.

Here are several reasons why your acne spot treatments aren’t working, along with my expert solutions for getting a much better result for your skin.

You’re Not Understanding What Your Blemish Needs To Heal Itself—It Has a Life Cycle

Blemishes, like pustules or papules, have an infection within the pore which is why they are painful and red. The natural process is for the infection (pus from dead white blood cells) to come up and out through the skin’s surface. Your skin acts as an excretory system and this is your skin’s natural way of healing itself. This is the most important thing you need to understand in your quest to help a blemish go away fast. Without acknowledgment of your skin’s healing process, you won’t be able to work in sync with your blemishes—and this is essential.

You’re Applying Acne Spot Treatments Too Soon and Using the Wrong Type of Products

The slow down of the natural healing process of a blemish occurs when a spot treatment is applied the moment it appears. Understandably, you’re attempting to quickly dry it out, but I can assure you this practice is backfiring. It’s so important to understand that the infection WANTS to come out. If you dry it out on the surface with a spot treatment, you’re creating dead, flaky cells, which stops the infection from coming out. This now traps the infection under the skin longer which is not helpful. This is why your blemishes are sticking around a lot longer than they should be. The longer the infection stays present in the skin, the more of a red, dark discolored scar you will have.

The best solution is to leave it alone the moment it appears (without the application of a drying spot treatment) to get rid of it faster. Or, you can use a non-drying acne spot treatment in the early stages (days 1-3) to facilitate the healing without drying out the skin’s surface. I’ll explain more about this in a bit.

You’re Not Applying Acne Spot Treatments at the Right Time in Your Routine

When is the right time to apply an acne spot treatment? Assuming you’re using the right acne spot treatment at the right time in the blemish’s life cycle, it should go on last. This means at the end of your skincare routine.

  1. Perform your normal nighttime skincare routine. (This might include cleansing, masking, toning, applying a serum and followed with moisturizer and eye cream. Be sure to use products exclusively for your skin type. Take the Skin Type Quiz.)
  2. Dampen a cotton swab or tissue with water and wipe the blemished area to remove the skincare products that were just applied.
  3. Apply the acne spot treatment and let it dry. Done!

The goal is to get the spot treatment to work directly on the blemish and not have any other product interfere with the performance. Learn when in your skincare routine you should apply your spot treatment.

You Need to Learn How to Use Acne Spot Treatments the Right Way

When a blemish first appears, here is how to make it go away fast:

Step 1: Apply a non-drying, soothing, anti-inflammatory spot treatment.

Step 2: If and only when a whitehead comes to the very surface of the skin, you can gently squeeze it out.

Step 3: Once the whitehead is removed, you can then apply a powerful spot treatment to dry out any remaining infection in the pore.

Step 4: Once it’s all healed and any scabbing is gone and you’re left with a discolored scar, use a fading gel.

You’re Spot Treating Something Without the Presence of Infection

Sometimes people will get a blocked pore for a variety of reasons that appears as a bump. If no pain or redness is present, this means there is no infection and your usual acne spot treatments won’t work. The best course of action for removing blocked pores is through manual extractions.

You Need to Accept That Sometimes and Acne Spot Treatments Just Won’t Work

My #1 best-selling product is Anti Bump Solution. I have been selling this product for 30 years now which means I have sold thousands of them. Our customers swear by its effectiveness. Does it work for 100% of the people? No. It just means that the type of inflammation that this product is targeting is not in sync with the type of bacteria you have. When it comes to any type of products, It’s never a one-size-fits-all—and this certainly includes acne spot treatments.

In summary, you can’t always control a blemish from appearing but you do have control when it shows up. I encourage you to be patient and let the healing process run its course without too much interference. Your skin will be clearer and less scarred because of it. Always work with Mother Nature, never go against her.

Want to learn about shrinking your pores? Here’s how.

Disclaimer: Content found on www.ReneeRouleau.com and Blog.ReneeRouleau.com, including text, images, audio, or other formats were created for informational purposes only. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website or blog.


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  1. Thanks for this advice, it makes a lot of sense now why my acne used to take ages to go away.

    I have a question though – what is the difference between a “non-drying acne spot treatment” and a “powerful spot treatment”? I’ve never even heard of the first kind. And I am not a skincare expert, so how can I know which is which? Should I look for ingredients, or is there some other way to know?


    Posted By: Jovana  | 

    • A drying acne treatment can be powerful. What you want to find are spot treatment products that do not leave you flakey, irritated, or dehydrated. Our Anti-Bump Solution is a great example of a powerful nondrying acne treatment.

      Posted By: Ella Stevenson  | 

  2. This technique works! I usually try to drain a blemish ASAP, yeah it doesn’t work out well for me but I keep doing it. Not long after reading this, I started feeling a pimple brewing under my lips. I was about to squeeze and then I remembered what I read. So, I left it alone for two days and let it get nice and ripe. When I finally saw a whitehead, I applied a hot compress for a few minutes and then squeezed out the gunk. I applied a little benzoyl peroxide and left it alone. The next few days I had a pretty bad flake batch from the BPO and a nice purple spot from the blood, but it was flat and didn’t come back! Not the next day, or the next. And then the flakes went away and now it’s almost like it was never there. This was LESS than one week ago… my blemishes always linger for WEEKS and come back again after draining and stay flaky forever. Definitely going to keep it up with this strategy (without stupid BPO)!

    Posted By: Madeline Gilchrist  | 


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