When I was about 19 I would drown every pimple on my face in a poisonous cocktail of benzyl peroxide and Colgate Mint Stripe. It would destroy the pimple, but also my entire complexion. Nowadays, I take a more nuanced approach to randomised breakouts, gently encouraging them to vacate through a system of pore cleaning and reducing the associated inflammation. The good thing is that the industry is following suit, gifting us with spot treatments and products that are both gentle and effective when it comes to nixing a breakout.
You’ll find some new launches below, all approved by me – an editor who is very prone to the odd pimple or two (or six). I wouldn’t categorise these as long term solutions for persistent acne, but if it’s that time of the month/you’re run down/eating wheels of cheese for dinner and its come back to haunt you on your chin, these are gold class.
Keep scrolling to read.
Go-To skincare The Removalist Mask, $48. shop now
The latest launch from Go-To is just as good as I’d expected. It’s a clay mask, full of kaolin and zinc to really clean out pores, but it’s creamy and hydrating at the same time, so there’s no tight/moisture-zapped feeling afterwards. I’ve been slathering it over breakout-prone areas (nose, chin, cheeks, between my brows…. whole face really) and rinsing with a muslin just before it’s dry. The purple hue and berry scent are a nice touch, as well.
Dr Dennis Gross DRx Blemish Solutions Breakout Clearing Gel, $64. shop now
I’m typically not a fan of “drying” spot treatments, but this one hits different. It’s a concentrated salicylic acid gel, but tempered with niacinamide, zinc, green tea and aloe vera, so you get to kill a spot but calm inflammation at the same time. Use it on breakout-prone areas to prevent, or on active spots to kill them, quick smart.
NUDESTIX Lemon-Aid Detox & Glow Micro-Peel, $52. shop now
More of a grass roots approach, this brand new NudeStix mini skin peel is a really good but really gentle way to suck dirt and oil out of our pores. It’s got lactic acid (a gentle BHA), papaya enzymes, niacinamide and hyaluronic acid to resurface and give the skin a nice glow. Use it once a week for a minute or two before rinsing off.
Fenty Skin Fat Water Toning Serum, $39. Shop Now
While this isn’t exactly a dedicated pore-clearing product, it’s still a nice routine inclusion that will brighten and smooth the skin over time. I love the texture: it’s thick – almost like a jelly – so you can apply straight from the bottle to your face. As far as ingredients go, there’s bucket loads of niacinamide (again), witch hazel and fermented liquorice extract to refine pores and calm the complexion.
ZitSticka Goo Getter, $26. SHOP NOW
The latest launch from ZitSticka is one after my own heart. The aptly-named Goo Getter is a take on hydrocolloid bandages, or those time medical dressings you can use to protect and promote skin healing (they’re commonly used for burns and blisters). Think of it as a tiny vacuum that absorbs fluid while keeping the pimple safe and clean (and away from dirty fingers). And unlike traditional hydrocolloid, this one is infused with niacinamide (I’m sensing a theme here) salicylic and green tea to whisk away dirt and oil whilst reducing swelling. If you apply this to a surface level whitehead, I swear to you in eight hours the spot will be gone. A great overnight emergency option.