As an acne-haver for over a decade, I’m especially savvy when it comes to my skin-care routine, but when I’m dealing with an active breakout, a spot treatment is an obvious first line of defense. Not only is it powered by active breakout-fighting ingredients (you’ve probably heard of the big two, salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide), but the genius of a spot treatment is that it targets the affected area only, ensuring the rest of your face isn’t dried out or irritated. Now, I’ve tried them all: pink, powdery formulas you leave on overnight, maximum-strength ones from the drugstore, and everything in between. But leave it to Bubble Skincare, the affordable beauty startup behind some of my other skin-clearing faves, to launch not one but two acne spot treatments that have helped me stay in the clear.
Acne isn’t a one-treatment-cures-all thing, so Bubble is giving options when it comes to choosing your fighter: Entering from stage left is Fade Away, a spot treatment powered by 5% benzoyl peroxide to address your most inflamed breakouts, plus notoriously hard-to-treat forms like cystic acne. The second spot treatment is Knock Out, which is formulated with 1.8% salicylic acid and willow bark and wintergreen extracts (those last two are commonly known as botanical alternatives to chemical active ingredients).
As a woman in my late 20s, the aggravated, allover acne I had as a teen has mostly cleared up, but I still deal with bouts of hormonal acne that tend to leave persistent dark marks in their wake. As soon as I felt a deep pimple brewing, I dabbed a tiny bit of Fade Away to stop it in its tracks. Coupled with a micro dart acne patch (I’m loving the cloud-shaped ones from Starface lately), and poof: My pimple disappeared dead in its tracks. Plus, the licorice root extract in Fade Away quelled hyperpigmentation before it had time to set in. Best of all, the spot treatment felt super mild on my skin — which is rarely the case with benzoyl peroxide.
I reserved Knock Out for my less-angry breakouts. Because I’m so oily, I tend to get blackheads and clogged pores around my nose and chin. Sometimes they sort of go away on their own, but other times, they end up creating textured dots of sebaceous filaments that are especially difficult to show the door. Before bed, I applied a tiny amount of Knock Out to my affected areas, and within a week, I was already noticing less congested skin. Honestly, I was v. impressed.
Both of Bubble’s new spot treatments retail for $12, which I consider to be on the more affordable side of things as far as skin care goes. (You can also shop an acne value bundle, which includes Bubble’s clarifying serum and your choice of spot treatment for $25.) While I'm still keeping my beloved acne patches nearby for my juicier whiteheads (sorry), I think Bubble has nailed it with its latest launches, all in all. If only I had these when I was blasting my face with Persa-Gel 10...
At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. All product details reflect the price and availability at the time of publication. If you buy or click on something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.