Combat Pimples With These Treatments

Whether it pops up overnight or you can feel it gradually growing by the hour, a pimple is one of the most frustrating skin issues around. And, finding the best treatment for pimples can feel like a never-ending game of trial and error. There are so many options, but sadly not all of them will provide you with the specific acne treatment you need to clear up those pimples. What works on blackheads won’t have the same effect on cystic pimples.

In order to find the best treatment for pimples, it’s important to understand how a pimple forms and what is happening to cause it. In essence, a pimple is a perfect storm of excess oil, dead skin cells not properly shedding, and bacteria getting trapped within the hair follicle. This leads to inflammation and infection, which is what makes a blemish look red, feel painful, and eventually become a pustule (dermatologist speak for a pimple that has come to a head).

The best treatments for pimples are those that are formulated with ingredients that help prevent future breakouts and also clear . At Kiehl’s, we’ve perfected ingredients and formulations to treat pimples at every stage, from before they even surface to when they finally start to fade.

Keep reading to discover four treatments to help prevent and clear pimples.

Salicylic Acid

One popular acne fighting ingredient is Salicylic Acid, which is derived from Willow Bark and is part of a category of acids called beta-hydroxy acids (BHA). Unlike alpha-hydroxy acids (AHA), the other major type of acids, BHA is oil-soluble, meaning it can penetrate the surface layers of skin at a deeper level — it’s able to pass through the lipid layers of the skin, which water-soluble AHA’s can’t do as effectively.

Because of its penetration power, it works well on blackheads and whiteheads, as it works to dissolve the dead skin and oil that is clogging pores, preventing or releasing the acne-causing bacteria that is trapped and building up inside.

Find it: Blue Herbal Spot Treatment

White Clay

This mineral-packed mud is a natural detoxifier. It works by removing pore debris, and absorbing excess oil to clear up your complexion. In fact, it also smooths the look of skin and minimizes the appearance of pores in the process.

Find it: Rare Earth Deep Pore Cleansing Mask

Vitamin B3

Also known as Niacinamide, Vitamin B3 is an anti-inflammatory. To understand why that’s important, you first need to know a bit more about the structure of pimples. There are two main types of acne: inflammatory and non-inflammatory. Blackheads and whiteheads — which are just solidified dead skin, dirt, and oil stuck in your pore— are non-inflammatory. Pimples that are red, swollen, tender to the touch, deep below the surface of the skin, and/or full of puss are considered inflammatory, as they are the result of an over-production of oil that causes a back-up of bacteria that infects the pore.

Vitamin B3 is used as a preventative ingredient to stop that inflammation and infection from happening and forming a pimple in the first place. It’s also been shown to help stabilize oil production, curb excess sebum production and keep pores clear from blockages.

Find it: Breakout Control Acne Treatment Facial Lotion


Another multi-tasking mineral, sulfur has natural anti-bacterial qualities, allowing it to minimize the amount of existing bacteria and help prevent future growth when used regularly. It’s also a keratolytic, meaning it helps pores shed the dead skin that lines it, which may speed up the healing process and shorten the lifespan of your pimple.

Find it: Breakout Control Targeted Acne Spot Treatment

You don’t have to fight acne alone — add these powerful treatments to your skincare arsenal to help manage breakouts and keep skin clear and smooth.

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