Neutrogena On-the-Spot Acne Treatment Vanishing Formula ($6)
This potion is as no-frills as it gets. It packs 2.5 percent benzoyl peroxide, but is very effective on pimples. Ideally, apply it to clean, dry skin before bed. If necessary, however, you can use it up to three times a day.
Clinique Acne Solution Emergency Gel-Lotion ($17)
Clinique's medium-strength formula, with 5 percent benzoyl peroxide, kills bacteria and controls oil with less drying than a maximum-strength product. The unique solution soaks right into skin, making it perfect for zits that have risen to the surface.
OLEHENRIKSEN Roll-On Blemish Attack ($22)
This product packs both 5 percent benzoyl peroxide and a hit of salicylic acid to exfoliate the affected area while killing bacteria, clearing the pores, and drying out the zit. Apply a little product from the tube onto a clean fingertip and then onto the affected area one to three times a day.
Clean & Clear Persa-Gel 10 Maximum Strength ($6)
No, it's not a teenage flashback, Clean & Clear is still relevant post-graduation for one good reason: this tube packs the maximum strength allowed for benzoyl peroxide. We recommend using a 10 percent formula on your worst pimples and anything you want to disappear overnight.
Kate Somerville Anti Bac Clearing Lotion ($39)
Unfortunately, acne doesn't just show up on your face. Luckily, there's Kate Somerville's Anti Bac Lotion with 5 percent benzoyl peroxide. The lotion works around the clock and has liposomes to combat dryness. You can layer it under a spot treatment for larger blemishes as well.
We've already covered salicylic acid—a great tool for clearing skin—so now we're diving into an equally powerful and important pimple-fighting ingredient: benzoyl peroxide. While salicylic acid exfoliates, benzoyl peroxide actually dries out the skin, potentially eliminating blemishes overnight. But what strength do you need? Which formula is the best? How do you apply it? Read on for answers to all of the above.