SOS: Save me from Spots, I need your help

I’m lucky enough to have generally decent skin. Apart from my chin – which tends to be a crossed between a braille dictionary, and a close up of the moons surface. Plus, every now and then I get the odd sub-surface volcano too. You know the type – under the surface but just itching to break through and make a mockery of my claims of decent skin.

What I’m looking for are miracle solutions for the following spot/zit/pimple (whatever you call them) problems:

– BLACKHEADS. Bane of my life, hard to shift ANY suggestions on products or treatments that really tackle these would be welcome.
– UNDER THE SURFACE SPOTS. Any ideas how to shift/extract/banish??
– BIG SPOTS. Miracle solutions that shrink or evaporate within hours welcome.

Any product or treatment suggestions are welcome. Even old wives tales, if they work! Or anything about things you have tried that don’t work, despite hype.



  1. Nik22Pink
    July 30, 2010 / 12:38 pm

    the first two I have no clue, blackhead are a nightmare, no scrub/facewash/cleanser has ever helped me.

    As for spots, I use two things. A gel prescribed by my doctor (if its of other worldly proportions) or Clearasil ultra Rapid Action Treatment Cream ALWAYS works for me. Clears up within a day or two. That range also has blackhead clearing pads so that might be one to try?

  2. Sophie
    July 30, 2010 / 12:45 pm

    I’ve got one of the under-the-skin ones at the moment. I swear it’s got a pulse!

    I have tried soooo many treatments, over the counter and prescribed – the only thing that really helped to clear my skin up was the rather expensive N-Lite laser treatment. I still get the odd spot, but on the whole my skin is now much clearer. I got the Liz Earle Spot On treatment after reading good reviews, but can’t say it’s made much difference on my under-the-skin nasty except make it bigger!

    I often dab a bit of Sudocrem on which helps to dry them out xx

  3. July 30, 2010 / 12:31 pm

    You can dry out some spots by applying a material with a high osmotic pressure. Toothpaste is a popular and convenient choice if you don’t mind your skin smelling minty afterwards. Golden syrup will work as well if you can find a way to keep it on.

    Avoiding a high blood sugar level is a good idea too. If you have to eat sweets and chocolates eat them really slowly (i.e., only Quality Street sized chocolate per hour) and keep portion sizes of bread and pasta down too.

  4. July 30, 2010 / 12:32 pm

    Not sure about blackheads but tea-tree cream works well on the other two types you listed! I smother it on spotty areas before bed and it reduces them by morning 🙂 I use the one by Nelsons, you can find it in Boots xx

  5. Meeta
    July 30, 2010 / 2:13 pm

    For blackheads the Ren Glycolactic Peel Mask helps bring them to the surface to extract (this helps me on my nose). An alternative I have found also with blackheads is Soap & Glory’s The Fab Pore Facial Peel. For spots the only 3 topical treatments I have found that help me are Liz Earle’s Spot On, Peter Thomas Roth’s Acne Area and Spot Treatment, and Dermalogica’s Overnight Clearing gel. Good for spots brewing under surface but also helps bring down larger bumps gradually.

  6. July 30, 2010 / 1:20 pm

    I know this is probably old hat, but I swear it worked for me. I suffered with bad skin the same as you, mainly on my chin. My bf forced me to drink at least a litre of water a day and I swear after 3 days nothing else had appeared on my skin and after a week it was all pretty clear. I haven’t had a problem since!

  7. Ashleigh
    July 30, 2010 / 1:30 pm

    Under the skin spots (especially around the mouth)tend to be a sign of some kind of hormone imbalance – I found starflower/evening primrose oil to help to an extent, and finding a type of the pill that suited my body the best

  8. July 30, 2010 / 1:45 pm

    For big pimples and under the skin ones: Hydrogen Peroxide (the type to clean cuts not the lighten hair).

  9. July 30, 2010 / 1:47 pm

    Don’t use toothpaste; the menthol or mint in it will irritate your pores. Try using a product with a BHA exfoliate in it (salicylic acid) or a benzyol peroxide that helps to keep the pore clean. And I know (for me at least) it’s hard, but don’t pick at them! It only makes it worse.

  10. Caroline
    July 30, 2010 / 3:03 pm

    I had exactly the same skin. For me my miracle find (god knows i’d tried them all – fellow beauty junkie!) was the perfect world range from Origins. The moisturiser and cleanser i use every day, on the spot treatment now and again, good for the under the surface ones and the out of control mask, it’s new, i use that once a week ish – love it! If they ever stop that range i’d be beside myself! It’s not cheap but worth it for me, my skin has never been better.

    I’m a new reader to your blog, it’s great, I read it every day :o)

  11. July 30, 2010 / 3:30 pm

    I have the same problem, I only get blackheads (tons) and acne on my chin! the rets of my face is clear and smooth- I have tried so many things and nothings works. I have tried Lush products, Aveda products, Murad, Philosophy-nothing helps at all, I also drink 75oz of water a day and still nothing helps. Everyone tells me it is hormonal and nothing topical will make a differnce. I am thinking of trying Cetaphil next, have you tried it?

  12. two hippos
    July 30, 2010 / 8:16 pm

    for spots under and on the skin I’ve found Liz Earle’s spot on totally brilliant.

  13. Kayleigh
    July 31, 2010 / 9:35 am

    I bought Dr Sebagh Breakout Spot-On in Terminal-3 2 days ago after the sales assistant literally saw my chin, shook her head, and said how rubbish the products I’d been using must be (Dermalogica/Clinique/Mac, to which she replied ‘yes but the are not a treatment brands!’) and slapped on the product whilst I stood in shock. Within 10mins a lot of the redness had been stripped from the area, and it felt surprisingly soothed. I quickly rushed back and picked up the breakout foaming cleanser also. My chin has been awful due to a hormonal imbalance and it is finally clearing up/redness is gradually going. (I must add I have also just moved to Bangkok so the heat/sun/sweating is also helping my skin).

    Great blog – I discovered this a few months ago and I love your reviews 🙂

  14. GreatSheElephant
    July 31, 2010 / 3:15 pm

    The BellJar, Cetaphil won’t do a thing for blackheads – don’t waste your money.

    The one thing that made a huge difference to mine was Eve Lom cleanser. Shu Oil Cleanser (the green one) is pretty good too.

    I don’t think that skincare or topical treatments can really do much for the big cystic type spots – these are caused by hormonal fluctuations and you either get them or you don’t.

  15. PeachBellini
    July 31, 2010 / 10:02 pm

    For spots I like regular exfoliation and dabbing tea tree oil on spots using a cotton bud. Salicylic acid might work, depending on your skin type. I have very dry sensitive skin so it just irritates it more. It should be fine though if you don’t suffer sensitive skin. Haven’t had blackheads since my teens, thankfully, so I’m afraid I’m no help in that regard.

  16. Anonymous
    July 31, 2010 / 9:55 pm

    I have been fighting chin spots since moving to London (pollution, ack!) and starting a masters – I think a lot can be attributed to stress and diet as well. However, I finally realized that what was actually irritating my skin was all of the harsh chemicals in the anti-spot skin care lines I was using. I’ve switched to a sodium lauryl sulfate-free and paraben-free face wash from whole foods, it’s got tea tree oil in it as well, works WONDERS. I think it’s called Desert Essence or something like that face wash, it’s almost a water-y consistency that you work into your skin for a minute or so, it emulsifies and lifts the dirt and oil away. can be a bit drying but I’ve paired it with an organic, natural mosituriser from Planet Organic and haven’t had a spot in months! might be worth trying, good luck!

  17. StellieStellina
    August 1, 2010 / 6:54 am

    Whatever I use on my skin is never as effective as what I put inside it – the only thing that’s worked for the painful cystic hormonal acne has been to overhaul my diet. Cut back on sugar, wheat, dairy, gluten and eat as cleanly as possible. Only thing that works for me and I’ve even spent years on horrible antibiotics from the doctor to try and get rid of them (not a good idea, really wipes out all the good bacteria in your stomach).x

  18. blah
    August 2, 2010 / 2:54 pm


    I used to used Clinque three step for oily skin, but found I still got breakouts, my sister bought me a Dr Nick Lowe Starter set from boots a few months ago and it’s really helped my skin, cleared pores out completely so no black heads, and stops those big under the skin things from becoming full blown spots.
    They often have the Dr Nick Lowe stuff on offer in boots so it’s worth a look, I’ve repurchased the sebum control cleanser and the on the spot treatment because I feel there the products that make a difference to me. x

  19. August 2, 2010 / 3:11 pm

    Thank you all for your advice/suggestions – since I posted I used sudocrem and it worked a treat. Plus I am now on a mission to up my water intake and cut down on sugar… and carbs. Pah. But for better skin I will try anything!

  20. turla
    August 6, 2010 / 2:25 pm

    My skin is dry, allergic and still have oily bits. This makes blackheads growing AMAZINGLY. I tried cetaphil and I don’t recommend that it just cloges pores-last thing you want. What does work for me is Glyco-A 12% it is really strong acid which peels your skin. And after that I use very hydrating (but unfortunately polish) cream Iwostin sensitia-this one hydrates skin so well that even when I have allergy outbreak everywhere my face is untached and since I use it I don’t have blackheds-miracle (but might leave your face shiny…). Some creams from La roche … might be similar.

  21. Anonymous
    August 15, 2010 / 7:44 am

    I use a baking soda or baking powder scrub every morning. I have oily skin and to do it just put a little bit of baking soda/powder in my hand and mix it with a bit of water to form a paste, then use as light scrub. In three days, my big spots were gone. I think the way it works is it changes the PH of your skin so that the acne-causing bacteria can’t live in it. Warning: might not work for sensitive skin, as it itches/burns a little when you apply. But my skin is thick and oily so it worked quite well for me, and it is cheap!

  22. Anonymous
    November 20, 2012 / 9:31 pm

    I have find out that tomato juice (from fresh tomatoes) make blackheads disappeared! Leave it on your skin for about 10 minutes and wash off. And my miracle mask is a face mask with egg (only the white part) with some drops of lemon! Very effective! Don’t use toothpaste on your face! It leaves scares!

Leave a Reply

Privacy policy

Your data is serious business. You can read our full privacy policy here.