Everyone wants nice skin. In particular, people want nice skin in areas that are highly visible to others, such as on the face.  When there is a part of your skin that does not seem consistent with the rest, we call it a blemish. The word “blemish” in this sense is a catch-all term for any imperfection in your skin.

Let’s face it, not everyone has skin like a movie star because most people don’t have their own personal team of stylists to hide their flaws. Blemishes plague many teens and adults due to acne, scarring, or other skin conditions. Acne is the most common skin problem, and it’s caused by glands producing too much sebum (the oil on your skin), bacteria on your skin, or skin that sheds improperly. If you’ve looked into getting rid of acne before, you may have noticed that there are about a million and ten different products on the market for that purpose. It may take some trial and error, but you’ll probably be able to find something that works for you—you just have to know what to look for.

If you’ve exhausted all of the options listed here, a dermatologist will be your best source of information for how to get rid of blemishes.

Types of Skin Blemishes

Best Treatment for Skin Blemishes

Take care of your skin every day to reduce the appearance of blemishes.

Wash your face with a cleanser that is geared toward solving your skin’s issues: oil, dryness, blackheads, etc. Harsh scrubs can worsen acne, so choose something gentle and don’t wash too frequently—once or twice a day is fine. Don’t touch your problem area or pick or squeeze pimples. Avoid products that can aggravate acne: oily makeup, lotion, or sunscreen. Too much sun is bad for skin—not just because of cancer issues; it can also irritate acne.

Keep in mind that it is not one-size-fits-all when it comes to skin.  Everyone’s skin is different, has various levels of porousness, moisture, tone, and color. When you are taking care of your face, be sure to find a cleanser that fits your particular skin.

One popular cleanser is by Insta Natural. It can be used once or twice a day, and while it won’t medically alter your skin, it will keep it as clean as possible so you reduce the chances of blemishes occurring or being visible. You can find it here on Amazon.

There is no shortage of OTC products to try out.

I haven’t counted them all or anything, but I don’t think my earlier estimate can be too far off. There are washes, scrubs, lotions, spot treatments, medicated wipes, face masks . . . and on and on. Common active ingredients are salicylic or lactic acid, sulfur, and benzoyl peroxide. These products help to clear off dead skin cells, kill bacteria, and/or dry facial oil. Sometimes your skin might become more irritated right after starting something new, but it’ll calm down and start improving acne after a few weeks. You can find Clear Pore from Neutrogena at Amazon.

With any Over the Counter (OTC) product, just be sure to read the instructions and reviews, and use it as directed. OTC does not mean harmless, and the American Academy of Dermatologists has written that in some cases, things like harsh exfoliants could actually make your skin problems worse, if you choose the wrong one or use it too much.

If OTC options don’t do it for you, try prescription acne medications.

Head to your favorite local dermatologist who can diagnose exactly what’s going on with your skin and prescribe a course of action to get rid of it. Common ingredients in prescription meds are retinoin, adapalene, and tazarotene. Combinations of clindamycin, benzoyl peroxide, and erythromycin are also often successful. Your dermatologist can monitor progress and switch tactics if something isn’t working; she can also tell you how to minimize possible side effects like burning or redness.

For any prescription, you obviously need to see a physician first, and usually a Dermatologist.  In many areas, seeing a Dermatologist will take several weeks, so be patient.

Other prescription medications can reduce the appearance of blemishes.

Prescriptions for conditions other than acne, like antibiotics or birth control, can improve your skin’s health. Antibiotics fight bacterial infection and can reduce inflammation for all sorts of health problems, and acne is no exception. Hormone levels fluctuate throughout the month for women, and for some, that means breakouts. Oral contraceptives regulate hormones leaving skin clearer; this goes along with the bonus of staying baby-free. Obviously this option is for females only.

Cosmetic procedures are an alternative to medication.

These would include chemical peels, microdermabrasion, and light or laser therapy. The first two are especially good for acne scarring (or any scars for that matter). Chemical peels and microdermabrasion essentially remove the top layer of skin, which makes skin smoother. Light or laser therapy aims at damaging sebaceous glands—those things to blame for too much oil on skin—in order to lower the level of sebum produced. Just know that immediately following such procedures your skin can become extremely irritated, red, and sensitive for a short period of time.

The good news about microdermabrasion, in particular, is that the recovery time is next to nothing.  Usually about three days at the long end of the spectrum.  It basically involves someone sanding your face with a chemical — so if you are OK with that, you might want to research it more.

For Blemishes Unrelated to Acne

There are tons of different things that can be going on with your skin that can contribute to imperfections in your complexion. Some blemishes are purely cosmetic concerns, such as scars, moles (that aren’t irregular), warts, or the odd rash that might pop up. Warts can be removed at home or by a doctor, while moles can be removed only by a doctor. A mild bout of poison ivy or something similar can be treated at home with application of Benadryl and calamine lotion and by keeping it clean and not scratching it. You don’t need to worry much about the little stuff unless it doesn’t seem normal. Severe skin irritation from an allergy should be checked out and treated by your doctor, and if you have trouble breathing or swallowing along with your reaction, get to an emergency room immediately. If you notice a new mole somewhere or a change in a mole you already have, it’s a good idea to have it tested for skin cancer, especially if it is irregular in shape (not circular), color, or if it itches or bleeds. The sooner you get things of that nature taken care of, the better off you’ll be.

Natural Blemish Remedies


Your body uses this stuff in healing cuts, scrapes, and the like, and it reduces inflammation. There is even a school of thought that suggests zinc can help get rid of the common cold.  There is some hope that zinc could really help your skin, but there is a downside. Zinc can be hard on your stomach and digestive system. If you use it, be sure not to over do it, and take it with food or meals.

Tea tree oil.

Not recommended for sufferers of rosacea but good for other forms of acne, products containing about five percent tea tree oil are as effective as products with the same amount of benzoyl peroxide—a manufactured acne medication. Although it’s as effective, it is not as fast-acting; patience may be necessary. We recommend  Maple Holistics Tea Tree Oil from Amazon.

Glycolic Acid.

Derived from sugar cane, products containing this mild acid can help your skin shed itself more efficiently and unclog your pores. This is a good option if acne scars are a problem.

Be careful using it, though.  Glycolic acid can be harsh, and can cause redness, stinging, even peeling of skin. Use it as directed, and if the side effects seem to really do a number on you, use  your common sense and stop using it!

Skin Blemish FAQ

Why do I have blemishes?

While some blemishes are causes by scarring (perhaps you were too rough when trying to get rid of your unibrow, for example), most blemishes are caused by an overproduction of oil in your body.  This oil then interacts with skin cells, dead skin, or anything on your skin surfaces and causes an imperfection – or a blemish.

Can a blemish get worse?

If it does, then it is really a different condition – not a blemish.  Most blemishes do not grow or become severe.  Rather, they remain pretty minor.  Is a blemish is growing, it could be a dermatological condition such as psoriasis or eczema.

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About the Author

Jacki Nilssen

Jacki Nilssen