Review of Mario Badescu drying lotion and its other acne fighting comrades

There are a lot of acne skincare products on the market, but many don’t deliver what they promise. In fact, they might even make matters worse. Today I will share my experience with the Mario Badescu line of products and their ability to fight acne.

First off, I’ve always considered my skin to be a combination type, with T-zone oils and some dryness. However, things seem to have changed. Now I have large pores and persistent acne. My skin used to break out only occasionally but, suddenly it seems like my face lit on fire. After a barbecue, pimples appeared all over my face. It’s been breaking out like crazy since then.

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The lesson I learned after trying a bunch of different things is you must choose an appropriate product for your acne type, and then the results will be way more effective.  I will walk through 6 acne-controlling products from Mario Badescu that do an amazing job of fighting acne.

1️⃣ Mario Badescu Drying Lotion — the gentler solution for acne problems

Sale Mario Badescu Drying Lotion for All Skin Types| Blemish Spot Treatment with Salicylic Acid and Sulfur | Dries Surface Blemishes | 1 Fl Oz Mario Badescu Drying Lotion for All Skin Types| Blemish Spot Treatment with... @ Amazon Amazon Prime

✅for Whiteheads, new acne, and closed comedones

✅ Suitable for all skin types

✅ Application: 👌 Do not shake the bottle; place it upright. Before bedtime, use a q-tip or cotton bud to pick up the light pink layer from the bottom of the bottle and apply it to acne areas.


A quick and effective spot treatment for surface blemishes like whiteheads, thanks to its blend of salicylic acid and sulfur; suitable for all skin types, offering gentle yet efficient drying without irritation; some users may find the separation of layers inconvenient, but overall, it’s a highly praised solution for targeted acne treatment.

⭐1. Sometimes there could be slight variation in production batches, your bottle of the lotion may come in slightly yellow or transparent color, but it does not affect the use of the product.

⭐️2. The Drying lotion is supposed to separate and not be mixed up before you apply.  The top section is a clear liquid containing alcohol and water. The pink part which settles to the bottom of the bottle is where all the good stuff is.  Allow the pink powder/sediment to fully settle in the bottle before you try to use it.


⭐️3. This lotion is slightly dry after being applied, so please keep your skin moisturized after using this product.

Salicylic Acid and Sulfur

These 2 ingredients effectively targets surface blemishes like whiteheads and closed comedones, providing gentle yet efficient drying without irritation. While not specifically formulated for cystic acne, it can help reduce inflammation and prevent further breakouts. Its exfoliating properties also make it effective in treating blackheads by unclogging pores and reducing their appearance.

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My own experience with Mario Badescu Drying Lotion

This Drying Lotion from Mario Badescu was so popular on so many beauty blogs and websites.  Whenever I have a breakout right before my period, my cheeks and forehead get covered in several large pimples. Since everything I read says the Drying Lotion is a relatively mild acne treatment product designed to treat pimples that have not yet come out. So I decided to give it a shot.

The instructions said not to shake it before using it, so I waited until the powder and solution separated, then took a cotton swab and dipped it into the pink powder until the cotton swab turned white. After that, I applied it to my zits at night time only.

Acne can be painful, especially at the beginning of a breakout. By applying this Drying Lotion and keeping it on all night, the next day my acne felt less painful. I can tell it was on its way out, faster than otherwise. I generally feel the Drying Lotion is quite effective for the early stages of acne.

On the product label, Mario Badescu’s Drying lotion contains Calamine, which can relieve itching, reduce irritation caused, and soothe skin. In addition, the liquid contains sulfur and salicylic acid, which mainly play a role in anti-inflammatory and antibacterial applications.  The ingredients also help remove excess dead skin cells, promote epidermal renewal, and improve clogged pores.

The amount I would use each time is tiny; so I think this bottle will last me for a long time!

DO NOT use it on your entire face.  Only use this as a spot treatment. Don’t put the drying lotion on open spots either. If the pimple is broken, do not use this.

2️⃣ Terminator for Stubborn Acne — Mario Badescu Buffering Lotion

Sale Mario Badescu Buffering Lotion Blemish Spot Treatment for Face with Potent Zinc Oxide, Niacinamide and B Vitamins | Overnight Treatment Serum that Targets Large Blemishes Under the Skin | 1 Fl Oz Mario Badescu Buffering Lotion Blemish Spot Treatment for Face with Potent Zinc... @ Amazon Amazon Prime

✅Large red pimples, cysts, inflamed acne, and persistent breakouts.

✅Suitable for: Oily or mixed skin

✅ Method: Shake well. Use clean fingertips to tap and apply directly to the breakout.


Specifically formulated to address stubborn, under-the-surface blemishes with zinc oxide and niacinamide, ideal for oily or combination skin types; effectively calms and soothes inflamed papules, offering relief for persistent acne issues; while it may be drying for some, its deep-reaching action makes it a standout choice for deeper acne concerns.

Usually, I’ll apply the Buffering lotion after my skincare routine on the days when I need it. Compared to the Drying lotion, this one is clear and can be used in the daytime if that’s what you want.

Buffering lotion is especially effective on cases of red bumps and inflammation, and stubborn acne that doesn’t come to a head. It quickly clears up acne, has a watery consistency, and gets easily absorbed into the skin.

Zinc Oxide and Niacinamide

This potent solution tackles stubborn, under-the-surface blemishes, making it suitable for inflammatory acne types like cystic acne. Its anti-inflammatory properties help soothe redness and swelling associated with cystic acne, while its deep-reaching action can help prevent new breakouts from forming. However, it may not be as effective in targeting blackheads compared to the Drying Lotion.

For me personally, the results have been amazing! This is the first product that has shrunk my big zits. The combination of redness, swelling and pain is gone thanks to this product. Apparently, it works for open comedones as well, but I have very few of those, so I cannot say what the result would be like. For closed comedones acne, however, this product is an instant cure. Red zits fade away and skin becomes smooth.

Pimples on your chin are so unpleasant.  They’re usually painful and make us very self-conscious, especially when they pop up during times we don’t want them to. However, this is a common problem that can happen to anyone, especially women with hormonal imbalances. I know this because my chin breaks out all the time.

The day after I use the Buffering Lotion, the swelling was indeed gone and it seemed like the pimple shrunk a little bit.  After using for a few nights, the acne disappeared from where it had been. However, in places with stubborn acne, sometimes there are still acne marks left behind.

A reminder that the Buffering Lotion is quite drying. I think that most of these acne products dry out the skin. Before using it, it is an absolute must to make sure to put extra hydration on the skin.  Otherwise, makeup (the next day) will appear dry and flaky.

3️⃣ All-in-one acne-fighting miracleMario Badescu Anti-Acne Serum

Mario Badescu Anti Acne Serum for Combination & Oily Skin | Clarifying Gel-Serum that Tackles Clogged Pores | Formulated with Salicylic Acid and Glycerin | 1 FL OZ Mario Badescu Anti Acne Serum for Combination & Oily Skin | Clarifying Gel-Serum... @ Amazon Amazon Prime

⭐️ Best for: ✔️ sudden outbreaks and acne-prone skin

⭐️ Suitable skin: oily and mixed

⭐️ How to use: 🌎 After a thorough face cleanse, apply a layer of the acne-fighting serum to the troubled areas at night.  Or, apply it as needed. Do not apply to eye area. If product gets into eyes, rinse well with water.


A clarifying gel-serum formulated with salicylic acid and glycerin to tackle clogged pores and sudden outbreaks; suitable for oily and combination skin types, offering preventative measures against future acne; while it may not be suitable for severe acne, its lightweight texture and ease of application make it a convenient addition to daily skincare routines.

Salicylic Acid and Glycerin

This serum effectively addresses clogged pores and sudden outbreaks, making it suitable for various acne types, including cystic acne. Its exfoliating properties help to unclog pores, reducing the occurrence of blackheads, while its antibacterial action can help prevent new acne from forming, including cystic acne.

The Anti-Acne Serum can be used as a preventative measure and applied to the skin on areas that break out. The ingredients in the serum prevent future acne. Buffering Lotion, on the other hand, is designed to treat acne that has already appeared.

4️⃣ Going for flawless skin: Mario Badescu Drying Cream

Sale Mario Badescu Drying Cream for Combination & Oily Skin | Clarifying Cream that Targets Bumps and Spots | Formulated with Sulfur & Zinc Oxide | 0.5 Ounce (Pack of 1) Mario Badescu Drying Cream for Combination & Oily Skin | Clarifying Cream that... @ Amazon Amazon Prime


Provides excellent coverage and concealer effect for blemishes, formulated with sulfur and zinc oxide to target bumps and spots; ideal for oily, combination, or sensitive skin, offering a balance of medication for pimples without excessive drying; users may find its smell unpleasant, but its effectiveness in controlling oil and moisturizing makes it a valuable addition to skincare routines.

Sulfur and Zinc Oxide

This cream targets bumps and spots, making it effective for inflammatory acne types like cystic acne. Its antibacterial properties help to reduce inflammation and redness associated with cystic acne, while its drying effect can help shrink cystic acne lesions. Additionally, its concealer effect can help camouflage existing acne, including blackheads.

Whenever my acne got really bad, I start to get too worried to go out and hang out with my friends. I would cover it up as much as I can. People with acne are so self-conscious about it. The truth is that covering acne often just creates a buildup, which further clogs your pores, and leads to more acne, but not covering them can be incredibly embarrassing.

For those who still need flawless makeup but suffering from pimples, the Mario Badescu Drying Cream is perfect for any skin type – oily, combination, or very sensitive. Apply the product to affected areas twice a day for best results. It also has a slight concealer effect.

By the way, the brownish liquid that you may see in the drying cream is just a normal separation.

⭐️ How to use: After you finish all of your other skincare steps, use your ring finger to tap the tiniest amount of the cream onto your blemishes. Then, rub it in gently and you’re done!

⭐️ Pros: First, it has great coverage. Secondly, when pimples pop, it works well during the healing period when pus and wound are present. While using this product, the trouble spot will feel completely sealed and in good condition.

In addition, this cream has medication for pimples, So I feel like this can’t worsen the acne. Instead, it can prevent bacteria and dust from going into the wound.  As a bonus, it controls oil as well as moisturizes to some extent.

When I do use the drying cream, my t-zone starts to get oily hours later, so the oil control is really good.  But it doesn’t dry up my skin as strongly as the Drying Lotion or the Buffering Lotion, so I don’t feel that it makes me excessively dry.

⭐️ Cons: The only downside to this product is the smell. While sulfur is a good ingredient for clearing pores, it still bothers me a bit and I feel like my face might lit up anytime.

5️⃣ Mario Badescu Special Healing Powder

Mario Badescu Special Healing Face Powder for Oily and Troubled Skin, Reduces T-Zone Shine, Decongests Pores and Balances Excess Oil, Gentle Sulfur Powder for Skin Care Mario Badescu Special Healing Face Powder for Oily and Troubled Skin, Reduces... @ Amazon Amazon Prime


A gentle sulfur powder designed to reduce T-zone shine, decongest pores, and balance excess oil; effective for oily and troubled skin, providing long-lasting oil control throughout the day; users may find its packaging messy, but its oil-controlling properties make it a valuable tool for maintaining a matte complexion.


The gentle sulfur helps to reduce T-zone shine and decongest pores, making it suitable for oily and troubled skin types prone to blackheads. While not specifically formulated for cystic acne, its oil-controlling properties can help prevent new breakouts by keeping pores clear and reducing excess oil production. Additionally, its soothing effect can help alleviate inflammation associated with cystic acne.

This is currently my favorite powder. It’s different from other cosmetic powders, it’s yellow – kind of like beigy and I can’t really get the color right with my camera as I was affected by the lighting when I took this photo. The oil-control effect is super awesome, though.


If I can last from four to five hours with the Drying Cream above, then this powder can help me make it through an entire day without a shiny face. But I must be using both the Dry cream and the Healing powder. Both of their ingredients are medicational, helping to fight acne.

⭐️ How to use: After applying my moisturizer, SPF, and the Mario Badescu drying cream, I dust a small amount of the powder onto my makeup puff, and pat it onto my entire face.

⭐️ Pros: Mario Badescu’s Special Healing Powder works wonderfully for oil control! It’s really a great product, and I strongly recommend it. In fact, I really regret not getting it earlier. When the next summer comes along (and everyone, myself included, is melting), this would be a godsend.

⭐️ Cons: Never use too much of this powder on your face at one time, otherwise you will have that pale complexion of the women in Memoirs of a Geisha.   The other cons are its packaging. The moment you open it, the powder flies everywhere. It’s so poorly designed that I use my own puff instead of the one provided because it’s useless!

6️⃣Mario Badescu Healing & Soothing Mask

Mario Badescu Healing & Soothing Mask - Creamy and Comforting Facial Mask with Kaolin Clay, Niacinamide, and Zinc Oxide - Restores Balance and Alleviates Dryness - Ideal for Oily or Problem Skin Mario Badescu Healing & Soothing Mask - Creamy and Comforting Facial Mask with... @ Amazon Amazon Prime

The Mario Badescu Soothing and Healing Mask has a thicker, milky-like texture. It is yellow in the undertone and I think the coloring must come from the active ingredients in this brand. Think about it the cream is also yellowish/brownish, my healing powder is yellowish, and this mask is yellowish as well.

⭐️ How to use:  When it comes to using a face mask, I think that all girls already know how to use it. But I want to tell you instead how to wash it off.  Because it’s really sticky, so it’s very difficult to wash off.

I leave the mask on for about 30 minutes. It will start to feel dry, so I dampen a cotton pad and wipe off some of the product, then wipe off the rest with more water. If you want to wash it off with just water, my guess is it will take you about an hour to get it all off.

⭐️ Pros: If your acne isn’t too severe, you probably won’t notice any significant results. However, if you have serious acne problems, you will see a noticeable difference after using it.

And, if you popped a pimple, this works like a charm for irritated skin too. You apply the mask to the pimple, leave it on for 30 minutes, and then wash it away. The spot where you picked won’t be red any more after you use this mask.

⭐️ Pros: It’s not easy to wash off.  You will be using up quite a few cotton pads.

And there you have it.  6 Mario Badescu star products working together to tackle your acne problems.  They’ve worked well for me and hope that they will do the same for you so that we can all say goodbye to acne skin.



When do you use Mario Badescu Drying Lotion vs Buffering Lotion?

The Drying Lotion is famed for its ability to target surface blemishes like whiteheads. Its blend of salicylic acid and sulfur promises quick drying without causing irritation, suitable for all skin types.

The Buffering Lotion works deeper, addressing stubborn, under-the-surface blemishes. Its formula, featuring zinc oxide and niacinamide, aims to calm and soothe inflamed papules, particularly beneficial for oily or combination skin.

Use the Drying lotion for closed comedones or whiteheads while reserving the Buffering lotion for inflammatory papules. The Drying lotion does not require shaking but the Buffering Lotion does. Both need to be applied locally to acne or areas that need treatment. Do not apply to your face as a whole!

The Drying Lotion provides a gentle touch suitable for various skin types, while the Buffering Lotion is tailored for those with persistent acne issues, particularly in oily or combination skin types.

It’s best to apply either at night.  It’s not that there’s any sensitivity to daylight, but it’s just easier and in the case of the Drying Lotion, you probably don’t want to see anyone with patches of colors on your face.

Can you only use Mario Badescu Drying Lotion or Buffering Lotion at night?

Both the Drying lotion and the Buffering lotion can be used day or night, but it’s just not too appealing during the day.  You will be spotting very obvious pink patches from the drying lotion, and to a lesser extent, you will still have light white patches after using the Buffering Lotion.  But if you are staying at home and not seeing anyone, then you don’t have to wait till night time.

Should you shake the Mario Badescu Drying lotion and what happens if you shake the lotion?

No, you should not shake it.  The pink dot you put on your face works like an overnight mask that gives targeted attention to a blemish. The product should be clay-like when applied so that it goes on opaque and pink, completely covering the bump.

If you mix the lotion, then the sentiment gets diluted when it gets applied. But no worry if you did shake the bottle. Just let it sit and wait until it completely settles again before applying.

How come my Mario Badescu drying lotion liquid is gone?

If you find the clear liquid in your Mario Badescu Drying lotion dried out fast and is leaving only pink sediment behind, switch to a thinner, pointed Q-tip.  This way you can pick up more of the pink product and also waste less liquid.

Jen Roberts Glowing Gorgeous

Jen Roberts

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About our Chief Editor

Jen Roberts, is a passionate beauty specialist and blogger with a deep love for skincare and wellness. More about me here.


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