Clean & Clear Advantage Spot Control Treatment Gel review

Can you make a pimple disappear in 4 hours?

Disappear is a strong word. But Clean & Clear Advantage Spot Control Treatment Gel does promise to reduce spots in under 4 hours.

Needless to say, I had to put it to the test. It took a while. Regular exfoliation + low glycemic diet means I don’t get pimples all that often (I know, I’m lucky).

But I do like to keep a spot treatment on hand, just in case. And if you had to keep one, wouldn’t you choose something that works that fast?

But… does it work THAT fast? They may have twisted the truth a bit…

What’s In Clean & Clear Advantage Spot Control Treatment Gel?


Salicylic acid is the acne fighter here.

It’s an oil-soluble exfoliant. In plain English, it penetrates your lipid skin’s barrier, gets inside your pores and removes all that excess oil, dead skin cells and other gunk that’s clogging them up and giving you pimples.

Plus, it has anti-inflammatory properties that soothe the irritation and tone down the redness associated with pimples.

The catch? Salicylic acid is awesome at keeping those pores clean and prevent pimples BUT it’s slow at kicking them off your skin.

Clean & Clear states that you’ll see an improvement after 4 hours, which is true, especially if your pimple is brand new. But it’ll take 4 or 5 days for salicylic acid to make it go away completely.

If you’re looking for an immediate solution to get rid of your pimple before your dinner date, hard luck. But if you’ve got time and patience, this’ll do the trick.

P.S. If you can’t wait that long, try this instead.

Related: Why Salicylic Acid Is The Key To Spot-Free Skin

clean and clear advantage spot control treatment gel 01


Here’s where it gets tricky.

Alcohol is a very controversial ingredient. Critics say it’s terribly drying and irritating and it can make pimples worse. Fans say it helps active ingredients better penetrate your skin and its drying effects can be counteracted with a good moisturizer anyway.

My opinion? It’s somewhere in the middle. I usually don’t recommend alcohol because even when it doesn’t harm the skin, it’s not particularly beneficial either.

But this is a spot treatment. That’s something you use on spots only. In this case, alcohol would help dry out the nasty bugger sooner. 

But, if you have sensitive skin, putting alcohol on your pimples could sting them real bad. That’s where it pays off to know what your skin can take.

Related: What Does Alcohol-Free In Skincare Really Mean?

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It has a lightweight, gel consistency that absorbs immediately into the skin without leaving any residue behind.



How To Use It

Morning and night, on pimples only.

Performance & Personal Opinion

As soon as a pimple reared up its ugly head, I applied a drop of Clean & Clear Advantage Spot Control Treatment Gel straight away.

Despite the alcohol, I personally haven’t experienced any irritation – but then my skin is pretty resilient even when it’s pimpled. I’ve read reviews that mentioned the gel stung and irritated their skin pretty badly so if yours is dry or sensitive, I would stay away from this. Just in case.

If your skin can take it, the gel can get rid of pimples. But not in 4 hours.

4 hours after the first application, my pimple looked a little smaller but it was still there. 

It took 3 more days before the pimple disappeared. During this time, I applied the gel 2/3 times a day (not more because I was scared it’d irritate my skin – it may be resistant but that’s not a good reason to play with fire).

Also, keep in mind my pimple was quite new. If yours is already gigantic, the gel will take longer to defeat it completely.

clean and clear advantage spot control treatment gel 02

Who Is This For?

  • Acne-prone skin

Who Is This NOT For?

  • Sensitive skin
  • If you don’t have pimples, you don’t need this


A small, grey tube with a blue pointed applicator. It’s precise and gets the job done.

Does Clean & Clear Advantage Spot Control Treatment Gel Live Up To Its Claims?

The unique formula exfoliates and will quickly remove excess oil to help purify skin. It works… just NOT quickly.
Invisible gel format. True.

Price & Availability

£2.99 at Boots

Do You Need It?

Yes and no. I’ve used pimple treatments that work faster but if you’re on a budget and your skin isn’t sensitive, this will do.

Dupes & Alternatives


Aqua, Alcohol Denat, Glycerin, Polyacrylate-13, Salicylic Acid, Cyclopentasiloxane, Polyisobutene, C12-15 Alkyl Lactate, Propylene Glycol, Cedrus Atlantica Bark Extract, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Cinnamomum Zeylanicum Bark Extract, Sarcosine, Hamamelis Virginiana Water, PPG-2 Isoceteth-20 Acetate, Dipropylene Glycol, Alcohol, Butylene Glycol, Lactic Acid, Hexylene Glycol, Isoceteth-20, Cetyl Lactate, Phenethyl Dimethicone, Capryloyl Glycine, Polysorbate 20, Sodium Chloride, Cocamidopropyl PG-Dimonium Chloride Phosphate, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Dehydroxanthan Gum, Disodium EDTA, Acetic Acid, Sodium Hydroxide, Phenoxyethanol, Benzalkonium Chloride, Perfume, Benzyl Alcohol