4 Cheaper (But Equally Effective) Dupes for Mario Badescu's Cult-Favorite Drying Lotion


The Mario Badescu Drying Lotion is the Lamborghini of acne treatments: It’s incredibly powerful, looks pretty cool, and doesn't come cheap — a tiny 1-ounce bottle costs $17. Whether they’re drying lotions or another form of acne treatment, the best Mario Badescu Drying Lotion dupes contain several of the same unique pimple-fighting ingredients, but cost far less than the original.

And it’s those unique ingredients that make the Mario Badescu Drying Lotion (and its cheaper alternatives) such an effective acne treatment. The signature formula contains seven key ingredients (plus some other things, like water): camphor, sulfur, zinc oxide, talc, salicylic acid, glycerin, and calamine lotion — aka the pink sediment settled at the bottom of the bottle, which you must resist the overpowering urge to shake. This powerful elixir provides a combination of pore-clearing, oil-absorbing, skin-soothing effects that dry up pimples and reduce redness and inflammation overnight.

That said, MBDL isn’t actually the best choice for all consumers all the time. According to the brand, MBDL only works on surfaced pimples and whiteheads, and it’s not super effective on cystic acne and blackheads. It also may not be the most efficient choice if you’re hoping to treat breakouts that take up more real estate on your face or body.

The Mario Badescu Drying Lotion dupes, listed ahead, are less expensive, equally effective, and might actually better suit your needs. Scroll on to shop them now.

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The Overall Best Mario Badescu Drying Lotion Dupe

This Bye Bye Blemish Drying Lotion features four of the seven major ingredients found in MBDL: camphor, sulfur, zinc oxide, and salicylic acid. They all work together to exfoliate dead skin cells, pull out bacteria and excess oil, flatten inflamed spots, and tone down redness. It works the same way as MBDL, too: Dip a cotton swab straight down into the bottle, making sure to pick up the sediment at the bottom, then dab it on your pimples before bed. (Don’t shake this bottle, either!)


Another Great Spot Treatment With Sulfur

Thanks to its exfoliating, oil-absorbing, and bacteria-clearing properties, sulfur is clinically proven to treat acne flare-ups, as well as other inflammation-related skin conditions like rosacea and seborrheic dermatitis. This De La Cruz spot treatment contains 5% of the stuff — a powerful enough concentration to thoroughly clear up breakouts, but it won’t impart the dryness or irritation that higher doses of sulfur can cause for people with very sensitive skin. (The brand also makes a version with 10% sulfur, if your skin can handle it.) Unlike MBDL, this treatment can work on blackheads, and because it’s a cream, you can target larger swaths of skin. Just $8 gets you almost triple the amount of product as MBDL, too.


A Dupe In Soap Form

Infused with 2% salicylic acid, sulfur, and glycerin, this DermaHarmony sulfur & salicylic acid soap is an especially good choice if you want to clear up body acne (though it’s safe for use on your face, too). Amazon reviewers confirm that this soap helps quell standard acne flare-ups, as well as acneic rosacea and seborrheic dermatitis (thanks, sulfur!). A word of warning: A few customers report that this soap carries a whiff of sulfur’s signature “rotten egg” scent. Wield it wisely.


A Dupe In Mask Form

Used two to three times per week, this AcneFree Therapeutic Sulfur Mask can eliminate current breakouts and reduce the number of breakouts you experience in the future. In addition to 3.5% sulfur, this mask contains bentonite clay, kaolin clay, and zinc to absorb pore-clogging debris. Copper stimulates collagen production to plump up tired or compromised skin, and brightening vitamin C can help fade acne scars and hyperpigmentation. Reviewers say this face mask is powerful enough to target underground pimples and blackheads, but doesn’t dry out or irritate sensitive skin. You’ll know the mask is working when you feel a little bit of tingling, and the product turns from white to blue.

Studies referenced:

AK Gupta, K Nicol. The Use Of Sulfur In Dermatology.