Mario Badescu Drying Lotion Review



Mario Badescu Drying Lotion is an acne spot treatment that’s developed a cult following of loyal customers, beauty editors, celebrities, and skin care professionals worldwide. Why? The bright pink formula is touted to perform a vanishing act by making blemishes disappear overnight. 

While this sounds great in theory, you may be wondering: does Mario Badescu Drying Lotion work for everyone? To answer that question, we’ll evaluate the formulation details, including the Mario Badescu Drying Lotion ingredients and the research that supports (or doesn’t support) their use in skincare. 

It’s also important to consider Mario Badescu Drying Lotion reviews in order to get the best idea of how this product works for a variety of skin types and concerns. We’ll cover all of this and more below, so let’s get started.

Is Mario Badescu Drying Lotion Right For You?

Before we get into the details, here’s the TL;DR if you just want to know whether or not  Mario Badescu Drying Lotion is right for you.

    • Key ingredients? Isopropyl alcohol, calamine, sulfur, salicylic acid
    • Skin type? Blemish-prone skin
    • Texture? Clay-like liquid
    • Fragrance? No
    • Cruelty free? Yes
    • Cost? $17 USD for 1 fl oz
    • EWG Rating? 2

    What Are The Key Ingredients in Mario Badescu Drying Lotion?

    In order to determine how well Mario Badescu Drying Lotion performs, we’ll have to evaluate the key ingredients in this formula. Let’s get started.

    Isopropyl alcohol

    The highest concentration ingredient in the Drying Lotion is isopropyl alcohol, also known as rubbing alcohol. This ingredient will definitely dry out a blemish, but it can also dry out the surrounding skin! 

    Since this product is a spot treatment, we think the alcohol in the formula is okay if you need to get rid of a zit ASAP. But it’s not something you want to be using on a regular basis.

    The major problem with using high concentrations of isopropyl alcohol is that this ingredient can disrupt the lipids that make up the stratum corneum (the outermost layer of skin), according to a publication in the journal BBA Biomembranes. The result is dry, irritated skin.


    The next ingredient is one that you might keep in your medicine cabinet for bug bites and poison ivy, and that’s calamine. 

    The active ingredient in calamine lotion is a combination of zinc oxide and 0.5% iron (ferric) oxide. The iron oxide gives it its identifying pink color.

    While calamine has been used for centuries to treat itching and minor irritations, there’s actually not much research supporting the use of calamine for acne.

    According to Healthline, using calamine lotion as spot treatment can help because calamine has drying properties and it can help dry out pimples caused by excess oil faster. 

    It’s really a short-term solution that helps by simply drying out the blemish. But overdrying acne can cause irritation and make acne worse, so products with calamine — like Mario Badescu Drying Lotion — should be used sparingly.


    Mario Badescu Drying Lotion also includes sulfur, an excellent acne-fighting ingredient. Sulfur works well to reduce acne because it’s a keratolytic, aka an ingredient that loosens dead skin cells, aids in exfoliation, and prevents pore blockages. Sulfur also helps to reduce skin oiliness and has antimicrobial properties.

    Salicylic acid

    In case you weren’t aware, salicylic acid (a beta-hydroxy acid) is one of the best acne-fighting ingredients, and we’re happy that it’s included in Mario Badescu Drying Lotion.

    Salicylic acid works by exfoliating the pore lining, which loosens clogged dirt and oil. It also has the ability to dissolve keratin, the protein that acts as a “glue” to keep dead skin cells together in the stratum corneum. This is effective because dead skin cells can build up on the surface of your skin, leaving it looking dull and also possibly clogging pores. 

    Another way salicylic acid helps to fight acne is through its antibacterial activity. Salicylic acid has the ability to inhibit the production of various aspects necessary for binary fission (bacterial reproduction), such as fibrinogen, fibronectin, and alpha-hemolysis. Therefore, salicylic acid can neutralize the bacteria P. Acnes that are present in acne papules.

    Lastly, salicylic acid possesses anti-inflammatory properties, which is ideal for treating acne since inflammation will worsen breakouts.

    How to Use Mario Badescu Drying Lotion?

    One thing you’ll notice about Mario Badescu Drying Lotion is that there’s a separation of pink sediment at the bottom and clear liquid on top, which may tempt you to shake the bottle. But no matter how tempted you are, don’t shake the bottle!

    Think of it this way: The pink dot you make on your face works like a teeny overnight mask that gives targeted attention to your blemish. You want the product to be clay-like when it’s applied so that it goes on opaque and pink, completely covering the bump. When you shake, that sediment becomes diluted.

    Before bed (after cleansing and toning), dip a cotton swab into the pink sediment at the bottom of the bottle. Dab directly on the surface blemish; do not rub in. Let dry and rinse off in the morning. Do NOT use it on broken skin.

    Where to Buy Mario Badescu Drying Lotion?

    Mario Badescu skincare products are sold on the brand’s website, as well as many third-party online retailers, such as Sephora, Ulta, Walmart, and more. The brand also has a store locator on their website so you can find a retail location near you that sells Mario Badescu skincare products. 

    How Much is Mario Badescu Drying Lotion?

    Mario Badescu Drying Lotion costs $17 USD for 1 fl oz. 

    Is Mario Badescu Cruelty-Free?

    Yes, Mario Badescu is cruelty-free. 

    Is Mario Badescu Drying Lotion Vegan?

    Yes, Mario Badescu Drying Lotion is vegan. 

    Our Verdict

    Overall, we think that Mario Badescu Drying Lotion is formulated to do exactly what it says — dry out a pimple — but keep in mind that this product is a quick-fix solution that doesn’t address the root cause of acne. 


    • Ingredients will dry out a blemish
    • Many positive Mario Badescu Drying Lotion reviews
    • Mario Badescu is cruelty-free
    • Fragrance-free


    • The ingredients may cause excessive skin dryness



    1. Healthline “Does Calamine Lotion Treat and Help Prevent Acne?”
    ​​2.BBA Biomembranes, May 2012, pages 1410-1419



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