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Mario Badescu vs Kate Somerville 2024 (The Definitive Guide)

Hormonal breakouts… the stubborn pimple that just won’t go away… we’ve all been there.

While you can’t rid your skin of acne forever, you can stop pimples in their tracks fast with a topical treatment. Two of the best on the market — Mario Badescu’s Drying Lotion and Kate Somerville’s EradiKate Blemish Treatment — promise to do just that.

Both are described by raving fans as “magic in a bottle,” but to know which of the two is right for you, let's break down the products’ effectiveness and the brands themselves.

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Mario Badescu vs Kate Somerville Drying Lotion

From Mario Badescu himself mixing products in the comfort of his New York City apartment, to Kate Somerville - esthetician turned celebrity skin health expert - overcoming adversity, both companies come from humble beginnings with renowned success in their own right.

Moreover, online reviews of their respective acne spot treatment reflect this; ratings average out to 4.4/5 and enthusiastic responses praise how quickly blemishes vanish overnight.

Marketed for all skin types, Mario Badescu’s Drying Lotion and Kate Somerville’s EradiKate Blemish Treatment work to deliver a fast-acting topical treatment meant for the unexpected breakout or pimple.

After completing your nightly skincare routine, simply apply to the pimple in question and wake up with a complexion that is smooth and clear.

Yet, despite the pretty pink packaging and 1oz bottle each product arrives in, there’s a staggering price difference. Why is Kate Somerville priced at around the ~$30 mark and Mario Badescu at ~$20? Their overall effectiveness may give us an answer.


At first glance, both acne spot treatments look almost identical but further examination reveals some notable differences:

What separates these 1oz bottles apart is their sulfur content. For instance, Kate Somerville’s EradiKate Blemish Treatment has a 10% sulfur concentration, the highest amount permitted by the FDA.

A sulfur-based treatment such as this not only works to dry out blemishes and exfoliate the skin, but it goes much deeper to eliminate complex breakouts such as cystic acne.

According to the Kate Somerville website, clinical trials support this as 94% of participants had diminished breakouts in as little as one hour.

In contrast, Mario Badescu’s Drying Lotion has a much lower concentration of sulfur, but this doesn’t mean it’s not effective. It also contains other acne-fighting ingredients that are great for attacking the typical pimple or surface-level blemish.

This includes salicylic acid, a BHA that dissolves dead skin cells and smooths the skin, and calamine, a medicine that soothes the skin.

Vegan & Cruelty Free

A more conscious world means a growing desire for vegan and cruelty-free products, as well as a level of transparency from brands not seen in decades prior.

While Mario Badescu sources raw materials from cruelty-free suppliers, has a line of products free of animal-derived ingredients, and doesn’t permit animal testing in their name, the brand as a whole isn’t vegan.

Mario Badescu manufactures several beauty products with animal-derived ingredients, e.g., bee pollen, collagen, elastin. Their acne spot treatment falls into this category as it contains glycerin which comes from animal fat.

Kate Somerville confirms that their suppliers don’t test on animals but their parent company, Unilever, does have control over other brands that do test on animals. If you’re vegan and looking to boycott companies that have connections to animal testing, this may be of concern to you.

Moreover, Kate Somerville claims that their products, including the EradiKate Blemish Treatment, cannot be labeled as vegan as they don’t have the substantiation to make such a claim. They say their products are a blend of natural and synthetically derived ingredients.


Although Mario Badescu doesn’t market itself as a sustainable company, its packing is minimal and some products are made from recyclable plastic. This includes the Drying Lotion which comes in a glass bottle and can be recycled.

However, there’s no evidence to support that the brand is working to reduce their virgin plastic.

In contrast, Kate Somerville has taken a public stance when it comes to sustainability, pledging to be 100% plastic-free and is on track to do so by 2025.

They’ve stopped using plastic packaging material, switched to recyclable paper, and reduced the size of their outbound shipping boxes. Moreover, the EradiKate Blemish Treatment comes in a glass bottle and is recyclable.


Although Mario Badescu’s Drying Lotion and Kate Somerville’s EradiKate Blemish Treatment are safe to use, let’s examine some potentially problematic ingredients.

Mario Badescu’s Drying Lotion contains talc, an ingredient that made a Johnson & Johnson baby powder controversial for causing skin problems after prolonged use.

This has been a concern for consumers and questions are rightfully being asked.

But according to the Mario Badescu website, “there’s no evidence that the use of cosmetics of other products containing asbestos-free talc, which is the talc used in Mario Badescu products. The highest grade of talc is used, meeting the highest quality and compliance standard.”

Both Mario Badescu’s Drying Lotion and Kate Somerville’s EradiKate Blemish Treatment contain high amounts of alcohol which can be aggressive and irritating on the skin, causing it to dry out.

While these products are marketed towards all skin types, this isn’t ideal for those with sensitive skin.

EradiKate Blemish Treatment by Kate Somerville, a blemish spot treatment.

EradiKate Blemish Treatment by Kate Somerville

Shop Check price on

Our rating: ★★★★★

Price: $$$$

A blemish spot treatment.

What makes it special? Clinically proven to diminish blemishes in just one hour, this spot treatment doesn't just dry up blemishes - it effectively clears skin, unclogs pores, controls oils and prevents future blemishes. A must for every skincare toolkit!

Which skin types? For acne-prone skin types.

Find the best price on Amazon

Drying Lotion by Mario Badescu, on-the-spot surface blemish solution.

Drying Lotion by Mario Badescu

Shop Check price on

Our rating: ★★★★★

Price: $$$$

On-the-spot surface blemish solution.

What makes it special? Mario Badescu Drying Lotion is a legendary on-the-spot solution that helps dry up surface blemishes overnight. This fast-acting, effective spot treatment contains the following highly effective ingredients: Salicylic Acid, which reduces the appearance of redness of blemishes; Sulfur, which unclog pores; and Zinc Oxide, which absorbs excess oil.

Which skin types? For acne-prone skin types.

Find the best price on Amazon

Final Verdict

Both acne spot treatments are highly effective but deciding which one is right for you depends on the state of your skin.

If you’re pinching for pennies and looking for a quick fix that will vanish your pimple overnight, Mario Badescu’s Drying Lotion is the economically sound choice as it’s long-lasting and affordable.

But if you’re suffering from breakouts that go much deeper in the skin, then investing in Kate Somerville’s EradiKate Blemish Treatment is worth the extra ~$10.

Work in progress

You have been reading a post that we are constantly updating. Be sure to bookmark this page, subscribe, and come back later to see additions to the definitive Mario Badescu vs Kate Somerville guide!

This article was originally published on March 4th 2022, but it has been reviewed and updated with the latest available information on January 30th 2024 by Sara Mckay, MA.

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