I tried the Sampar Prodigal Pen, and later The Body Shop Tea Tree Blemish Gel, simply because they were lying around handily when I had a zit demanding that I put something on it. (Zits are so pushy that way, like bigmouth egocentric party guests.)
Then one day I couldn't find either one of them. Nothing like a good panic to make you realize how much you've come to rely on something.
The Sampar Prodigal Pen ($24) is a blend of antibacterial and astringent essential oils such as cinnamon, lavender, mountain savory, thyme, oregano, rosemary, clove and sage (love the medi-herbal scent). A potent formula, it can sting like heck if your skin's sensitive, and it's responsible for my accidental lip chapping last week. But the stuff speeds the zit-begone process so they're gone in days rather than weeks, overnight if you're lucky. And, sensitive lips aside, the Prodigal Pen leaves no damaged skin in its wake.
In addition to its namesake ingredient, The Body Shop Tea Tree Blemish Gel ($9) contains willow-bark extract, a component of which is natural beta-hydroxy acid -- salicylic acid. Like the Sampar Prodigal Pen, it encourages rapid zit healing without causing flaky dry patches.
Thankfully I found both items soon after panic had set in. Staff had misplaced them. And now she knows never to do that again.