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Photoshop Elements > Retouching >

Spot Healing Brush -

Get Rid of Blemishes & More

You can use the Spot Healing Brush tool to remove dot-sized and larger imperfections in your photographs.

For smaller defects, use the Dust and Scratches filter.

For large problems, use the Healing Brush tool or the Clone Stamp tool.

As an example, I added some spots to the photograph of this woman.


Here they are up close.


Be sure to check off as you go along.


1) Preserve your original file.

If you haven't already done so, go to Preserve Your Original File.

2) Create a Background copy layer.

If you haven't already done so, go to Create a Background Copy Layer.

3) Enlarge the section where retouching is needed.

Setting Up

1) Make sure the Background copy layer is active (highlighted).

2) Select the Spot Healing Brush tool.

The Spot Healing Brush samples the pixels near its edge, and then uses them to replace the pixels inside the brush.

It looks like a Band-Aid, with a dotted area in the bottom left corner of the icon.

Don't use the Healing Brush.

It looks like a Band-Aid, without the dotted area in the bottom left corner of the icon.


3) Select a brush in options bar/Tool Options.

The brush should be non-feathered.

If you haven't already done so, go to Feathered Brush.

The size of the brush should be slightly larger than the area to be retouched.

If you use a brush that's much larger than the blemish, the brush may sample something that's not the color and texture of the area to be retouched.

For example, if you're retouching a blemish on a forehead, the eyebrow may be sampled, if you use too large of a brush.

4) Use the Proximity Match brush type, in options bar/Tool Options.

This is the default brush type, so it's probably selected already.

We'll discuss these two brush types below.

You're all set.


1) Center the brush (the black circle) on the spot.

2) Click.

The spots disappeared perfectly, except for the one with the black spot.


After clicking on it once, a faint white smear remained.


The brush was clicked again, and the white smear disappeared.

Here are before-and-after close-ups of the forehead.

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Two Spot Healing Brush Types

As mentioned, there are two types of Spot Healing Brush tools—Proximity Match and Create Texture.

You select them in options bar/Tool Options.

Proximity Match Brush Type

The Proximity Match brush works for most situations.

The brush samples the pixels near the edge of the brush to determine how to replace the pixels of the imperfection inside the brush.

Try it, and if it doesn't work well, undo the operation.

Then, select and try the second Healing Brush tool type below.

Create Texture Brush Type

The Create Texture brush type may work better if the area being retouched has a texture.

This brush type samples all of the pixels inside the brush, not just the ones near the edge, in order to recreate the original texture.

Content Aware Healing

Rather than clicking the Spot Healing Brush tool, you can drag it.

1) Go to the Spot Healing Brush tool.

2) In options bar/Tool Options, select the Content Aware Fill type.

3) Click and hold, and drag the brush.

Photoshop has a feature called content-aware fill, in which a selection is used.

The feature isn't available in Photoshop Elements.

Saving the Photograph

If you haven't already done so, go to Saving Files.