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Pimple patches could be a practical solution to manage pesky zits that appear from time to time!
You look at yourself in the mirror and get startled by the reflection staring back at you. Your cheeks are populated with red bumps. You stand there, look down at your phone and think, “Should I cancel my date?”
We all have our own acne breakout story appearing at the worst time possible; the difference lies in its severity. For some people, their pimples last for barely a few days requiring little to no care. However, for others, their acne could gradually worsen and require medications to resolve.
What is a Pimple Patch?
Pimple patches, acne band-aids, zit patches—they’re referring to the same product. They’re small (smaller than a 10 cent coin), film-coated plaster-like adhesive stickers. Usually, pimple patches are put on cleansed and dry affected skin surfaces for 6 to 8 hours or overnight.
As the demand for pimple patches continues to skyrocket over the years, many brands have released their own product in the market. Hence, consumers have a more diverse selection of pimple patches: From medicated and non-medicated patches to patches infused with organic extracts. Moreover, there’s bound to be one in your budget, as the cost of acne patches ranges from as low as $5 up to $45 in most pharmacies and convenience stores.
Regardless of your background, there’s guaranteed to be at least one pimple patch for you to suit your individual needs!
Benefits of Pimple Patch
Firstly (and most obviously), pimple patches help get rid of your pimples quicker and more efficiently. These patches work by absorbing the oil or pus clogged in your pimples and drying them off. Consequently, the lack of moisture and the absence of an oily environment prevent bacterial growth.
Whenever we get a cut on our fingers, our first instinct would be to clean it and apply a plaster. The rationale behind it is limiting the contact between the skin opening and the environment; this assists the recovery process and helps avoid infections. The same idea applies to pimple patches. By covering your acne with pimple patches, you’re limiting the chances of further bacterial colonization and worsening.
Many of us are guilty of touching, scratching, or itching our pimples, and unfortunately, it’s not doing any good to us. Pimple patches may help to reduce your urge to “disturb it” and keep your hands off of your face.
Apart from a hygiene point of view, this also enables you to better cope with your mental health. Acne-related conditions are found to impact one’s self-esteem and image. Luckily, with pimple patches in a variety of skin shades, you can easily match a pimple patch to your skin, stick one on to conceal a zit, and go on with your day-to-day lives.
Do Pimple Patches Work?
It’s a yes and no. While pimple patches aren’t a one-patch-fit-for-all, it has undoubtedly worked wonders for many.
In 2020, a randomized study was conducted to compare the effectiveness and safety between water-soluble herbal acne patches (WHAP) and hydrocolloid acne patches (HAP). A total of 49 mild-to-moderate inflammatory acne patients were recruited. The researchers measured the results of this study every 2 to 3 days, and it lasted for 11 days.
The outcome of this study revealed that WHAP took four days for complete acne resolution, while HAP took six days. The participants reported no adverse effects throughout the study. This result accentuates the fact that acne patches are effective, but some are more effective than others.
In other words, success is not guaranteed. While pimple patches work effectively for some, they might do nothing for others.
How to Choose the Right Pimple Patch for Yourself
There are two main steps to choosing a pimple patch: Knowing your skin type and finding out your type of acne.
The scientific term for “normal” pimples are papules and pustules. If you have a classic pimple, you’ll have bumps that are only red, sore, and inflamed. In short, these pimples result from clogging, so it’s best to treat them with hydrocolloid patches.
Hydrocolloid patches are made of gel-forming agents such as gelatin or pectin. These agents absorb all the fluid substances and pus in your pimple and form a soft gel that’s moist. The resultant moist environment is ideal for acne and skin healing.
Cystic or Nodular Pimples
The characteristics of cystic or nodular acne include large, swollen, and painful red bumps. Cystic acne comes with infections under the skin surface, and our body fights it off through specific immune-mediated responses.
Therefore, to accommodate this, it’s best to use non-hydrocolloid patches with anti-inflammatory ingredients. The anti-inflammatory ingredients will help reduce the unpleasant effects (i.e. soreness or redness) that often happen due to immune responses.
Black Heads and White Heads
Black and whiteheads are not an infection but rather a non-inflamed clogging. That said, there’s little to no use in using acne patches for these cases. Alternatively, you can use blackhead patches and implement lifestyle changes such as drinking adequate water and washing your face more frequently.
Another essential aspect to consider is the ingredients found in the acne patches. Make sure that you’re not allergic or hypersensitive to ingredients such as:
- Salicylic acid
- Hyaluronic acid
Making an informed decision about pimple patches doesn’t only help to remove your acne, but it also makes sure you don’t experience any unpleasant side effects.
Best Pimple Patches in 2023 (Top Brands)
There are hundreds of thousands of pimple patches on the market, and it doesn’t seem to be plateauing anytime soon. In fact, according to the Global Market Estimates report, the market of pimple patches is expected to rise by 10.5% from 2021 to 2026.
Nevertheless, we have listed the top brands of pimple patches in terms of effectiveness, cost and reputation for you.
KILLA Kit by ZitSticka
This translucent pimple patch is made up of salicylic acid and hyaluronic acid. It helps treat problematic acne through a “micro dart delivery system”, allowing the patch to target new and upcoming pimples. Besides that, this product is vegan and cruelty-free, too!
Product rating: 4.2/5 (Based on over 2000 reviews on Amazon)
Buy online here.
Rael Acne Pimple Healing Patch
This medical-grade hydrocolloid-based acne patch is perfect for all skin types—oily, sensitive, dry, normal or a combination. Moreover, since this patch is thin and seamless, it easily blends in with all skin tones.
Product rating: 4.5/5 (Based on over 23,000 reviews on Amazon)
Buy online here.
Clearasil Ultra Overnight Spot Patches
This product is most suitable for acne-prone skin because it delivers moisture to the skin and promotes advanced healing. This pimple patch is also infused with enriching ingredients such as clove oil, eucalyptus oil, cinnamon leaf oil, and rosemary oil.
These ingredients combined with the technology of the patch provide a barrier from infective bacteria and consequently reduce inflammation and the scarring risk.
Product rating: 4.4/5 (Based on over 1000 reviews on Amazon)
Buy online here.
Peace Out Salicylic Acid Acne Healing Dots
These vegan acne dots have a healing hydrocolloid polymer technology suitable for normal, dry, oily, or a combination skin type. It also contains salicylic acid to allow adequate penetration into acne pores, aloe vera leaf extract to minimize acne redness, and vitamin A or retinol to promote skin clearance.
Product rating: 4.2/5 (Based on over 3000 reviews on Sephora)
Buy online here.
Peach Slices Acne Spot Dots
Over 55 million of these hydrocolloid patches have been sold, and 97% of their customers experienced flattening blemishes within just two days. This acne spot dot also has the “Leaping Bunny Certified”, verifying that it’s vegan and cruelty-free!
Product rating: 4.2/5 (Based on over 100 reviews on Ulta Beauty)
Buy online here.
How To Use A Pimple Patch
- Clean and wash the areas you intend to treat with mild soap and water.
- Peel off a pimple patch from its packaging and put it onto your acne blemish. Make sure the size of your pimple patch is bigger than that of your acne. Avoid using a pimple patch on broken, bleeding or damaged skin surfaces.
- Leave the pimple sticker on for at least 8 hours for maximal benefits
- If you experience rash, irritation or itch, immediately peel off the acne dot treatment from your skin and visit your doctor.
- To remove after 8 hours, gently peel back the used pimple sticker and dispose of it.
- Finally, clean the area that has been treated and if needed, apply another patch.
Frequently Asked Questions: Pimple Patch
Can you leave pimple patches on overnight?
Yes, you can. The recommended time of use for pimple patches is 6 to 8 hours, so keeping it overnight is advisable. Most blemish patches come with good adherence features, so you don’t have to worry about them falling off during your sleep.
Are acne patches bad for you?
By and large, acne patches are meant to help you with your acne—not the opposite. However, in some rare cases, they can cause local side effects such as:
If you’re experiencing any of these side effects, stop using your pimple patch and consult your doctor before using another.
What is the white stuff on pimple patches?
The “white stuff” is hydrated hydrocolloids; this means that the acne patch has absorbed the liquid in your pimple, and it has done its job well!
Are pimple patches better than acne creams?
Pimple patches and acne creams work well for different reasons. In most cases, pimple patches are better used for superficial acne. On the other hand, medicated acne creams are more commonly applied when your pimple is unresponsive to patches or if you’re suffering severe persistent acne.
Do acne patches work for cystic acne?
As cystic acne roots from deep within the skin, pimple patches may not treat it effectively. Prescribed acne medications or injections are more appropriate in these cases.
Nevertheless, you could use some acne patches, such as the non-hydrocolloid with anti-inflammatory ingredients concurrently with treatment.
Do pimple patches work on blind pimples?
A buildup of dead skin cells and sebum in a clogged pore causes blind pimples, resulting in superficial raised red bumps. Though not all pimple patches work for blind pimples, there are undoubtedly some that do. For instance, acne patches comprising dissolving micro-darts can penetrate directly into the blind pimple and give out its effects.
Bottomline: Pimple Patches and Acne
Acne may be frustrating to deal with, but trust us when we say you’re not alone because an estimated 633 million people go through the same problem. Treating acne requires patience, consistency and hope, but on top of all, it’s crucial for you to love yourself throughout the process because you are more than your looks.
You open your dressing drawer and pull out the pack of pimple patches you have stocked up on from your last grocery trip. You peel out a patch, put it on your skin, look back at the mirror with a smile on your face, and say, “I will not let my pimples take away my happiness”. Then, you type out “see you tomorrow!” and hit send.
Disclaimer: This article is only a guide. It does not substitute the advice given by your own healthcare professional. Before making any health-related decision, consult your healthcare professional.
Editorial References And Fact-Checking:
- Clark, J. (2018). A detailed guide on Mighty Patch and how to use it effectively. Retrieved July 17, 2021, from Skin Helpers website: https://www.skinhelpers.com/mighty-acne-patch-review/
- Dalgard, F., Gieler, U., Holm, J. Ø., Bjertness, E., & Hauser, S. (2008). Self-esteem and body satisfaction among late adolescents with acne: Results from a population survey. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 59(5), 746–751. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaad.2008.07.013
- Global Market Estimates, Inc. (2021). Global Anti-Acne Dermal Patch Market Size-Forecast to 2026. Retrieved July 17, 2021, from GlobeNewswire NewsRoom website: https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2021/04/20/2213516/0/en/Global-Anti-Acne-Dermal-Patch-Market-Size-Forecast-to-2026.html
- Renée Rouleau. (2021). The Best Pimple Patches to Use For Each Type of Blemish. Retrieved July 17, 2021, from Expert Skin Advice from Renee Rouleau website: https://blog.reneerouleau.com/how-pimple-patches-work-which-type-of-breakout/
- Jaturapisanukul, K., Udompataikul, M., Kanokrungsee, S., Rojhirunsakool, S., Kamanamool, N., Rachpirom, M., & Puttarak, P. (2021). Efficacy and safety of a novel water‐soluble herbal patch for acne vulgaris treatment: A randomized, assessor‐blinds controlled, intra‐individual split‐face comparative study. Dermatologic Therapy, 34(3). https://doi.org/10.1111/dth.14925