As someone with a vested interest, I needed to know exactly what pimple patches did after application or whether I should rely on traditional spot treatments instead. So I spoke to real acne and skin experts to break it all down. Do pimple patches work? Let’s find out.
What is a pimple patch?
These anti-acne patches are small circular hydrocolloid sheets that stick to the skin. A hydrocolloid dressing is a type of dressing that removes grime from the pores without irritating the surrounding skin. So when placed on a pimple, they look like a sponge. “They work by absorbing excess fluid, which draws oil and dirt away from the lesion,” explains Hadley King, MD, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist based in New York City. “Although they stick to the skin, acne patches also have the added benefit of preventing you from picking or trying to pop the pimple, which decreases inflammation and speeds up healing time. .” When the patches contain active ingredients like salicylic acid, tea tree oil, aloe vera and other anti-inflammatory ingredients, they are called zit stickers. Both types of patches create a barrier between an active push and your hands, so the pimple is less likely to inflame further, leading to infection or scarring.
When to use a pimple patch
Whether the sticker of your choice is star-shaped or clear, to get the most out of it, you need to use it on the right kind of breakout. Acne patches are more effective at treating open lesions, which allow grime to drain easily. They’re also good for superficial skin rashes like small whiteheads and pustules, says Michael Garner, MD, board dermatologist at Actually. “These types of rashes have a visible white or yellowish head and are caused by clogged pores.”
You can apply a zit sticker any time of the day, but it’s best to put them on before bed to ensure you get a good eight hours of wear. If you don’t like sleeping with them (because half the time they end up on your sheets), a good rule for daytime removal is to see if the patch has turned white. This is a visual signal that it has done its job and removed the excess liquid. “You may notice your sticker turning white even though your pimple hasn’t popped, because it’s actively working to keep the environment moist and protect the wound or blemish,” says Dr. Garner.
When *not* to use a pimple patch
Zit stickers should really only be used for minor breakouts that produce five spots or less. If a rash is more widespread and consists of deep, stubborn cystic pimples, you need traditional spot treatment. “(Look for) more potent concentrations of active ingredients, such as benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, or retinoids that work to clean pores and reduce swelling,” says David Petrillo, Nevada cosmetic chemist and founder of picture perfect. These types of breakouts require powerful actives to penetrate the skin and work below the surface to resolve underlying issues, which is impossible to do with patches. (Dr. Garner agrees that a zit sticker layered over a spot treatment can provide extra protection and absorption “by helping the formula stay put and preventing it from being inadvertently wiped off or washed off.”)
Ingredients to Consider When Buying Pimple Patches
People with sensitive skin and mild rashes should opt for hydrocolloid patches without active ingredients that can make their acne worse. If your skin can tolerate the use of potent ingredients, opt for these actives, says Dr. King: “Salicylic acid and tea tree oil to kill bacteria for pimples and stage cysts early; and niacinamide or kojic acid for post-cystic dark spots, as it fights hyperpigmentation, restores your lipid barrier, and slows melanin production.”
The bottom line
Acne varies so much from person to person that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to treating it. Dr. Garner says there’s nothing to stress about, but rather a process of trial and error to figure out what works for your skin. If you use patches and you don’t notice any change, they are probably ineffective for your skin due to their occlusive nature.. “They create a physical barrier, and any substance that creates a blockage is termed a comedogenic, meaning it has the potential to clog or block pores, leading to the formation of comedones, which are non-acne lesions. inflammatory conditions such as blackheads and whiteheads,” he says.
Instead, you should take a more holistic approach and rely on spot treatments that eliminate the root cause below the skin’s surface. But if physical manipulation is a bad habit for you, from picking to popping, zit stickers are a great solution as they serve as a reminder not to touch active rashes, allowing them to heal and heal. avoid scars. Now you know.