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Acne patches are the hottest Korean beauty import, and now a bunch of brands are coming out with their own versions. The latest have been shown to significantly reduce the inflammation, redness, and sebum levels of a pimple—sometimes as quickly as overnight. Here's how they work. (Related: These Are the Best Acne Products On Amazon Under $25, According to Thousands of Reviewers)
Pimple Patches: Better Than a Typical Bandage
Acne patches are made of hydrocolloid, a substance composed of gums like cellulose or gel-forming agents like gelatin. "Hydrocolloid feels and acts like a layer of skin," says Daniel Kaplan, a co-founder of ZitSticka. The clear, matte oval stays in place even in the shower and absorbs fluid—namely the gunk inside your pimple.
"A hydrocolloid patch is ideal for a pimple that's ready to pop," says Fedora Stojkoska-Hristov, a global product development manager behind the Patchology Breakout Box 3-in-1 Acne Treatment Kit ($20, ulta.com). "Instead of squeezing acne, causing an injury that leads to a scab and possibly a dark mark, you can apply a patch to vacuum out the debris and protect the area from pollutants—including potentially dirty hands." (Here are the best drugstore acne products, according to dermatologists.)
Some patches are also infused with acne-fighting medicine, making them ideal for pimples in the early stages of their life cycle. Those with salicylic acid exfoliate the dead-skin layers that clog pores and are ideal for newly formed pimples. For notoriously painful underground pimples, the ZitSticka Killa patch has 24 self-dissolving micro darts filled with salicylic acid, hyaluronic acid, vitamin B3, and a bacteria-killing peptide. "The micro darts painlessly penetrate the skin and disperse the ingredients directly into the zit's epicenter," Kaplan says. "This can stop the pimple even before it surfaces."
The Best Acne Pimple Patches On the Market RN
Try these acne patches, and you'll never go back to spot treatment again:
ZitSticka Killa - 8 count ($29, zitsticka.com)
Patchology Breakout Box 3-in-1 Acne Treatment Kit ($20, ulta.com)
Cosrx Acne Pimple Master Patch - 24 count ($6, dermstore.com)
skyn ICELAND Blemish Dots - 48 count ($20, dermstore.com)
Peter Thomas Roth Acne-Clear Invisible Dots - 72 count ($30, dermstore.com)