I can’t recall what life was like before pimple patches, but I suppose it was a never-ending cycle of popping, picking, and peeling. Skincare products have evolved to address a broader range of issues, from inflammatory, severe acne to the dark marks left behind by those breakouts. However, very few treatments come close to the wonderful world of pimple patches. Because cream or liquid spot treatments might rub off during the day or overnight, pimple patches are an excellent option for a more targeted remedy to pesky breakouts. Why?
“They are designed to shrink the pimples quickly. They promote wound healing and also help prevent patients from picking or squeezing their pimples, which often makes matters worse and can lead to dyspigmentation or permanent scarring,” Dr. Lauren Penzi, MD of MDCS Dermatology New York, tells ELLE.com.
However, pimple patches aren’t a magic bullet and require some additional support—such as potent serums, full-coverage SPFs, and moisturizing moisturizers—to ensure all of their efforts aren’t in vain. Ahead, shop the 17 best ones on the market.
Advertisement – Continue Reading Below
Best Celeb Favorite
Best For Hormonal Acne
KILLA Kit Deep Zit Microdart Patch 4-Pack
Best For Beginners
Salicylic Acid Acne Healing Dots
Best For Different Blemish Sizes
Carrot Ginger Blemish Rescue Patch
Best For Stubborn Acne
Overnight Spot Patches
Best For K-Beauty Lovers
DERMALOGY by NEOGENLAB
A-CLEAR SOOTHING ACNE CARE (1 PACK)
Best Skincare Ingredients
Best Invisible Patches
Miracle Invisible Spot Cover
Best For Large Pimples
florence by mills
Spot a Spot Acne Patches
Alba Botanica Acnedote Pimple Patches, 40 Count
Best For All Types
Soft Shield Pimple Patch
Acne Pimple Master Patch
Best For Whiteheads
Best Complete Kit
Breakout Box 3-in-1 Acne Treatment Kit
Now 25% off
Best For Deep Blemishes
Deep Blemish Microdarts
Best For Frequent Breakouts
Peter Thomas Roth
Acne-Clear Invisible Dots
What ingredients should you look for in acne patches?
As you browse the interwebs for pimple patches, you’ll notice one word appearing on every box: hydrocolloid. “Pimple patches contain hydrocolloid gel that has powerful wound healing properties. It acts to absorb excess fluid and remove excess dirt, oil, and sebum, which helps to quickly shrink the appearance of pimples,” Dr. Lauren Penzi, MD, explains. Of course, many patches are formulated with other familiar ingredients found in your daily skincare products.
“Some patches also contain specific acne-fighting ingredients such as salicylic acid and tea tree oil. The patch helps to occlude these acne-fighting ingredients, which make them more effective, “she adds.
How do you apply acne patches?
Like adhering a sticker to a computer or book, acne patches work similarly. However, you’ll need to prep your skin beforehand to ensure you’re getting the most out of your pimple patches. Dr. Penzi suggests applying acne patches at nighttime just before heading to bed.
“After removing your makeup, cleansing your face, and ensuring your skin is dry, apply the patch to your pimple. I recommend leaving it on for six to eight hours. Avoid wearing the patch for more than 12 hours, as this can lead to potential irritation,” she explains. Even though you want to suffocate the pimple as much as possible, it needs to breathe. “After removing the patch, I recommend again cleansing your face to remove any pus or bacteria,” she says.
How often should you use acne patches?
“You can use acne patches as often as you like. I recommend first testing the product on your inner forearm to ensure you don’t have a reaction to an ingredient in the patch before leaving it on your face for a prolonged period of time. I also recommend reserving pimple patches for larger inflammatory papules and nodules,” Dr. Penzi says.
Meet the expert
Dr. Lauren Penzi, NY-based board-certified dermatologist who specializes acne, rosacea, skin cancer, eczema, psoriasis, and hair loss.
Why trust ELLE Beauty?
Nerisha Penrose is the Beauty Commerce Editor at ELLE.com. Since joining ELLE.com in 2017, she has interviewed countless skincare professionals and has personally tested the latest and greatest products across makeup, skincare, and hair care.
Advertisement – Continue Reading Below