What’s the Deal with Pimple Patches?
We explain how they work and if they can help your skin.
Random pimples always seem to come at the most inconvenient times. It’s super easy to give in and pick at a zit (and honestly, we’ve all been there).
But before you cave, you might want to try a pimple patch first. If you feel a new pimple coming or if you’re prone to whiteheads, pimple patches can help big-time (and prevent scarring before it happens!).
Pimple patches use moisturizing, anti-inflammatory ingredients to suck out fluids from your pimple and speed up the skin’s recovery process.
Pimple patches have an added bonus, too - they keep your fingers away from your face, so your skin can heal safely.
Ok, but what do the ingredients in pimple patches actually do?
The main ingredient in pimple patches is hydrocolloid, a gel-like ingredient that sucks out pus from the skin and creates moisture, which speeds up the healing process. The moisture in the pimple patches reduces redness and lessens potential scarring.
The concept is actually rooted deep in history - when treating wounds, Ancient Egyptians moistened gauze with honey, creating a moist environment to stimulate quicker healing.
Hydrocolloid was first developed to treat wounds on the body, but it wasn’t long before scientists realized that a similar technique could be used on the face.
Pimple Patches & Hydrocolloid Treatments for our Faces
The skin on our faces is more gentle than the rest of our skin - we all know that it deserves special care.
As with all skincare, every case is different. Studies have found that hydrocolloid is most effective on newer pimples and scars. So if you have cystic acne or a longer- term condition, these little stickers won’t be as effective. But if you feel a new zit emerging, slapping on a pimple patch can help.
Read on for the specifics.
For a New Pimple
You know that moment when you can justfeela new pimple coming?
Maybe you have one area that tends to break out while the rest of your skin stays calm. Too much cleansing might help that area clear up, but dry out the rest of your skin.
Little pimple patches are a good problem-solver for individual areas. They target the problem area in isolation — which means the rest of the skin can do its thing while the pimple is chased away.
Leave them on for six hours, and active ingredients will dive deep into the pores of the pimple, flushing out any extra oils or pus in there. Yup, that means you’ll probably find some pus on the sticker afterwards - don’t be grossed out! That’s normal, and it means the pimple patch is doing its job.
They also protect the area from bacteria — preventing it from getting any worse.
If You’re Dealing with a New Scar
We’ve all been told dozens of times not to pop pimples. But if you’ve caved and done it (we all have at some point), it’s important that you encourage proper healing.
In order for our skin cells to help us heal, they need a moist environment. But without proper attention, a wound can scab over — and skin cells can’t move over scabs, which delays the healing process.
Pimple patches are specifically designed to keep the skin moist — so that skin cells can do their thing.
Many pimple patches have special anti-inflammatory ingredients, as well. Look for natural ingredients, like tea tree oil or calendula. They can do wonders to reduce inflammation.
Working together with the hydrocolloid, these ingredients minimize the potential for scarring on your face.
How to Use a Pimple Patch
Sometimes, it’s hard to remember to apply all those various serums, spot treatments, toners, and cleansers — especially if you just got back from a night out and just want to crawl into your bed.
But with these patches, there’s only three steps—
Of course, you shouldn’t replace your skincare routine with these. Keep up your regular routine and use a pimple patch as a supplement when you’re breaking out.
Sleeping with a pimple patch on is always an easy way — but they’re also nice to wear when you’re at home working or studying.
The days of being ashamed of acne are over. That’s why personally, I’m glad that brands are doing things to normalize - and even celebrate - the skin condition that pretty much all of us have to go through.
There are cute versions of pimple patches, like Paradox’s Lucky Stars, that are black and star-shaped, and the little constellation on my face is definitely a look I can get used to.
While I usually wear pimple patches when I sleep, I like to wear these when I work out - and as a bonus point, they also provide UV protection.
So, is it worth it for me?
There’s never one magical treatment for everybody. But if you’ve been following your usual skincare routine and a pimple just comes out of nowhere, pimple patches might be a good solution for you.
They’ll isolate the area and give it the anti-inflammatory ingredients it needs, and they’ll help speed up the healing process. And don’t forget — they also make it impossible for you to touch the area.
Life’s complicated. Skincare shouldn’t be, and these little patches can help.