When I was 30, I looked in the mirror at some hard truths: I once had great skin, and I didn’t any more. It wasn’t because of age, but something even more mystifying — despite having incredibly dry skin with not a single hint of oil, I had begun to break out around my mouth and chin regularly, and the problem wasn’t going away.
Being a really pale girl, that meant the scars from these bouts with cystic acne hung around long after the breakouts went away, sometimes for months. I tried over-the-counter acne medications. I slapped on tea tree oil. For the first time in my life I went to a dermatologist. She tried different skin care lines on me, but nothing worked. It frustrated me to no end that I could be so dry and still break out! That is, until I learned (thanks to k-beauty bloggers) about my skin’s moisture barrier, how sad mine was, and what I needed to do to fix it.
K-beauty fans have been posting their success stories online about this product for a while, which is what drew me to give it a try late last year. I had tried several other brands with no luck, but I’m convinced after using these that they are holy grail-worthy. They’re part of my arsenal against hormonal acne and acne scarring I can’t do without.
Much like a hydrocolloid dressing used in hospitals to prevent infection while a wound is healing, the COSRX patch protects blemishes from dirt while coaxing the sebum out of the pores. If you pop one on when you see a pimple starting to form and go to sleep for the night, it’s likely you’ll wake up the next morning and peel off the sticker to find its got white stuff on it. That means the magic is working! You may also notice that the redness around your blemish is gone. Replace it with a new one and watch as the blemish fades into nothingness. Don’t you feel victorious?
I figured these might not be effective on hormonal acne since it’s buried so deep in the skin, but they do. I recently tested it on a rare breakout I had and found the process is slower than if you use it on a typical pimple with a whitehead. However, after the first night wearing one I woke up the next day and was surprised to see a tiny whitehead had appeared in the middle of this huge blemish! The patch was so powerful it actually summoned it to the surface. Typically I’m never able to draw the gunk out of these because of how deep they are in my skin, so I was actually thrilled to see it gone on day two!
You can still do your usual routine with these too. Wash your face as usual, apply the patch to clean, dry skin, and then continue with the rest of your steps. Since you are wearing the patch, it will keep the infection site clean and isolated so you don’t have to worry about spreading it around. So handy!
If the goal of k-beauty is to have healthy, glowing skin, and you’re looking in the mirror at raised, angry blemishes all over your face, you just might feel like there’s no way to ever achieve the immaculate dewiness you desire. Luckily, that’s not true at all. Learning what works for your skin and developing a routine is certainly one way to help get your skin where you want it to be. But when it comes to stuff like hormonal acne, sometimes we need a little bit of extra help. That’s when it’s handy to have a pack of these babies in your makeup bag!
Colette is a Senior Geek writer for The Daily Dot. She also keeps a blog about Asian skincare at Chok Chok Beauty, and is hard at work on editing her first YA novel. When she’s not furiously typing or sheet masking, she likes to snuggle cats, re-read old favorite books and learn the lyrics to BTS songs. Follow Colette on Instagram and Twitter.