Shopping for a simple acne treatment? Look no further than a pimple patch. With so many available on shelves, there’s an option for every type of breakout. Keep reading to learn about our favorites and how to choose the perfect pimple patch for you.
To us, pimple patches are a modern miracle. If you haven’t tried one yet, you’re seriously missing out. A pimple patch is a small, usually clear sticker that helps treat acne in a gentle and effective way. It can be worn anywhere on your face and works to protect a pimple like a wound, keeping it away from dirt, bacteria, and even your own fingers.
Pimple patches are typically infused with acne-fighting ingredients to help draw the sebum and impurities from your pores for over six-plus hours of wear (you can wear them during the day or at night while you’re asleep).
There’s truly nothing more satisfying than peeling one off of your face and seeing all of the gunk that was extracted from your zit onto the back of the sticker.
Here’s when to use one: When an inflammatory pimple is at or coming to a head and you want all that pus to come to the surface, when you’re trying to get an open pimple wound to completely drain, when you’ve just popped a pimple and want it to heal without spreading the infection or whenever you need to stop yourself from picking at your skin.
While these stickers couldn’t be simpler to use, you may need some help choosing the best one for your acne concerns. Below, we’ve detailed four of our favorite pimple patches, how to use them, and what they are best for.
If you love a classic… try the COSRX Acne Pimple Master Patch
Even if you’re new to the world of pimple patches, you probably know about the COSRX Acne Pimple Master Patch. These are the OG K-beauty pimple patch, and they’re totally worth the hype. These patches are made from hydrocolloid (think of the hydrocolloid dressing used in hospitals to encourage healing and prevent infection) and come in three different sizes that are essentially large, medium, and small. For $5.00, you get 24 of them, which, depending on how often you break out, is pretty reasonable.
Because they help draw all the gunk to the surface, we recommend using them on inflammatory breakouts like pustules or papules to speed up the entire process and flatten the zit faster or to disinfect and reduce the inflammation if you’ve already popped the sucker on your own.
Overall, they’re slightly thicker (and thus more conspicuous) than some of the other patches on this list, however we love that you get three different size patches in one pack for pimples big 12mm), medium (10mm), and small (7mm). Plus, for $5.00, you get 24 of them, which, depending on how often you break out, is pretty reasonable
If you like to wear pimple patches around the clock…try the COSRX Clear Fit Master Patch
These patches are similar to the brand’s original treatment patches mentioned above and can be used on the same type of acne, but there are two key differences that will help you decide between the two.
First, their thin, transparent design makes them wearable throughout the day and even underneath makeup! Second, the patches are slightly raised in the middle to help ensure that the patch will stay gripped to your skin all day long.
Because the hydrocolloid used here is thinner, we recommend using the originals for a more intensive treatment.
Each pack contains 18 medium-sized patches (10mm) for $5.00.
…or try the Neogen A-Clear Soothing Clear Spot Patch
K-Beauty Powerhouse Neogen has also entered the pimple patch arena with their own rendition of adhesive hydrocolloid stickers.
Like the COSRX Clear Fit Master Patches, these are relatively thin and have an elevated center to better latch onto the skin’s surface and ensure that the formula is concentrated on the affected area.
Better yet, the patches’ waterproof surface cultivates a moist environment for the affected area, which will prevent the development of those unwanted post-acne scars and scabs.
Again, these are great for inflammatory forms of acne like pustules and papules.
A pack contains 24 patches in two sizes – medium (10mm) and large (12mm) – for $5.99.
If you want to treat multiple pimples at once, or target those breakouts along curved areas of the face…try the COSRX AC Collection Acne Patch
Yet another offering from COSRX, these patches work similarly to the options already mentioned, but come in a larger, oval shape that can cover multiple spots at once or large breakouts. These are also great for curved areas of the face that regular pimple patches won’t adhere to, like the jawline.
Another major point of difference is that the patches are infused with centella asiatica extract to help effectively reduce inflammation and redness.
If you want to target hormonal or cystic spots….try the Acropass Trouble Cure
Welcome to the future of skin care. Pimple patches are already revolutionary because they don’t attack and dry out the skin like most other acne treatments, but the Acropass Trouble Cure takes the concept to the next level by healing acne beneath the skin.
These patches are dotted with tiny dissolving microneedles (similar to a derma roller) made from a crystallized serum (ingredients include hyaluronic acid to hydrate and niacinamide to treat and clear) shaped into a needle-like structure. These needles are super tiny (1/3 the thickness of hair) so you don’t have to worry about any pain from incision, yet mighty. The serum dissolves into your skin and is sent directly to where it’s needed the most.
The patches come with cleansing swabs meant to prep the skin before application. The cleanser is packed with great acne-fighting ingredients like tea tree oil and salicylic acid.
And here’s the real draw: Not only does the system help heal regular acne quickly and reduce scarring, it also works on hormonal and cystic acne!
If you’re looking for subtlety then this will not be your top choice. The stickers are definitely larger than the COSRX ones and because you can see the texture from the needles, they look more like a bandage. However, they’re perfect for nighttime wear.
Each box contains six swabs and six patches for $18. We recommend saving these for hard-to-treat pimples under the surface of the skin, a.k.a. cysts, and using one of the options above for your other breakouts.