Even though most of us know that picking at zits is not great for our skin, sometimes doing it is irresistible. That’s why we need some help keeping our hands off our blemishes, and even better if we can treat them in the process. Enter zit stickers — or pimple patches as they are also called — clever (and often cute!) little blemish covers that help to heal the affected area.
By creating a physical barrier to us picking at them, they also protect skin from outside bacteria and airborne toxins. “These patches protect the zit from further irritation and infection by providing a ‘sealed’ environment in which skin can heal itself.” explains New York City dermatologist Dendy Engelman, MD.
But aside from just covering zits, they treat them, too. Most pimple patches are made from hydrocolloid, an ingredient originally used for wound healing. Gelling agents contained in hydrocolloid patches work to effectively draw out fluids and pus (aka the gross white gunk you see when you remove them). Plus, they’ve have been shown to decrease redness, oiliness, and even pigmentation.
Hydrocolloid alone is drug-free, safe for sensitive skin, and non-drying, making them a great option for people who might be sensitive to traditional spot treatments. If you want a double-whammy approach, however, there are a number of brands combining the medical-grade material with proven zit-fighting ingredients, like salicylic acid and tea tree oil. Read on to discover eight of our favorite pimple patches and determine which is best for you.
Seeking to give acne a rebrand of sorts, model, activist, and now, entrepreneur, Charli Howard created these downright adorable acne stickers. Each colorful, bejeweled flower keeps a zit protected overnight. Howard was tired of advertisements for acne products modeled by girls with flawless skin, so Squish uses models who actually (gasp!) have zits themselves. The goal? To take acne a little bit less seriously and treat it a little more playfully.
Hero Cosmetics has more than one zit sticker, so you can customize your choice to your needs. There’s the overnight version (the Original) and a thinner, less visible daytime version (the Invisible+) so you can treat acne mid-meeting with no one the wiser). Both help eliminate impurities and speed the healing process.
This cute apothecary-esque tin contains 32 stickers in two different sizes. Each one is powered by .05 percent salicylic acid (acne’s worst enemy!) and tea tree oil which clarifies and helps prevent the spread of bacteria. Hyaluronic acid ensures the area doesn’t become overly dried out.
This 2-step process takes zit sticker (or, well, sticka) technology to the next level. First, you have your CLEANA wipe, which uses salicylic acid and tea tree oil to disinfect the zit. Then, you press on the KILLA, a patch powered by microdart technology, which delivers a cocktail of zit-fighting ingredients (more salicylic acid and redness-reducing niacinamide to name just a few) right where they’re needed most.
Meant to replicate the results of in-office microneedling procedures, the tips of these patches are filled with dried hyaluronic acid and pigment-fighting Vitamin B3 to flood blemishes with hydration and improve the appearance of breakouts.
Given that Korean beauty brands were early adopters of hydrocolloid pimple patches, it’s no surprise that affordable, cult-favorite K-beauty brand CosRx offers one of the OG’s. Like many others on the list, these patches are intended for overnight use — while you sleep, they get to work eliminating impurities and reducing inflammation.
These stickers blend hydrocolloid technology with a bevy of scientifically-proven ingredients (known zit avengers salicylic acid and Vitamin A with soothing aloe)—the combination, they claim, works to tackle pimples in just six hours.
Co-founded by former Elle beauty editor, Julie Schott, this just-launched addition to the zit sticker market aims to “create happy skincare solutions” that “prove science and style can coexist.” Pointing to the universality of experience acne (95 percent of adults deal with it at some point), Starface wants to offer an acne sticker that can double as a bold accessory that you can sport with pride (if you want it to). In the form of yellow hydrocolloid stars, these stickers keep out bacteria and curb skin picking. Plus, they come in an Airpods-esque case, making it easy to combat any surprise offenders.
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