Want to get rid of a pimple fast? Various spot treatments have been around forever to help heal individual blemishes. In recent years, however, new skincare technology has been developed to enable a more effective method of both overnight and daytime pimple treatment. The best discovery in spot treatment is a bandaid-like sticker or "pimple patch" inspired by wound care used in hospitals. When applied before bed and left on through the night, these patches can make a pimple noticeably smaller, flatter, and less inflamed by the morning, and some can even be worn "invisibly" during the day! So, what are these magic pimple patches? How do they work? What is the best type of acne patch? Read on to find out!
What are acne pimple patches?
Pimple patches provide a moist, protected environment for pimples that allows them to heal more quickly than with standard spot treatments or pimples left on their own to heal. "They work by occluding the site of a pimple and encouraging the body to heal it," according to NYC-based dermatologist Dr. Nazarian (Today). By promoting faster healing of a pimple, they also help reduce post-acne spots (i.e., hyperpigmentation) and scars. Also called "hydrocolloid patches," these small stickers are a miniature version of high-tech bandages used in hospitals to cure stubborn skin ulcers.
How do pimple patches work?
The best pimple patches are made of hydrocolloid, a water-absorbing material made from pectin, gelatin, or sodium carboxymethylcellulose. We know...those are big words, but you need to know that they help treat wounds by absorbing excess fluids and pus without over-drying the surrounding skin, while some (the best acne patches) also deliver additional acne-fighting ingredients. The healing element of pimple patches is based on the clinical knowledge that moist, humid environments enable better and faster healing of wounds.
Do pimple patches work?
Several clinical studies have compared pimples treated with hydrocolloid patches to a control group that did not use the patches. The results showed that pimples treated with hydrocolloid acne patches healed fatter with reduced redness and less post-acne hyperpigmentation than those not addressed with pimple patches. In conclusion—yes, they work! Check out this article from Well + Good documenting one woman's success with a pimple patch.
What are the different types of acne patches?
There are essentially 4fourtypes of pimple patches (including some of the most popular brands and best sellers):
1. Night-only hydrocolloid patches
First-generation pimple patches are thicker, more rigid, and yellow—for example, Nexcare acne absorbing covers and original Korean brand CosRx pimple patches.
- Pros: They absorb the gunk out of the pimples!
- Cons: They are thick yellow and very visible. Impossible to water during the day or conceal with makeup.
2. Daytime hydrocolloid patches
Thinner and usually transparent. Example: Hero Cosmetics Mighty Patch.
- Pros: Thinner patches can be worn during the day and concealed with makeup.
- Cons: It cannot absorb liquid and will be considerably less effective than other patches.
3. Night and day hydrocolloid patches
The newest generation of hydrocolloid pimple patches that provide benefits allows the best of 2 words—examples: MDacne Master Pimple Patch and New CosRx patch.
- Pros: These new types of hydrocolloid stickers are very strong, adhesive, thin, and easy to remove.
- Cons: While they are invisible enough to be used during the day and night, they are not as transparent as the day-only patches
*MDacne Master Pimple Patch Additional Benefits:
- Sizing: Comes in a variety of different sizes
- Transparent: Neary "invisible" once applied to the skin
4. Non-hydrocolloid patches:
These band-aids like stickers containing small amounts of anti-acne ingredients such as salicylic acid, tea tree oil, or benzoyl peroxide. Example: Peter Thomas Roth Acne-Clear Invisible Dots.
- Pros: The enclosed environment behind the sticker helps keep the active ingredients on the skin and prevents touching and picking the blemish.
- Cons: 1. Pus and fluid are not sucked out of the blemish as they are with hydrocolloid patches 2. The active ingredients can irritate and overdry a pimple.
When should you use pimple patches?
Since hydrocolloid pimple patches absorb fluid (i.e. puss!), they work best on blemishes with a head (a visible white point with pus). For early-stage pimples (red or inflamed but without clear fluids under the skin), stick to your active acne treatment creams, which will fight the active bacteria and reduce inflammation. When a pimple comes to a head, you can apply a hydrocolloid patch to absorb the pus and speed up the healing process.
How do you apply your pimple patches?
Depending on the type of pimple patch you're using, you can apply your patch in the morning or evening as directed. However, here are some tips to help improve the efficacy of any pimple patch you use to complement your acne treatment program.
1. Use your acne cleanser to wash your face.
2. Pat your skin dry with a clean towel (do not rub!).
3. Choose a patch that's large enough to cover an entire pimple with a little extra space on the sides.
4. Apply the patch over the affected area. Ensure the pimple is centered and the sticker sits smoothly over your skin.
5. Apply your morning or night cream to your entire face (Pro Tip: do not apply any skin treatments or moisturizers before applying the patch).
When to remove the pimple patch?
You can leave a pimple patch on your skin for a full day or night. When the patch shows a visibly white dot, it has absorbed puss from a pimple and is ready to be removed. If a spot is still raised or swollen, replace the patch with a new patch then or the following day or night (depending on your type of patch)
What are the best pimple patches on the market today?
The effective (and popular) & dermatologist-recommended pimple patches are hydrocolloid patches that can be worn day and night. 2 options for these thinner, transparent patches are the MDacne Master Pimple Patch and thin Cosrx patch. These two products are both excellent, with some differences. The MDacne Master Patch is clear in color, while the Cosrx patch is yellow, making the MDacne patches a bit easier to conceal during the daytime. The MDacne Master Pimple Patches are also packaged in sterile aluminum, allowing superior safety and shelf life. While these patches can help tackle existing blemishes, they should always be considered an adjusted therapy alongside other skincare products designed to help fight and prevent future breakouts.
Learn more about the MDacne Single Pimple Master Patch.
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