Whoever said you stop getting pimples after puberty is a goddamn liar. Sure, mine got better, but why does a big old angry one always pop up right when I have something important to attend? The AUDACITY.
At any rate, this unfortunate reality of human existence means that we’ve all had a chance to try out about a thousand different acne treatments, and we all know that some are way better than others. The latest craze in zit-banishment is pimple patches.
What are pimple patches?
Good question! Pimple patches, aka acne patches or zit stickers, are yet another amazing skincare invention that originated in Korea. They’re little patches that you stick onto the skin where you have a pimple, then leave it there for a while, often overnight, to help minimise build-up and draw out the impurity.
How do they work?
Most pimple patches are made from the same material that’s used for hydrocolloid bandages (traditionally used to draw fluid out of a wound), except a lot thinner and made for your face. The little patch is soaked in different pimple-fighting ingredients, like salicylic acid, tea tree oil, and niacinamide, all of which work together to draw out the impurity and minimise inflammation and redness. Once you’ve popped the patch over the pimple, it slowly absorbs the impurity, turning white and helping reduce the size and angry appearance of the spot.
They’re also super easy to use. You apply the patch onto dry, clean skin before applying the rest of your skincare routine or makeup, and leave them to work their magic. They’ve honestly got the staying power of a stage-5 clinger, so you can wear them to bed without fear of it falling off while you sleep. These babies are also hella discreet, so you can even wear them during the day if you really need a pimple gone, or at least minimised before an important event.
They’ve also got the added bonus of cockblocking you from picking at pimples which is nice.
Do they actually work?
Pimple patches usually only work on whiteheads, you know, the kind you can’t resist popping. This is because whatever gunk is causing the pimple is already close enough to the skin’s surface to be extracted by the patch. So instead of squeezing it and spreading the bacteria (a big no-no!), the patches help to absorb the gunk and minimise the damage.
Sadly, they’re no good when it comes to cystic acne. Cystic acne is typically a deeper breakout, so it usually doesn’t respond to a spot treatment like this.
In the spirit of figuring out if shit actually works, or if it’s all just a big load of BS, we asked around the office to find the best pimple patches to try and if they actually worked IRL.
COSRX Acne Pimple Master Patch
COSRX Acne Pimple Master Patch, $4.48
“I like these ones from Amazon. I added them to my cart without thinking much about it but found they work well on blind pimples to bring it to a head faster. I also absentmindedly pick at my skin, so they have the added benefit of stopping me touching my pimples.” — Linley
Peace Out Skincare Acne Healing Dots
Peace Out Skincare Acne Healing Dots, $33
“I’ve used these, and I find that them pretty soothing, especially if I have a particularly angry pimple. For the really deep pimples, I’ve found that it brings them to the surface, chills them out, then makes them disappear (although those ones might take two days).” — Elise
“I like Peace Out’s pimple patches. They’re effective, very sticky and pretty heavy duty. They’re made with salicylic acid, so it feels like they’re actively healing the pimple too.” — Maggie
“I tried these, and they worked SO WELL. You just peel off the little circle, place it over your pimple, and the magic happens overnight. Sure, it’s just a targeted hit of salicylic acid, not actual magic, but overnight my pimple was a LOT calmer and not a big red angry boil when I woke up. 10/10, would use again.” — Josie
Skin Control AM & PM Pimple Patches
Skin Control AM & PM Pimple Patches, $7.99
“I’ve used these. They’re very affordable and have lots of different sizes. I definitely noticed a difference in size and discolouration of pimples after using them overnight or while WFH. Bit gross seeing whatever it draws out but also cool to see that it works.” — Georgia
“The first pimple patch I ever picked up was this one from Chemist Warehouse. It was pretty cheap and has been one of the most effective ones I’ve tried. The PM stickers work much better, and I always see a reduction in size and redness in my pimples. More often than not, I’m rewarded with a glorious goop of pus squeezed out by the patch.” — Maggie
Love our humble opinions? Get around the rest of the review series here.