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Spot treatments aren’t exactly described as “cute.” It’s necessary to diminish those pesky zits, but they are reserved for our nighttime routines. However, acne patches are an exception. Acne patches are made with hydrocolloid, a medical dressing that provides a moist and insulating environment to promote wound healing. They can absorb excess fluid like oil and pus and help reduce inflammation. Whether you’re looking for something discreet and skin-like or something colorful that puts the fun in “functional,” these hydrocolloid patches can suck the gunk out of your white heads and zits in mere hours of application.
Dermatologist Dhaval Bhanusali, M.D., told POPSUGAR that these treatment-laced dressings have been used in dermatology for wound healing for years. “They help draw out excess oil, pus, and debris in a clean environment,” he said. “In the case of acne patches, they deliver ingredients like niacinamide or other anti-inflammatories and actives like benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid to speed up clearance of the acne bump.”
Bhanusali said an added bonus — one that is a favorite among dermatologists — is that pimple patches create a barrier that keeps you from picking at your zits, which can lead to lesions or acne scarring. However, if you have sensitive skin, he has one caveat: “Putting anything on your skin under occlusion increases penetration,” he said. “If you have sensitive skin and apply too much benzoyl peroxide — or any other somewhat strong ingredients — you can get mild irritation, so it’s best to let the skin breathe a bit in between applications.”
Whether you choose to wear them overnight or to run errands, you’ll see a decrease in the size of your pimple in hours. If you need proof, just check out the gunk that builds up on the back of the bandage. There are plenty of hydrocolloid patches on the market, so we rounded up the best pimple patches for shrinking zits ahead.
— Additional reporting by Jesa Calaor