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What Are Acne Patches And How To Use Them

Acne patches help heal and erase the pimples underneath them in a quicker and easier manner. Read on to see if they are a good fit for your breakouts.

Read on

There are new products on the market for acne called acne patches, hydrocolloid patches, pimple patches, or pimple stickers. And, no matter what you want to call them, they purport to help heal and erase the pimples underneath them in a quicker and easier manner.

But, just what do these patches do, and are they good for every type of breakout?

Read on to learn more about acne patches, and see if they are a good fit for your breakouts.

What is an acne patch?

An acne patch is normally a round, bandaid-looking patch, that can come in neutral skin tones to be less obvious, or with a fun design to stand out.

These patches are usually stuck to a sheet and are peeled off to be applied, sticky side down, directly over a pimple. The prices and quantities vary, but you normally get a whole bunch in one package for multiple uses.

How do acne patches work?

Not all acne patches are the same, but many of them have one thing in common -- they are made with a hydrocolloid, which is just a fancy name for a type of gel-like substance that lines the inside of the patch.

This hydrocolloid is supposed to help the blemish since it works pretty well drawing liquid substances out of the skin and then seals it away inside the patch. The substances that would be “drawn up” in this way can be pus, excess fluid, dirt, and oils.

By sucking this “gunk” out, the body can move on with the healing process and the blemish may heal faster.

Some patches go an extra step and mix in some ingredients that you would normally find in acne creams or washes like salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, niacinamide, or aloe.

Basically, these other ingredients are known for killing bacteria or calming inflamed areas.

Another way that pimple patches may help heal pimples faster, is just by making you keep your fingers off, letting the blemish heal in peace, relatively protected from the dirt and oil on your fingers by the little patch.

How to use acne patches

Follow the instructions on your acne patch to figure out how to best use them.

In general, you put the patch on over clean dry skin, and leave it there for a while, normally 8 hours if you can. Since most people aren’t into showing off their acne patches during the day, they are often applied before bed, and then removed in the morning.

If you are using a patch, be sure to not have other products underneath the patch, and apply it only to clean skin. This is because most of these patches really lock in the area, reducing the airflow and breathability for the skin.

This can increase the irritation caused by harsher skin ingredients if they are underneath the patch.

What are the pros of using acne patches?

  • Good for pimples that are close to the surface and have an open pore, or a white head.
  • Easy to use.
  • Can help disguise a particularly unflattering blemish.
  • Helps you keep your fingers away from the pimples.
  • Best for people who only have a few mild blemishes on occasion.

What are the cons of using acne patches?

  • Some people may not want to wear them during the day.
  • Not ideal for very deep pimples or cysts.
  • Would be difficult to use if you have very severe acne with lots of blemishes at once.
  • Not a “whole face” acne treatment.

When are acne patches not the right choice?

These patches seem to be made for those who tend to have mild and infrequent acne, which appears as just a few pimples.

If your acne is severe, very painful, and you have lots of blemishes all over your face -- speaking with a dermatologist for more intense treatment may be a better option.

With very severe acne, you likely want to have something on your face to help treat or relieve the discomfort during the day.

Not everyone may feel comfortable venturing out with one or more patches on their face on the regular.

The hydrocolloid in the patches seems to be better suited to more mild pimples that have an open pore, where the patch can easily access and extract the pus and fluid inside.

If your blemishes tend to be very deep, large, and inflamed, with no visible head, the patch likely won’t be able to extract the center of the blemish.


Acne patches seem like a good tool for your beauty toolkit to help protect and potentially help heal mild, open-pore pimples.

You just apply one overnight (or during the day if you are brave), leave on for 8 hours, and then check on the blemish.

These patches should be used over clean skin, with no makeup or other skincare products underneath.

If you have lots of deep, severe, or very inflamed acne, you may be better off speaking with a doctor in person or with a free online visit with Strut Health to find a prescription acne treatment that can be applied all over the face.

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