11 Best Pimple Patches 2023, According to Experts | Allure

By Sarah Han and Deanna Pai

The beauty of the best pimple patches? Instead of popping and picking at your blemishes — and creating acne scars in the process — make a pimple patch part of your skin-care routine. Unlike some spot treatments, these acne stickers won't risk dry skin or flakiness, making them ideal for all skin types. (After all, you don't have to have acne-prone skin to get the occasional pimple.) Gift Boxes Gold

11 Best Pimple Patches 2023, According to Experts | Allure

For the uninitiated, here's how pimple patches work: Most are small, circular hydrocolloid bandages, meaning they absorb fluid and impurities from the pimple, explains Debra Jaliman, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and assistant professor of dermatology at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. They're a Korean beauty staple, inspired by the hydrocolloid dressing used in wound healing.

The newest versions offer versatility: The thinnest, most invisible patches are ideal for daytime wear, so you can treat your breakouts whenever, wherever you please. Otherwise, nighttime is the perfect time to heal blemishes or hormonal acne in total privacy while you snooze. And get this: There are even stickers designed with extra-slim microneedles that deliver acne-fighting ingredients even deeper into the skin to confront your most stubborn, hard-to-reach breakouts.

Pimple patches also have the added benefit of preventing you from aggravating your skin by picking at pimples, says Elizabeth Tanzi, MD, the founder and director of Capital Laser & Skin Care and associate clinical professor in the Department of Dermatology at the George Washington University Medical Center. This is key, as "picking a pimple increases the inflammation and can slow the healing process down," she says. The chances of acne scarring, developing post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, and getting an infection rise when you pop your pimple, too.

You'll know the healing dot is working because you can see the process happening: The clear patch turns white and expands, and the skin (where your zit once was) flattens out and becomes redness-free. After a couple of hours — or a good night's sleep — simply peel it off to reveal all of the accumulated gunk. Just be sure to apply the patch onto clean skin, right after a thorough cleanse and before applying any other skin-care products, like face serums or creams. With that, keep one or more of these best-selling options on you at all times (by your bedside, in your bag, you see where this is going) and thank us later.

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Why It's Worth It: This non-drying acne patch effectively keeps you from picking at your face and absorbs oils and whitehead-derived pus with 36 stickers, all of which are the same size. They have a matte finish, too, so they look less obvious if you wear them with matte foundation, and are made with vegan hydrocolloid, which means they're not made with gelatin (as some stickers may still be). Still, if you're concerned about visibility, try the Best of Beauty-winning Mighty Patch Invisible+ for undetectable daytime wear.

Editor Tip: Want more size and finish options? Opt for a Mighty Patch Variety Pack to get three different variations.

Best For: If your zit has come to a head

Why It's Worth It: For deep or on-the-rise pimples, consider these patches, which deploy 176 tiny, painless spikes to get deeper into skin. Each infuses a clarifying blend of salicylic acid, tea tree oil, and willow bark into the targeted area to kickstart the acne-healing process, while hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, and cica offer hydrating and soothing benefits. And just like that, you can stop a pimple before it dares to reach its peak.

Editor Tip: Peach Slices is an affordable collection created by the team at K-Beauty retailer Peach & Lily that also offers standard Acne Spot Dots and Dark Spot Microdarts.

(P.S. A third type of acne dots that Peach Slices offers is the Dark Spot Microdarts which, as the name suggests, target hyperpigmentation.)

Key Ingredients: Salicylic acid, hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, Centella asiatica, tea tree leaf oil

Best For: Hormonal or cystic acne

Why It's Worth It: For a pimple patch that goes the extra mile, consider this version — it's covered with dissolving microneedles filled with blemish-busting ingredients like salicylic acid, niacinamide (also known as vitamin B3), and hyaluronic acid. Bonus: Niacinamide can address dark spots, in case you're prone to post-acne marks. These blemish patches also come with cleansing swabs that gently exfoliate the target zit first, allowing the patches' ingredients to better absorb into your skin — and bring down zit swelling, redness, and size.

Editor Tip: Since the ingredients need two hours to fully absorb, plan to use this patch overnight to ensure it doesn't budge.

Key Ingredients: Salicylic acid, niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, oligopeptide-76

Best For: Blind or early-stage zits

Why It's Worth It: if you want your zit gone ASAP, look no further than these pimple patches, which can bring down swelling in as soon as six hours — without drying out skin, no less. They also come in two sizes, are made of vegan hydrocolloid, and have been tested by dermatologists, making for a patch that works without compromises.

Editor Tip: Since they take six hours to work their magic, plan ahead before using these.

Best For: Anyone who wants a simple option that can work overnight

Why It's Worth It: As one of the first skin-care brands to actually make acne treatment seem fun and enjoyable (a tall order indeed) the 100% hydrocolloid Hydro-Stars are unabashedly bright yellow in color and, well, starry in shape. The refillable compact even includes a mini mirror so you never have to second-guess your sticker placement, and a refill allows you to save money on a 32-pack of patches.

Editor Tip: Starface has a salicylic acid-infused version of its Hydro-Stars if you're looking for an active ingredient.

Best For: People who want a playful take on pimple patches

Why It's Worth It: These hydrocolloid circles cling to skin no matter where you end up wearing them. (In fact, one Allure editor wore them to a Korean day spa and reported that they withstood multiple rounds in the sauna.) However, despite their staying power, they're easy to peel off. They also come in three different sizes, depending on what level of coverage you need.

Editor Tip: Since these are a little thicker, they may be better for overnight use. (If you're looking for a sheerer version to wear during daylight hours, check out Cosrx Clear Fit Master Patch.)

Best For: People who want a stickier adhesive

Why It's Worth It: These nearly invisible, vegan hydrocolloid patches are designed with beveled edges to ensure the most secure fit possible — making them ideal for curved areas of the face, like the chin and nose. Better yet: Each pack offers two sizes (10mm and 14mm) to ensure you get the best fit for your zit.

Editor Tip: Inspired by Soko Glam's editorial arm, The Klog, Soft Shield was created by Soko Glam Labs, a.k.a. the same team of in-house experts, estheticians, and chemists who created the brand Good Days for All. The brand also offers the Soft Shield Pigment Patch, which is spiked with tranexamic acid and allium cepa (onion) extract, to reduce post-acne pigmentation, dark spots, and scarring.

Best For: People game to wear patches during the day

Why It's Worth It: These patches not only prevent you from picking and worsening your blemishes, but their potent blend of exfoliating salicylic acid and tea tree oil (which is both antibacterial and anti-inflammatory) keeps both clogged pores and inflamed skin in check. FYI: Salicylic acid can also help break down the plugs that cause blackheads, too. The hydrocolloid stickers, which won a 2021 Best of Beauty Award, are especially good for absorbing fluids from your pimples and accelerating the healing process.

Editor Tip: These visible patches are shaped like clouds, whales, and butterflies — who said treating acne can't be cute?

Key Ingredients: Salicylic acid, peppermint oil, tea tree oil

Why It's Worth It: Be prepared for the long haul with an impressive 96 pimple patches, which offer 10-millimeter and 12-millimeter sizes in a clear, matte finish that blends into all skin tones — making them a good choice for daytime wear. These hydrocolloid stickers also have tapered edges to avoid any slipping or sliding.

Editor Tip: These patches are also hypoallergenic, so they're great for sensitive skin.

Best For: Someone who goes through pimple patches quickly

Why It's Worth It: Wear an ultra-thin and transparent Curology Emergency Spot Patch alone while you work, run errands, or sleep — or layer it underneath makeup with little proof that it's actually there. However you wear it, you'll be ready to tackle just about any surprise blemish that comes your way. Did we mention they're also waterproof, sweat-resistant, and extremely safe for sensitive skin? These check off all of our boxes.

Editor Tip: Their sweat-resistant nature makes them a great pick for humid weather and tough workouts.

Best For: Busy, on-the-go people who want to conceal their zits without sacrifices

Why It's Worth It: The Peace Out Acne Healing Dots are flecked with 0.5% salicylic acid, which we all know by now is a breakout's worst nightmare. While the classic acne-fighting ingredient rids pores of acne-causing bacteria and dirt, calming aloe vera leaf extract reduces the appearance of redness. Another notable ingredient is retinyl acetate (a very gentle derivative of vitamin A), which helps even out skin tone.

Editor Tip: You won't be tempted to pop your pimples as long as these acne-fighting stickers — which won a Readers' Choice Award two years in a row (2022 and 2023) — are around. Peace Out also offers Acne Day Dots (a sheerer version of the original dots for daytime wear), microneeding Dark Spots, and even Anti-Wrinkles Retinol Patches.

Key Ingredients: Hydrocolloid, salicylic acid, aloe vera extract, retinyl acetate

Best For: People who want a more intensive (yet soothing) acne treatment

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11 Best Pimple Patches 2023, According to Experts | Allure

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