Whether you have the occasional breakout or have battled acne all your life, one thing remains constant – many of us seek a Zit cure. From the second we feel a blemish that starts to burn under our skin, we panic and reach for something, anything that makes it go away.
For decades we have been treating pimples with homemade remedies – toothpaste! Green tea! crushed aspirin! – to countless Zit creams with mixed to disappointing results. Why? Because these topical gels and creams usually only target the top layer of skin without actually penetrating the pimple. And how Dr. Marnie Nussbaum, a board-certified dermatologist in New York, says, “A lot of people use spot treatments too often, causing irritation, dryness and redness.” More objectionable: When used at night, these creams often rub directly on ours Pillowcases off.
Fortunately, everything changes with the appearance of pimple spots. Or zit stickers. Or acne points. Whatever you want to call them, these face stickers change our pimple fighting game for one big reason – they work.
“Pimple plasters come in the form of hydrocolloid dressings that doctors have been using for decades to heal wounds,” says Nussbaum. “They are an effective way to a [zit] with a pre-measured dose of acne fighting ingredients. ”
“Pimple patches work because they absorb excess fluid and have a vacuum-like effect that removes dirt and oil that could cause an outbreak,” says New York-based dermatologist Dr. Debra Jaliman. “It then converts those contaminants into a gel-like substance that sticks to the patch and is sealed from the face.”
Another advantage of the patch, according to Nussbaum: less picking. “Not only do they treat specific lesions directly, but they also make it extremely difficult to remove pimples or burst, resulting in dark spots or even scars,” she says.
While everyone’s experiences may be different, it’s important to remember that these stickers aren’t miracles – but they can shorten the duration of your outbreak or, in some cases, prevent it from rising entirely to the surface, according to the dermatologists. “The patch should help the skin absorb the acne-fighting ingredients, and the lesion should flatten and resolve in less time,” says Nussbaum.
Jaliman says the patches don’t always work overnight, but they actually work when worn properly. “They should be worn for at least six hours,” she says. “If you remove it, you should be able to see that the presence of the pimple isn’t that noticeable. It may not look that red or irritated. It should also shorten the healing time. ”
More to Know: Standard hydrocolloid patches are best for formed pimples, especially whiteheads, as they pull out and absorb pus, oil, and more. Hydrocolloid bandages with acne-fighting ingredients like salicylic acid are best for pimples that are just starting out and prevent them from ever seeing the light of day.
Well there you are folks. Boo-bye, old-school Zit creams. Hello New School Zit Stickers. We’ve rounded up doctors’ favorite brands, some internet cult favorites, and some of our pimple patches below.
Peter Thomas Roth Acne Clear Invisible Points ($ 32; nordstrom.com)
From well-respected skin care brand Peter Thomas Roth, these items are definitely the most invisible on our list and can be worn all day without detection. Jaliman counts them as one of her favorites.
“You have salicylic acid, tea tree oil, and hyaluronic acid,” she says. “The salicylic acid treats the pimples and promotes exfoliation and pore clogging, while the oil has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties.” As for hyaluronic acid, Jaliman says it moisturizes the skin without clogging your pores, thereby preventing the dry skin problem that is common when you use certain acne products.
Zitsticka Killa Kit ($ 29; amazon.com)
Of all the patches on this list, these definitely feel the best, thanks to the freeze-dried micro-arrows that penetrate the skin and deliver zit-fighting ingredients right into the core of the pimple. Chrissy Teigen and Keke Palmer are followers of the brand and both touted the patches on their Instagram stories, and it turns out Nussbaum is a fan too.
“The ZitSticka patches contain microdart technology that allows the active ingredients to be infused into the skin, which helps defuse the outbreak,” she says.
Peace Out Acne Healing Points ($ 19; sephora.com)
With more than 2,000 5-star reviews on Sephora, these acne treatment points from Peace Out are a top seller on the site and are perfect for pre-treating a Zit. Jaliman recommends them too, saying, “They contain the hydrocolloid along with some very good ingredients like salicylic acid and aloe, which help treat and fight acne. ”
Alba Botanica Acnedote Pimple Patches ($ 7.99; target.com)
Made from 100% vegetarian ingredients, these patches are flying off shelves in destination US locations. At one point, more than 30% of the retail chain’s locations were sold out.
Nussbaum recommends them too. “These pimple patches are great because they contain witch hazel and salicylic acid, which reduce inflammation and draw fluids away from the skin to treat pimples,” she says. “They also contain tea tree oil, which contains anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties that help treat inflammatory acne lesions.”
Avarelle Cover Patch ($ 7.79, originally $ 10.50; amazon.com)
The Amazon reviewers have spoken, and nearly 46,000 reviewers have stated that the Avarelle zit stickers are their favorite. The hydrocolloid patches, packaged with tea tree and marigold oil, come in a resealable bag (to keep out dust) and turn a milky white color when they can be removed.
“These have changed my life,” writes one reviewer. “Unlike other brands, this is the only one that protects and eliminates pimples, and absolutely the only one that’s thin and transparent enough to wear in public or under makeup. After sleeping with the Avarelle patches, my breakouts are usually either completely flat or gone. ”
Nexcare Acne Cover ($ 6.22, originally $ 7.99; amazon.com)
On the heels of Avarelle in the Amazon reviews department are the zit stickers from Nexcare with more than 18,500 positive write-ups. The patches act like a sponge to remove toxins and bacteria from your skin. They are best aimed at combating and withering whitehead pimples.
“I don’t know how these little boys work, but they work,” writes one reviewer. “I was flawed for so long that when that time came, I assumed I would be cremated together. Two of these people later, and not only was the stain gone, the portal through which it came from the underworld into my life was miraculously not only closed but also healed. ”
Squish Flower Power Acne Plaster ($ 14; urbanoutfitters.com)
We’ll just go ahead and say that these are the cutest hydrocolloid patches on our list. Squish is a newly launched beauty brand that is totally focused on Gen Z and Millennials, offering products that are clean, fun, and actually work. So far, the flowers have been spotted on celebs like Camila Mendes and Barbara Palvin.
The Mighty Patch ($ 12.50; amazon.com)
These hydrocolloid spots may be small, but they are definitely powerful. Perfect for whiteheads (and absorbs pus and fluid), the patches have received more than 35,000 positive Amazon reviews as well as a ton of critical praise from beauty editors. And they come in different iterations too. Do you have a buildup of pimples? Try the mega-patch. Do you need something ultra-thin during the day? Then try the invisible patch.
CosRx Acne Pimple Master Patch ($ 14.90; amazon.com)
From the K-Beauty brand CosRx come these discreet little patches that are best for whiteheads and reduce redness and inflammation. They speed healing when worn overnight.
Over 12,000 Amazon reviewers rave about the product. One writes: “These patches have changed my life. I have sensitive, dry skin and hormonal acne. My face has gone from acne to the occasional pimple that soon went away. It doesn’t work on every pimple and sometimes it takes a few applications to work on the deep ones, but I’d say it resolves 90%. ”
Skyn Iceland Blemish Dots ($ 22; dermstore.com)
Skyn Island flaws
Formulated with salicylic acid, vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, and tea tree oil, this is another option that can reduce redness and treat acne overnight.
Peach slices acne patch ($ 4.49; cvs.com)
Peach slices acne plasters
These acne stickers from Peach Slices are translucent and can be worn with or without makeup, which means you can treat your breakout all day long.
Rael Acne Pimple Healing Patch ($ 15.99; amazon.com)
Rael acne pimple healing patch
Over 20,000 Amazon reviewers have given these zit stickers a 4.5 star rating for their high quality hydrocolloid formula, strong adhesive, and transparency. You will receive a box of 96 patches in two different sizes so you can shorten the life of any large or small breakout.