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We could rattle on for days about the wonders of Korean skin care, but for now, we’ll reiterate our deep-seated appreciation for one particular innovation: acne patches. Instead of popping and picking your blemishes, we simply slap a pimple sticker on top of them and call it a success. The thinnest, most invisible patches are ideal for daytime wear, so you can treat your breakouts whenever you damn want. Otherwise, nighttime is the perfect time to heal blemishes in total privacy.
Unlike some spot treatments, these acne stickers won’t leave your skin dry and flaky. Most are small, circular hydrocolloid bandages, meaning they absorb fluid from the pimple, explains Debra Jaliman, a board-certified dermatologist and assistant professor of dermatology at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. And get this: There are also 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.
Acne stickers also have the added benefit of blocking you from aggravating your skin by picking at pimples, says Elizabeth Tanzi, 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. (Personally, we’re grateful for that benefit alone.) This is key as “picking a pimple increases the inflammation and can slow the healing process down,” Tanzi adds. The chances of scarring and getting an infection rise, too.
You’ll know the patch 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), peel it off to reveal all of the accumulated gunk — it’s strangely satisfying. Just be sure to apply the patch onto clean skin, right after a thorough cleanse and before applying the rest of your skin-care routine.
With all this in mind, we rounded up some of our favorite, tried-and-true acne patches from popular brands such as Cosrx, Hero Cosmetics, and Peace Out. Keep one or more of these best-selling options on you at all times (by your bedside, in your bag, etc.) and thank us later.