Will These Acne Patches Really Fix Your Breakout?
By Michael Pollak
Everyone dreams of the miracle cure to breakouts. That's why you’ve maybe started to notice “acne stickers and patches” popping up in stores and in beauty magazines. If you’re into Korean skincare, you’ve seen them floating around for a long time now. The tiny round bandages promise to banish your blemishes and that they are so see-through, you can wear them during the day. But do they really work? And what do you need to know if you’d like to try them? We talked to our Skin Therapists to get all the sticky details.
So, what are these stickers and patches that everyone keeps talking about?
The first is a “sticker” that is just acne-fighting ingredients such as benzoyl peroxide or salicylic in a sticker format. Our Skin Therapist, Jenna recommends these for a breakout that is just beginning. Should your breakout develop a white head, then that’s what hydrocolloid patches are for. The concept of this type of round patch is that the cellulose and hydrocolloid will keep water out, while absorbing the fluid of the wound.
Are there breakouts I can't use them on?
Yes, a few actually. Firstly, our Skin Therapist Ashley says that, "if your acne condition features more than a couple of breakouts, then you are more suited for a detox mask like the Ash and Sage Facial Earth Mask from Shaffali to help detox the skin in its entirety.”
These guys, on the other hand, are for emergencies. They are for job interviews and weddings. They’re not for hormonal or cystic acne, as those are too deep into the skin layers. They are also not for blackheads, as they're debris trapped in a pore and a different category unto themselves.
Okay, and who can use them?
Our Skin Therapist, Heidi, warns that these bandages can sometimes lead to irritation of the skin, especially due to taking it off, so it’s important to make sure that the solution the company is putting in them is skin safe and that you’re not reactive if you’re prone to sensitivities. If you can find patches that are both anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory, that is a great start! Other than that, yes. If you follow those rules stated above, all skin should be able to use them. Leave it on for a shorter duration to start to see how your skin does with it.
So, you’re saying they work?
The short of it is that yes, they should work if you use them on the exact right kind of breakout. They help for two main reasons. The first is that they keep your fingers away from messing with your face. “It’s a glorified Band-Aid to prevent you from picking, so great for anyone who has an inclination to pick or pop,” Jenna says.
The second reason is that the ingredients you find in these patches, like the bacteria killer salicylic acid, are also in toners like the Clear Cell Salicylic Clarifying Tonic from Image or the 4-in-1 Essential Face Tonic from Ursa Major. There are lots of non-patch options that are already on the market and in use. So these are really just a bottle-free option.
How do I use them?
Should you decide to try them, Ashley recommends that you exfoliate lighting before use to free up the skin cells that gosta go, as they will cover multiple pores around the breakout. Then cleanse your skin and follow the instructions on the package.
What will I see once I take them off?
If you’re using a sticker that drains, then your breakout will probably be flatter when the patch comes off. Hopefully you'll find what was once in your face, on your sticker. It’s kind of gross and very satisfying, like when you used to use Biore Strips (but now know better...right?!). Once you've taken them off, Jenna recommends using a spot treatment like the Moss Blemish Treatment Mask From Naturopathica to deal with the inflammation that brought about that whitehead in the first place. Once that's settled, you're good to go!
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