The Not-So-Awesome Acne Patch


Acne patches which are applied like Bandaids, promise on-the-spot treatment, but don’t always deliver what they promise.

Acne patches promise you on-the-spot treatment of nasty zits, but some brands work better than others. Here is a quick review of the best and worst acne patch products.


  • Acne patches work like Bandaids for pimples and blackheads.
  • Most acne patches don’t deliver what they promise.
  • Acne-Free 1 Hour Pimple Patches don’t do anything you can’t do with a squirt of benzoyl peroxide gel—which kills acne bacteria but does not reduce redness or inflammation.
  • Andrea Face Qs Acne Treatment Patches are a good treatment for small areas of rosacea, but you need to be careful to remove all the adhesive off your face the next morning.
  • Claudia Stevens Hydro-Gel Over Night Patches is not marketed as an acne treatment, but it is the best product on the market for getting the redness out of pimples.
  • Clean & Clear Advantage Invisible Acne Patch is a cover up you cover up with two more layers of makeup to conceal a pimple. It’s supposed to heal pimples—but it can cause “makeup malfunctions” on your face.
  • Dr. Blaine’s ScarCare Gel Pad really is not designed for acne scars.
  • Pond’s Clear Solutions will help loosen blackheads. They may not fall off your skin the first time you use the pads, but they will usually fall of your skin the second time you use the pads.
  • Skin Benefits Blemish Acne Pimple Spot Reducer is not a bad product. It’s just not an especially useful product. Its primary benefit is helping you avoid bleaching hair and fabric.
  • Don’t treat blemishes. Prevent them with a complete treatment system such as Exposed Skin Care.

Acne patches have been in use for over 10 years, mainly in Asia and Korea but they are starting to become more popular in the US. There are basically two types of patches: medicated and unmedicated. They are usually packaged as thin, vinyl-like sheets of sticky dots. The patches are removed from the sheets and applied on the affected area. They usually have an active ingredient that is meant to get rid of pimples or acne on your face. The most common medications applied on the sheets include tea tree oil, benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid. These patches work by keeping the medication on your skin long enough for the ingredients to work on the pimple. They also prevent you from touching the affected area, keeping the extra dirt and grime from your fingers out of your skin and preventing bacteria from multiplying on the area.

The downside to these patches is that if you have sensitive skin, you can get skin irritation if the products are left for too long on your face. Also, the adhesive used on the patches can cause skin irritation or cause acne breakouts on the areas where they have been applied. The major advantage of this spot treatment is that you only use the patches on the affected area, sparing the rest of your skin from being treated since treating healthy skin can result in dryness and flakiness.

The unmedicated patches, otherwise known as hydrocolloid patches work by sucking out water from pimples. The hydrocolloid material they are made of consists of a material that is meant to attract water to a thin plastic film. This material is made out of carboxymethyl cellulose, pectin and gelatin, while the outer layer of the patch is made out of polyurethane material. This helps to lock in the moisture in the patch and prevent water from evaporating, so the wound doesn’t become dry, enabling it to heal faster.

One often overlooked benefit is a patch will prevent you from picking or touching, which can add more germs and problems to your acne.

One often overlooked benefit is a patch will prevent you from picking or touching, which can add more germs and problems to your acne.

When you remove the patch from the pimple after some time and look at the patch, the patch should be swelled up with some whitish stuff on it. This is supposed to be evidence that the patch has worked. The pimple may become much flatter and less inflamed. These patches also help to keep you from constantly touching the pimple, which helps to keep germs away from the wound. According to some studies that have been done on the use of 3M dressings on pimples for a week, it has been found that the severity of the pimple reduces in addition to the oiliness, redness and hyper pigmentation. This is as contrasted to the use of tapes.

The advantages of using these patches include the fact that they can help your pimples heal faster since they provide a moist environment. They make it possible for active ingredients to penetrate the skin and act on the pimple. You don’t need to reapply them after washing your face with water, since they are waterproof. They also protect the blemishes from UV light, which can help you maintain an even skin tone by preventing pigmentation.

Whether you choose to use medicated or unmedicated patches, you need to realize that they will not make your pimples disappear overnight. Yes, the affected area will likely look better than before but the acne will not be cleared, especially if you have severe acne, like cystic acne. Also, even though these patches are essentially made using the same ingredients, they perform differently, so it is worth checking out reviews about how each patch works before buying it. Unmedicated patches are best used if your pimple is raised and has pus that needs to be sucked out. If the pimple doesn’t have pus, but it is inflamed, then a medicated patch is the best option. The medicated patches have the advantage of being thin that means that if your pimple is flat, the patch will not be very visible when you wear it on your skin.

When purchasing the patches, you need to be careful to ensure that you buy the right one, since you can easily confuse unmedicated patches with medicated patches as they look very similar. Just keep in mind that unmedicated patches tend to be slightly more expensive than the medicated patches. They normally have the term ‘hydrocolloid’ written on the packaging and medicated patches usually list the active ingredients. Some of the places where you can buy these patches include online on Amazon and EBay. You can also get them at different pharmacies, such as Priceline. Asian shops also stock the patches, so you will find them in shops like RoseRose Shop, Sasa and Tester Korea.

If you are looking for round unmedicated patches, there are many options to consider. You can find Spot Medic patches at Priceline, MEDca at Amazon and 3M Nexare, COSRX and skinfood can be bought on Amazon and EBay. You can find these non medicated patches, which you can cut to a suitable size on both Amazon and EBay. This includes Duoderm, Coloplast, Comfeel and Johnson and Johnson Tough Pads. You can find medicated A’pieu and Innisfree treatment patches on Amazon and EBay, while you can find Formula 10.0.6 on Priceline and EBay. You can buy Peter Thomas Roth on EBay and Sephora.

AcneFree 1 Hour Pimple Patches (US $6.45)

To use the Acne Free 1 Hour Pimple Patch, first you peel out a plastic strip with a little bulls on it. You put benzoyl peroxide on the bulls eye, and then place the bulls eye on your pimple. The activating ingredients in the patch are supposed to help the benzoyl peroxide penetrate your skin and start healing the pimple right away.

There is just one problem with this system. Even if the triethanolamine, ethylparaben, methylparaben, and phenoxyethanol in the activating gel do help benzoyl peroxide get into your skin fast, the benzoyl peroxide does not make the pimple less noticeable right away. It just kills bacteria. Clearing up redness and swelling can take another 1 to 2 weeks. Since all you get out of this product is benzoyl peroxide, it’s just as beneficial and a lot less expensive just to keep a tube of benzoyl peroxide around for spot treatment. If you need to cover up a zit, it is better to use concealer than it is to use this product.

Andrea Face Qs Acne Treatment Patch, Box of 10 Patches (US $6.99)

These convenient acne patches deliver a combination of azelaic acid and salicylic acid that really can reduce redness and break up the sticky skin that holds blackheads in place. They may be a good treatment small patches of whiteheads and blackheads on rosacea-prone skin. The only problem with the product is that the adhesive around the edges of the patch can cause new acne blemishes!

Claudia Stevens Hydro-Gel Over Night Patches (US $6.99)

Not really marketed as an acne product, Claudia Stevens Hydro-Gel Over Night Patches are actually one of the few patch products that can really clear up pimples. Unlike the products that are marketed specifically for acne treatment, all of which contain benzoyl peroxide, this skin patch is made with tea tree oil. Benzoyl peroxide kills acne bacteria but does not reduce redness or inflammation. Tea tree oil both kills acne bacteria and reduces redness and inflammation. You will get much better results from this “over night patch” than you will from any other “acne patch” for pimples.

Clean & Clear Advantage Invisible Acne Patch, Instant Pimple Smoothing Technology, 0.07-Ounce Sticks (US $7.45)

This medicated "foundation" might be ok for oily skin, but will probably make dry skin look worse.

This medicated “foundation” might be ok for oily skin, but will probably make dry skin look worse.

Clean & Clear Advantage’s Invisible Acne Patch isn’t a coverup for pimples. It’s a kind of foundation that you can use to cover up a pimple so you can conceal with two more layers of makeup. The selling point of this Clean & Clear product is that it provides a medication for the pimple so it can be healed while it’s concealed.

That’s not a bad thing, but the benzoyl peroxide used to heal the pimple doesn’t just kill bacteria. It also dries out your skin. You can wind up having flaky makeup over acne that looks, well, strange, not really a pimple, but not smooth skin, either. If you have oily skin this product may work for you, but if you have dry skin, it is better just to use concealer during the day and regular benzoyl peroxide at night.

Dr. Blaine’s ScarCare Gel Pad, 1-Count Boxes (US $18.99)

This “pad” is sometimes used as an overnight treatment patch for raised, pink scars caused by the form of acne known as acne keloidalis nuchae. It might actually reduce the pinkness and shrink the contour of these scars in about three months, but the places you would use the patch at night are also places on which place pressure as you sleep, the back of your neck, the top of your head, and the side of your face, for example. Also, the adhesive on the patch can cause clogged pores and minor blemishes that can call attention tot the scars you are trying to treat. It may be worth a try if you have acne scars in a convenient location, but Dr. Blaine’s ScarCare Gel Pad is not the first choice for treating acne scars. Microdermabrasion will give you better results.

Pond’s Clear Solutions, Overnight Blemish Reducers – 24 clear dots (US $15.99)

Here is a product that contains the right ingredient for blackheads. Each Pond’s Clear Solutions clear dot contains 2% salicylic acid, a toning and exfoliating beta-hydroxy acid that loosens clumps of dead skin in and around pores so that blackheads can simply fall off your skin the next time you cleanse it. Salicylic acid will also reduce the redness and swelling of pimples, but it won’t make them disappear overnight. Unless you have extremely sensitive skin, this is the best product for treating non-inflammatory skin blemishes. Be sure to rinse off your skin the next morning.

Skin Benefits Blemish Acne Pimple Spot Reducer Hydro-Gel Healing Patches, 24 patches (US $19.98)

Skin Benefits Blemish Acne Pimple Spot Reducer is a peel-off patch you can place on pimples to work overnight. It does not cover up pimples. It just keeps benzoyl peroxide on the skin for longer action, and less bleaching of bed clothes, bed linens, and hair. It’s not a bad product and it is not offered for an unreasonable price. It just does not do anything for your skin that any other form of benzoyl peroxide treatment can’t do.

Peter Thomas Roth-Acne Clear Invisible Dots 72 Patches (US $30)

Peter Thomas Roth-Acne Clear Invisible Dots patches can be bought at Sephora. These patches contain tea tree oil, salicylic acid and hyaluronic acid that can help prevent the skin from drying out.

Cosrx Acne Pimple Master Patch, 24 patches ($3.90)

These patches can be bought at Wishtrend. They are packaged in a zip locked bag to help them stay fresh. They are non medicated patches, which help to suck out pus and decrease the size of pimples and swelling.

Nexcare Acne Absorbing Covers, 36 Patches ($7.99)

These are available on Amazon. They are produced by the 3M US Company and they are in high demand in Asian countries. They are the original unmedicated patches.

Sarah Chapman Spot Patches, 16 patches ($40)

These are high end UK medicated patches that can be bought at they are made by Sarah Chapman, who is a UK facialist. They contain vitamin A, salicylic acid and different botanicals and hydrators.

Smartmed Cover Dot Acne Cure, 36 patches ($12.50)

These non-medicated patches can be bought on Amazon or

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