Hey guys! Hope you’re all well 💖. I’m going to be super British right now and say, hasn’t the temperature dropped in the UK?! We’ve put the heating on over at Skin Acid Trip Headquarters (i.e. in our home office 🤣) and I ventured out for my first Pumpkin Spice Latte of the season.. only to discover that I no longer like them! 

In other news I’m going to the hairdressers tomorrow which I’m super excited about! I don’t know about any of you but I get so excited to ‘go somewhere’, like the thought of having to be at an appointment for a specified time fills me with sheer joy – how times have changed!! 

Anyway, this week I’m going to be talking about pimple patches. I tried out a load of different ones during lockdown so I’m ready to give you guys my thoughts on them as well as the science-y stuff!

Pimple Patches – What Are They?

Pimple patches are as they state on the tin – small patches designed to be placed over a spot.

There are 3 main types of pimple patches:

  1. Hydrocolloid patches
  2. Acne treatment patches
  3. Microneedle patches

They all work in slightly different ways (which we will look at soon) and are intended to be used on different types of pimples/spots.

All 3 pimple patches can do the following:

  • Protect pimples from you rubbing, scratching or picking them. They can also protect your spots from your hair, pillowcase and mask rubbing on them (which can introduce bacteria to your spots). 
  • They help to keep the spot moist which is useful for quicker and better healing.
  • Can protect your pimple from UV light which decreases the amount of PIH (post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation) that can develop after spots have gone. If you suffer from PIH, you’ll know it can take ages to fade!
  • Most are waterproof, breathable and biodegradable.

3 Different Types Of Pimple Patches

Hydrocolloid Patches

This material, hydrocolloid, is the same material used for things like ulcers and blisters. It can also be used for wound dressing within medical fields.

These patches are essentially a flexible bandage for your pimple, made of a gel-like, water-absorbing material on a thin plastic membrane. They then have an adhesive around the outside of the gel-like material which is how they stick to your skin. The outside is usually made of a tough plastic material which stops water from evaporating from the spot. This keeps the area moist (ideal healing environment) and clean.

The gel-like material, which is water-absorbing, works to absorb the gunk from your spot. As this gunk is absorbed by the patch, it turns white in colour and can also cause the patch to get a bit thicker in the centre. 

These types of patches work best on a spot that has been lanced or popped. This is because their aim is to absorb the fluid out of your spot and reduce inflammation. If the spot you have has no open head then the patch can’t perform this task! So for those types of spots that are just painful, swollen bumps, read on! 

Microneedle Patches

These types of pimple patches appear to be the newest type. They are usually more expensive than the other types and that’s for 2 reasons:

  1. Each patch requires individual packaging in order to protect the microneedles whilst they are waiting to be used.
  2. The technology behind their development is more advanced than the other patches.

These patches sound scary but they’re not as bad as they sound! They contain water-soluble chips which house small microneedles containing active ingredients. These ingredients could be salicylic acid, niacinamide, hyaluronic acid and antioxidants

Once the patch is applied to your skin, the microneedles penetrate the top layer of your skin (the stratum corneum) and deliver the active ingredients directly within the spot.

It usually takes around 2 hours for the microneedles to dissolve within the water in your skin. However, it’s usually recommended to leave them on for more than 2 hours as they will protect your spot from you touching or picking at it!

Microneedle patches also usually come with little swabs for you to clean your spot, although not always. If they don’t, you just need to ensure that the area is clean and dry before applying the patch. If it’s not clean, you could cause irritation by introducing bacteria to the spot when you apply the microneedle patch. 

These types of patches work best on those red bumpy pimples that are new and brewing! You know the ones that have a pulse of their own as they are developing!  

FYI, some microneedle patches are also made of hydrocolloid! If they are, they will also help to absorb any gunk from the spot so definitely leave these ones on for longer than 2 hours!

Acne Treatment Patches

Last but certainly not least we have acne treatment patches! These are usually the cheapest types of acne patches that you can get as they aren’t made of hydrocolloid and neither do they contain microneedles. 

These patches work by occluding the skin and delivering active ingredients to the surface of the spot. The active ingredients are usually either salicylic acid or tea tree oil, or both. 

This method of occluding the skin where the spot is, helps the skin to absorb ingredients better than if the spot is open to the air with the ingredients on. It also ensures that the ingredients don’t move around on the skin, they stay where they’re needed. The pimple also stays moist (quicker healing as the spot doesn’t dry out) and like with the other patches, the area stays clean and is protected from you touching or playing with the pimple! 

However, one thing to be aware of is that because these patches contain active ingredients and occlude the skin, this can cause some irritation to sensitive skin types. Also, you really need to make sure the area you are applying the patch on is clean and dry because again, you don’t want to occlude something irritating (like bacteria) within it and against your skin.

These patches work best on fleshy spots that have no head and are not worthy of you using a microneedle patch on!

Pimple Patch Recommendations

Dots for Spots (hydrocolloid).
£5.99 for 24 patches from Amazon.

COSRX Acne Pimple Master Patches (hydrocolloid).
£7 for 24 patches from Look Fantastic.

Peter Thomas Roth (acne treatment).
£19.50 for 72 patches from All Beauty.

Zitsticka KILLA Patches (microneedle).
£27 for 8 patches and 8 swabs from Cult Beauty.

Starface Hydro-stars (hydrocolloid).
£12 for 32 from Starface.

My Personal Experience?

Over the lockdown period back in April, I bought the COSRX ones and wasn’t really impressed with them. I just didn’t feel like they did much for my spots. However, I then saw someone recommend Dots for Spots, so I bought those from Amazon and gave them a whirl! Now, these ones impressed me! I would apply them in the morning after washing my face and by the evening, they had worked to absorb the gunk from my spots and reduce redness and inflammation. I swear by these ones as most often, the spots that I get are whiteheads!

Then, a couple of weeks ago, Zitsticka contacted me and asked if I would like to try their KILLA microneedle patches (PR). Now, I (thankfully) don’t really get those hard, painful spots anymore, so I was worried about how I was going to try these. However, luckily (or not depending on how you look at it!!), I got one on my chin just last week! I immediately panicked and went to apply a spot serum but then I remembered that I had these microneedle patches and dug them out for testing!

So, I washed my face in the AM, popped one on and did the rest of my skincare routine. By the end of the day, when I took the patch off, the spot had massively decreased. So had most of the redness and the throbbing pain! I was really impressed with them! Yes, they’re not miracle workers. So, the spot was still there but I do truly believe the patch had stopped it developing any further. They do tingle as you apply them but they are definitely not painful! So, don’t let the word ‘microneedle’ put you off trying them – especially if you suffer from big, headless red spots.

pimple patches, zitsticka

Final Thoughts…

I like pimple patches more than I thought I would! They really have become a great WFH and ‘underneath the mask’ spot busting solution for me! However, it’s important to remember that they are not miracle workers. They are never going to completely get rid of a spot for you but they are definitely worth a try! Especially if you’re the type of person who can’t help but keep poking and prodding at their spots.

Also, a final bit of advice, if you are going out to work and have to wear a mask all day and suffer from spots, put some pimple patches on underneath your mask! No one will ever see them if you keep a mask on all day!! I’m currently WFH but when I go out to run errands, you can be sure I’m slapping the pimple patches on under my mask!!

I really hope this blog helped to clear up any confusion on the different pimple patches that are out there! If you’ve tried any, drop a comment below and let me know what ones you’ve tried and whether they’ve worked for you!

Have a fabulous weekend all, I’ll be back next week with another blog! Subscribe here to not miss that one! You’ll be notified by email once a new blog is posted and you can directly to it via a link within your email.

Love & Knowledge



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