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Pimple Patches: Do They Really Work?

Unsightly blemishes affect the way you look and feel, and they always pop up at the worst possible time. The options out there for treating acne are as numerous as the causes behind it. One such product is the pimple patch, also known as a hydrocolloid sheet. Read on to find out more about acne and the latest method for combating it.
A woman covering pimples on her face

What is acne?

Acne is a persistent inflammatory disease which affects more than 80 percent of teenagers. Although timing may vary, breakouts commonly begin around the age of 11 or 12, and may last well into your 20s and 30s. 

Targeting the face, chest, or back, acne appears in the form of pimples, whiteheads, or blackheads. While whiteheads are round, closed-pore lesions filled with sebum and keratin, blackheads are dark, open-pored bumps composed of sebum, keratin, and dirt. 

Overactive hormones can cause your skin to produce excess sebum, or oily secretions, which clog your hair follicles. Trapped dirt, debris, and bacteria make the blockage worse, resulting in pimples on the surface of your skin.  

Acne-fighting remedies range from birth control pills to topical creams to pimple patches.

A woman using an acne patch

These small, round stickers adhere to your skin, attacking blemishes and minimizing scars. How do they accomplish this? Acne patches work their magic on multiple levels. They consist of thin, film-like material coated on one side with hydrocolloid, a substance that absorbs fluids and pus to form a gel. Simultaneously, the moist environment created by the patch promotes skin healing — unlike ordinary zit creams which dry out your pimple and leave behind a scar. Lastly, the hydrocolloid layer often contains an active ingredient such as salicylic acid or tea tree oil to unclog your pores. 

The overall effectiveness of acne patches also comes from its ability to keep out dirt, debris, and harmful UVB rays, ensuring fast, scar-free healing. 

When using this product, remember to thoroughly clean the surrounding areas first. Be careful not to scratch or pop the pimple as it could introduce more bacteria into your skin. 

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Acne patches: how to choose? 

Several different manufacturers are currently selling hydrocolloid sheets. But how do you find the one that fits into your daily beauty regimen? Consider the following factors. 

  • Type of acne:

If you’re battling a pus-filled whitehead, look for a thick, heavy-duty sticker that will completely drain the pimple before going to work. If you’re dealing with a clogged blackhead, opt for a salicylic acid-infused pimple patch to break down the gunk in your hair follicle and draw it out.

  • Product appearance:

It’s important to take into account what these stickers may look like once applied to your skin. Although they’re usually translucent, acne patches are pretty noticeable when worn. If you’re concerned about feeling a bit self-conscious, you might prefer an antibiotic medication or topical cream instead. 

  • Skin type: 

If you have oily skin, choose a product that includes a skin cleanser right in the package. Use the cleanser to disinfect the pimple and surrounding areas. Allow your skin to dry, then apply the hydrocolloid sheet as directed. These 2-in-1 treatments are especially handy if you’re fighting period acne. During menstruation, your hormones increase your body’s production of sebum, which clogs pores while attracting dirt and bacteria to the surface of your skin.

https://www.healthline.com/health/what-are-blemishes#types

http://journal.scconline.org/abstracts/cc2006/cc057n02/p00095-p00105.html

https://www.herocosmetics.us/blogs/news/what-are-hydrocolloid-acne-patches-and-how-do-they-work

https://labmuffin.com/how-do-hydrocolloid-bandages-and-acne-patches-work/

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