Now that everyone and their grandmother is obsessed with sheet masks, another K-beauty innovation is popping up everywhere: acne patches. Instead of popping and picking your blemishes, slap a pimple patch on top of it. Unlike spot treatments, the sticker 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. You'll know it's working because you can see the process happening. The clear patch turns white and expands. After a couple hours (or a night's sleep), peel it off, and the skin where your zit once was flattens and becomes redness-free. Acne stickers also have the added benefit of blocking you from picking your 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, I'm grateful for that benefit of them 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. With all this in mind, I rounded up some of my personal favorite acne patches.
Cosrx Acne Pimple Master Patch
This K-beauty favorite has become one of the most popular acne patch picks, and its acclaim is rightly deserved. The hydrocolloid circles cling to skin no matter where you end up wearing them. I may or may not have worn them to a Korean day spa before, and the CosrxAcne Pimple Master Patches on my face withstood multiple saunas. Despite their staying power, they're still easy and pain-free to peel off. They also come in three different sizes depending on what kind of coverage you need.
$5 for 24 patches (Shop Now)
Nexcare Acne Absorbing Covers
My intro into acne patches came in the form of the Nexcare Acne Absorbing Covers. Because they are made by a bandage brand, they're as heavy duty and clinical as they come. If you want to cover a lot of surface area, this pack comes with the biggest circular stickers I've ever used.
$6 (Shop Now)
Peach Slices Acne Spot Dots
Popular K-beauty retailer Peach & Lily has its very own acne patch product, called Peach Slices Acne Spot Dots. I believe they provide the fastest results by helping to flatten even the most bulbous of spots. The dots are also on thinner side for a hydrocolloid bandage, so you can wear them all day undetected. You can choose from a trio of sizes, including one of the smallest selections on this list.
$4 for 30 stickers (Shop Now)
Hero Cosmetics Mighty Patch
If size doesn't matter to you — for acne stickers, that is — the Mighty Patch effectively keeps you from picking at your face and helps absorb oils and pus with 36 stickers that are all the same circumference. They have a matte finish, too, so they look less obvious if you wear them with matte foundation.
$12 for 36 stickers (Shop Now)
Peace Out Acne Healing Dots
Unlike the rest of the hydrocolloid bandages on this list, the Peace Out Acne Healing Dots are flecked with salicylic acid, for a one-two punch. While they treat skin with the classic acne-fighting ingredient, they also protect the blemish from bacteria and irritation.
$19 for 20 stickers (Shop Now)
Skyn Iceland Blemish Dots
Because the Skyn Iceland Blemish Dots aren't made with hydrocolloid technology, they won't puff up or change colors. Instead, the paper-thin, transparent stickers adhere to skin with gel that's infused with blemish-banishing tea tree oil and salicylic acid. They're like a spot treatment that won't rub away onto your pillow as you toss and turn at night.
$20 for 48 stickers (Shop Now)
Cosrx Clear Fit Master Patch
Fans of the classic Cosrx Acne Pimple Master Patches will love the Cosrx Clear Fit Master Patch as an alternative. The South Korean brand created a slimmer, clearer option for wear during daylight hours. They are also easy to cover up with makeup, if needed.
$6 for 18 patches (Shop Now)
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