By Sean Zucker —
WellWell previously reported on the plethora of reasons not to pop pimples, highlighted by the fact it’ll likely only make the condition worse and more noticeable. Fortunately, ample over-the-counter products can help resolve pimple problems. One recent option to consider is essentially an acne Band-Aid–pimple patch. The stick-on’s aren’t an acne cure-all, but they can help in certain circumstances.
Occasionally referred to as zit stickers, pimple patches are small circular adhesive bandages that aim to clear skin by extracting pus and blocking bacteria. They are generally quite small, not much larger than a standard pimple. Some are even available in skin-tone matching colors to present as undetectable as possible.
“Pimple patches work by absorbing any drainage from the pimple and covering the wound to prevent further trauma to the site, such as picking,” dermatologist Dr. Amy Kassouf told the Cleveland Clinic. “They work best on open, draining, healing pustules, papules and cysts.”
Most pimple patches are made with hydrocolloid, which is a slightly gummy wound-healing gel, the clinic reported. This helps heal zits faster and discourages the wearer from picking at them. Generally, they take several hours to work, which is why many people tend to put them on before bed. The treatment process is fairly straightforward. Users should clean the area before applying the patch and then clean it again after removing it. If white gunk is present on the patch when it is removed, the treatment is working.
While the process is simple and popular, pimple patches are far from a definitive cure for acne. Cosmopolitan reported. For example, this over-the-counter treatment does not temper cystic zits one bit. These blemishes are not only difficult to eliminate, but they also result in a type of inflammatory acne that causes painful, pus-filled pimples to form deep under the skin, resulting in large, painful bumps. Unfortunately, cystic acne is not only painful, it is very common.
“Nope, pimple patches don’t work on cystic zits. Which is devastating, because cystic acne is the devil, and the world needs a topical/biblical cure,” Cosmo’s report lamented.
Cosmopolitan noted there’s not much downside to pimple patches even if their impact is limited. Kassouf, however, disagrees, if only so slightly. “They do use a bit of adhesive to stick to your skin,” she noted. “So, if you’re allergic or sensitive to adhesive, this may aggravate the skin surrounding the lesion.”
She emphasized that patches are purely a spot treatment for active bumps. They won’t prevent acne and will not work on closed or deeper lesions, blackheads or whiteheads.
Cleveland Clinic recommends treating these conditions with a topical vitamin A derivative like Adapalene, salicylic acid in topical or cleanser form or a standard foam cleanser. If an issue remains beyond these attempts, it’s time to see a dermatologist.