Welcome to your skin check-in with Life & Style’s resident health and beauty expert, Dr. Will Kirby, a celebrity dermatologist and Chief Medical Officer of LaserAway. Every week, he’ll be spilling his candid thoughts and professional advice on all things skin, beauty and wellness as it relates to you — and your favorite stars.
Pimple patches are all the rage right now! Why? Well, probably because pimples are unbelievably prevalent these days. See, acne blemishes are associated with stress — and it seems like stress is at an all-time high. Even the American Academy of Dermatology notes that over 50 million people a year suffer from acne pimples. So, I reached out the nation’s leading skin experts to get their take on targeted acne treatments and to ask them a very simple question: Do pimple patches work?
“External factors such as sun exposure and picking can make pimples worse and slow the healing process. So, pimple patches absolutely do work for some types of acne because the physical barrier the patch provides allows the skin underneath to heal,” says Dr. Jeanette M. Black.
“Pimple patches work well for superficial acne lesions that have not broken the skin or crusted over,” notes Gaurav Bharti. “But you have to be careful. You don’t want to use a pimple patch on an area of skin that could possibly be infected. So make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions before applying a pimple patch.”
“Pimple patches (also known as zit stickers) work great, but they shouldn’t be your primary treatment option for acne,” states Dr. Deanne Mraz Robinson. “I really recommend them to spot-treat specific blemishes when your primary acne treatment has let you down. Think of a pimple patch as more of a last-minute, emergency zit treatment option.”
“Not to be graphic, but hydrocolloid pimple patches work best on a ‘wet, gooey’ zit,” says aesthetic nurse Corey Ordoyne. “Hydrocolloid patches soak up liquids and dry pimples out so they do work on some types of acne, but they won’t do anything for a ‘dry’ blemish. It’s all about matching the right type of patch for the type of acne you have.”
“Pimple patches do typically work well because they usually have some pimple fighting ingredient (either salicylic or glycolic acid or benzoyl peroxide) and they hold the acne fighter in place over the problem area allowing the active ingredient to work without irritating the surrounding, non-problematic skin,” finds Dr. Sheila Chang Barbarino.
“While pimple patches are generally safe and typically work pretty well, they aren’t right for everyone,” notes Dr. Tejas Desai. “Deeper cystic acne will not respond to pimple patches. In fact, a pimple patch may just cause skin irritation if you are using one on cystic acne. How well pimple patches work really depends on what type of pimple you are attempting to treat.”
“Pimple patches work for the right person,” says Dr. Morgan Wolf. “They won’t work on blackheads and they won’t prevent acne. But they can do wonders for solitary, closed comedones (like a white head pimple)!”
“Patients note that even trying pimple patches can give them more confidence in their skin,” reports Dr. Alpesh Desai. “Pimple patches now come in different colors and shapes and have different ingredients so they work in different ways for different people with varying degrees of success but, overall, I’m a fan of these patches because they certainly do no harm.”
Bad skin is absolutely no fun and whether you call it a pimple, a blemish or a zit, finding a quick, inexpensive solution for a targeted acne lesion treatment might be a consideration. And, the experts have spoken! While pimple patches aren’t right for all types of acne and all people, our skincare professionals are very clear: Pimple patches definitely do work!