Beauty News

How Do Pimple Patches Work

A medium shot of three young models with coloured hair and eyebrows wearing see-through pimple patches on a green background.

When you notice a new spot surfacing, do you A) pop it, B) pick it or C) put a pimple patch on it? The answer we were looking for was… *drum roll please* C.  

Yes, pimple patches are back and thanks to TikTok’s latest #beautyicks trend (that covers everything from foundation lips to overarched brow and more), they’re finally sticking. Unifying skin care and self care, these savvy spot solutions not only embrace but embolden skin compassion for all. Coming in all shapes, sizes and styles – think transparent patches, bright sunflowers and smiley faces – they not only target blemishes but act as the latest fashion accessory too (selfies at the ready).  

With that in mind, we caught up with good light’s Director of Retail, Alysha Huggins to uncover the power of the patch and answer your most-commonly-asked questions. 


In short, “pimple patches are hydrocolloid dressings which help to remove impurities from a blemish and flatten the appearance of pimples” explains Alysha. Soaked with hydrocolloid (AKA a liquid that draws out impurities without leaving a scar), they act as a dressing that creates a shielded environment to help your skin heal. And while these spot solutions are only just seeing a sudden surge on social media, they’ve actually been making waves in the industry for over four decades. “Hydrocolloid patches have prominently been used in the medical community since the 1980s for wound healing. The patches first became popularised in Korea and Asia in the late 2000s. In Korean beauty clinics, they were cut and sized for post-facial or laser skin. From these dermatologists found how efficacious they were for spots and blemishes so sold them as such” recalls Alysha. What’s more, supporting on-the-go lifestyles, today patches are also seen as an innovative hack for your existing routine, holding a variety of ingredients that target a plethora of common skin concerns 


Before we get into the nitty gritty of pimple patches, it’s important to understand that they should be used to treat spots on the surface of your skin – we’re talking pus-filled bumps, blackheads and whiteheads – rather than cystic acne.  

Primed to dry your pimples out, the hydrocolloid heroes absorb the toxins trapped beneath your skin while shielding blemishes from external bacteria, sunlight and pollution. What’s more, not only do they accelerate healing, but the stickers also cover the irritated surface to prevent picking that can lead to scarring. “good light’s Luna Pimple Patches are clinically proven to absorb all fluids and shrink your blemishes in just a few hours. They safely flatten blemishes to avoid pigmentation, scarring and are safe to use on all skin types, even the most sensitive” says Alysha. 


Now you know what pimple patches actually are and how they work, it’s time to find out how to put them to good use. To begin with identify the blemish you want to cover and select a pimple patch that will cover the spot fully. “After cleansing and drying the skin around the blemish, apply a patch to cover it. Put your skin care on top of this, including your toner, serum and moisturiser.” recommends Alysha. Then, once you’ve left it on for the recommended amount of time, wash your hands and carefully remove it. 


Alysha explains that while pimple patches take “a minimum of six hours to work, they can also be applied overnight.” What’s more, with the various designs available on the market today, they can also be worn loud and proud during the day. While many pimple patches are small translucent stickers, others come in the form of bright illustrations that are meant to be seen.  


“Pimple patches are becoming widely accepted because real skin concerns are becoming more accepted. People are open to using products like these to help with concerns they are facing” says Alysha. “Popular influencers on social media are also creating content using pimple patches which inspires and allows them to become a fashion and beauty trend alike”.  


Blasting away blemishes, good light’s Luna Pimple Patches act as miraculous moisture magnets that dry out breakouts without any unwanted scarring. Draining fluid from inflamed pores, they shrink the size of spots while protecting them from the spreading of unwanted bacteria (restless fingers we’re looking at you).  


Melding impurity-extracting hydrocolloid polymer technology with pore-purifying active ingredients, Peace Out’s Acne Dots create a barrier between blemishes and bacteria. Reducing the look of redness, they fuse salicylic acid with BHA to unclog pores from dirt, sebum and more. What’s more, enriched with vitamin E, these powerhouse patches clear the skin for radiant results you can be proud off.   


Featuring 26 waterproof stickers in a variety of sizes, COSRX’s AC Collection Acne Patches has each and every breakout covered (quite literally). Warding against infection and battling blemishes while you sleep, they’re the ultimate quick fix for a complexion crisis. Plus, powered by the brand’s centellAC-RX complex, they not only treat your impurities but restore any damages they may have already caused.  


Stopping spots in their tracks (and preventing new ones from occurring), Mario Badescu’s Drying Patches offer pimple protection wherever you go.  Detoxifying and soothing skin to prevent the return of blemishes, these handy rounds blend salicylic acid, niacinamide and vitamin C to slough away dead skin, brighten complexions and regulate sebum production. 


The ultimate triple threat, patchology’s Breakout Box 3 in 1 Acne Treatment Kit unites three forms of targeted patches – including 24 Blemish-Shrinking Salicylic Acid Dots, 24 Pore-Clearing Anti-Blemish Dots and 3 Detoxifying Charcoal Nose Strips. While one is laced with shrinking salicylic acid, the other boasts whitehead-absorbing hydrocolloid, and the last has tea tree oil to reduce the look of redness. The result? Three treatments that take targeted beauty to the next level.   


So, now you’re a pimple patch pro, it’s time to ward off unwanted blemish night… and day. Wear them loud and proud, we say.  


Trifonia Asmar

Trifonia Asmar

Senior SEO Copywriter

Cult Beauty’s Senior SEO Copywriter, Trifonia started out in the industry when bold brows were just becoming a ‘thing’, and shares a passion for all things fashion and beauty. Currently embracing her curly girl journey (after endless years of straightening her strands), she is finally reverting to her natural ways! When Triffy isn’t busy testing out the latest curl-saving solutions, you’ll find her binging the latest reality TV show or on a long walk listening to her ever-evolving country music playlist.