Do Pimple Patches Really Work?

If you've ever had acne you know it's one of the worst things maybe ever — at least it can feel that way when you start to see an outbreak crop up. Between 40-50 million people in the U.S have acne, and let's be honest — almost everyone has experienced an unsightly bump at some point (via JAMA Network). All those bumps are boosting beauty company's profits, specifically those of companies that produce pimple patches, but are the products they are coming up with really working?

If you aren't already aware, a K-beauty product has taken the market by storm in the form of acne fighting patches. Basically it's a new take on spot treatments. Most products consist of tiny patches that are to be placed on top of new or existing pimples. They definitely prevent the pimple sufferer from popping and bothering the little bugger, but it's a little up in the air as to whether or not the products are as magical as the companies seem to portray them (via Self).

Most of the patches on the market right now come in the form of small hydrocolloid bandages. The substance in these beauty benefiters is supposed to absorb pus and fluid from the blemish and help it heal more efficiently. It's recommended to sleep with the patch on, and if it works as it claims it will, you'll wake up with a smaller and less aggravated bump (via Allure).

Pimple patches can help blemishes heal faster

Some patches include tried and true acne medications like salicylic acid, hyaluronic acid, and niacinamide, which are — obviously — intended to conjure up perfect skin. Other, perhaps more interesting, patch varieties include microneedles which are supposed to help by penetrating the skin and allowing the ingredients to get through and work their magic better. 

As much as we would all love to believe this little bandaid is the skin-saving miracle we've all been waiting for, there's no peer-reviewed data on the efficacy of the patches. Dermatologists seem to have varied opinions about the products, but most were willing to admit that the patches would, at the very least, help prevent pimple pickers from making their acne worse. And beyond that, leaving your skin alone allows it to heal faster, so in a roundabout way they are working in some capacity. However, doctors warn that those with sensitive skin might be prone to irritation, and while microneedle patches do carry some risk of infection, those are relatively low (via Self).