Have you ever wished—when afflicted with a monster zit—that you could just cover that annoying blemish with a Band-Aid and call it a day? Say what you will about concealers, but TBH, even the most heavy-duty ones can’t really hide a bump or a whitehead that’s ready to burst. So, allow me to introduce you to your skin’s new BFF: pimple patches.
While not exactly a bandage, the patches—which are the perfect size to cover a pimple and kinda look like zit bandages—contain hydrocolloid, which attracts fluid in the zit to come to the surface. Unsurprisingly, they’re big in K-beauty.
“It all started while I was living in Korea where I noticed that hydrocolloid patches were commonly used to fight acne,” says Ju Rhyu, founder of Hero Cosmetics, who makes the Mighty Patch. “The hydrocolloid stickers attract fluids so when you apply them to whiteheads and pimples with pus and fluids in them, they attract and absorb all the pus and gunk in the pimple, which helps quicken the healing time.” Voila. Armed with a newfound whitehead resident on my face, I’m eager to test these puppies out.
This is how the pimple patch faired on my zit.
The second I put a Mighty Patch on top of my whitehead (post cleansing and toning), I instantly feel better about the state of my breakout. First of all, the pimple’s now completely masked—something I’ve always wished I could do in a normal-looking way—and it’s being treated at the same time.
“Sometimes it’s better than having a big bump on your face than to have people know you tried to cover up with concealer,” notes Rhyu. It’s true—I feel more solidly covered than I ever do with concealer, which can’t hide bumps as well. And since the patches are clear, with a blurring, matte finish, it’s almost undetectable on skin.
I decide it’s fine to wear to work (it’s that subtle) and kind of use it as a test to see if people notice. No one says anything. I eagerly await the late afternoon when the patch is supposed to have sucked up the gunk inside my zit, vastly increasing its healing time. I notice it’s also useful because I’m not tempted to pick at it, since it acts as a protective cover—an added bonus.
“The sticker will turn opaque white when the pus and fluids are absorbed,” explains Rhyu. “After, you’ll notice your whiteheads are noticeably flatter and healed after you’ve worn the patches for a few hours or after you’ve worn them overnight.”
So once it’s turned white, I peel off the patch in the afternoon and notice my whitehead has significantly deflated (gross but true). I dab on some concealer for the rest of the day and try another patch as an overnight treatment—to finish the sucker off. “There are no harsh chemicals or drying formulas, so the patches won’t irritate your skin like salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide can,” says Rhyu. The only downside is that they don’t have the same magical prowess on deep-seeded cystic zits (sigh).
“The real benefit of hydrocolloid to acne or any other inflamed, injured skin is that it promotes healing,” says Robert Anolik, MD, a New York-based dermatologist. “So in the setting of acne, when there is swelling and essentially skin injury, the pink mark can resolve more quickly.” And that it did.
When I wake up, it’s like Christmas—I remove my pimple patch to find a mostly healed, itty bitty zit. The tiny patches are small but mighty—consider it a gift of an invention.
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