Even though most of us know that picking at zits is not great for our skin, sometimes doing it is irresistible. That’s why we need some help keeping our hands off our blemishes, and even better if we can treat them in the process. Enter zit stickers — or pimple patches as they are also called — clever (and often cute!) little blemish covers that help to heal the affected area.
By creating a physical barrier to us picking at them, they also protect skin from outside bacteria and airborne toxins. “These patches protect the zit from further irritation and infection by providing a ‘sealed’ environment in which skin can heal itself.” explains New York City dermatologist Dendy Engelman, MD.
But aside from just covering zits, they treat them, too. Most pimple patches are made from hydrocolloid, an ingredient originally used for wound healing. Gelling agents contained in hydrocolloid patches work to effectively draw out fluids and pus (aka the gross white gunk you see when you remove them). Plus, they’ve have been shown to decrease redness, oiliness, and even pigmentation.
Hydrocolloid alone is drug-free, safe for sensitive skin, and non-drying, making them a great option for people who might be sensitive to traditional spot treatments. If you want a double-whammy approach, however, there are a number of brands combining the medical-grade material with proven zit-fighting ingredients, like salicylic acid and tea tree oil. Read on to discover eight of our favorite pimple patches and determine which is best for you.