When it comes to spots, I've tried everything—dousing the offending inflammations in all manner of things from toothpaste and perfume to Sudocrem and tea tree oil. As a beauty editor, I do all I can to prevent breakouts in the first place, using a salicylic face wash, toners bursting with skin-sloughing AHAs and slathering on cell renewal–boosting retinol at night, but that doesn't make me immune to spots.
So what do beauty editors turn to in their hour of need? Acne patches. The idea for these small clear circular stickers originated from Korea. Impregnated with all manner of spot-fighting ingredients, they can be applied to clean skin at night to calm and clear spots while you sleep or even over makeup in a pinch. I've tried quite a few, and they all do a good job to take down inflammation and redness. Our pals over at Rank & Style have rated the best acne patches, and below are the five best (that are available in the UK).
Keep scrolling for the best acne patches you need in case of emergency.
These clever, totally clear, patches are infused with a heap of spot-busting and skin calming ingredients. The highlights include exfoliating salicylic acid, pore-refining P Refinyl, retinol-like Sytenol A to amp up cell renewal and vitamin C to brighten and calm. As brilliant as they are, they work out at £1.50 per sticker—not the most affordable in the lineup, but ideal if you only get very occasional spots.
These handy patches suit all skin tones. Salicylic acid attacks acne-causing bacteria (and is a staple in acne patches) while vitamin A supports your skin's turnover and aloe vera soothes redness. They were the first acne dot to be made from hydrocolloid dressing, traditionally used to help wounds heal. These come out at 95p per sticker.
Super affordable, these patches work out at 34p each. These combine salicylic acid with antibacterial tea tree oil, ideal if you often start with one spot and it spreads to two or three.
Spot treatments are often drying, but these patches combine hydrating hyaluronic acid with salicylic acid and tea tree oil. There are 72 in this pack.
A Korean favourite, these tackle all blemishes from under-the-skin bumps to whiteheads. They come in varying sizes, too. Hydrocolloid is the key ingredient, which draws out impurities and speeds up the spot's life cycle.
Next up, how to squeeze a spot at home.