The Best Acne Patches That Zap Pimples Away

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Best Acne Patches

Byrdie / Chloe Jeong

There's no shortage of over-the-counter products for clearing breakouts. But when you only have one or two zits at any given time, there's no need to treat your entire face. Enter: the pimple patch.

According to board-certified dermatologist Sheilagh Maguiness, MD, acne patches typically contain hydrocolloid gel, which is often used in wound care. In addition to healing blemishes, Dr. Maguiness notes, "The hydrocolloid in the acne sticker can help absorb sebum and dirt." 

Claire Wolinsky, MD, a New York dermatologist specializing in facial rejuvenation, says she loves pimple patches and recommends them frequently. "One reason they are particularly helpful in treating acne is because once covered, patients can't pick or squeeze their pimple, which reduces the risk of infection and bacteria," she Byrdie. And with less trauma to the skin, Dr. Wolinsky says you're less likely to experience scarring or discoloration.

Want to get rid of pimples without exposing the rest of your skin to potentially drying or irritating ingredients? We've got you covered with expert recommendations and fan favorites.

Keep scrolling for the best acne patches out there today.

Best Overall: Peace Out Skincare Peace Out Acne Healing Dots

4.9
Peace Out Acne Healing Dots
What We Like
  • Reduces redness

  • Soothes inflammation

  • Contains skin-clearing ingredients

What We Don't Like
  • Only one size

Who else recommends it? Teen Vogue, NBC News, and Forbes all picked Peace Out Acne Healing Dots. 

What do buyers say? 86% of 100+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above.

Celebrity aesthetician Joshua Ross of SkinLab stands behind Peace Out Acne Healing Dots. "They employ hydrocolloid technology that helps extract impurities and guards against external elements," he explains. What's more, the patches create a barrier between pimples and your bacteria-laden fingers while delivering a time-released infusion of ingredients.

Cosmetic injector Kristina Kitsos is also a fan of Peace Out. "They contain salicylic acid, which penetrates pores to target acne blemishes and blackheads," she tells Byrdie. Additionally, Kitsos appreciates that these acne patches contain soothing aloe vera³ to minimize redness and skin-clearing standby vitamin A (aka retinol).

Active Ingredients: Hydrocolloid, salicylic acid, aloe, retinol | Amount: 10 to 40 patches | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Expert Quote

"Many people put alcohol and other drying agents on the top of the skin, thinking that it will penetrate and clear up the acne. This approach is futile because doing so just dries out the top layer of the skin, making it even more fragile while the pimple lingers beneath unscathed. Healthy, hydrated skin heals acne much better than dried-out, fragile skin. The hydration provided by these patches helps to prevent this." — Kristina Kitsos, skincare authority and expert cosmetic injector

Best Budget: Soko Glam The Klog Soft Shield Pimple Patch

Soko Glam The Klog

Soko Glam

What We Like
  • Budget-friendly

  • Long-lasting adhesive

  • Includes two sizes

What We Don't Like
  • Thinner patch than other options

While most pimple patches aren't very pricey, The Klog's Soft Shield is one of the budget-friendliest of the bunch. Containing vegan hydrocolloid, the protective yet breathable barrier draws out impurities and helps your zits heal as quickly as possible. 

Active Ingredients: Hydrocolloid | Amount: 42 patches | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Drugstore: Clearasil Ultra Overnight Spot Patches

Clearasil Ultra Overnight Spot Patches

Amazon

What We Like
  • Budget-friendly

  • Works overnight

  • Non-drying

What We Don't Like
  • Only one size

A few drugstore brands have hopped on the pimple-patch bandwagon, but the best iteration comes from acne-fighting all-star Clearasil. Stick on the Spot Patches before bed, get your beauty sleep, and wake up to noticeable improvement in the size and redness of your blemishes.

Active Ingredients: Hydrocolloid | Amount: 18 patches | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Splurge: Peter Thomas Roth Acne-Clear Invisible Dots

Peter Thomas Roth Acne-Clear Invisible Dots
What We Like
  • Contains skin-clearing ingredients

  • Includes two sizes

  • Comes with tin container

What We Don't Like
  • Pricier than other options

  • Doesn't contain hydrocolloid

Peter Thomas Roth's take on the acne patch is the super-moisturizing Invisible Dots. In addition to skin-clearing mainstays salicylic acid and tea tree oil, they call on hyaluronic acid to deliver much-needed moisture to the bumps that lie beneath.

Active Ingredients: Salicylic acid, tea tree oil, hyaluronic acid | Amount: 32 patches | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

Best K-Beauty: COSRX Acne Pimple Master Patch

4.8
Cosrx Master Pimple Patch

Amazon

What We Like
  • Budget-friendly

  • Includes three sizes

  • Dermatologist-recommended

What We Don't Like
  • Doesn't stay put on oily skin

Dr. Wolinsky is a fan of CosRx Master Patches, and we're here for it. Serving up a heaping dose of hydrocolloid underneath each hygienic sticker, you can target even the most stubborn bumps with little effort. We also like that these Korean patches come in three different sizes.

Active Ingredients: Hydrocolloid | Amount: 32 to 96 patches | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

cosrx acne pimple master patch

Byrdie / Bianca Lambert

What Our Testers Say

"Even with my serums applied, the patch stuck to my skin and didn't budge overnight." — Bianca Lambert, Product Tester

Best for Deep Pimples: ZitSticka Killa Kit

ZitSticka KILLA Kit

Amazon

What We Like
  • Works for deep pimples

  • Comes with cleansing swabs

  • Contains skin-clearing ingredients

What We Don't Like
  • Pricier than other options

There's not much you can do about a deep pimple brewing underneath your skin—outside of placing a ZitSticka on it. The self-dissolving microdarts get to the root of the problem and prevent bumps from getting any bigger.

Active Ingredients: Hydrocolloid, salicylic acid, hyaluronic acid | Amount: 4 to 8 patches | Cruelty-Free: 8 patches | Byrdie Clean: No

Best for Scarring: Hero Cosmetics Mighty Patch The Original

Hero Cosmetics Mighty Patch Original

Amazon

What We Like
  • Helps prevent scarring

  • Not bubbly

  • Includes day and night patches

What We Don't Like
  • Not ideal for cystic acne

When it comes to pimple patches, Dr. Maguiness and Dr. Wolinsky agree on the Mighty Patch. A home run for all skin types, this pack of acne patches includes a flat, invisible option for daytime and a more conspicuous overnight sticker, each containing hydrocolloid to expedite healing and prevent scarring.

Active Ingredients: Hydrocolloid | Amount: 36 patches | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Multi-Ingredient: Avarelle Acne Cover Patch Original

Avarelle Acne Cover Patch

Amazon

What We Like
  • Budget-friendly

  • Works for deep pimples

  • Dermatologist-recommended

What We Don't Like
  • Not ideal for sensitive skin

Dr. Wolinsky also likes Avarelle. Along with hydrocolloid, the brand's all but invisible Acne Cover Patch is chock full of plant-based healing ingredients and skin-clearing favorites like tea tree oil, centella asiatica (aka cica), and calendula.

Active Ingredients: Hydrocolloid, tea tree oil, calendula, centella asiatica | Amount: 40 patches | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Extra-Large: Rael Beauty Miracle Patch Spot Control Cover

Rael Beauty Miracle Patch Spot Control Cover

Amazon

What We Like
  • Good for sensitive skin

  • Hydrating

  • Speeds recovery process

What We Don't Like
  • Pricier than other options

When you're breaking out on your chin, cheeks, or forehead, reach for the Miracle Patch. Measuring nearly 2 inches across, this sizable sticker gently draws out impurities and safeguards the offending area from bacteria and other irritants.

Active Ingredients: Hydrocolloid, tea tree oil, white willow bark extract, hyaluronic acid | Amount: 10 to 20 patches | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Best With Salicylic Acid: Dime Beauty Co. Power Patch

Dime Beauty Co. Power PAtch

Dime Beauty Co.

What We Like
  • Includes two sizes

  • Contains skin-clearing ingredients

What We Don't Like
  • Not ideal for deep pimples

You definitely want BHA hero salicylic acid on your side in the battle against acne. But the Dime Power Patch doesn't stop there. It also contains hydrocolloid, retinol, and naturally antibacterial clove essential oil to take on blemishes at full force.

Active Ingredients: Hydrocolloid, salicylic acid, retinol, clove oil | Amount: 48 patches | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Best With Tea Tree Oil: Lua Lua Healing Acne Patches

Lua Lua Healing Acne Patches

Amazon

What We Like
  • Budget-friendly

  • Includes three sizes

  • Waterproof

What We Don't Like
  • Doesn't stay put on oily skin

For tea tree oil stans, we recommend Lua Lua. These breathable, budget-friendly acne patches are designed to clear breakouts, heal zits, and prevent new ones from forming. We also like that they're waterproof and work well under makeup.

Active Ingredients: Hydrocolloid, tea tree oil, calendula oil | Amount: 120 patches | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

Best With Microneedles: Miss Spa Banish Microneedle Spot Treatment

Miss Spa Banish Microneedle Spot Treatment

Ulta

What We Like
  • Budget-friendly

  • Includes three sizes

  • Waterproof

What We Don't Like
  • Doesn't contain hydrocolloid

Instead of poking at a pimple, cover it with Miss Spa's Banish Treatment. Each patch has microneedles, which gently penetrate bumps with complexion-clearing salicylic acid and everyone's favorite hydrating humectant, hyaluronic acid.

Active Ingredients: Salicylic acid, hyaluronic acid | Amount: 6 patches | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Conspicuous: Starface Hydro-Stars

starface
What We Like
  • Star-shaped patches

  • Acne-positive

  • Comes with case

What We Don't Like
  • Doesn't stay put on oily skin

Wear them loud, wear them proud. Why hide your blemishes when you can heal them with these super-cute pimple protectors? In addition to reframing the narrative surrounding acne, Starface Hydro-Stars help absorb fluids while protecting bumps from bacteria.

Active Ingredients: Hydrocolloid | Amount: 32 patches | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Final Verdict

The best pimple patches overall are Peace Out Acne Healing Dots (view at Amazon). In addition to hydrocolloid, we appreciate that they contain a blend of soothing and clearing ingredients like retinol, salicylic acid, and aloe. For a more affordable option, your best bet is The Klog Soft Shield Pimple Patch (view at Soko Glam), a breathable yet protective solution that draws out impurities and speeds up healing.

What to Look for When Buying Acne Patches

Hydrocolloid

"The most important thing is that the stickers or patches are made of hydrocolloid," Dr. Wolinsky tells Byrdie, which is "something dermatologists have used for wound care for a long time." The healing ingredient seals the skin underneath the patch while absorbing fluid, flattening bumps, and minimizing inflammation.

Other Ingredients

Most acne patches utilize hydrocolloid, which can be very effective on its own. However, you'll also find options containing a range of other acne-fighting ingredients.

As Dr. Wolinsky notes, "Some of these patches have salicylic acid, which may help further treat a nasty breakout." Additionally, you might see soothing aloe vera extract, resurfacing retinol, complexion-clearing tea tree oil, or hydrating hyaluronic acid on the ingredients list.

Size

Since pimples come in all shapes and sizes, it's nice to have a couple of different acne patches to work with. While many brands offer only one size, some packs include two or even three sizes to cover large and small zits accordingly. You'll also find extra-large patches, which are meant to cover multi-bump breakouts.

FAQ
  • How do acne patches work?

    "Most acne patches work by providing a moist occluded environment so that the acne lesion can heal underneath," says Dr. Maguiness. They typically contain hydrocolloid, which, as Dr. Wolinsky explains, absorbs the inflammatory fluid, flattens the bump, and speeds up healing. "The added bonus is that they keep fingers off and prevent picking," notes Dr. Maguiness.

  • How do you apply acne patches?

    Starting with freshly washed hands and clean, dry skin, carefully peel the patch off the sheet. Then gently stick it on the pimple in question, aligning the center of the patch with the center of the pimple. Leave it on for 12 to 24 hours or until it turns opaque.

  • How often should you use acne patches?

    Generally speaking, you can use acne patches as often as needed. Since they target only a very small portion of your skin, you shouldn't have to worry about irritating the rest of your face or neck. In some cases, you might need to use two or three consecutive patches to get rid of a particularly stubborn pimple.

Why Trust Byrdie?

Theresa Holland is a skincare devotee and commerce writer specializing in beauty, lifestyle, and wellness. For this article, she interviewed two dermatologists, an esthetician, and a cosmetic injector for product picks and insight into how acne patches work. From the above brands, she has personally tried Peace Out, The Klog, CosRx, and Rael. Theresa covers skincare, makeup, and haircare at Byrdie.

Meet the Expert

  • Board-certified dermatologist Sheilagh Maguiness, MD, has been a part of the Minnesota Dermatological Society since 2014. She currently teaches at the University of Minnesota.
  • Claire Wolinsky, MD, is a New York dermatologist specializing in facial rejuvenation. Dr. Wolinsky is known to be able to treat even the most difficult cases of acne.

According to our Diversity Pledge, 15% of products in our newly-published market roundups will feature Black-owned and/or Black-founded brands. At the time of publishing, we were not able to find any acne patches from a Black-owned and/or Black-founded business. If you know of one we should consider, please email us at contact@byrdie.com and we will evaluate the product ASAP.

Article Sources
Byrdie takes every opportunity to use high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
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  12. Kongkaew C, Meesomperm P, Scholfield CN, Chaiwiang N, Waranuch N. Efficacy and Safety of Centella Asiatica (L.) Urb. on Wrinkles: A Systematic Review of Published Data and Network Meta-Analysis. J Cosmet Sci. 2020 Nov-Dec;71(6):439-454. PMID: 33413787.

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