Once upon a time, if you had a pimple, you’d bust out a tube of white paste or clear gel treatment and hope for the best. “The best,” of course, meant not only shrinking the offending blemish but hoping you didn’t forget you put it on and accidentally leave the house with dried, flaky treatment spots all over your face. And that was if it didn’t all rub off on your sheets and pillowcases at night! These days, things are easier and more efficient, thanks to the invention of the pimple patch (or acne sticker). Small, circular, adhesive hydrocolloid bandages–many invisible enough to wear out under makeup during the day–have Changed. The. Game. So which is the best pimple patch for your under-the-skin enemy? We’ve done a little digging–but no picking, obv-to find the most beloved blemish banishers.
What makes an acne sticker more effective than the old-school treatments in the battle against blemishes? It’s all about how it absorbs fluid from a pimple (it literally sucks the gunk out front under the skin), penetrates more deeply with treatment, and blocks against other aggravating offenders like bacteria and pop-happy fingers. The result: less inflammation and redness, faster healing, and less likelihood of scarring–perfect for those of us who really struggle with just leaving those damn pimples alone. Ahem.
Of course, not every pimple patch is created equal. The options available vary in size, transparency, thickness, ingredients, and what type of blemish they’re best for. Some are best worn overnight and some can hide in plain sight. If online customer reviews are any indication (they are), the top-rated acne-sticker options ahead can be considered leaders of the pimple-fighting pack. Scroll on to find the best patches of the bunch.
The Mighty Patch has been beloved among acne-sticker devotees for a while now. With the Invisible+ option, these hydrocolloid pimple patches are even thinner than before, with tapered edges for blending easily into the skin. Meaning: You can wear these during the day under a bit of concealer and no one will know (and you’ll avoid nervous picking!). In addition to being clear and matte to suit all skin tones and types, the Invisible+ patches are made with natural, cruelty-free, vegan ingredients, and come in two sizes, 12mm and 10mm. Note: These are best used on pimples with pus or fluid inside that have come to a head, i.e., not blackheads.
One Reviewer Wrote: “I’ve bought cheaper patches and they did nothing compared to these. This really work and draw out the pus, making the zit smaller and lessen the amount of days you have a zit! Perfect.”
The best pimple patch set for all types of blemishes, CosRx’s pack comes with three sizes of thin hydrocolloid stickers that break down blackheads and whiteheads, as well as cystic acne. These super-adhesive patches help get rid of infections, bacteria, and all the gross crap underneath the surface that causes unwelcome bumps — and will even stay on through showering and washing if desired. Apparently, these pimple patches are giving the people what they want: The positive reviews online number well into the thousands.
One Reviewer Wrote: “I love these patches. I use them on my breakouts during the day and apply a benzoyl peroxide cream at night before bed. They are fairly unnoticeable on my pale skin, and they do a great job pulling all the sebum out from my pimples. I would recommend leaving them on for over 6-8 for the full benefit, then you can see how much oil and sebum the patch pulled out.”
The brand name kind of says it all. Peace Out’s hydrocolloid acne stickers use a combination of salicylic acid, Vitamin A, and Aloe Vera to penetrate pimples, fight bacteria, and soothe skin at the same time. Meant for all skin types, this pimple patch option is also free of sulfates, parabens, phthalates, and more–and it’s vegan and cruelty-free!
One Reviewer Wrote: “I learned about these ‘magic’ dots from my niece who uses them for adult-onset acne. Overnight the worst of her pimples were almost healed; completely healed within 3 days. The small pimples were gone overnight. I was in awe.”
Another set of acne stickers recommended mostly for nighttime use, Medical Miracles hydrocolloid patches unclog pores and absorb fluids and pus, as well as reduce inflammation and redness. Just wash and clean your face, apply an acne patch to the offending area, and allow it to work its blemish-fighting magic for 6-8 hours. Made with ingredients including tea tree oil, these pimple patches are all-natural, yet potent. In other words, try these.
One Reviewer Wrote: “Works great and very affordable. I get hormonal acne during my period. I also have ADHD and while my hands are inactive I’ll find myself picking at my face. Gross, and makes it look even worse. These have helped me so much. I keep a pack in my purse and a pack at home.”
Made of super absorbent, thicker material, these hydrocolloid pimple patches are literally described in one review as being “ like magic erasers for your face.” Sakura Skin’s acne stickers absorb fluids and pus from whiteheads and/or stubborn cystic acne without leaving marks once they’re removed. Due to their thicker nature, these might be better for overnight acne fighting.
One Reviewer Wrote: “These hydrocolloid patches have become one of my favorites to use for both deep cystic pimples and, most especially, pimples I couldn’t help but pick at. They’re very thin, barely noticeable, and are very effective at absorbing gunk from my spots. I also want to add in that my favorite thing about them is the fact that there are no other added ingredients. A lot of other acne patches add tea tree oil and/or salicylic acid (both which are very irritating to my skin) and I notice those brands typically don’t work as well to flatten my blemishes.”
If you find yourself suffering from hormonal breakouts every month, this is the best pimple patch for pesky period acne. Just wash and dry the trouble spot, apply Rael’s healing hydrocolloid sticker for 4-8 hours, and let it pull out all the pus and impurities. Once the patch turns white, it’s ready to peel off, which one reviewer describes as “always oddly satisfying” (totally get it). Rael’s pimple patch pack includes two sizes, 10mm and 12mm, both thin and transparent enough to wear outside.
One Reviewer Wrote: “First of all, the adhesive of these patches is insane! I’ve tried and used different brands but so far this product is the one with the strongest adhesive. I often put it on then go through my usual skincare routine which tend to make the patches move or slip away but not with this Rael patch. Another plus of these patches is its absorption. I popped several pimples like a day before and I processed to put another [brand’s] patches on those, nothing really came out. But when I put on Rael’s I was surprised to see the gunk that was drawn out from the same pimples.”
An acne sticker you can wear for up to 24 hours? Yup, that’s a thing. These BRIGHTJUNGLE pimple patches have a breathable and waterproof design, so they can reduce inflammation, absorb pus, calm redness, flatten your infected pore, and protect it from dirt all day long. They can easily be layered under makeup to help camouflage them. Plus, the packaging is kinda cute.
One Reviewer Wrote: “I’d been meaning to give these a try for the longest time, and they are amazing! I’d used blemish patches before, that were honestly a little bulky, but not these. They’re low profile enough to not be noticeable, and I don’t find the edges curling at all when I use them overnight. It’s actually pretty easy to forget that they’re even there until I go to wash my face.”
Made from all-natural ingredients, Le Gushe acne stickers are vegan-friendly, gluten-free, cruelty-free, and hypoallergenic. Whew! Oh, and they’re suitable for all skin types and will help prevent picking. Designed to treat whiteheads — but not blackheads — these slightly thicker pimple patches are best for overnight use, so they can absorb pus, oil, and gunk while you sleep. You get 132 patches per box.
One Reviewer Wrote: “I have [used] these type patches for a few years now, they help my skin lupus eruptions. This brand works well. All brands require you to push them down a few times right after you put them on so that they stick. I put them on and wear them to bed and they stick all night and pull pus from sores. These came in especially good packaging with sealed sheets inside sealed packets so that they were fresh.”
This article was originally published on