As acne patches have finally gone mainstream, skincare companies have become obsessed with creating more and more complex versions.
Brands like ZitSticka have introduced versions with micro-needles to help the ingredients penetrate the pimple better. Meanwhile, others like Peace Out have taken the original hydrocolloid pimple patches and added extra ingredients like salicylic acid and vitamin A.
But as tempting as these pimple patches are, none of them can hold a candle to the best pimple patches, aka Nexcare Acne Patches.
The Best Pimple Patches Hands-Down
Unlike their competitors, Nexcare Pimple Patches often don’t make “best of” lists. Not because they’re not amazing (they are!), but because they’re not trendy and don’t come in cute packaging.
But damn do they work. They will suck every bit of pus out of your pimple. They will flatten that thing overnight.
No, they don’t have those extra “acne-fighting” ingredients but they do exactly what they claim to do. Sometimes they soak up so much gunk that I end up using a second or even a third patch (you won’t believe how deep those pesky cheek pimples can go).
At this point, I’ve tried quite a few other brands like Cosrx and Avarelle and nothing even comes close to Nexcare.
The best part? They only cost $8 for a pack of 36. Meanwhile, “cooler” brands like Zitsticka will take you for $34 for a pack of only 12. Talk about a ripoff!
How Acne Patches Work
Ok, so you’re probably wondering how all of this works, right? It’s actually pretty simple.
All pimple patches — regardless of brand — are actually hydrocolloid bandages, which were originally designed to treat open wounds. Hydrocolloid patches or bandages work by attracting all the liquid, pus, and other gunk out of your wound.
So, when you put a hydrocolloid patch on your pimple, it will draw out all of that yucky stuff. When you remove your acne patch, you’ll find all that pus that used to be in your face is now attached to the patch itself. It’s gross and incredibly satisfying.
How to Use a Pimple Patch
If you’re going to get the most out of your Nexcare acne patches, then you need to know how to use them correctly. It may seem obvious but you’d be shocked how many people use them incorrectly and then complain that they don’t work.
So, here’s the rub: you CANNOT use an acne patch on a closed pimple. You can’t use it on deep cystic acne. I know, I know, that’s where you need it most. But your pimple will need to be open in order for this to work.
So, when your pimple has come to a head, gently apply pressure until it opens up. At that point, you need to wash your face immediately to prevent any infection from spreading and causing more acne.
Once your face is washed and completely dry, it’s time to apply a patch to your open pimple.
Dermatologists recommend that you don’t leave it on for more than 12 hours (although I’ve definitely left mine on for a bit longer). That makes bedtime the ideal time to use them.
If your patch fills up before the 12 hours are up (you’ll be able to tell because your patch will go from yellow to white), then go ahead and swap it out early.
Either way, definitely feel free to use multiple patches to ensure you get every bit of pus out of your pimple. If we’ve learned anything from watching Dr. Pimple Popper, it’s that it’s essential to get everything out of the pore, or else you risk the pimple coming right back.
Dealing With Acne Clusters
As most of us know, pimples often show up with friends. If you’re constantly dealing with clusters of acne, you might find that pimple patches are too small for your needs.
In that case, you might want to upgrade to the real deal and buy actual hydrocolloid bandages. They come in square sizes like 2 in x 2 in that can be cut down to suit your needs.
The biggest drawback is that large hydrocolloid bandages are much thicker and not nearly as flexible as a pimple patch. That can make them less comfortable so you’ll probably want to reserve them for when you really need to cover a larger area.
Ready to get started? Shop our favorite pimple patches below.
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Lena Finkel is the Editor and Founder of Femestella. Prior to starting Femestella, she worked at People, InStyle, Tiger Beat, and Sesame Workshop (aka Sesame Street). She loves all things Real Housewives and The Challenge. When she’s not busy binge-watching TV, you can find her taking an absurd amount of photos of her tuxedo cat Tom.