not a professional. just crazy.

The Three Best Pimple Patches for All Kinds of Pimples

Rio Viera Newton applying her pimple patch.
The author, applying her Cosrx patch. Photo: Courtesy of Rio Viera Newton.

When I think about my life before I discovered the world of pimple patches, I actually shudder. Pimple patches, if you’ve never read one of my articles before, are hydrocolloid stickers that draw out all the gunk in your pimple and protect them from outside bacteria. Korean skin-care company Cosrx’s pimple patches are the originals — if put on before bed, they can make a pimple look noticeably smaller and flatter by the morning — but there are a handful of other worthwhile contenders on the market. I was hesitant to try these competing patches at first (how could they outshine my beloved Cosrx?), but one evening, after aggressively picking at my congested, broken-out skin, I was horrified to discover I had run out of my Cosrx patches. And it just so happened that I had some of Hero Cosmetic’s Mighty Patches and Trouble Cure’s microneedle-infused Acropasses lying around my house. I decided to give them a try.

Through trial and trial (and more trial), I soon realized that all three of these patches are, in fact, quite different — in both their texture and how they should be used. Below, you’ll find a guide to each: what kinds of zit each patch is most helpful for, and a breakdown of the results I got from each. Warning: this is a little graphic, so if zit talk makes you uncomfortable, I would recommend clicking out.

For a good old-fashioned cyst

The newest, hottest patch around is this little guy from Acropass, which is actually a two-step process. First you swipe the affected area with a tea tree and salicylic acid–drenched wipe (that comes in the packaging) meant to sanitize and treat the area. Then you apply the patch itself. The Acropass has teeny tiny little microneedles infused with hyaluronic acid, an ingredient which deeply hydrates the skin, and niacinamide, a form of vitamin B3, which has brightening and soothing effects. The microneedles — which, I know, sound scary — are so thin you can barely feel them, and they puncture the zit to attack it from the inside out. After trying these on a bunch of different pimples, I’ve found that these work best on the following two types: the kind that, when you pop it, only produces clear gunk, and the kind that is so huge and intimidating and intense that nothing will even come out of in the first place. What I love most about this product is that it has serious bacteria-fighting ingredients (the tea tree and salicylic acid in the wipe) and a dose of intense moisture (hyaluronic acid microneedles in the patch itself), which will make even the meanest of zits relax.

For Whiteheads and extracted zits

Photo: unknown

If you’ve read my pieces before, you’ve likely heard my opinions on the Cosrx pimple patches. I think I mention this product at least once an article, just to make sure you are all constantly aware of their truly magic powers. But here are the instances in which the Cosrx truly shine:
1) After you’ve successfully extracted a zit (meaning some white stuff came out) but want to make absolutely sure everything comes out.
2) When you have a big old whitehead that you don’t want to extract yourself. The patch uses it’s very adhesive hydrocolloid properties to pull the whitehead off your skin.
3) When your blemish is healing, or when you’ve picked a scab too early and it’s weird and watery. What COSRX patches do best is pretty aggressively pull all the oils from the spot.
After trying the Acropasses, I no longer think the Cosrx’s are the best option for cystic zits. Cystic zits often just can’t be popped, no matter how hard you may hope and try, and Cosrx pimple patches just don’t thrive when there no hole in the zit that they can pull gunk from.

For daytime treatment

When I have a zit, I tend to want to touch and feel it all day (the opposite of what you should do). Which brings me to the next thing pimple patches are truly great for: keeping bacteria out of the area and making sure the spot stays clean. The problem is, a lot of people don’t really want to walk around with stickers on their face all day. While Cosrx does have a “daytime” version of the pimple patch that’s a little less visible than the originals, I truly prefer these super thin, super sheer ones from Mighty Patch for when I want to leave the house with a pimple patch on. They’re super, ultra thin so you can barely see them — sometimes I even lose track of where I’ve put them when I look in the mirror. On days where I have a really bad zit and want it to be protected from the horrible grime of the city, I use these. I’ve even thrown some concealer on top of it to further disguise it.

The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best acne treatments, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, natural anxiety remedies, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.

Every editorial product is independently selected. If you buy something through our links, New York may earn an affiliate commission.

For more Rio-approved beauty products, check out The Strategist’s store on Amazon. 

The Three Best Pimple Patches for All Kinds of Pimples