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Navigating through hormonal changes, we often find ourselves dealing with a bout of hormonal acne. The go-to solution? Slap on a pimple patch on those stubborn bumps post-skincare routine.

But, have you ever noticed those pesky pimples persisting or, worse, evolving into craters? If you feel your pimple patches aren’t doing the job, chances are you might be using them incorrectly.

Fear not! We’ve got some handy tips on applying these patches that could be a game-changer for your future pimple problems.

How Pimple Patches Work


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A “pimple patch” is a broad term typically referring to a spot treatment that utilises a thin hydrocolloid bandage or sticker in various sizes to absorb fluid from a blemish.

Some may include ingredients targeting acne treatment and skin healing. Hydrocolloid creates a moist environment, expediting healing by drawing out excess fluid from the pimple.

The material swells upon contact with fluids, forming a gel-like substance that absorbs impurities and prevents further infection.

Hydrocolloid pimple patches may also contain salicylic acid, known for its exfoliating properties, as well as other beneficial ingredients like tea tree oil, hyaluronic acid, centella asiatica, and retinol.

Related read: The cutest pimple patches you’d want to wear even if you’re not breaking out

Why Pimple Patches Might Worsen Pimples


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If your pimple patches aren’t working, it could be because you’re using potent active ingredients, such as retinol and exfoliating acids, under these hydrocolloid patches.

While using pimple patches alongside other skincare products is generally safe, it’s crucial to be aware of the type and formulation of your active skincare products.

In an article by Refinery29, esthetician Renée Rouleau suggests considering potential irritation from other skincare products, especially those with known side effects.

If a patch leaves a red mark after removal, discontinuing use is recommended.

Pimple patches are effective for whiteheads and surface-level blemishes but may not be as impactful for deeper cystic acne.

If consistent use doesn’t yield results, exploring alternative spot treatments may be beneficial.

Related Read: 22 Best Pimple Creams To Make Acne Spots Disappear, Including Ones From Korea and Japan

Risks of Using Pimple Patches


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As much as we love the simplicity of slapping on a pimple patch and calling it a day, they come with potential risks.

Allergies to the hydrocolloid material or adhesives are not unheard of. Those with sensitive skin or existing skin conditions like eczema or rosacea may react to active ingredients like salicylic acid.

Before introducing patches to your face, do a little patch test on your wrist – better safe than sorry! The goal is to see less redness and swelling. But if you notice more redness, swelling, or pain, seeking medical attention is advised.

Tips for Applying Pimple Patches


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  • Avoid oil-based products: Pimple patches adhere best to clean, dry skin. Avoid applying oil-based products before using a patch, as it can reduce adhesion.
  • Skip retinoids on patched areas: If using retinoids, avoid applying them where you’ve used a pimple patch, as retinoids may increase the risk of irritation.
  • Be mindful of exfoliating products and fragrance: Chemical exfoliants or fragrances may irritate the skin when combined with a patch.
  • Keep surrounding skin moisturised: While heavy moisturisers are a no-go directly on the patch, keep the surrounding area moisturised to support the skin barrier.
  • It’s a patch, not a pore strip: No ripping and tearing here! Remove the patch gently to avoid traumatising the skin. Forcibly ripping it off can worsen inflammation and harm the healing process.
  • Read the directions: Yes, those tiny words on the back of the box matter. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions, apply with clean hands on oil-free skin, and change the patch as directed – not when you remember!

Now armed with these simple tips, you can make the most of your pimple patches and say goodbye to stubborn bumps!

Featured image credits: @dewylouie/TikTok, @skinbyshiv/TikTok, @haniehazs/TikTok.

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