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9 Effective Pimple Patches You Can Easily Wear Under Your Mask To Battle Maskne


Photo: Lukasz Pukowiec

“Wear pimple patches under your face mask,” read a cardboard sign held by Dude With Sign in a meme I once spotted on K-beauty site Soko Glam’s Instagram page. First it got a chuckle out of me, but then I started thinking: In the age of maskne, when wearing face coverings has led to skin irritation by way of breakouts and blemishes, how had this entirely sensible strategy not occurred to me yet?

Despite my initial lack of savvy, it’s a practice I immediately began putting in place for the stubborn spots taking shape around my cheeks and chin. “Pimple patches absorb the impurities trapped under skin to flatten breakouts and protect the wound from external bacteria or face-picking,” explains Soko Glam co-founder and K-beauty expert Charlotte Cho of the multiple benefits of employing a pimple patch during this time. New York City dermatologist Rachel Nazarian agrees they’re helpful for addressing a number of pimples, including the flare-ups caused by acne. “What makes them a great option is that they protect the area from some of the same irritating triggers that can create and inflame pimples under your mask,” she explains, noting that many treatments employ hydrocolloid dressing, a method that has long been used for wound healing in skin care. “They act as a barrier against the bacteria and humidity from your breath, and even the chronic rubbing and friction from the mask itself.”

To minimize the inflammation and curtail the length of the time the pimple presents, Nazarian suggests using pimple patches early, when you see or feel a red or tender spot forming. She also stresses the importance of choosing a patch that closely aligns with the size of your pimple, so you’re not covering too much normal skin that can be irritated by certain ingredients. On that note, when in doubt, reach for patches that err on the gentler side in terms of ingredients. Hydrocolloid is largely considered the hallmark ingredient for healing whiteheads, as it is breathable while offering a protective barrier that stimulates healing and can speed up resolution of the pimple. Additionally, easily tolerable and soothing ingredients like tea tree, calendula, and hyaluronic acid can also help to reduce redness and the visible appearance of bumps.

One thing to remember is that pimple patches are for treating acne bumps, as opposed to preventing maskne. “A pimple patch is a backup when acne happens despite our best efforts,” explains Nazarian. “But because they aren’t preventative, using the patches as a your monotherapeutic approach means you’ll never actually stop breaking out.” As such, one must already be following a preventative regimen—cleansing, exfoliating, and moisturizing—to proactively decrease future breakouts. To round out your skin-care routine for the age of maskne and beyond, here are nine pimple patches to stock up on, from nearly invisible dots to selfie-ready stickers.

The Klog Soft Shield Pimple Patch


Made from 100% vegan hydrocolloid, The Klog’s Soft Shield patches come in two different sizes and help to accelerate the healing of maskne while acting as a shield against bacteria, pollutants, and free radicals. “Acne should be treated like a wound and using a hydrocolloid patch to help draw out the impurities allows the wound to stay dry and clean,” says Cho.

Sarah Chapman Skinesis Spot Sticker


For on-the-go application, London facialist Sarah Chapman’s delicate patches—infused with salicylic acid, sytenol, and grape seed and soy oils—comes in a white mirrored wallet perfect for stowing in your handbag.

Good Light Luna Pimple Patches


Offered in two different sizes, Good Light’s gentle, yet robustly effective Luna pimple patches are powered by hydrocolloid, designed to be used on your face and body, and made from recycled plastic. Bonus: With each purchase, the brand includes brightly colored butterfly hair clips to up your Y2K style game.

Peter Thomas Roth Acne-Clear Invisible Dots


To shrink and heal spots, Peter Thomas Roth’s transparent patches combine exfoliating 0.5% salicylic acid with toning tea tree oil and moisturizing hyaluronic acid.

Cosrx Acne Pimple Master Patch


While Cosrx’s ultra-thin, waterproof patches are specifically designed to treat and protect blemishes while you sleep, they can easily be repurposed for the daytime—allowing you to supercharge spots with medical-grade hydrocolloid for hours at a time.

Zitsticka Killa Kit


A dermatologist favorite, ZitSticka’s signature, self-dissolving microdart technology—made from hyaluronic acid, antimicrobial oligopeptide-76, salicylic acid, and niacinamide—takes no prisoners when it comes to pesky spots. What’s more: Each kit contains special exfoliating swabs to prime the area you’re targeting before stick on.

Starface Hydro-Stars Starter Pack


A playful—and powerful—wink at the skin-positive movement, Starface’s Hydro-Stars suspend hydrocolloid technology into adorable peel-and-stick star patches you wouldn’t dare pick at.

Patchology Breakout Box Blemish Treatment


Taking treatment to the next level, Patchology’s 3-in-1 kit features blackhead-clearing nose strips, as well as two different types of pimple patches—one laced with shrinking salicylic acid, the other whitehead-absorbing hydrocolloid—for a more tailored approach.

Squish Flower Power Acne Patches


As far as pimple patches are concerned, it doesn’t get more colorful or twinkly than Squish’s flower-shaped hydrocolloid dots, which are cast in lavender, tangerine, and petal pink among other feel-good shades.

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