How I Pimple-Patch


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Ever since I was 14, whiteheads have taken up residence around my mouth and along my jawline once a month, like clockwork, right as my period is about to start. I’ve experimented with countless acne remedies over the years, from questionable DIY spot treatments to harsh face scrubs and while some of them have helped take care of the zits, the majority of them have also dried out and irritated my sensitive skin. For so long I felt I had to choose between dealing with a flaky red—yet clear—complexion or having hydrated skin but feeling self-conscious about breakouts.

Finally, many years into my acne journey, I discovered pimple patches. I’ll never forget the first time, after sticking one on a particularly juicy whitehead one night, I lifted it the next morning to find a satisfying layer of gunk had been extracted. The bump underneath was flatter, and less visible. With no reason to pick or squeeze, I felt like I had found my holy-grail acne-fighter at last.

If you haven’t tried pimple patches (or just need a refresher on how they work), here’s what you need to know: They’re essentially thin, flexible stickers made of hydrocolloid (a dressing typically used for wounds) that can help soak up excess oils, visibly reduce the the look of blemishes, promote faster healing, and protect blemishes and active breakouts from external irritants. These qualities—and the fact that hydrocolloid is typically the sole ingredient—make them the perfect option for all skin types, including sensitive girlies like myself. Plus, if you have a tendency to pick at or pop your pimples like I do, patches serve as mini security guards against your hands.

group shot of blemish breakthrough

Ben Alsop

There are a lot of pimple-patch brands out there, and you may be wondering, with a product so simple, is there really any difference between them? After years of trying a variety of patches, some with subpar adhesive that would fall off my face mid-wear and others that were too prominent to cover with makeup, I can confidently say that there absolutely is. The new e.l.f. Skin Blemish Breakthrough Stick It to Zits Pimple Patches check all of my boxes, and have quickly become a permanent fixture in my skin care routine. They’re so lightweight and sufficiently sticky, I sometimes forget that I’m wearing them. They do the trick to clear up my whiteheads and at just $8 for a pack of 36 stickers, they last a nice long while.

At night, I apply the Stick It to Zits Pimple Patches after cleansing with a gentle salicylic acid-based cleanser, like e.l.f Skin Breakthrough Acne Clarifying Cleanser, to clarify pores, remove makeup, and dissolve oil and dirt. I follow up with a mix of pore-cleansing and hydrating formulas to strike the balance between targeting breakouts and appeasing my dry skin (making sure I’m avoiding the patch so it won’t move around). One of my go-to soothing moisturizers for this time of the month is e.l.f. Skin Blemish Breakthrough Acne Calming Water Cream.

Blemish Breakthrough Stick It to Zits Pimple Patches

e.l.f. Skin Blemish Breakthrough Stick It to Zits Pimple Patches

Blemish Breakthrough Acne Clarifying Cleanser

e.l.f. Skin Blemish Breakthrough Acne Clarifying Cleanser

Blemish Breakthrough Acne Calming Water Cream

e.l.f. Skin Blemish Breakthrough Acne Calming Water Cream

I also like to apply fresh ones in the morning after my a.m. skin care routine, to prevent remaining spots from being exposed to bacteria and my hands throughout the day. My trick is to apply a matte concealer on top of the sticker and then set the area with a powder that matches my skin tone. This makes them practically invisible.

The best thing about pimple patches—Stick It to Zits included—is that there’s really no wrong way to wear them. So whether your skin is dry, oily, or sensitive, they can help make fighting breakouts less daunting and more manageable, just as they did for me.

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