Acne spot treatments are so last year. The current blemish-busting craze? Stick-on acne dots, which typically fall into one of two camps, says Joshua Zeichner, M.D., assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in NYC. Many of these acne stickers are essentially hydrocolloid bandages -- adhesive, gel-based dressings that absorb excess fluid (in this case, pus and oil) while also keeping the skin hydrated. "Hydrocolloid bandages have long been used to promote wound healing, and they have a similar effect on pimples, reducing inflammation, swelling, and speeding the healing process," explains Zeichner.
Other acne stickers contain active ingredients -- most commonly salicylic acid -- which are slowly yet constantly delivered into the skin. "Because the sticker is completely covering the skin, both penetration and efficacy of these ingredients is improved," notes Zeichner. Plus, in both cases, sporting any kind of sticker deters you from poking or picking at the pimple, a majorly important factor for speedy healing, he adds.
While this zit-zapping M.O. is choice for the occasional pimple that pops up (rather than, say, chronic acne or blackheads), Zeichner says acne stickers can be extremely effective and deliver significant results as fast as overnight. Hydrocolloid dots have no real downside, though those infused with acne-fighters can potentially cause some irritation, so avoid layering any other topical treatment underneath either kind of sticker. Ahead, nine worth trying the next time you need to stick it to a pesky pimple.
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Peace Out Acne Healing Dots, $19 for 20
An instant hit when these launched at Sephora earlier this summer, these acne stickers are currently the No. 1 best-seller in the store's "Acne and Blemishes" category. Combining the best of both worlds, they're made of hydrocolloid material and infused with salicylic acid, plus vitamin A to promote healing and soothing aloe vera. And could the name be any cuter?
Stick these clear dots on swollen blemishes and let them do their thang overnight (i.e. suck up excess pus and oil). Also nice: The box of 36 contains two different sizes, so you can perfectly target any pimple.
Peter Thomas Roth Acne-Clear Invisible Dots, $30 for 72
Pore-clearing salicylic acid plus antimicrobial tea tree oil plus hydrating hyaluronic acid form a powerful treatment trio in these translucent acne stickers. Use them day or night, but it's best not to put makeup on top of them.
Pimple patches may just be gaining popularity here, but they've long been a K-beauty staple. This option, from one of the biggest K-beauty brands, is made of hypoallergenic, hydrocolloid material to help reduce the size and redness of blemishes.