Derm DMs: Can I Use a Spot Treatment With a Pimple Patch?
Imagine this: you’ve just woken up before a big event and notice a pimple that wasn’t there the night before. In an effort to minimize the damage, you reach for your trusty spot treatment and your favorite pimple patches. Both can be used on unwanted blemishes, but should you use them together or separately for best results? To figure out whether or not you can use two treatments together, we tapped Dr. Lian Mack, an NYC-based board-certified dermatologist.
The Difference Between a Spot Treatment and a Pimple Patch
While there is no magical cure for blemishes, there are, however, two products that can help. Enter: spot treatments and pimple patches. A spot treatment, which is typically found in the form of a cream or gel, is often formulated with active ingredients like benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid to help target zits. With just a little dot of product on the inflamed area, spot treatments can reduce the size and severity of the blemish. Unfortunately, if you’re over-eager with the spot treatment, you could end up irritating your skin, so be sure to use it sparingly. Pimple patches, on the other hand, are small stickers that are applied on top of blemishes. Many are made of a hydrocolloid dressing, which according to Dr. Mack, essentially creates a protective seal over the pimple while simultaneously absorbing excess fluid like sebum and occasionally pus. “I love pimple patches because they act as a barrier, preventing you from picking at or manipulating the skin, which can cause scarring and discoloration,” says Dr. Mack. “They also tend to be less drying and irritating than traditional spot treatments.”
Should I Use a Spot Treatment and a Pimple Patch Together?
Dr. Mack recommends against it. “Many spot treatments contain active ingredients like benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid,” says Dr. Mack. “If an active ingredient is placed underneath a pimple patch it may cause extreme irritation or a burn.” Therefore, it’s best to use them separately.
Which Type of Product Should I Use?
Each different type of acne requires a different form of treatment. For superficial acne like pustules, whiteheads and blackheads, Dr. Mack recommends using a pimple patch. Unfortunately, deeper, more cystic lesions won’t respond as well to patches and will likely require a spot treatment containing an active ingredient or some wait time in order for the pimple to reach the surface. To figure out which is best for you, though, she suggests consulting with your dermatologist or skincare expert.
Our Favorite Spot Treatments and Pimple Patches
Reduce the size and severity of your active blemishes with this sulfur acne spot treatment. Also formulated with soothing niacinamide, it helps heal your skin while preventing new acne from forming.
Banish blackheads and whiteheads with the help of this blemish-fighting spot treatment. The combo of benzoyl peroxide and a micro-exfoliating lipohydroxy acid help to treat your breakout while preventing pore-clogging impurities from wreaking further havoc on your skin.
Create a protective barrier around a pimple and keep impurities away as it heals with one of these hydrocolloid pimple patches. The stickers are clear, so you can wear them during the day to prevent picking.
Design: Hannah Packer