People Can't Get Enough of Acne Stickers—Here's Why

March 27, 2018
Claire Rodgers
By: Claire Rodgers | by L'Oréal
People Can't Get Enough of Acne Stickers—Here's Why

Can’t seem to find the right solution for your acne? It’s time to put aside your drying acne formula and put hydrocolloid patches—a.k.a. acne stickers—on your radar instead. These widely popular acne-fighting products offer a slew of benefits that even the experts can’t get enough of! 

For all the benefits acne-fighting spot treatments, lotions, and moisturizers can bring, there’s one downside that many of us can probably relate to: skin dryness. Yes these products can work wonders to remove or reduce the appearance of blemishes (and we’re ever-so thankful for that), but they can also cause our skin to dry out very, very quickly. If you’re looking for a new acne fighter to add to your arsenal that can aid the fight of all fights against pimples (while potentially minimizing unwanted dryness), look no further than hydrocolloid patches. Also referred to as acne stickers or acne patches, these products were unsurprisingly first introduced to us by the Korean beauty sphere where they’ve been used for years, and people can’t get enough of them. For the inside scoop on hydrocolloid patches—and whether or not they’re an effective way to target blemishes—we tapped SkinCeuticals ambassador, and consultant, Dr. John Burroughs. Keep reading to find out if acne stickers deserve a spot in your acne-fighting regimen!


Call them what you will—hydrocolloid patches, acne patches, or acne stickers—they look like small, round adhesive bandages. But instead of placing them over a scrape or cut like you would a typical bandage, these small patches are meant to be placed directly over your pimples. But hiding your unsightly pimple isn’t the only benefit these patches can provide. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, hydrocolloid patches work to help improve the redness, oiliness, and sebum in a breakout. Doing so, they help keep the humidity trapped on the problem area to minimize infection and prevent further damage to the skin.  

Many of these patches are formulated with acne-fighting ingredients like salicylic acid. Best of all? Some are clear, meaning you can wear them throughout the day without it being innately obvious that you’re targeting your pimples. Some are specifically meant to be worn in the evening for a few hours and some can be worn overnight. Be sure to check your product of choice for proper use instructions. What’s more, since these patches fit snugly onto problem areas, you won’t have to worry about your acne medication seeping into your pillow overnight or rubbing off on your clothing.

acne stickers 


Those who are guilty of occasionally popping, picking, or even just touching their pimples can especially benefit from hydrocolloid patches. Why? Because one of the greatest advantages that these patches have to offer is the ability to prevent you from picking at your blemishes. As you already know, the act of picking at your pimples puts you at risk for cross contamination and irritation, as well as the potential for permanent scarring. When that barrier is there, you’re less likely to do the damage.


Editors, influencers and K-Beauty aficionados can’t get enough of these fun and effective acne-fighting patches, but what about dermatologists and other skin experts? We took the liberty of asking Dr. Burroughs if he recommends hydrocolloid patches to his own patients to find out. His response probably won’t surprise you! 

“We love hydrocolloid patches following peels and thermal facial treatments because of the cooling effect,” he says. “It seems to almost draw out the irritating heat and provide soothing comfort.” Dr. Burroughs is also in agreement about the benefit these patches can provide when it comes to keeping your hands off your pimples. “Having the hydrocolloid barrier over areas of blemish keeps the skin clean and blocks the areas from being picked at while the acne areas are trying to heal,” he says. “This fosters resolution and can avoid infection and potential worsened scarring.

Chances are if you’re interested in hydrocolloid patches, you have a few questions about those pesky pimples that tend to crop up from time to time. Check out our answers on some of the most common questions about acne, here!

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