Skincare brands target blemishes with single-use pimple patches

Skincare brands aren’t just helping consumers eliminate unwanted blemishes; increasingly, brands are helping to destigmatize the judgement and embarrassment that surfaces alongside painful zits. New targeted pimple patches from such forward-thinking brands deliver moisturizing agents and other ingredients to heal a breakout while also protecting acne from potentially worsening due to contact with outside bacteria. While a new zit is never a welcome surprise, skincare devotees might find enjoyment in using such proactive patches.


DTC Gen Z startup Starface wants to help today’s teens feel comfortable in their own skin, and even make peace with their acne. To this end, Starface is helping Zs radically rebrand their acne—and even highlight their zits—with its Hydro-Stars. Hydro-Stars are yellow star-shaped stickers containing hydrocolloid, a medical-grade ingredient that speeds up the acne healing process. These patches also absorb excess fluid, shield spots from harmful outside bacteria, and prevent skin picking, which can cause scarring. Users apply the Hydro-Stars directly to their zits (opposing conventional inclination to not pull focus to blemishes), creating a fun and even fierce face statement. The patches come in an AirPod-esque yellow compact and contain 32 stars for $22. Subsequent refills are $18.


The Acne Pimple Master Patch from Korean beauty brand COSRX is a cult favorite, and even lauded as the OG pimple patch. These clear patches are essentially thin sheets of hydrocolloid (the same substance used in Starface’s Hydro-Stars) that allow users to cover, protect, and treat existing acne while also preventing breakouts from getting worse. While COSRX’s patch is best for overnight blemish treatment, the brand also has a patch that is designed for larger areas of acne, as well as a patch that can be used under makeup. All of COSRX’s patches are dermatologist-tested, cruelty-free, vegan, and hypoallergenic.


Australian brand ZitSticka offers consumers the KILLA, a self-dissolving “microdart” pimple patch made with hydrocolloid. The patch’s protruding “microdarts” contain salicylic and hyaluronic acids, which purportedly deliver acne-fighting ingredients deeper into the blemish, and are meant to treat early stage acne quickly to prevent a zit from getting worse. ZitSticka KILLA patches come in a 16-piece kit that also contain CLEANA swabs, which are used to prime an area before applying the patch.