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8 Best Pimple Patches To Clean Up Pesky Breakouts

Swear off pimple picking for good with these best pimple patches.

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Those with acne-prone skin are no strangers to breakouts—but even those with typically clear complexions can suffer from the occasional crop of zits. Even if you stick to foundations and moisturizers for your skin type, blemishes and whiteheads can still rear their ugly heads. Fortunately, there’s a quick and affordable way to get rid of those pesky pimples that doesn’t involve a trip to the dermatologist or replacing your favorite skin care products. Enter the best pimple patches.

Pimple patches are small bandages that place over a pimple. Most contain acne-fighting ingredients such as hydrocolloid, a gel-like substance that absorbs fluid and build-up from pimples and helps reduce the inflammation around them. These patches protect your pimples from outside bacteria, UV rays and, of course, picking, which allows them to heal faster. We’ve rounded up the best pimple patches to combat pesky breakouts and have your skin looking fresh in no time.

The 8 best pimple patches

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Best overall pimple patches

Hero Cosmetics Mighty Patch Original

There’s a reason why this award-winning Hero Cosmetics patch has over 86,000 five-star ratings on Amazon. It works! But more than that, you can actually see it working. This transparent patch flattens out with your pimple, and you can watch the gunk being drawn out by the hydrocolloid. Gross, but satisfying.

These patches are free from chemicals as well as allergy-tested, making them safe to use on sensitive skin. Once you’ve removed the patch, you can start your daily skin care routine with the best face wash for your skin type.

Pros

  • One of the most effective pimple patch formulas on the market
  • Allergy-tested and chemical-free formula
  • You’ll see results in as little as six to eight hours
  • 119,000 Amazon ratings and a 4.5-star average
  • Available at Ulta, Amazon, Target, Walmart and Hero Cosmetics

Con

  • Only one size patch comes in the box

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Best budget pimple patches

Peach & Lily Peach Slices Acne Spot Dots

Almost 5,000 Amazon users gave these K-Beauty brand Peach & Lily hydrocolloid patches a five-star rating. Users rave about how well they work without causing dryness or irritation and how well they stay on. At just $5 a box, these are some of the most affordable patches out there. Not only that, but these pimple patches are so good that they made our list of the best Korean beauty products.

Pros

  • Won’t break the bank
  • Won’t fall off skin easily
  • The package includes patches in three different sizes
  • 7,000 Amazon ratings and a 4.3-star average
  • Available at Amazon, Ulta, Walmart and Peach & Lily

Con

  • Some users found it took two patches before pimples were completely gone

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Best pimple patches for whiteheads

Rael Beauty Miracle Patch

It’s tempting to squeeze those whiteheads, but doing so can cause irritation and scarring. When one rears its ugly white head, just pop one of these Rael Beauty patches onto clean, dry skin and let them work their magic. These have a matte finish and are so thin and transparent that they can be worn on any and all skin types, day or night. Speaking of nighttime, here are the best night creams for your skin type.

Pros

  • Draws the pus and impurities out of whiteheads
  • Has a clear, matte finish and extra thin outer edge that seamlessly blends in with all skin tones
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Patches have tapered edges which help them better adhere to skin
  • 45,000 Amazon ratings and a 4.5-star average
  • Available on Amazon, Target, Walmart, Nordstrom and Rael Beauty

Con

  • Not effective for cystic acne or pimples that haven’t surfaced

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Best pimple patches for sensitive skin

Starface Hydro-Stars

These Starface pimple patches are the stars of the show—pun intended—when it comes to dealing with sensitive skin. Not only are they adorable, but they also come in a reusable compact case you can throw in your toiletry bag. They’re only made with one ingredient—you guessed it, hydrocolloid—so they’re perfect for all skin types including sensitive skin. These patches are also vegan, hypoallergenic and don’t contain any active ingredients that are unsafe for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Pros

  • Only contains hydrocolloid, so there’s less chance of skin irritation
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Packaged in a refillable compact with a mirror inside
  • 1,300 Amazon ratings and a 4.4-star average
  • Available at Walmart, Amazon, Target and Starface

Con

  • Some may find the star shape a bit juvenile

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Best medicated pimple patches

Peace Out Salicylic Acid Acne Day Dots

If you need something a little stronger than just hydrocolloid, then these Peace Out Day Dots are for you. In addition to hydrocolloid, these patches contain encapsulated salicylic acid which penetrates pores and targets blemishes. They also have retinol to promote clear-looking skin.

And while it’s true that retinol serums can cause dryness and irritation, you won’t have to worry about that here. These patches contain aloe vera leaf extract to soothe skin and minimize redness.

Pros

  • Contains hydrocolloid, salicylic acid and retinol for a boost of pimple-reducing power
  • Formulated with soothing aloe vera leaf extract to combat redness
  • Thin enough to be worn under makeup
  • Available at Ulta, Sephora, Walmart, and Peace Out

Con

  • Not recommended for use on very dry skin

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Best pimple patches for daytime use

Cosrx Master Patch Set

While many pimple patches instruct you to use at night, these ultra-thin Cosrx patches are designed for daytime use. This patch set includes three different size patches made with 100% hydrocolloid. Simply apply a patch to clean, dry skin and follow with the best foundation for your skin type.

Pros

  • Ultra-thin patches are designed for daytime use
  • Three different sizes for various blemishes
  • Can be worn under makeup
  • 30,000 Amazon ratings and a 4.5-star average
  • Available at Amazon, Ulta, Target and Walmart

Con

  • The brand recently changed the product’s name and packaging which could be confusing to existing users

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Best pimple patches for dry skin

Peter Thomas Roth Acne-Clear Invisible Dots

No need to worry about drying your skin out with these Peter Thomas Roth pimple patches. Salicylic acid fights your most stubborn blemishes, while tea tree oil works to purify the skin. Hyaluronic acid helps attract and retain moisture for a finishing touch. To keep your skin radiant and blemish free, consider adding this daily exfoliant to your skin care routine.

Pros

  • Contains hydrating hyaluronic acid to moisturize skin
  • Made with salicylic acid and tea tree oil for irritation relief
  • Comes with two different patch sizes
  • 700 Amazon ratings and a 4.3-star average
  • Available at Ulta, Sephora, Amazon, Target, Walmart, Nordstrom and Peter Thomas Roth

Con

  • More expensive than most other pimple patches on our list

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Best pimple patches for deep breakouts

ZitSticka Killa Kit

Since they draw the gunk out of pimples, most pimple patches are mainly effective on whiteheads. ZitSticka’s Killa patches, on the other hand, attack those deeper pimples. Each patch is armed with 24 dissolvable microdarts that gently penetrate skin and send targeted ingredients straight to the source in just two hours.

The microdarts are made of salicylic acid, soothing niacinamide, oligopeptide-76 and hydrating hyaluronic acid. In other words, those zits don’t stand a chance! Here are even more ways to get rid of cystic acne overnight.

Pros

  • Microdarts containing acne-fighting ingredients attack early-stage pimples
  • Starts working within two hours
  • Includes cleaning swabs to prep the pimple before applying the patch
  • 4,600 Amazon ratings and a 4.2-star average
  • Available at AmazonUlta, Target, Bluemercury and Zitsticka

Con

  • A more expensive price point for only eight patches

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What to look for when buying pimple patches

When it comes to getting rid of stubborn breakouts, a pimple patch might do the trick. But not every patch is created equal. It’s important to be aware of the patch’s ingredients so it can best suit your needs. Ingredients like hydrocolloid, hyaluronic acid, salicylic acid and niacinamide are tough against minor pimples, while providing hydration and inflammation relief.

Also, be sure to choose a patch that works for your budget and skin type. When in doubt, just refer back to our list of the eight best pimple patches.

How we found the best pimple patches

As shopping experts, our only job is to help you find a winning product. We start with the research and reporting basics—what products are made of, what they look like and how much they cost—to ensure that we’re only recommending the buys that are worth your time and money. Then, we research the features that speak to the product’s quality, taking advice from industry insiders and subject matter experts on what makes a product a smart value (or worthy of a splurge). Finally, we do the work of combing through user reviews to see how real people interact with the product, and if it stands up to the test.  

FAQs

Do pimple patches really work?

Pimple patches are a great way to eliminate pesky, surface-level pimples. By putting a sticker on top of a breakout, it also prevents the cycle of picking and subsequent scarring. However, patches aren’t a cure or recommended treatment for cystic acne. In fact, pimple patches shouldn’t be used as the end-all-be-all solution for acne, just an added measure for the occasional pimple.

Should I put a pimple patch on a popped pimple?

Yes, you can put a patch on a popped pimple to help it heal faster. But the last thing you want is reinfection on an open pimple, so be sure to thoroughly wash your hands and prevent direct contact with the area.

What happens if you leave a pimple patch on too long?

It’s recommended to leave a pimple patch for six to eight hours, though many leave them on overnight. However, leaving a patch on for too long can start to irritate the skin or worse, cause a new breakout. Don’t wear a patch for longer than 12 hours.

Marisa Hillman
Marisa is a personal finance, travel and retail expert dedicated to helping readers find solutions that will help them live their best lives. She'll also help you figure out where to book your next family vacation, the art of meal planning and how to do life on a budget. She lives on the East Coast with her husband, four young children and a yellow lab that wasn't cut out for life as a police officer.