I used to be incredibly quick to write off certain beauty products. I often assumed new innovations or tools were merely gimmicks, and I had a bad habit of completely discounting certain product categories, like face oils, for fear they'd exacerbate my sensitive, especially acne-prone complexion. (I say "especially" because, no matter how many filtered photos you see on Instagram, the reality is we're human, and we're all acne-prone. Pimples, whether we like it or not, are a fact of life.)
Over time, I realized I actually could use face oils—I just had to be selective. In that same vein, I realized acne patches weren't just a new industry ruse to vacuum even more of my money from my bank account. The first few acne patches I tried didn't do a thing, but I was determined to stick with them. After plenty more experimenting (my Starface Hydro-Stars, $11, were the breakthrough!), I realized some acne patches are, indeed, pretty dang miraculous. I'm all for embracing acne—again, it's a daily reality for so many of us—but sometimes, we just want to pump the breaks when we feel a new pimple (or five) making its way to the surface of our complexion. And that's acceptable. Let me say this: It's amazing if you can make peace with your acne, but it's also okay if you're not quite there yet.
Thanks to the nature of my job, I've been able to press plenty of different acne patches onto bourgeoning pimples over the past few years, and I've been able to sort the effective from the not-so-effective. Below, I'm sharing all of my personal favorites that have noticeably lessened or banished my own breakouts, along with a few more that I haven't tried but that have received seriously glowing praise and reviews. Keep scrolling! The 10 best acne patches for clearing acne in a hurry are just ahead.
If I had to choose one brand of acne patches to use for the rest of my days, it would be these potent dots from Hero Cosmetics. I recently flew to see my family in Arizona for the first time since January, and while you wouldn't think the difference between L.A. and Tucson would be significant, my skin (not surprisingly) had a minor meltdown. The second I got to my parents' home at 12 a.m., I popped a few of these bad boys on, and by morning, all three of my angry zits were flat and significantly faded. The name of this brand could not be more appropriate. Heroics, indeed! It has a few different variations of patches, but I stick with these ones, which are the OG!
If you get pimples (in other words, if you're not a robot), these fast-acting acne patches from Peach Slices (a line from beloved K-beauty brand Peach & Lily!) will undoubtedly be the best $4 you ever spend. According to the brand, they're the number one best-selling blemish solution on the market, and I'm especially smitten with the fact that each pack contains a variety of sizes for all pimple needs. They're nondrying but super sticky, and I've been known to use them on body acne, too.
These adorable star-shaped acne patches are the patches that convinced me I could, indeed, be an acne-patch person. And my WWW Beauty partner in crime, Courtney Higgs, agrees they're one of the best acne-patch options on the market:
"I had a zit on my forehead last weekend and used a Starface patch. While I didn’t think it did anything miraculous at the time, that zit came to a head beautifully and only left a faint mark, which is unheard of for me. I always have a scar."
Just like their sunny yellow sisters, these rainbow ones feature an effective, 100% hydrocolloid dressing, but all net proceeds will go to the Black Led Movement Fund and the Hetrick-Martin Institute for LGBTQ+ youth. (And all net proceeds in the UK will be allocated to Black Thrive.)
Most acne patches on the market are pure hydrocolloids. In other words, they seal off an infection (your zit) from outside bacteria and other environmental aggravators and then use your skin's own moisture and natural enzymes to heal and hydrate the infection for an expedited healing process. And as you can see from my above reviews, they work.
That said, these potent acne patches from ZitSticka aren't your average acne patch. They have the same guard-dog protective factor, but they're also spiked with freeze-dried micro darts that inject your pimple with salicylic acid, niacinamide, and hyaluronic acid. Plus, they even come with handy clearing prep pads that clean your skin and eradicate lingering bacteria and dirt before you apply your patch.
I'm a huge fan of everything Cosrx makes, and these handy-dandy acne patches are always on my list of recommendations. They're super sticky and waterproof, and I can legit apply one at 6 a.m. underneath my face mask before I go out for a run, and it will stay put through sweat and my morning and evening showers. Then, when I peel it off before my evening skincare routine, my bourgeoning bump is only a distant memory. Here's a fun little hack: If I know I have a bump of any kind I'll be tempted to pick, I slap one of these on top to stop my fingers in their tracks. Ever since I started doing this regularly, my breakouts have healed much faster.
Starring review: "I was very skeptical, but after one try, I love these!! When I removed the patch from my problem area, I could see the patch itself had something on it! The swelling had gone down significantly, and there was no longer a visible head on my zit. I was seriously shocked. The spot was still red because it’s just been a severe spot for me lately, but honestly, this was a huge improvement for me because I could easily conceal redness with makeup. All this from just one overnight use! I continued putting patches on my breakout, and the spot on my face is healed after just a couple days."
Starring Review: "I ordered these, received them, and slapped one on a pimple before bed. I woke up amazed. All of the 'goo' had been sucked out of my skin onto the patch, and just a tiny speckle remained. The pimple was gone by the next day. It didn't hang around for days, so I didn't have the opportunity to poke and prod it, which can lead to scarring. These are even good for when you can just feel a pimple about to pop up—I like to use one preemptively for a couple of nights, and it doesn't even let the thing turn into an actual zit. I've tried a few other brands, but these are my favorite. They're priced well, you get a lot of patches, different sized patches, they work well, and they have salicylic acid. I have already repurchased and will continue to do so."
Starring review: "My friend told me about acne patches and let me try a few of hers, which were the Clearasil brand. I put them on overnight, and I was totally shocked at how well they worked. No joke, it is literally, not figuratively, amazing. I've tried probably every single other brand on Amazon, and none of them work nearly as well as this one. I have no clue what their proprietary secret is, but it actually works!!! Since this one is medicated, it actually diminishes the blemishes, if not gets rid of it completely overnight. It also has the best sticking and staying power of all the brands I tried… like 15."
Starring review:"These little dots are amazing. I wish they were around when I was a teen. I am in my 30s now and don't get acne super often, but these work better than any of the prescription stuff I have gotten from my dermatologist. I had a super-deep spot, so I placed this on, and it helped bring it to the surface overnight. If your spot is large, you may need to apply several rounds, but these things work!"
Starring review: "I have literally never written a review for anything in my entire life, but I feel compelled to share my experience with this product. I do not understand exactly what voodoo is behind these little patches, but I am not exaggerating when I say they are straight-up miracle workers!! I’ve never been blessed with amazing skin, but until recently, I took for granted the fact that the only real issue I had was a minor jawline breakout every few months around my cycle, and I never had a real need for any medicated creams or special products until a few months ago when I weaned my 9-month-old baby, and I experienced the most horrid and painful case of cystic acne that there ever was.
"I visited my doctor and was put on antibiotics to no avail. I was taking ibuprofen all day long for the pain. I went into panic mode and spent hundreds and hundreds of dollars on new makeup and every skincare product and every prescription cream known to mankind. Nothing even touched this acne. Then, about a week ago, browsing Amazon in bed wondering if there was anything left in the world that I hadn’t tried, I came across these little patches. They arrived Tuesday, and I put them on overnight. I woke up Wednesday morning and was both impressed and disgusted by what I peeled off. My skin wasn’t irritated, and the redness was reduced, but the acne was still very much present. I wore them to bed again on Wednesday night and woke up the next morning to find that, for the first time in months, my skin appeared to be healing. I was so excited that I actually almost cried. When I got home from work that afternoon, I washed my face and was so encouraged that I put more patches on and wore them around the house for the rest of the day and evening. I am not kidding when I tell you that I took them off before bed to find that my acne was all but gone. Gone! I could not believe my eyes. I cannot tell you what an insane feeling of gratitude and relief I have for having found this product. If you are suffering from acne, do not hesitate for even one moment to buy these little suckers!"