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Do these TikTok-inspired acne bandage pads work?

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All about the new social media skin care craze

Acne is an uncomfortable and often unsightly problem for people of all ages. It can be a painful and noticeable health issue. Because of this, many people are constantly searching for affordable and safe treatments for acne breakouts. Since acne tends to affect more young people, it’s understandable that TikTok is at the epicenter of the latest acne treatment craze.

Shop this article: Band-Aid Hydro Seal Acne PatchesRael Miracle Patch Spot Covers and Mario Badescu Drying Patches

What kind of acne pads are trending on TikTok?

This viral trend involves a specific type of bandage, called a hydrocolloid bandage. These bandages work a little differently from the common kind. Hydrocolloid bandages for acne create a mostly impermeable barrier on top of the skin while absorbing fluids like grease and pus that can inhibit the healing process.

They’re especially useful for wounds on joints, hands and other parts of the body where the skin stretches and moves a lot. That’s because hydrocolloid bandages are more flexible and stretch more than standard bandages.

How do hydrocolloid bandages help with acne?

Pores clogged by oil and dirt are the most common cause of acne. Hydrocolloid bandages are good at drawing out things like grease, and in that respect, they can help with acne. They can be useful in treating red, angry pimples because they draw pus and inflammation away from the sore.

One other big reason they can help, though, has little to do with their absorption properties. Hydrocolloid bandages form a physical barrier over the pimple to prevent you from picking it. While most people realize that picking at your skin is bad for its health, it’s human nature to do so. A durable layer on top helps prevent the wearer from making things worse. So in that way, hydrocolloid bandages can be helpful for acne.

Do hydrocolloid bandages prevent pimples?

When it comes to general acne treatment (as opposed to acute relief from individual pimples) hydrocolloid bandages don’t do much. In fact, they may interfere with the functioning of the outer skin layer of healthy skin, especially when used over large portions of the face.

Covering your entire face, or large portions of it, with hydrocolloid film won’t do much to prevent acne. It could even encourage clogged pores, especially if your face isn’t completely clean before application. These bandages are better used for spot treatments once a pimple has already formed.

Are there better acne products?

Dermatologists have long recommended benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid to fight oily skin and treat acne. These often come in the form of creams, ointments and lotions, and are readily available over the counter at any pharmacy.

For that matter, there are quite a few hydrocolloid acne patches impregnated with various medications that can alleviate acne symptoms and help eliminate pimples quickly. The simplest ones contain nothing more than an added moisturizer. One of the most popular moisturizing chemicals, called hyaluronate or hyaluronic acid, occurs naturally in human joints and displays impressive hydration and even some anti-inflammatory properties.

Other acne patches take a more aggressive route, using salicylic acid to chemically dry the skin and fight stubborn pimples. Salicylic acid is remarkably effective against acne, but exercise caution with it. Using too much will strip your skin of the oils it needs to stay healthy, which can lead to more sudden and severe outbreaks.

Acne treatment tips

  • Keep your face clean and moisturized: Use a gentle face wash when waking up and going to bed, followed by a light facial moisturizer. While the existence of acne might imply otherwise, your skin knows how to keep itself healthy. It just needs a little washing and lotion application to help it along.
  • Don’t use more product than you need: Slathering huge amounts of medicated cream on your face or covering your entire cheek with a hydrocolloid bandage might do more harm than good. Opt for specialized acne pads instead of large hydrocolloid bandages meant for wounds. The specialized products are smaller and meant for precise spot treatment.
  • Talk to your doctor if over-the-counter products don’t work: If standard treatments can’t cut down on big outbreaks, it’s nothing to be ashamed of. Some of the most effective solutions are available only by prescription. If your acne never goes away, is distractingly painful or ever becomes infected, visit a dermatologist. They’ll help you put together a daily maintenance and treatment plan. If necessary, they’ll prescribe an effective topical or internal medicine.

Best topical acne treatments

Band-Aid Hydro Seal Acne Patches

Despite the name, they’re just nonmedicated hydrocolloid bandages. They work great as a physical barrier to stop you from picking at the zit and can be especially effective alongside other topical treatments. Just be careful not to use them over healthy skin, as they’re not great for it and don’t do anything to prevent future outbreaks.

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Rael Miracle Patch Spot Covers

These are simply smaller versions of common hydrocolloid patches, just the right size for problem pimples. They don’t contain any type of medication, so you don’t have to worry about irritation or over-drying.

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Mario Badescu Drying Patches

These perfectly sized patches add grease-fighting salicylic acid and moisturizing hyaluronic acid to the mix.

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Peach Slices Deep Blemish Microdarts

On top of drying and moisturizing elements, these introduce tea tree extract for fighting bacteria and Centella Asiatica extract for soothing skin inflammation.

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HeroLabs Microcrystal Acne Healing Patches

Tiny, soft, silicone needles help these to penetrate the outer layer of dead skin and fight early-stage and cystic acne using common moisturizing and drying agents.

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Starface Hydrocolloid Pimple Patches

These TikTok acne patches went viral on the site, thanks to their effectiveness and cute star-shaped design. The Starface acne patches contain 100% hydrocolloid and are suitable for sensitive skin.

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Neutrogena Rapid Clear Gel

This topical gel can help fight the most stubborn and swollen pimples, but be careful that you don’t dry your skin out too much.

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The Ordinary Salicylic Acid Solution

Containing 2% salicylic acid, this light preparation seeps into pores easily and can take the wind out of a pimple’s sails with surprising ease.

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CeraVe Body Wash with Salicylic Acid

Body acne is just as bad — if not worse — than facial acne, and this body wash is here to help. The CeraVe acne wash contains salicylic acid that helps exfoliate rough skin and calm acne outbreaks. This body acne wash is suitable for all skin types.

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Clinique Acne Oil Control Cleansing Mask

This Clinique acne mask is gentle and non-drying for use on all skin types. Salicylic acid helps clear dead skin cells, while kaolin clay and laminaria saccharina extract absorb surface oil and deeply cleanse the skin.

Sold by Ulta Beauty

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Chris Thomas writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money. 

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