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 • Skincare  • Skincare Guides  • How to Use a Pimple Patch (the Right Way) For Your Best Results
Girl wearing a pimple patch

How to Use a Pimple Patch (the Right Way) For Your Best Results

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Main Image – Live That Glow

Got a pimple and what to bring down redness, swelling and pain fast? Pimple patches have been shown to help blemishes heal faster.

But *how* you use one matters too when it comes to getting the results you’re looking for.  That’s why we spoke to skincare experts Dr Leah Ansell and Ian Michael Crumm to find out *exactly* how to use your pimple patch for impressive results fast.


How to correctly use a pimple patch

To get the *best* results from your pimple patch, Dr Ansell advises trying to “use it as soon as you feel the pimple come on. Do not try to squeeze the pimple, particularly if it is a deep one.”

Crumm adds his instructions on how to apply one. “Start with a clean, dry face and gently wash the area around the pimple with a mild cleanser,” he explains.


Girl showing how to cleanse skin before applying a pimple patch

Image – Live That Glow


Next he says, “Ensure the skin is completely dry before applying the patch for optimal adhesion.” Then, “Peel the patch from its backing.”


Woman removing a pimple patch from a packet

Image – Live That Glow


Crumm goes on, “Carefully place it over the pimple, making sure it adheres properly.”

Girl showing how to apply a pimple patch

Image – Live That Glow


Crumms finishes, “Once you’re done, gently peel off the patch and dispose of it.”


Girl showing how to remove a pimple patch

Image – Live That Glow


Do you pop a pimple before using a patch?

No popping is necessary for pimple patches – or to get rid of pimples in general (we know, this can be super frustrating.)

If you have a pimple with a visible head or pus and the pimple hasn’t popped, cleanse your skin, let it dry and then apply a patch and you’re done. Six or so hours later, remove the patch and cleanse the area again.

If your pimple has already popped, don’t worry. Simply cleanse and gently dry the area, then place the patch over the pimple.


do pimple patches work how do pimple patches work

Image – Rabizo Anatolii/Adobe


How long do you leave a pimple patch on?

Pimple patches are designed to be left on for around 6 hours or overnight (pimple removal as we sleep? Yes, please!)

Crumm tells us, “Pimple patches are often left on for several hours or overnight, allowing them to absorb excess oil and impurities from the pimple.”

It’s advised not to leave a pimple patch on for longer than 10 hours though, as this could actually cause more irritation rather than reducing the pimple.


What do you do after removing a pimple patch?

We asked Crumm what to do after removing a pimple patch, he tells us to follow these steps:

Cleanse the area: Gently wash the area with a mild cleanser to remove any residue left from the patch.

Moisturise: Apply a light, non-comedogenic moisturiser to keep the skin hydrated.

Continue your skincare routine: Resume your regular skincare routine, including any acne treatments or spot treatments you use.

Avoid touching the area: Try not to touch or pick at the treated area to prevent further irritation or infection.


do pimple patches work how do pimple patches work

Image – Jula Isaeva/Adobe


Our favourite pimple patches

Since most patches work in the same way, you’ll get pretty similar results whichever brand you go with.

Here are some of our FAVE (and really cute) pimple patches though for their ease of use and price.

Mighty Patch pimple patches from Hero Cosmetics ($12.99 on Hero Cosmetics or £10.95 on Amazon UK for 36 patches) are award-winning hydrocolloid patches that visibly help to flatten pimples.

Made of medical-grade hydrocolloid, they’re chemical-free, allergy tested, and a great basic (and affordable) choice for all types, including sensitive skin.


how to use pimple patches blemish zit

Image – Hero Cosmetics


Starface pimple patches (from $10.99 on Starface World or £11.99 on Starface UK for 32 stars) are made with 100% hydrocolloid. They’re also vegan, cruelty-free, dermatologist tested, gentle, and safe for every skin type (even sensitive) – bonus!

While they may not be made up of anything too different to other brands (and are a little pricier), what we like here is how fun they are to use.  By taking some of the stress out of dealing with acne we’ve found we’re more likely to use them, in turn giving us a better chance of avoiding scarring and further infection.


Peace Out Acne Healing Dots ($19.00 on or £17.00 on Cult Beauty UK for 20 dots) contain hydrocolloid, salicylic acid (a BHA which helps to unplug clogged pores), and vitamin A (essentially retinol, which both helps cell turnover and can combat scarring).

They also contain aloe vera leaf extract, which has anti-inflammatory properties that help soothe and calm redness.

These ones may be even more expensive again but we love the addition of salicylic acid here, which we’ve found can help cut our healing time even further.


The takeaway

So, the verdict is in – pimple patches DO work but you’re going to need to use one correctly for best results.

Refrain from popping any pesky pimples, and make sure to gently cleanse and dry the area *before* you apply your chosen pimple patch.

But, overall, you can find vegan, cruelty-free, dermatologist-tested, and sensitive skin versions of these little patches, as well as brands that have chemical-free and non-irritating ones. AND they work while you sleep to actively reduce redness and inflammation – a no-brainer!

Bear in mind though that if you suffer from acne or particularly painful blemishes and spots, it’s best to visit a dermatologist to determine the best course of action for your skin type.


Meet the experts

Dr Leah Ansell, MD, FAAD, is a leading board-certified dermatologist at Treiber Dermatology Associates in New York. Dr Ansell’s expertise includes medical, pediatric, and cosmetic dermatology.


Celebrity aesthetician and beauty expert Ian Michael Crumm is co-host of the BeautyCurious podcast with Dr Elyse Love.

Ian is known for his passion for skincare and sun safety and is actively involved in philanthropic efforts to promote skin cancer awareness, and believes that #ProtectedSkinWins.


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Senior Beauty Editor

Laura Kemp started her journalism career as a news reporter for one of the largest newspaper groups in Europe before moving into features and editorial writing. Combining her love of hard-hitting journalism with her passion for beauty, she’s now Senior Beauty Editor at Live That Glow. When she’s not writing, researching, or interviewing her favourite experts, you’ll find Laura practicing her downward dog or drifting on her paddleboard.

Expertise: Hair care, nails
Education: University of Salford

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