Pimple patches: fad or functional?

Should you invest in the latest acne treatment?

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Photo by Julia Putman

Julia Putman, Multimedia Managing Editor

High school: the age when most teenagers are either covered in a face full of acne or a face full of acne medication. Whether acne is something you deal with every day or you only get blemishes every once in a while, almost everyone can recall a time of looking in the mirror and fighting every urge to get that monstrosity off of their face. Luckily, the acne-prone are living in a generation where easy solutions are almost everywhere. Companies have come up with an easy and affordable solution to acne problems: the pimple patch. But are these hydrocolloid adhesive patches popular because of their small size and cute designs, or do they actually work?

In the last year, more and more brands have been popping up with new and improved versions of the pimple patch. Some companies, like Starface, have created products that seem to work while  also being visually appealing. Starface’s Hydro-Stars are small, yellow, star-shaped pimple patches that have helped revolutionize the market. Instead of being transparent or skin toned, these patches add a bright and playful tone to the effects of acne and help to emphasize positivity instead of flaws.

“We don’t identify flaws or imperfections, we just nurture what’s there,” Starface’s website says. 

Along with their basic yellow Hydro-Stars, the company also offers multiple different types of pimple patches that help different types of acne. They  come in a variety of exciting colors including Rainbow Hydro-Stars, which portray the LGBT+ flag. Not to mention, the total US proceeds of the rainbow stars will be allocated to the Black Led Movement Fund and the Hetrick-Martin Institute for LGBTQ+ youth.

Although Starface pimple patches have unique looks and support ethical causes, the question of their functionality still remains. Alivia Frommelt, a Naperville North senior and user of Starface pimple patches, expressed her skepticism of the patches.

“I don’t think the patches actually work or benefit zits, I think they just hide them and make them less noticeable,” Frommelt said.

Though Starface helps to conceal pimples, it may not be the best patch for actually drawing white heads out of the skin. But other brands might have better results. Another popular product is called Mighty Patch, from the company Hero Cosmetics. 

Unfortunately, the skin-toned Mighty Patch is not as visually fun as the design of Star Face, but it appears to be more effective. Mia Sparacino, an NNHS senior, explained her opinions on this patch and which technique she believes is the most effective. 

“I think they’re awesome. What I’ve found is that for the best results I get my face clean and then I press a hot wash cloth onto the pimple, and dry my face and apply the patch right away,” Sparacino said. 

Technique and brand can play a big role in whether or not the patch is functional. Many people have opinions and insights into the product, but the most valuable opinions are those of skin specialists and dermatologists. Dr. Moira Ariano of Pinnacle Dermatology explained who she recommends these products for and for what use.

“I would say they are ok for young teens that are experiencing minimal acne, however, I do not recommend them for a complete remedy. They only address the topical issue, not the cause,” Ariano said.

With many mixed opinions on the patches and information on their actual purpose, the question of fad vs functionality remains unanswered. 

It is clear that the patch is effective to an extent, but the patches are not a reliable remedy when it comes to preventing breakouts. As Dr. Ariano said, pimple patches simply address the symptom but not the actual cause. Despite all of this, it’s fair to classify the pimple patch as both functional for its effective extraction of minor acne cases and a fad for its popularity among acne-prone individuals today.