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Which acne patch is best?

Despite what many think, acne doesn’t only happen to teenagers. If you have just noticed a pimple, or you simply want to make sure you have the necessary supplies on hand to treat a future breakout, acne patches are the answer. These hydrocolloid bandages help keep the area sterile while drawing out pus and other fluids so that your blemish heals more quickly. 

The best is the Hero Cosmetics The Original Mighty Patch. It uses limited ingredients, so there is no potential for irritation, but it’s still effective at combating whiteheads and other surface-level pimples.

What to know before you buy an acne patch

Types of acne

Before choosing an acne patch, it is essential to determine what type of acne you have. Certain kinds of patches work better on specific types of acne. Some forms of acne won’t respond to patches at all. 

  • Blackheads are amont those that generally don’t respond to patches. These occur when excess oil, dirt and bacteria get trapped inside the pore, but the pore stays open. Eventually, exposure to air causes the buildup to turn an unsightly black.  Patches generally can’t help with blackheads because an underlying infection doesn’t typically accompany them.
  • Whitehead do respond well to patches. These also occur when dirt and bacteria get trapped in the pore, but unlike with blackheads on which the pores stay open, the pore is closed on a whitehead, resulting in pus building up inside it.
  • Papules are small red bumps of inflamed skin that form when a pore is blocked by oil and bacteria. However, they don’t build up with pus-like whiteheads. These also usually respond well to acne patches.
  • Pustules are similar to papules in that they are small red bumps on inflamed skin, but these have a white center filled with pus. They often, but not always, form in clusters and can be treated with acne patches. 
  • Cystic acne is the most severe type of acne, an infection that occurs deep beneath the skin and presents as large, inflamed bumps filled with pus. Often painful and hard to treat, it does respond to some types of acne patches.
  • Nodular acne is often confused with cystic acne because it presents similarly and is also an infection deep below the skin. You can tell the difference because nodular acne is hard to the touch, while cystic acne is softer since it is filled with pus. Like cystic acne, nodular acne only responds to certain kinds of patches.

How acne patches work

Acne patches are available in three types: medicated, non-medicated and micro-needling. Each works in a different manner.

  • Medicated acne patches contain topical aids like salicylic acid, hyaluronic acid, benzoyl peroxide, tea tree oil and niacinamide that reduce inflammation, fight infection and help a blemish heal quicker. They are effective on whiteheads, papules and pustules. They can also help with mild cystic or nodular acne, but are ineffective against more severe cases.
  • Non-medicated acne patches are basic hydrocolloid bandages that help with wound healing by drawing out pus and oil. They also keep the area sterile and prevent you from picking at your acne, which hinders healing. These are best for surface-level acne, such as whiteheads, papules and pustules.
  • Micro-needling acne patches contain very fine dissolving needles on the hydrocolloid bandage that penetrate the upper layers of skin to deliver the topicals deeply. These are the best types of patches if trying to treat cystic or nodular acne.

What to look for in a quality acne patch


Acne patches use varying ingredients to help heal wounds and blemishes. Common ingredients include tea tree oil, hydrocolloid, white willow bark extract, calendula oil, salicylic acid, hyaluronic acid, niacinamide and benzoyl peroxide. 


Acne patches come in packages with as few as 10 patches or as many as 200. Those who don’t get breakouts may only need to keep 10 or 20 patches in their home. However, those who have to deal with regular breakouts should purchase a larger package because these often have a lower per-patch cost.


Since not all blemishes are the same size, most companies sell more than one size of the patch. Variety packages come with patches in two or three sizes. Generally speaking, if you only need to treat whiteheads, pustules and papules, small patches should suffice. If you are combating cystic or nodular acne, larger patches are often necessary.


Most acne patches are as inconspicuous as possible. To that end, they are usually clear or available in colors that will match specific skin tones. But there are also colorful options and whimsical designs if you prefer.

How much you can expect to spend on an acne patch

Standard non-medicated acne patches cost 5-35 cents per patch. For medicated patches, expect to spend anywhere from 10 cents to $1.20 per patch, depending on ingredients and size. Micro-needling patches are the most expensive, often costing 50 cents to $3 per patch.

Acne patch FAQ

How long am I supposed to wear an acne patch?

A. Most experts recommend wearing an acne patch for at least six hours for optimal effectiveness. On particularly troublesome pimples, you may want to leave the patch on for as long as 10 or 12 hours. After that point, they begin to lose effectiveness, and it’s best to replace them with a new patch.

Can an acne patch damage my skin?

A. Not if you use it as directed. However, if you have to use patches repeatedly in the same spot, they can cause dryness, so you may want to use an oil-free moisturizer between applications.

What’s the best acne patch to buy?

Top acne patch

Hero Cosmetics The Original Mighty Patch 

Hero Cosmetics The Original Mighty Patch 

What you need to know: These powerful patches are top sellers lauded for their fast results.

What you’ll love: They stick to the skin well and turn white to let you know when it’s time to remove them. They are made with hydrocolloid that’s effective at minimizing the appearance of blemishes. Many users report excellent results. 

What you should consider: They won’t work for deep forms of acne such as cystic and nodular.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top acne patch for the money

Avarelle Acne Cover Patch

Avarelle Acne Cover Patch

What you need to know: This medicated patch comes in a blend of sizes to treat small and large pimples alike.

What you’ll love: The patches are clear to blend in seamlessly with your skin, and they are Leaping Bunny certified as a cruelty-free product. They are made with hydrocolloid and plant-based ingredients. With 40 patches, the pack is a good value. 

What you should consider: Some ingredients may irritate those with sensitive skin.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon 

Worth checking out

Rael Microcrystal Acne Healing Patch

Rael Microcrystal Acne Healing Patch

What you need to know: Designed to deliver medication deep into the skin, these patches can help those dealing with cystic and nodular acne. 

What you’ll love: They work well on early-stage acne, so you can stop pimples before they ever come to a head. They’re made with beneficial hyaluronic acid.

What you should consider: They are more expensive than many other patches, and there are only nine patches per pouch. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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

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