As someone who's always on the lookout for new acne spot treatments, one Korean skincare product that I've become obsessed with is the anti blemish patch. Seriously, I don't understand why it hasn't yet become wildly popular in the United States. In fact, these guys are one of my favorite Korean beauty products for dealing with stubborn whiteheads in a hurry.
Anti-blemish patches are basically clear stickers (often coated with tea tree oil or salicylic acid) that you place on a zit to help reduce redness and improve healing. They come in a variety of sizes, depending on the size of the blemish, and even shapes. I once even got a pack from a drugstore that included star and heart stickers among the regular circular ones. These anti-blemish patches are fairly popular in Korea, and although they're discreet, once you know they exist, you can spot them on peoples' faces when they're sitting on the subway or walking down the street.
These patches on their own aren't enough to guarantee acne-free skin, of course, and they don't really work with blackheads in my experience. But they definitely have their merits. You can easily incorporate them into any skincare regimen and they are great if you're in a hurry.
If you're not totally convinced yet, here are seven reasons why these simple stickers are the future of spot acne treatment and should be the next big Korean skincare craze to hit the States.
1. They're Easy
I'm a sucker for one-step treatments, and these anti-blemish patches are definitely easy. You wash your face, put the sticker on the offending blemish, and that's it. You can totally forget about the sticker and your acne, since most packages recommend that these stay on for eight to 12 hours at a time. Plus, most of them are pretty portable, so you can throw a pack in your purse for on-the-go spot treatments.
2. They're Gentle
If I overuse salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide, especially when it comes in a concentrated form like a gel or a spot treatment cream, I usually have a nasty reaction that's often worse than the original breakout. What's nice about these anti-blemish patches is that they concentrate on one small area rather than all-over application, making them quite gentle despite often being coated with salicylic acid. They're great for sensitive skin, especially if you're prone to adverse reactions to gels or creams.
In addition to accidentally putting on too much, the other problem with spot treatment gels or creams is that they can be messy and will sometimes leave a weird residue on your skin after they've dried (or leave streaks on your pillow if you put it on before you go to bed). Anti-blemish patches don't cause any mess, and there's no fear of using too much at one time.
4. They're Discreet
Putting one of these stickers on your face isn't a fashion statement like putting a bandage on your cheek à la Nelly is. These anti-blemish patches are discreet and blend into your skin. If you apply them properly, you can barely see them — even if the sticker is in the shape of a heart. (Sometimes these patches are so discreet that I've forgotten it's they're on my face at all. Be warned, though: Since many of the stickers are waterproof, they might not come off easily when you wash your face.)
The number one piece of advice I've been given when it comes to dealing with my acne is to avoid touching my face, but it's the one piece of advice I struggle following the most. One of the reasons I'm obsessed with these stickers is that once you put them over your zit, you can't touch the spot. Your zit is protected from any dirt or debris, in addition to your hands. So besides reducing redness and healing acne, they also keep me from indulging my worst habits.
In Korea, these patches can be found everywhere, including on the shelves of your local 7/11. A package is only about $5 or so, depending on the brand, and each box or pouch usually contains between 12 and 36 stickers, so you definitely get your money's worth. This package, available from Bisou Beauty Bar, is less than $4 for a pack of 24 stickers. If you're not in Korea, ordering online will be your best bet.
7. They Work
These stickers are good for any kind of whitehead, whether it's one that's starting to emerge or one that's already been popped. I've found that wearing one of these patches overnight on a nasty zit will prevent it from getting worse, and if I'm really in a pinch, I'll throw one on for a few hours after I wash my face in the morning.
It sounds silly, but the main reason I love anti-blemish patches is because they work. Yes, some brands are better than others, but in my experience they're all effective at keeping you from making a bad zit look even worse without much hassle. IMO, that's the best thing you can get from any spot acne treatment.
Images: Maxine Builder; Courtesy Brands