There’s no shortage of reasons to be stressed these days, and there’s also no shortage of products that claim to combat that stress. Perhaps one of the easiest remedies you can choose from, however, is a sticker from The Good Patch — a company that provides plant-based skin adhesives to address a variety of health woes. But is remedying a problem with a simple sticker too good to be true? I tested the brand’s Be Calm patches — which claim to help you relax and unwind — to find out.
Though I was definitely curious, I’ll admit I was skeptical when I heard about functional wellness patches, a buzzy form of supplement that aims to deliver healing ingredients to your body via skin absorption to help quell hangovers, period cramps, and, of course, stress (to name just a few of the purported effects). I love to test stress-relieving tools, but I’ve found that not many of them live up to their promises.
Still, if placing a bandage-like adhesive on my skin is all it takes to decompress after a long day, I’m game to try it. Read on to learn whether The Good Patch’s Be Calm stickers delivered and if they’re worth the hype.
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- Price: $16 for four patches
- Best for: Feeling calm, easing tension
- Your rating: 4/5
- Ingredients: Gluten-, paraben-, latex-, and cruelty-free, non-GMO, vegan
- What we like: It helps you physically relax and feel calm to help you unwind from a stressful day
- What we don't like: The hemp can make you drowsy, so this may not always be ideal for daytime use
What Are Functional Wellness Patches?
When you think of supplements, you probably picture a pill. Patches are a new twist on that old favorite: “Functional wellness patches are a growing new delivery system for vitamins, minerals, and botanicals,” says NavNirat Nibber, ND, naturopathic doctor and medical advisor for supplement brand AOR. “We have seen extensive use of these transdermal patches in the pharmaceutical industry as a way to slowly or directly deliver the key ingredients over time through absorption from the skin.” They’re not so different from a face or under-eye mask, notes Nibber. Instead of skin-soothing serums, though, these adhesives deliver vitamins, minerals, and other plant-based compounds into your body.
Though you should defer to the instructions on your product of choice, generally, you use these patches by applying them to a venous area of your body (think: the inside of your wrist). Your skin will then slowly absorb its ingredients over the course of several hours or even an entire day.
But why pick a patch over a more traditional oral-based supplement? “These are likely attractive because they have a local action, may be slow- or time-release, are possibly more convenient, and in some cases have better absorption,” says Nibber.
Between work and my busy schedule, my head is often spinning by the end of the day. And while I rely on plenty of everyday habits to help ease stress — like exercising, getting plenty of sleep, and spending time with people I love — I’m always game to try a product that can further help without me having to make much of an additional effort. So, of course, these wellness patches seemed like a foolproof way to take the edge off.
The Good Patch Be Calm Patches
If you have a health complaint, The Good Patch may have an adhesive for you. The brand’s offerings run the gamut, with different patches designed to help you focus, relieve aches and pains, and recover from a hangover, to name a few.
The Be Calm patches specifically aim to help you decompress and unwind with the help of ingredients that have been linked to stress relief, like hemp and ashwagandha. To (literally) soak up the effects of these plants, you just place the adhesive on your inner wrist, then let the ingredients take effect for up to 12 hours before removing the sticker.
It’s important to note that the science behind functional wellness patches is a mixed bag. But Kellyann Petrucci, MS, ND, a board-certified naturopathic physician based in New York City, tells Bustle she’s seen them work. “Two popular and effective patches include nicotine patches and motion sickness patches,” she says.
There’s also limited research to suggest that supplement patches effectively deliver nutrients to the body. For instance, a review in the journal Metabolism Open found that in animals, patches were linked to improved vitamin K, vitamin D, and iron delivery, though more studies are needed to better establish micronutrient patches’ effects in humans.
By and large, though, the evidence is less definitive when it comes to delivering nutrients through your skin. “When it comes to micronutrients, the biggest challenge is bypassing the physical barrier of the skin,” says Petrucci. “Research for the effectiveness of nutrient absorption through the skin barrier is limited.”
Nibber says there are a number of reasons for this. First, a patch’s effectiveness depends on the solubility of its main ingredient — in other words, whether or not your skin can absorb it in the first place. Similarly, it’s important to consider whether a patch’s main ingredient is best delivered topically. For example, magnesium can absorb through the skin, meaning a patch may be an effective way to ingest the mineral, but this may not be true for every nutrient.
It’s important to note that over-the-counter wellness patches aren’t FDA-approved, so there’s no guarantee that products will produce the effects they claim (prescription transdermal patches, however, like estrogen and nicotine patches, are regulated by the FDA).
How To Use
Using these adhesives is pretty straightforward: Simply remove a patch from its plastic casing, stick it to clean, dry skin, and let it do its thing.
Exactly where you place your patch can vary from product to product, so defer to the instructions. The Be Calm patches, for instance, are meant to adhere to a venous area like the inside of your wrist, whereas Cycle patches (designed to ease period pain) are to be worn on your abdomen.
The amount of time you can wear a patch likewise depends on the individual product, so check the instructions to see how long you should leave it on. The Be Calm patches are good for up to 12 hours, after which you just peel off the adhesive and toss it.
Applying the patch was quite literally like putting a sticker on paper, making this one of the most simple stress-relieving tools I’ve ever tried. The Be Calm patch looks and feels like the adhesive part of a Band-Aid and is roughly the size of a matchbox.
The flexible material clings to your skin tightly, but still allows you to move as usual, so I didn’t really notice it while I was wearing it. In fact, I was impressed by how well it stuck to my skin — it felt like the only way to remove it was to deliberately yank the patch, so I never worried about it snagging or losing its stickiness and falling off.
Lo and behold, about an hour after applying the adhesive, I noticed a calm dreaminess creep over me. Half an hour later, this sense of calm reached a sustained level: I felt a little drowsy, physically relaxed, and my thoughts slowed down enough for me to take a breath (literally and metaphorically). In short, I felt less physically and mentally stressed.
This feeling remained for the entire time I wore the patch. Because I wore the adhesive until falling asleep, I didn’t notice any crash or uncomfortable transition period after removing the sticker — in fact, I was able to fall asleep faster and easier, and thus woke up feeling more calm and rested than usual even though the peaceful sensation of the patch had passed.
An important thing to note: I wouldn’t recommend using this patch during your work day — when the drowsiness kicked in, I found it difficult to focus on the task at hand. I realized the packaging did mention that hemp can make you sleepy, so I was sure to use the stickers later in the afternoon for the rest of the week.
As far as plant-based patches go, one popular competitor is Fleur Marché. The brand’s botanical and hemp-derived CBD patches address many of the same concerns as The Good Patch: There are adhesives to help you sleep, focus, ease everyday aches, and, of course, calm down (a patch aptly named “Relax, Plz”).
The main difference between the two? Fleur Marché’s hemp-containing patches contain 20 milligrams of the compound dispersed over up to 12 hours, whereas most of The Good Patch’s offerings contain 15 milligrams. Fleur Marché’s adhesives are also slightly more expensive: A four-pack of CBD patches costs $22 (or $14 for the botanical options), compared to The Good Patch’s $16 price tag (or $12 for the non-hemp products).
I found these patches worth my while thanks to their ease of use, low price tag, and calming effects. For $16 and about 30 seconds of my time, I was able to apply the adhesive and unwind, and for that reason, The Good Patch will be a part of my stress-relief routine for a long time to come.
The Good Patch’s products couldn’t be more simple to use, and when it comes to decompressing after an overwhelming day, the Be Calm adhesives delivered. So long as you don’t have any underlying health issues and aren’t taking medication that may interact with the patch, I’d recommend trying these to see if they can also help you chill out.
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