How Hydrocolloid Bandages Can Manage Zits, From A Derm

Marketing, really. Hydrocolloid bandages as basically nothing but giant zit patches (since they’re made to cover a larger surface area, like blistered heels, toes, and hands). And even if one is meant to deal with a wound and the other a blemish, the function is the same: Says Shamban, they both absorb excess fluid, speed up healing time, and protect the face from finicky fingers (which is half the battle when it comes to clearing zits, she notes). That’s why the spot tends to turn white underneath the covering—it’s from all the pus and gunk accumulating under the bandage without any air.

The bottom line? You can snag a box of these hydrocolloid bandages at your local drugstore and call it a night. Although, most proper pimple patches typically come loaded with an additional cocktail of acne-fighting ingredients, while these bandages typically only contain the hydrocolloid dressing.

That doesn’t make them any less effective—as TikTok will lead you to believe, sometimes a bit of hydrocolloid is all you need to shrink those spots—but those looking for additional skin-supporting actives may want to use stickers, too. “Pimple [patch] versions are more focused on active combinations of drying ingredients,” says Shamban. Think salicylic acid or tea tree oil mixed with other hydrating buffers. 

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