e.l.f. Discovery

What Are Pimple Patches and How Do They Work?

By Aimee Lubrano

It’s time to patch things up – with your skin.

Pimples, acne, breakouts, zits – they may have different labels but there’s one fast and effective solution that has everyone buzzing.

You’ve seen people wearing them, wondering if they work at all or how they work their particular magic. Make no mistake, pimple patches are a powerful arsenal you want to keep in your skin care routine. Not only do they work, and quickly, but they slay! And for all skin types!

It happens to best of us. You might notice the occasional one on your face. You may be a teen or have a teen struggling with it on the daily. Or you might be someone prone to breakouts in general, or only at certain times of the month. Regardless of how or when you get them, the bottom line is, you get them! And you need them to go away...fast!

Luckily, we’ve got you, and your pimples, covered because we’re prone to breakout blemish solutions. Call it what you want – pimple patch, acne patch, hydrocolloid patch (for the well-informed). It doesn’t matter where you heard about them or what they were called because we’re here to spill the tea on the latest Blemish Breakthrough Stick it To Zits Pimple Patches.

What are the Benefits of Using a Pimple Patch?

Pimple patches provide more than just a quick fix solution to the unwelcomed blemish. For starters, they cover the darn zit. Duh! Obvious answer, but let’s be real. No one wants to see it. But covering a zit isn’t as simple as it seems. These powerhouse patches have some pretty rad benefits that stick it to zits.

1. Hands Off Protection
The protective barrier protects blemishes and active breakouts from external irritants (you being one of them) and prevents further contamination, which promotes faster healing. It also prevents the temptation to pick, pick, pick which can worsen inflammation, invite bacteria and lead to more scarring! Sounds like a Win Win! Win!

2. Absorbs The Gunk
Made from a highly absorbent material called hydrocolloid, they extract and soak up the excess fluid, oil, pus and other junk so the area stays clean.

3. Helps Reduce Appearance
As the pimple patch absorbs any gunk that may be on the skin, it will help to flatten the blemish itself and visibily reduce its appearance.

4. Breathable Adhesive
The hydrocolloid patch is a breathable adhesive which can reduce the likelihood of skin macerations. Skin macerations may happen when there is a prolonged exposure to moisture, resulting in softening and breaking down of skin. No thanks!

5. Fast-Action Overnight
Put one on before bed, and let the work happen overnight as you sleep. For real! Now that’s a dream!

6. Incognito
These pimple patches can be used during the day or at night, when you’re out in public, and discretely do their thing while you wear them over other skincare or acne treatments, under makeup, whatever.

Pimple Patch Power—How Do Pimple Patches Work?

Even though hydrocolloid pimple patches are a relatively new phenom, hydrocolloid bandages have been around forever and used by dermatologists and medical professionals to treat open wounds.

How they work is pretty simple. (Well, not really. It’s quite complicated scientific stuff). But regardless...for us, it seems easy). Pimple patches flatten blemishes and quickly extract and absorb all the gunk from the pimple. When this happens, it’s drawing out the impurities and protecting the skin from further bacteria at the same time. This provides a moisture-friendly environment and protective barrier to help promote natural healing, faster. Like we said, pretty complicated, simple stuff.

What the e.l.f. is Hydrocolloid?

Hydrocolloid is an opaque or transparent medical-grade dressing material used for many medical and skincare applications like wound dressings, blister bandages and acne patches. This transparent, breathable dressing adheres to skin directly without the need for additional taping. With such unique and effective properties, we understand why it’s been a medical staple for as long as it has.

That’s why we made it our hero ingredient in our Blemish Breakthrough Stick It To Zits Pimple Patches.

Of its many functions, one particular ability is to adhere to skin comfortably and create a barrier or shield to protect from external contaminants. It’s flexible, comfortable and camouflages to skin—the perfect clear solution for covering and caring for acne and breakouts and helps heal skin fast. But finding a high-quality hydrocolloid is key to creating an effective pimple patch—the longer it sticks to skin, the more effective it is.

But it’s power-play quality is its undeniable ability to absorb fluids, pus, and other gunk from wounds and blemishes keeping them contained, protected and from spreading to other areas of the skin.

Let’s Patch it Up—How Do You Correctly Use a Pimple Patch?



  • Cleanse and dry affected area well.

  • Cleanse and dry your hands.

  • Use a tweezer to handle patch.


  • Lay patch over the pimple.

  • Apply patch as your first step of skincare (after cleansing and drying your skin).

  • Follow with makeup application (if desired)


  • Remove after 6-8 hours of wear.



  • Leave any excess dirt or moisture—this may interrupt the absorption of the patches.

  • Use dirty hands to apply patch. Dirt may transfer to edges and prevent sticking.


  • Apply patch to a premature blemish. Wait for inflammation to subside and blemish is properly formed to allow for maximum absorption.

  • Try to apply patch after applying your skincare. Best if applied on clean, dry skin.


  • Use alone for long-term care. If skin id ance prone, we recommend using it along with additional skincare.

1, 2, 3. That’s all it takes to patch zit up. Prep, stick, toss and you’re done. And btw...so is the pimple.

How Long Do You Keep a Pimple Patch On?

Pimple patches are fast-acting power houses. Once you stick it, you only need to leave it on for the recommended 6-8 hours before removing it, cleansing the affected area again, and tossing it. Pretty great, right? (If only everything could be fixed in 6-8 hours).

But if you wear it overnight (and sleep in) or you apply it before your makeup then head out for the day, don’t sweat. Going a little over the 6-8 hours isn’t a big deal. It’s recommended for 6-8 hours, but try not exceed 12 hours. Should you leave it on for 24 hours? Definitely not. The most important thing to remember is once you notice your pimple patch is raised and looking cloudy, it means it’s time to remove it and replace it with a fresh one.

If you leave the pimple patch on too long, you run the risk of the adhesive material not sticking properly, and the patch may start to irritate the skin instead of helping it. Remember, it’s extracting and absorbing the gunk. When it’s ready to toss, toss it!

Can You Put Makeup Over a Pimple Patch?

Pimple patches have become a must-have we simply can’t live without. Even though we typically wear them overnight while we sleep, letting them do their thing so we can wake up to better-looking skin, we might actually need to wear them under makeup during the day. Luckily, that’s no problem. After all, most acne and pimple patches are translucent, like our clear Stick It To Zits Pimple Patches, letting your natural skin color shine through. But a little finessing may be required for total polish.

How to Apply Makeup to Camouflage Pimple Patches and Get a Flawless, Seamless Finish.

STEP 1: Start with clear patches.
Like the e.l.f. Stick It To Zits Pimple Patches.

STEP 2: Start with clean skin.
Always apply pimple patch to clean, dry skin. If you apply serum or primer, make sure to not get close to the patch. Keep it dry so it sticks.

STEP 3: Less is more.
Avoid heavy makeup. Apply creamy concealer (or foundation) that matches your skin tone and doesn’t draw attention to the patch. Apply a tiny dot of concealer directly in the center of the patch gently and carefully with a small brush, then gently tap with your fingertip to blend.

STEP 4: Dab – don’t rub.
Use a gentle, light, slow dabbing motion with a sponge, small brush or fingertip and carefully work around and on the patch. Don’t press!

STEP 5: Highlight other features
Draw attention away from the pimple patch to other areas, such as eyes or lips.

Tips to Cover up a Pimple with Makeup

It’s hard to be a pimple pleaser. Anytime you have a breakout, applying makeup can make it even more noticeable. Using your typical concealer or foundation sometimes isn’t enough. The trick is knowing how to neutralize the redness of the blemish and surrounding area. That’s where green color-correcting concealer comes in. Yes, green. As in Shrek.

But not to worry. Let’s time travel back to elementary school. Remember the color wheel? Well, according to color theory, green is the opposite of red which means it’s great to neutralize redness. That’s why green color-correcting concealer has been an industry go-to for covering breakouts and redness.

How to Apply Green Color-Correcting Concealer

  1. After cleansing face and around the pimple, applying your skincare and let it absorb.

  2. Apply primer, followed by foundation.

  3. Using a small brush, or your finger tip, apply a small amount of green color-correcting concealer directly on the blemishes and inflamed areas of the pimple.

  4. Less is more. You can always build to your desired coverage. But start with a very small, tiny amount.

  5. Delicately dab as you apply the concealer. Be careful not to disturb the pimple.

  6. Once the green concealer has been blended, apply your regular concealer and/or foundation that matches your skin tone and blend. Careful as you get closer to the pimple.

  7. Set with a translucent powder.

Related Articles:

  • Skincare Routine for Acne Prone Skin

  • Wha t is Hydrocolloid?