How Do Acne Stickers Really Work?

Victoria Moorhouse
acne solutions

Photo: Artem Furman / iStock

Stickers. They jazzed up your middle school binder, notebooks, and the inside of your locker—and now they’re giving you perfect skin. That’s right. Even though we’re adults, we’re not immune to the odd pimple popping up—so we’re always on the lookout for the next quick and effective spot treatment. And right now, it seems like circular, sticky bandages are it. Meant to be placed over blemishes to help speed up the healing process, these acne stickers could be the next big thing in skincare. We talked to dermatologist Dr. Arielle Kauvar of New York Laser and Skin Care to find out exactly how they work.

First, you have non-medicated stickers. Products like NexCare Acne Absorbing Covers ($8, and even Cover Dot Acne Care ($9, Dr. Kauvar says products like this are essentially miniature versions of the bandages that are used to treat conditions like skin ulcers. “The hydrocolloid absorbs fluid and oil in a clean, waterproof environment,” she explains.

When we first learned about Nexcare’s version, we immediately thought they’d create a barrier between our hands and the pimple, preventing us from picking and making the situation worse. Dr. Kauvar agreed, and also told us that they’d help with blemishes that are already open and oozing (so, if you’ve picked) by soaking up fluid. But they may not help totally banish those pimples overnight. “They are not medicated, so they are unlikely to decrease inflammation or decrease bacterial counts deep in the hair follicle,” she says. So these stickers are good for healthy healing, rather than immediate elimination. Noted.

Then you have medicated acne stickers, like Peter Thomas Roth’s Acne Clear Invisible Dots ($30,, made with acne-fighting ingredients you may be familiar with, like salicylic acid, tea tree oil, and hyaluronic acid. Dr. Kauvar says that these types of products have “antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects on the pimple,” which helps clear up redness and reduce the pimple’s overall size in a short period of time.

Quick, healthy results

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