Things have been a little slow here on the ol' blargh. I'm going to try to post more frequently, but in case you haven't noticed, when I don't have time to write blog posts I tend to post more frequently on Instagram since I can put something up quickly on the bus or during my lunch break. Last week I posted a couple of new things I've been trying, which I'll review here more thoroughly eventually. (If you aren't an Instagram user, you can still view these posts in your browser.)
Today I am reviewing a type of product that will be nothing new at all to many of you--but I'm guessing there are still some people out there who, like me, are late to the game and haven't discovered these magical pimple patches yet. They are most definitely one of the best skin discoveries I've made in the past year. I had them sitting on my Amazon shopping list for a very long time before I finally got around to buying any, and I wish I'd tried them sooner.
The COSRX Acne Pimple Master Patches are thin, round, hydrocolloid bandages. They come in three sizes, and they look like this:
Lab Muffin has a great post explaining in detail how hydrocolloid patches work, but essentially what they do is absorb fluids. You stick one of these things on top of a pimple, and it sucks the goo out and dries it up. Sure, you could just squeeze your zits, but you risk doing damage to your skin that way, and there's also a good chance that they will just get infected again. These patches will not only soak up the crud, they will serve as a protective layer to prevent more bacteria from getting in there.
There are limitations to what they can do. Patches won't work very well on those deep, underground, cystic pimples that many of us get, especially on our chins. The fluid needs to be closer to the surface. Basically, my rule is that if it looks like I might possibly be able to squeeze it, I'll put a patch on it. If I definitely couldn't, I'll just dab some tea tree oil on the spot and see what happens.
Also, you need to have clean, dry skin before sticking a patch on, or it will absorb things other than your zit goo and/or not adhere properly. Besides, you don't want to cover up a dirty pimple and seal a bunch of bacteria in there. Because they have to be applied to freshly cleansed skin, it can be tricky to apply moisturizers or other products on top of them. If you rub everything around too much, your products can make their way underneath the patch and cause it to start lifting. I've found that if I just sort of pat products on the area of my face where I've stuck a patch, that problem is avoided.
I only use these things at night, but the COSRX patches are thin and translucent enough that you might be comfortable using them during the day. I'd just prefer not. I apply them as needed before bed, and they feel like nothing on my face. When I wake up in the morning, the patch has turned white and swelled up in the center where it has absorbed fluid. It's really disgustingly satisfying. My perverse fascination with these patches has all but replaced my perverse fascination with popping zits. So that's good.
After I remove the patch, the pimple usually feels pretty dry on the surface. Most of the time, it takes a couple of nights to clean out a zit completely, and then I'm just left with a red spot that takes the usual amount of time to fade. I don't know about you, but that's much faster than any spot treatment product I've used before.
There are other brands of acne patches out there, the most well known probably being Nexcare. I've also tried Nexcare's, and while they worked, there are a few things I prefer about the COSRX patches. For one, the COSRX version is more translucent and thinner. That means that they are not only less conspicuous, but they are less likely to come off during the night, since they don't have thick edges that rub against my pillow. I've read some reviews that said the Nexcare patches absorb more fluid than the COSRX patches, but I didn't notice any difference. Since they are close to the same price, you might want to try them both and see which you prefer.
Another option is just to buy a larger hydrocolloid bandage meant for healing blisters and cut it up to make your own patches. I haven't tried this method myself, but you might be able to save a little money that way, and they're easier to find in US drugstores than acne patches, which you might have to order online.
The first couple of packs of COSRX patches I bought were ordered from Amazon with Prime shipping for about $5 each. Once I decided that I was hooked, I sprung for 10 packs for $24, making each one significantly cheaper. They still have free shipping, but since they ship from Korea, they take a couple of weeks to get here. (You can also get them with Prime shipping for $29.)
If you've been curious about these patches, I totally encourage you to give them a shot! They are both effective and mesmerizingly gross, so you really can't lose.
This is the only product I've tried so far from the Korean brand COSRX. I've heard good things about other products, like their honey moisturizer, and I would love your recommendations if you're a fan of the brand.
By the way, if you want a chance to try these patches for free, I'm currently holding a giveaway on Instagram, which includes a pack of COSRX patches along with a whole bunch of makeup. You don't need an Instagram account to enter, but you can find the details here.