Why Everyone on TikTok is Trying This Drugstore Acne Hack

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Acne patches have been around for a while now, but a DIY drugstore hack that essentially works in the same way has recently gone viral on social media. To get clearer skin overnight, many users have been sharing their go-to at-home treatment and it’s not the previously mentioned patches that are manufactured for this purpose. The hack involves using Band-Aid Hydro-Seal Bandages ($5) or CVS Advanced Healing Hydrocolloid Bandages ($6) meant for wound healing to treat large areas of the face. 

While patches like Mighty Patch ($13), Starface Hydro-Stars ($15) and Peace Out Oil Absorbing Pore Treatment Strips ($19) also contain hydrocolloid, some users have been left in awe of the effects of this star ingredient. Hydrocolloid gently absorbs excess fluids while also protecting the wounded area from bacteria, causing it to be flatter and less inflamed. 


My skin has never looked so good #hydrocolloid

♬ original sound – May Sanders

So, does this trick really work and are the drugstore patches worth a go? To find out we talked to two skin care experts. According to Melville, NY dermatologist Kally Papantoniou, MD, users are in the clear: “This type of bandage creates a water barrier that retains moisture and promotes healing,” she explains. “This can protect a breakout and may promote healing but won’t have any medicated benefit to clear up a blemish as well as a medicated topical such as an antibiotic acne gel in my opinion.”

Troy, MI plastic surgeon Anthony Youn, MD wanted to give users the whole story, so he made his own Tik Tok about this beauty hack. “They actually work to create occlusion of the pimple so overnight they can reduce inflammation,” he explains. “They also often absorb moisture so they can decrease some of the excess fluid in the tissue, and some patches can take salicylic acid which is a great acid for reducing acne.”

So, the verdict is in—the $5 healing patches do work, but as Dr. Youn notes, it might be easier to go incognito with a smaller, less perceptible style of patch. However, as lovers of a good DIY hack, we’re glad this one actually works. 

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