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Do Hydrocolloid Dots Really Work for Acne?

I’m sure you’ve all seen acne ads with models with clear skin, perfect hair, and no broken nails pretending to get rid of a breakout. Well, I’m here to tell you I have none of those things and am a real person with real breakouts. For those of you who haven’t watched any of my skincare YouTube videos, let me fill you in. I have oily, acne-prone, and sensitive skin. It’s a lovely combination. I truly won the genetic lottery.

My breakouts are typically whiteheads or acne mechanica. Every now and then I also get those deep, under the skin, painful breakouts. You know how some eggs have double yolk? Sometimes, my whiteheads have double heads, or even three or four. Is that good luck? Someone please let me know.

About a year ago, Patchology gifted me their Breakout Box, which contains 24 hydrocolloid dots, 24 salicylic acid dots, and 3 nose strips. After some trial and error, I discovered the hydrocolloid dots were most effective placed on lanced whiteheads. For breakouts that did not have a head yet, I used salicylic acid dots until they developed a head that could be lanced and treated with a hydrocolloid dot.

I’m not kidding you when I say these dots get rid of my pimples overnight. The feeling of going to bed with painful, bumpy acne and waking up the next morning with a flattened, calm spot is so incredibly satisfying. I love how these dots prevent me from picking my acne and promote quicker healing.

Whether I’m running errands or headed out to dinner, I can be spotted with a hydrocolloid dot on my face. Ok, well, not necessarily spotted. These dots are so thin and discrete that they essentially blend in with my skin while also significantly minimizing the redness of the breakout. Why were these not a thing when I was in high school? They would have made my life so much easier.

Now, some of you might be wondering, what is a hydrocolloid? How do you safely lance whiteheads? Great questions! Let’s break it down.

What Is a Hydrocolloid?

A hydrocolloid is a dressing that absorbs moisture and is made with gel-forming agents, like pectin or gelatin. In other words, it sucks the life out of pimples. No joke. They are commonly waterproof, which I can attest to, as I’ve washed my face with them and they stayed on.

How Do You Safely Lance Whiteheads?

The key here is to drain the whitehead without squeezing. Be gentle! Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water, sanitize a needle with rubbing alcohol, and prick the top of the whitehead with the tip of the needle. If you experience any pain, the pimple is either not ready to extract or you are piercing too deeply. As tempting as it may be, do not pop your pimples or squeeze them until they are bleeding.

If you’re too scared to handle needles, like me, I have another option for you. I like to dab a bit of Neosporin on my whiteheads and leave it on until the spots become mushy. Then, I wash my hands, wrap a tissue around my fingers, and gently graze over the whiteheads to wipe away the fluids. At this point, I apply a hydrocolloid dot to suck up any remaining gunk. I’m not a doctor, but this is what works for me.

Which Pimple Patch Is Best for Acne?

There are so many acne patch options on the market now that I truly don’t think you could go wrong with any of them, but I do have a favorite. The ones I’ve tried so far are from Patchology, COSRX, and Dr. Jart+. I love them all, but the Dr. Jart+ Focuspot Blemish Micro Tip Patches are by far my holy grail. They have 65% hyaluronic acid micro tips infused with vitamin B3 and peptides. Not only do they get rid of my breakouts overnight, but they also prevent scarring. They are the most effective acne patch I’ve tried. Unfortunately, each pack only comes with six dots, so I use them sparingly. They are lifesavers for pesky pimples that pop up before special occasions, like photo shoots, weddings, or graduations.

I know these dots can be pricy, especially for how little you get in some packs, so here’s another tip. You can buy hydrocolloid bandages—yes, the same ones used for wounds—and cut them into pieces as needed. This is ideal for larger breakouts or clusters. Plus, you get to save money while getting more hydrocolloid.

Have you tried hydrocolloid dots? If so, which one is your favorite?

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