July 12, 2024


Define Beauty Yourself

Does Everyone Just Wear Their Pimple Patches in the Wild Now?

Does Everyone Just Wear Their Pimple Patches in the Wild Now?

notes from the beauty department

As a person who has dealt with more than the occasional breakout since her teen years, the ease and effectiveness of using a hydrocolloid patch to shrink zits down to size aren’t lost on me. In fact, I often keep a full sheet of patches on my bathroom counter or bedside table, since applying them is one of my preferred methods for clearing my skin practically overnight. And since I wear pimple patches as part of my nightly skincare routine, I never really thought much about wearing them during the day—and certainly not outside my house.

But nowadays, it feels like pimple patches are stalking me. Whenever I turn around, I see strangers wearing them while carefully selecting their groceries, picking up a new shirt at the mall, or just walking down the street. Recently, I went to dinner with a group of friends and noticed one of them wearing a distinctive yellow star on the bridge of his nose. A few days later, as I grabbed coffee around the corner from my office, my barista unapologetically boasted three or so ice-blue hearts on her cheeks and forehead while ringing up my order. Pure coincidence, I told myself … until a few days after that, I noticed Bazaar senior fashion editor Tara Gonzalez wearing a couple of patches around the office. I couldn’t help but wonder: Is it no longer taboo to wear pimple patches in the wild? Was it ever?

I’ve never been bold enough to wear hydrocolloid patches outside the walls of my apartment intentionally, although I have definitely done so accidentally. Once, I left a cloud-shaped patch on my chin while dropping off a package at my local post office, and didn’t realize it until glancing in my car’s rearview mirror. At the time, I was humiliated, but looking back, I’m not exactly sure why. Perhaps it was the fun-yet-cartoonish design of the patch itself, or maybe that I drew even more attention to my breakout by wearing it in public. I’ve never claimed to have flawless skin—several Bazaar articles I’ve written on acne treatments can attest to this—so going public with my skincare on really isn’t that big of a deal. There’s actually something quite affirming about the outward-facing pimple patch trend: Wearing one in public makes acne-prone folks like me feel seen and a little less isolated about their skin issues. I generally believe that bolder seems to be better when it comes to this beauty trend, but no judgment for those who prefer to wear the “invisible” kind instead.

It’s still a little shocking to me for someone to wear their pimple patches all willy-nilly, but I think I finally get it. Just like applying a statement lip or a vibrant set of press-ons, wearing patches in the wild offers another opportunity to accessorize through beauty without sacrificing precious zit-clearing time. Now that I’m seeing the trend more often, I feel newly emboldened to also wear my patches of choice loudly and proudly—but maybe just on the weekends to start.

If you’re feeling inspired to wear a few patches in public—or private—try a few of my favorites below.

Hydro-Star Pimple Patches

Starface Hydro-Star Pimple Patches
Credit: Starface

Love’Zit Anytime Patches

Pacifica Love’Zit Anytime Patches
Credit: Pacifica Beauty

The Original Mighty Patch

Hero Cosmetics The Original Mighty Patch
Credit: Amazon

Pride Limited-Edition Salicylic Acid Acne Healing Dots

Peace Out Pride Limited-Edition Salicylic Acid Acne Healing Dots
Credit: Ulta

Tiffany Dodson is currently the associate beauty commerce editor at Harper’s Bazaar, where she specializes in trend forecasting, building relationships with major and emerging brands, and crafting shopping stories—from holiday gift guides to product road tests. Tiffany’s work has previously been featured in outlets like SELF, Bustle, and Teen Vogue, and she’s been quoted as a commerce and beauty expert in publications and platforms like The Business of Fashion and NPR’s Life Kit podcast.