These Pimple Patches Are the Next Best Thing to an In-Office Cortisone Shot

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For some reason – the weather, wedding planning stress, my hormones, the seasonal changeover, Mercury retrograde — my skin has been particularly breakout-prone lately. I have always had combination skin, prone to acne, an oily T-zone, dry cheeks and occasional sensitization and rosacea flare-ups. But over the past few weeks in particular, I've been experiencing a handful of extremely annoying pimples. The only upside to these painful, inflamed cysts is that they're the kind I can feel brewing before a day or two before they make their way to skin's surface, meaning there's time to swoop in and treat them before they become full-fledged zits.

For that reason, I've become a big fan of microdart-based pimple patches — acne treatment stickers with tiny "needles" that puncture skin, and then dissolve to drive active ingredients down where they're needed most. These are different from standard hydrocolloid pimple patches, whose main functions are to absorb excess sebum from clogged pores and provide sanitary protection against grime.

Hands-down the best version of the microdart patch I've ever tried is ZitSticka's new Killa Acne Extra Strength Microdart Patch; I'd even go as far as to say it's the next best thing to getting an in-office cortisone shot at the dermatologist. (Plus, they don't pose the same risk of skin "pitting" that the injections can.)

ZitSticka Killa Acne Extra Strength Microdart Patch, $18 for four-pack, <a href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:available here;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">available here</a><p>Photo: Courtesy of ZitSticka</p>
ZitSticka Killa Acne Extra Strength Microdart Patch, $18 for four-pack, available here

Photo: Courtesy of ZitSticka

According to the brand, these extra-intense patches are five times stronger and faster acting than similar products on the market, with "longer, sharper and more stable" microdarts laced with 2% salicylic acid. ZitSticka also claims that they go to work within two hours of application, reducing swelling and redness on deep, early stage pimples. I've tried probably a dozen different types of microdart pimple patches at this point, and I was left truly shocked by the results I achieved with these when I wore them overnight.

As directed, I swiped one of the included prep pads (basically little alcohol wipes) over the emerging blemish spot to remove surface oils that can prevent the stickers from properly adhering. Then I pressed one of the patches directly on top of the site in question, and held it in place for a few seconds to maximize the pokiness of the darts. I left it on overnight and as long as possible in the morning — for probably a total of nine or 10 hours — and then peeled off the patch.

What had previously been a budding, painful below-the-skin cyst seemed to have gone straight from the emerging stage to the post-pimple healing phase, skipping the at-the-surface part altogether. It was no longer painful or raised at all; the only remaining trace was a bit of redness I could easily cover up with concealer. The only other times I've experienced such a sped-up pimple process were when I've gotten cortisone shots from my dermatologist. It's basically like hitting the fast-forward button on the entire breakout trajectory, and if that doesn't sound like a total dream to you, then clearly, you haven't ever really dealt with a truly terrible pimple.

I've had similar results with subsequent breakouts, but have definitely noticed that the key factor is to catch the pimple early enough in its development stages — once it starts to reach the surface, it's too late, and you'll have to go the standard hydrocolloid route. I'm officially going to start stockpiling these so I can hopefully make slow-moving, intense breakouts a thing of my past.

ZitSticka Killa Acne Extra Strength Microdart Patch, $18 for four-pack, available here

Please note: This product was gifted. Occasionally, we use affiliate links on our site. In no way does this affect our editorial decision-making.

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