Gone are the days when the most shared pimple remedy was a glob of toothpaste or a burning peroxide concoction — and thank goodness for that! Beauty Tiktokers have been known to break the rules and create some of their own. So when we saw LITERAL gel bandages stuck on the faces of beauty Tiktokers everywhere, we needed the low down. Beauty Tiktok is swarming their local pharmacies in hopes that they can snag a box of . . . bandages? But not just your run-of-the-mill bandages — the clear gel, squishy kind, also known as hydrocolloid patches. The same material that brands like Zitsticka, Cosrx, and Starface have popularized as ready-to-buy “pimple patches” in recent years. So why is this spin on a classic blowing up Tiktok?
TW: taking off gross bandages. Part 2 #hydrocolloidbandages
With hundreds of millions of views collectively, beauty Tiktokers are relying on “bandages,” aka hydrocolloid patches. They leave them on for a few hours or even overnight. They then film the reveal as they peel off these sebum-filled patches. Most users are in shock and awe, as the proof is quite literally on the patch.
Originally created as a bandage for wounds in the 1980s, the hydrocolloid material absorbs bacteria and pus from the wound. Or, in Tiktok’s case, the breakouts. While it may seem intriguing to cover a larger breakout area, many of the reviews state that they were painful to peel off and left the skin sensitive and red. Ouch! However, some users say that is a small price to pay for less-inflamed acne.
While the bandages can cover a much-larger surface area, pimple-specific patches are often infused with acne-fighting ingredients so not only are you removing gunk and irritating the skin, you’re actually treating the root problem.
So that leaves us with the question — to bandage or not to bandage?
We say it’s better to err on the side of caution and stick with the beauty brands that create products with hydrocolloid specifically for spots and acne. But no matter which camp you’re in, we know that hydrocolloid material lives up to its rep for getting the sebum out; even if rocking bandages on your face isn’t your cup of tea, donning cute star or flower patches is sure to win you a few bonus beauty points on the ‘gram.
If you’re not yet ready to go “full bandage,” check out our picks:
(Story by Contributing Editor, Brittany Johnson)