I’m A Skin Expert and These Are the Spot Patches I Always Use

One of the best things I learned in beauty school is the lifespan of a spot: skin produces excess oil and dead skin cells gather on skin, together these clog pores, creating a breeding ground for bacteria, which results in the inflammation that manifests as a pimple. There’s a lot that can be done to prevent this cycle from starting, such as exfoliation to remove dead skin cells, charcoal masks to absorb excess oil, and using antimicrobial ingredients to kills bacteria. But sometimes, even with the best intentions (and skincare routine), your skin will get the better of you. Take it from me, I’m a qualified esthetician, and still get spots. In this case, the root cause is often out of your control, and by the time a spot has appeared there’s literally nothing that can be done about some of the factors that contributed to it., such as hormones, stress, diet, and medication.

For me personally, my breakouts are almost exclusively hormonal, triggered when I’m stressed (which spikes the hormone cortisol) or by my period (which sees an increase of testosterone). Starting off with a tender feeling deep within the skin and gradually growing into a hard and intensely sore pimple which lurks beneath the skin before finally coming to a head. “Hormonal breakouts are typically inflammatory lesions, for example pustules, papules and cysts,” says consultant dermatologist, Dr Zainab Laftah. “They commonly occur on the lower half of the face; lower cheeks, jawline and chin.” If this sounds familiar to you then you’ll know exactly what type of spot we’re talking about here. Not the tiny pimple that appears overnight and disappears just as quickly, but the ones that creep in annoyingly and linger, unwanted under your skin until eventually they erupt into a painful wound-like blemish which hurts every time you open your mouth. Oh, and sometimes it even feels like they have their own pulse? Yep, those ones.

90% of the time, I’m dealing with this kind of spot and 90% of the time, my regular spot treatments don’t cut it. In addition, picking and popping won’t work on under-the-skin spots. Another thing I learned in beauty school is that attempting to pop an under-the-skin spot is a guaranteed way to make the breakout last ten times longer and it will almost certainly scar in the process. Most estheticians won’t even touch this kind of spot until it’s broken the skin.

Okay, so let’s talk solutions. Regular spot patches are designed to be used on spots that already have a head. They’re made of hydrocolloid which works in two ways, simultaneously. Firstly by protecting the spot from external aggressors, such as bacteria (and picking!), and secondly by drawing out the gunk from the spot. They’re fast and effective, but if your spot doesn’t have a head, they don’t stand a chance. Likewise, your average spot treatment won’t be quite so effective on under-the-skin spots either. They typically take a few days to have any impact, and by that point it’s too late.

Which is where the Zitsticka Killa spot patches come in. Of all the spot treatments I’ve tried, they work the fastest, and (providing you get them on fast enough) they have a 100% success rate. This is because they go one step further than your regular spot patches since they have skincare ingredients actually infused into the hydrocolloid.

These ingredients include some of my favourite blemish-busters, including salicylic acid (which reduces inflammation and clears the pore). “Salicylic acid is oil soluble thus able to penetrate deeply into the pores to breakdown bonds between the dead skin cells and oils,” explains Laftah. So you’re getting right to the root of the breakout. In addition, there’s calming niacinamide, a antimicrobial peptide, and hyaluronic acid (which helps the other ingredients to absorb faster). They’re infused into the skin using tiny (painless) microdarts which dissolve directly into the spot over two hours. Meanwhile, the hydrocolloid still does its bit – absorbing the gunk from the spot and creating a clean environment for the skin to begin healing.

Just remember to stick the patch on the second you feel that initial tenderness. The sooner you act, you the more chance you have of stopping that spot in its tracks. When the time comes to remove the patch, you’ll notice the spot has deflated, any redness will be reduced, and the area won’t be as painful either. In two hours, seriously, that’s all it takes.

These are Zitsticka’s regular hydrocolloid patches. I often wear these on a spot after removing Killa and until the spot has completely healed, since hydrocolloid really does help to speed up the healing process.

Not your average pore strips. Rather than pulling the gunk from your pores (which can irritate the skin), these are made of hydrocolloid, so they absorb it slowly instead.

Got an all-over flare-up of breakouts? Designed to cover the areas of the face where breakouts and blackheads are most prevalent, these supersize patches work overnight to target multiple spots in one go.

Not everyone wants to draw attention to their spots, but these cute stars sure are one way to conceal them. I also find that the star shape works really well because it wraps around the spot, covering it from every angle.

Super-sized, so ideal for clusters of multiple breakouts or extra large spots.

Try these if you’re concerned about post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (the red marks that linger annoyingly after a breakout). They work just like the Killa patches, but contain pigmentation-targeting ingredients like vitamin C and arbutin.

Next Up: I’ve Lived With Breakouts for Years – These Are the 21 Products That I Swear By