Review: Acne Pimple Master Patch by COSRX, plus a skin story

One envelope of Acne Pimple Master Patches by COSRX (partially used).

You guys, my skin has HATED me for the last few months. It's been a stress point. Things are finally looking up, and this is one of the products I tried on the way.

Before I go further, here's some background on my skin:

I had terrible acne through my adolescent years and early adulthood, but three rounds of Accutane (yes, THREE), each about a year apart, did the trick. The first two rounds worked, and I was clear for about a year before the dreaded acne returned. The third round kept me mostly clear for good—and I was so thankful. A few years ago, acne cysts kept popping up on my chin nearly every month, but I wasn't comfortable going back on Accutane for acne that wasn't severe. It really is an intense drug. So I decided to try Chinese medicine—more specifically, acupuncture and herbs. And it worked! Each visit kept me clear for about eight months. (If you're interested and you live in Vancouver, I visit Black Sheep Acupuncture and Herbs on Main Street. Brent is great.)

Then, a few months ago, all *%$# broke loose. My chin and jawline went nuts with cysts, whiteheads and pimples. I was also way more sensitive than before. (Thank goodness for makeup, right?)

Problem skin: Culprits?

I couldn't nail down the culprit—I cleanse, tone and moisturize religiously, so that couldn't have been it. I even visited my acupuncturist a couple of times, and he got rid of existing cysts, but not the acne. I figured possibilities included the following:

  • Stress. I've been doing a new job for the last year, and I do a little too much on the side, so my professional life is a little intense.
  • Hormones. They say acne on adult women in that area is related to hormones. Who knows how to moderate that....
  • Diet. I have to say my diet isn't awesome these days. I'm busy, and I like chocolate and red wine. A lot. Nothing has really changed there since my good skin days, but the body is unpredictable.
  • The weather change. Summer to fall—am I right?
  • Age. I know, I know. I'm young. But 32 does NOT feel the same as 25. At all. If you're under 30, enjoy it while you can! My skin issues may have been related to my aging body.
  • The wrong skin products. This is a tough one. Even when my skin was pretty good, I always wanted it to be better. When a facial tech told me my skin was congested and I needed a moisturizer with a smaller molecular structure, I dished out. It's right around then that my skin freaked out. Are the two things connected? Maybe.

Finding the magic formula (or trying)

So I started obsessively trying to figure out how to get my skin to calm down. I tried a few strategies:

  1. Going back to skin products I used when my skin was better. This includes Clinique Cityblock moisturizer, which is a great daytime moisturizer with SPF.
  2. Listening carefully to my skin—what products didn't feel comfortable anymore? As it turned out, the extra-gentle Clinique toner I'd been using for years had started to burn.
  3. Carefully integrating simple products for sensitive skin into my regimen. Thanks to recommendations by Beautezine, I tried Avene—and so far, I really like it!
  4. Prioritizing gentle and targeted acne treatments. I find that acne-specific products are often harsh. If I have a few spots on my chin to take care of, I'm not going to use an acne-fighting ingredient on my whole face.

Strategy #4 is where today's product comes in: Clinical Skin Care Acne Pimple Master Patches by COSRX seemed to be the gold standard of medicated acne patches according to my research. The concept appealed to me for a few reasons:

  1. As I said above, I didn't want to slather acne-fighting products, such as medicated moisturizers and serums, all over my face when I was just dealing with a specific area. That seemed like a recipe for irritation.
  2. I know extracted blemishes are like wounds—they bleed, after all. Promoting gentle healing rather than drying it out with alcohol or other harsh products seemed like a good idea.
  3. Common treatments like benzoyl peroxyde don't do much for me.

Tactic: Pimple patches?

Acne patches—essentially tiny bandages with a bit of treatment—seemed like the perfect option. I ordered these patches online from a company called Soko Glam for about $15 Canadian (including shipping).

The package comes with one sheet of patches. There are 24 in total, with three different sizes. There are nine large ones, which are just shy of a centimetre in diameter. There are five medium-sized ones at about three-quarters of a centimetre. Finally, there are ten tiny ones, which measure about half a centimetre.

You're supposed to wear them overnight, or for several hours during the day, and replace them when they turn cloudy or white—that means the patch has absorbed your blemish's gunk. (Great mental image, right?)

I tried these on several blemishes of varying sizes and stages over several days, and here is my verdict:

  • I found these to be virtually useless on blemishes that haven't yet come to a head. The patches seem to need an opening through which to absorb the oils.
  • They don't work magic on pimples that have come to a head. They do seem to help a little, but you should still expect your blemish to take a few days to several days to heal completely.
  • I like them best for pimples that I've extracted—the ones that weep a little. (Sorry if you have a weak stomach. I'm just trying to be real.) Covering the wound with a gently medicated patch seems to do a good job of keeping it clean, facilitating healing, and absorbing any of the excess fluid that needs to come out.

The verdict: Meh

Overall? I'd say these patches are okay. I may repurchase again because I like the idea of protecting the wound of an extracted blemish—those can be problematic for me, and often get worse before they get better. But these patches aren't miracle workers, and they're far from essential.

Have you ever tried a product like this? What did you think? What are your best solutions for sensitive, acne-prone skin? Let me know in the comments!

Disclosure: This product was purchased by Eyeshadow Addict.