Are Skincare patches over-rated? A dermatologist gives us her expert insight

Skincare patches, particularly for spot treating acne, have been around for years. I used to love the Peter Thomas Roth ones but either they changed the formulation or my skin sensitivity increased. About a year ago I had to stop using them because of redness that would occur after I would leave the patch on for a few hours. Now there seem to be new options every time I swing by Sephora or scroll through Instagram. Traditionally the patches have been designed to blend in with the skin, but a new crop of brands are going the opposite direction, like Starface pictured above. And the patches are now going well beyond acne fighting with things like retinol patches. Should we be opting for these over traditional skincare? I turned to cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Michele Green to find out.

There are so many patches out now-everything from acne fighting with salicylic acid to wrinkle fighting with retinol. Is there any benefit to using these over classic skincare products/spot treatments products?

“Skincare patches can be as effective as topical application of skincare products if there is science to substantiate the efficacy of the patch and the formulation. Simply put a skincare patch is a transdermal approach to skincare application. Skincare patches are typically designed with a sophisticated delivery system to release the active ingredient(s) into the skin. The product is absorbed from the patch, through the outer layers of skin, and into deeper layers for full efficacy. The benefit of using a skincare patch is ultimately dependent upon the product and the science behind it.

Transdermal patches have been around for many years most often used in pain management for time release delivery of pain medication to targeted areas of pain. The use of patches has made an appearance on the skincare market. To be effective the concept must remain the same the patch must contain a chemical enhancer which can permeate the stratum corneum and deliver the skincare active (s) to the dermis and subcutaneous tissues of the skin to aid in cellular turnover therefore improving the appearance of the skin.”

If so, any drawbacks and if so any way to prevent them? 

“Yes, there are some drawbacks one can be allergic to the adhesive therefore use of the patch can result in redness, and skin irritation.”

How long should one keep on the patches? Is there any “danger” to keeping them on too long?

“You should always follow the manufacturer instructions when using these patches. The patch should not be kept on longer than the length of time given by the manufacturer. Failure to comply with the manufacturer instruction can result in skin irritation.

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