Patches Are The Beauty Treatment You Didn't Know You Needed

When multi-masking started making the rounds in the U.S., we rejoiced in a technique that allowed us to target the different skin issues on different parts of our face — something very few allover masks are able to do effectively. The technique, which involves using a variety of masks simultaneously to treat different skin-care concerns, quickly became a common practice in many a beauty routine. Targeted skin care was a burgeoning category that we were excited to see evolve.
Well, say hello to patches, the evolution we've been waiting for. Like multi-masking, skin-care patches can be placed on areas of the face (and parts of the body!) to zero in on a myriad of issues. Unlike your run-of-the-mill mask, though, patches create a truly occlusive barrier on the skin that "pushes" active ingredients into the skin, which holds in moisture, eliminates the issue of evaporation, and makes them much more potent. Some patches flood the skin with a host of active ingredients, while others create a "cushion" effect that stops the skin from folding or creasing. Hell, there's even a microneedling patch now.
While there are a few less high-tech stickers and patches that have been on the market for a while, the past few years have seen a bevy of more high-tech, professional-quality skin-care patches hit the market. Ahead, we've gathered the ones that are truly pushing boundaries where innovation is concerned. Check out the slides, ahead, for the full breakdown.
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I keep a pack of these dots in my purse for zit-related emergencies. The little clear patches can be placed right on top of a budding or existing pimple to blast it with a high dose of blemish-fighting salicylic acid, volcanic ash, and tea tree oil.

"It's more effective than spreading a serum around, which may just wipe off and be diluted by other moisturizers," says Sarah Kugelman, president and founder of Skyn Iceland.

If you're concerned that these patches will be noticeable on your skin, I assure you, they will not be. The tiny dots are clear and very thin, so if you apply the sticker correctly, it should lay flat on your face (although it can be visible in harsh light). The best part? If you're a picker (guilty as charged) these will help deter your fingers.

Skyn Iceland Blemish Dots, $20, available at Ulta Beauty.
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Unlike traditional skin-care patches that contain a host of actives, Sio's SkinPad contains no additional ingredients. It consists solely of medical-grade silicone — a substance that has been used as an aid to wound healing for decades, says dermatologic surgeon and medical advisor for Sio, Dendy Engelman M.D.

"SkinPads help in two ways," she says. "One is mild physical cushioning...allowing your décolleté to remain smooth and unwrinkled during sleep; the other is creating an optimal microclimate to allow for...enhanced skin hydration and the plumping of [wrinkles]."

Although many consumers have seen benefits in just one use, the pad can be used up to 15 times for continued effects.

Sio Skinpad, $99.95, available at Sio.
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These colorful patches contain a host of moisturizing ingredients (niacinamide, peptides, and green tea extract to name a few) that work together to seriously plump and soften your lips. We like slapping one of these on while we do our makeup to prep our lips for lipstick.

Patchology FlashPatch Lip Gels, $50, available at Patchology.
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According to 111Skin's founder and board-certified plastic surgeon Yannis Alexandrides, MD, the top layer of skin (the epidermis) is a waterproof barrier that makes it difficult for topical products to absorb. He devised a delivery system for 111Skin's Micro Mask that contains actual micro needles made of hyaluronic acid and vitamin C, which penetrate into the skin and then fully dissolve, leaving all the hydrating and brightening goodness behind. The patches can be used under the eyes, around the nose, on crow's-feet, or frown lines for instant hydration and plumping.

111Skin Meso Infusion Micro Mask, $160, available at SpaceNK.
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Sure, slapping a piece of adhesive craft paper over your fine lines might sound bonkers, but in the short-term, it can have wrinkle-smoothing effects.

"The muscles of the face cannot move under the patch, keeping you from frowning or expressing while you have the patch on your face," says Kat Wright, ND, CEO of OG patch brand Frownies. "By keeping the crease flat...the body can release the muscle memory that is holding the crease."

In plain terms, these babies basically tape your face in place and prevent your muscles from moving, kind of like a topical Botox. Sadly, these aren't proven to be a long-term treatment to eradicate lines, but rather an immediate fix to temporarily reduce the look of them. They won't replace injectables or fillers in any way, but if you want an immediate lifting action before a night out, these might be your ticket.

Frownies Facial Patches For Wrinkles On The Forehead & Between The Eyes, $19.95, available at Frownies.
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