November 25, 2014

Spot Treatment with Hydrocolloid Bandages

hydrocolloid bandages band-aids patches nexcare acne spot treatment zit
I feel like every 20 something likes to complain about having trust issues. Mine don't come from a two timing ex or anything like that. They come from adult acne, exclusively. I do not have good skin. I have gaping pores and dry flaky patches and always, always at least one active breakout. It's absolute bullshit. Sorry, I was under the impression I wouldn't wake up with active breakouts the day after my 20th birthday and I feel like I'm entitled to some kind of refund. Preferably cash.

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Since that's not going to happen, I'm constantly trolling the internet in an effort to rid myself of my acne. Surprisingly, the all time best resource for this has been Reddit's skincareaddiction community. Reddit has a very active beauty community, semi tucked away from all the conspiracy theorists and holier than though fedoras with vendettas against women. Skincareaddiction is one of such subreddits that kind of allows you to soak up their helpful information without really participating in typical Reddit things, like uploading photos or commenting on posts. They have a sidebar with a real wealth of knowledge and you can easily read through the information, pick up recommendations and troubleshoot and customize your own skincare routine. Plus, it's very no nonsense, science minded advice rather than women's magazine "Mash up ingredients in your fridge and smear them on your face!" bullshit. Dermatologists and representatives of popular skincare lines have had a presence in some of the threads and praised the advice the users dole out. It's pretty reliable stuff, as far as taking advice from strangers on the internet goes. I've almost entirely changed my skincare routine based on what I've read there but there's one product that is light years above the rest.

It's hydrocolloid bandages and they are amazing.

Hydrocolloid bandages are making those "zit on an important day" plot lines in movies unravel for me. I recently took the kids I nanny for to see Alexander And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. One of the crises that unfolded in the movie was that the teenage son of Jennifer Garner and Steve Carell had a giant forehead zit on the day of his junior prom. LIFE RUINING! Steve Carell was disgusted and told him to put a Band Aid on it. I almost threw the illegal gummy worms I had smuggled into the theater via my purse at the screen. "YOU IDIOT, A HYDROCOLLOID BANDAGE! NOT JUST A REGULAR ONE! YOU'RE SO STUPID!! NOW YOU'LL NEVER MAKE PROM COURT!!" I'm sure all my blog readers see movies marketed to children on a daily basis so you'll definitely know what I'm talking about here.
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They're breaking up in this scene because the girl only cares about being popular and not about being true to herself. Note the regular bandage on the forehead of the guy in the Dumb & Dumber tux.
Hydrocolloid bandages are the kind of bandages you use for blisters if you're not a sick fuck who just pops them with a safety pin (like I am). They're these thick, gel dressings that are designed to suck moisture out of wounds. They work exactly the same way on zits but with sucking out pus and oil. It's ridiculously easy - you lance your breakout (and even that is an optional step) and then slap the bandage on top and leave it on while you sleep. Voila, you wake up and your breakout is inside the bandage rather than on your face! It makes complete sense and you'll wonder why you never thought to use them before. Like, obviously the bandages designed to trap moisture are going to do the same thing for a gross zit that they would for a blister. The bandage doesn't know to play favorites.

I don't know about you, but I'm obsessed with extrapolating disgusting things from my face. Magnifying mirrors are dangerous for me because I could spend plural hours squeezing out my pores and popping zits. I need the satisfaction. Obviously this is pretty awful for your face but at the same time you don't want to be the person walking around with a pussy whitehead. I promise, people on the bus or in line with you at the grocery store are staring at it and wishing you would just pop it already. I know people who are like, "DOCTORS" or "DERMATOLOGISTS" or whatever will urge you to leave it alone but like, to put it eloquently: gross.

Medical professionals do know what they're talking about though because it's rarely as easy as just popping the zit and moving on with your life. I always try and end up making the thing red, inflamed and swollen and 70% more noticeable than it was before. Hydrocolloid bandages allow you to both "pop" the breakout and be gentle to your skin. It just sucks out all the oil and pus into the bandage and deflates the zit for you (the point of popping) without any redness (the side effect of popping). As a bonus, they also create a safety seal so you don't feel tempted to poke and prod at the zit at all.

Here's a tutorial on how to use these things. It's stupid easy.
  1. Buy a package of hydrocolloid bandages. Some are marketed specifically for acne use and come in pre-sized circles or shapes, like stars or hearts. In my opinion, these are a cutesy ripoff. They were more expensive, all for the privilege of being pre-cut. These things aren't like a pizza or something where I would flip a shit in a hangry rage if they were delivered to me without being properly sliced. I can take care of myself, thanks, and I buy the actual hydrocolloid blister bandages from the drugstore and cut them to size myself with a regular pair of scissors like God intended. I actually prefer it that way because I can cut a larger strip for a particularly problematic area of my face or teeny, less wasteful pieces for a small breakout. 
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Nexcare, the brand that markets these bandages for acne specifically. These didn't adhere to my face nearly as well as the regular bandages. I don't even have oily skin. These guys were just sleeping on the job.

hydrocolloid bandages band-aids patches nexcare acne spot treatment zit
What the bandages will look like, just cut to size and then peel off the adhesive backing.
Ask the pharmacist if you need help and they'll direct you to the bandages you want. Pro tip: Don't ask anyone who works in the drugstore but a pharmacist. I won't say where I used to work, but there is a C a V and an S in the name and I got yelled at once for telling a customer Crest White Strips worked well for me after she asked. You're supposed to save these questions for a pharmacist so the idiots up front don't give you faulty medical advice and cause you to sue the entire company when Crest White Strips make all your teeth fall out and use your credit card behind your back. So don't ask the cashier or the person stocking the candy aisle about your zit band aids.

2. Lance your breakout with a sterilized object. This step is optional but delivers the best results. I won't take off from your final grade if you don't do it.

3. Take your preshaped or newly cut bandage, remove the adhesive backing and place it directly over the breakout.

4. Sleep. Do something productive for 8 hours. Just leave the bandage on for awhile. I find the whole sleep method works best for me because it allows me to leave the bandage on for about half the day without even noticing its there.

5. Peel off the bandage and marvel over how much disgusting shit is living in your face. Weigh yourself because surely you just lost 3lbs, all in pus.

I am a benevolent blogger and have taken pictures of these bandages after they've been on my face for a night. These are the action shots, right here. Just posting photos of my breakout juice on the internet. I really want to drive home how effective these bandages are, though, and a picture is going to do the job a lot better than words. The photos you are about to see may disturb you.

hydrocolloid bandages band-aids patches nexcare acne spot treatment zit before after

hydrocolloid bandages band-aids patches nexcare acne spot treatment zit before after

hydrocolloid bandages band-aids patches nexcare acne spot treatment zit before after
There you have it. You can see how the oil spot is bulging out of the bandage. These things really don't play around.

Grab these from the drugstore the next time you have a breakout that will ruin your life. I always have a package on hand because you never know when your next gross zit is going to show up totally uninvited (bet money that it will be the day of a job interview or a date or something and I bet you'll come out on top). These are so much more effective and better for your skin than bullshit home remedies like toothpaste or baking soda paste mixed with dog hair or whatever your teen magazines used to advise. It's the best and the most convenient spot treatment you can ask for and now you know about it. As always, you're welcome.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this tutorial. I have wanted to get some hydrocolloid bandages, but I wasn't sure if they would still work if I cut them smaller. (The only ones I have found in nearby stores were 4in x 4in squares.) I'm glad you included a picture of what they looked like after you cut them. I was confused because if you cut a regular bandaid, you are likely to cut off the part that will keep it stuck to your skin. Of course, I haven't used a hydrocolloid bandage before, so how else would I know it will work to just cut them? I use small round regular bandages for this purpose, but I think the hydrocolloid ones might work better. Thanks for this post.