Since zit-zapping topicals typically take at least a few hours to do their thing, the eight or so you spend sleeping are prime time for fighting breakouts, says New York City dermatologist Dendy Engelman. The key to effectively medicating a pimple overnight is ensuring the formula you’ve applied remains concentrated over the blemish—as opposed to, say, on your pillow case. Cue pimple patches, a relatively new offering in the skincare space. These adhesive dots (available from brands like Peter Thomas Roth and Skyn Iceland) are typically infused with proven acne-fighters like salicylic acid. “Since they stay in place, the patches allow the ingredients to penetrate more deeply,” says Dr. Engelman. “Plus, they provide a sealed, irritation-free environment for skin to heal itself."
Feel a pimple forming but don’t have time for a Sephora run? Recreate the same occlusion effect you’d get from a patch by applying a spot treatment—Dr. Engelman favors the anti-acneic properties of iS Clinical’s olive leaf extract-infused Pro-Heal Serum Advance Plus ($142; dermstore.com)—and then covering it with a few swipes of non-irritating balm, like Darphin Aromatic Purifying Balm ($70; dermstore.com), which contains thyme and lavender oils. “The balm seals the actives in place so they can target the pimple more precisely,” says Dr. Engelman. Take that, breakouts.