Battle of the Acne-Clearing Dots!

Battle of the Acne-Clearing Dots!

Hi guys! I recently got a chance to try two kinds of acne-clearing dots from Peter Thomas Roth and Skyn Iceland. If you haven’t heard of them before, these are little clear stickers that you place on top of acne overnight and can heal acne dramatically faster. Want to find out what I think of these stickers and the two brands? Keep on reading!

The type of product:

These dots usually use something called hydrocolloid, which is a material that is used to create a barrier on the skin. Colloidal bandages are popular for blisters on your feet. I’m not entirely sure about the science behind it all, but essentially it’s a barrier that won’t let anything aggravate the pimple more and can collect oil, bacteria, etc. on the underside of the sticker.

These dots also include ingredients, usually something like salicylic acid and/or tea tree oil, to help clear the pimple and prevent others in that area. They can also include ingredients to soothe irritated skin. The instructions say to wear these for at least a few hours at a time, with 8+ hours overnight as ideal.

The disclaimer:

These dots are marketed as a spot treatment, but they should not be used as a replacement for a skincare routine. Just wanted to get that out there!

We all have different skin, and products work differently on everyone. As they say, Your Mileage May Vary.

The price:

I purchased the Peter Thomas Roth Acne-Clear Invisible Dots as a pack of 72 dots on six sheets, for $30. There is also an option for 24 dots for $12.

The sheet of Skyn Blemish Dots was a free gift with purchase. They cost $20 for 48 dots (no sample size available for purchase).

The full-size PTR pack works out to the same price as the Skyn version, essentially 41.67 cents per sticker. The smaller size is 50 cents per sticker.

The packaging:

There are two sizes of dots for both brands. Both brands have sheets of twelve, six large and six small dots, and each is perforated into six sections of one large and one small dot. I’m not sure if all the perforations are really necessary – I will split this into two once I finish one side of dots, but if I didn’t have the perforations at all, I wouldn’t notice.

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Each sheet is packaged in its own wrapper. I’ve been opening the wrappers along one side and then putting the sheet back into it. I prefer the color and design aesthetic of the Skyn version – overall it’s cleaner and visually more interesting. This single sheet does include an ingredients list on the back, but it doesn’t give as much info about the product in a consumer-friendly way that really sells the product. So I don’t have as much to go off of with this sample. The Peter Thomas Roth dots do contain more of the sell, both on the front and on the back, but the ingredients are on the main box.100_4915 - Copy

The box is actually a tin with a hinged top. I’ve always thought this style of box is just really cool. The entire exterior is the same blue as the sheet wrapper, and the front is also the same. The back is taken up by the Drug Facts (because of the salicylic acid), warnings, directions, and ingredients, and is pretty thorough. It looks like the Skyn box for the 48 count is a typical cardboard box, and I have no idea what the back looks like.100_4914 - Copy

The ingredients:

For the Skyn Blemish Dots:

Acrylates Copolymer, Aqua/Eau/Water, Alcohol Denat., Angelica Archangelica Root Water, Vinyl Caprolactam/Vp/Dimethylaminoethyl Methacrylate Copolymer, Salicylic Acid, Volcanic Ash, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil, Epilobium Angustifolium Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract (Willow Herb) , Bakuchoil, Rubus Chamaemorus (Arctic Cloudberry) Seed Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Vitis Vinefera (Grape) Seed Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Phytosphingosine, Ceramide 3, Glycerin, Potassium Sorbate Sodium Benzoate, Citric Acid, Perfluorodecalin, Alcohol, Sodium Metabisulphite, Sucrose Palmitate, Phenoxyethanol, Xanthan Gum, PVP, Sodium Hydroxide, Butylene Glycol , Polysorbate 80.

For the Peter Thomas Roth Acne Clear Invisible Dots:

Active: Salicylic Acid 0.5%.
Inactive: Acrylates Copolymer, Alcohol Denat., Butylene Glycol, Epilobium Angustifolium Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil, Phenoxyethanol, Phytosphingosine, Polysorbate 80, PVP, Sodium Hyaluronate, Sodium Metabisulfite, Vinyl Caprolactam/VP/Dimethylaminoethyl Methacrylate Copolymer, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract, Volcanic Ash, Water/Aqua/Eau.

A few things to note: The Skyn dots don’t seem to call out salicylic acid as a drug, unlike all of the other acne products I’ve seen. I’m pretty certain that the FDA requires it to be listed as a drug in the US. The Peter Thomas Roth does call out salicylic acid, and the inactive ingredients are actually listed alphabetically, not by percentage, which is a surprise.

Both also list alcohol denat. as ingredients.. The Skyn version also lists alcohol twice (one time is about two-thirds of the way through the list). Alcohol is often drying on the face and it’s recommended to avoid products with large quantities of it. I haven’t personally found any dryness or irritation with either brand, though, even though I have more of a normal-to-dry skin type and can get peeling around zits. I’m also not sure if the alcohol is used as part of the adhesive, or if the barrier changes the drying effect.

The use:

The Skyn dots feel a little thinner and flimsier. Since the dots are going to be attached to the curves of your face (and the zit itself), having something that is more flexible seems better. However, something about the feel seems cheaper, and I don’t know why.

The Skyn dots also seem to fall off or be pushed around my face more often. I believe I only had one or two Peter Thomas Roth dots move around (and I’m on my second sheet from the brand), while at least a quarter of the Skyn dots have moved around or fallen off completely.

Acne dots are kind of like pore strips for me – it’s kind of gross but so satisfying to look at them afterward! The Peter Thomas Roth dots are so satisfying to take off and look at, especially if I put them on my forehead. I can see my sebum collected on the dots, and there’s always a lot from my pimple but just these little dots from individual pores that are clear around the pimple. It’s less pronounced around my chin, which is oilier.

The Skyn dots don’t show off the oil the same way. What I do notice is that they bulge and deform around the skin, especially the pimple. Since these dots are all the first ones I’ve tried, and since this isn’t a common product, it’s hard to know what the dots should look like once they’re taken off. Is the oil supposed to cling to the dots like the Peter Thomas Roth ones? Is it supposed to mix with the sticky solution to be wicked away when the dot is peeled off and shouldn’t be visible? Does the oil make the dot less sticky, which is why I lose so many Skyn dots? Can other products like moisturizers make a difference in how these stick?

The Skyn dots do seem to be a bit more effective. It’s hard to test the two simultaneously, as I need two pimples of around the same size, age, and condition on similar parts of my face. Both dots are good at getting rid of small pimples that are just forming that night, but I’m usually more focused on clearing up larger pimples. The Skyn ones are slightly better for these larger pimples, however, that’s only if the dot stays in place. These larger pimples often need multiple dots over several nights.

I also should mention that the dots are good for surface-level acne, not deep cystic acne. I have had good luck using these with any whiteheads that start to emerge on top of cystic acne (I occasionally get cystic acne but mostly it’s all surface-level whiteheads).

The verdict:

Acne dots are a very cool product. People looking for spot treatments should definitely consider trying these for something new that can be less drying. However, for the price I think these would be better for people with the occasional pimple or two they want cleared up. Acne dots are expensive, and someone with a lot of acne could go through these very quickly.

There’s no hard answer to which of these is better. Personally I prefer the Peter Thomas Roth Acne-Clear Invisible Dots because they’re less likely to fall off and give more consistent results. The Skyn Blemish Dots do give slightly better results, but the difference isn’t enough for me to forget about how often they can move or fall off.

-xo, Andi

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