Acne is a common issue among teenagers and adults, and whether you get the odd pesky spot or hormonal breakout, we can all agree it’s something we’d rather do without.
If like us you’ve tried every method under the sun to get rid of whiteheads, blackheads and everything in between, from toothpaste and Sudocrem to targeted treatments and facials, you’ll know how difficult it can be to achieve clear skin.
Sometimes spots also appear out of nowhere, no matter how diligent you are at cleaning your brushes, taking your make-up off properly and using the right skincare products. Not to mention that maskne is now a common problem, where the heat and humidity from wearing a face-covering clogs pores and leads to further breakouts.
But in recent years a new way of treating spots has emerged in the form of spot stickers.
They are small, often mostly clear patches that can be applied before bed or onto a make-up free face, left for hours to get to work, et voila – once removed, the spot is gone. Part of their appeal is they’re discreet, barely noticeable if you want to wear them during the day, and mess-free for wearing them overnight.
Starface is the latest brand to enter the scene, and it’s gone for a different, louder approach to spot stickers. The vegan and Leaping Bunny-certified skincare brand launched in 2019, and aims to bring fun into acne treatments with its star-shaped spot patches that are so Instagram friendly, it’s hard to resist a selfie while you’re wearing them. It aims to help users embrace blemishes via the fun design, rather than hide them.
The patches count a number of celebrities as fans, including Hailey Bieber and skincare guru Caroline Hirons, who recently took to Instagram to declare that they really do work. Sharing a photo of herself holding the Starface stickers, Hirons wrote: “Public service announcement. These work. Not an ad. They’re zit stickers from @Starface and they work. That’s it. That’s the message.”
Despite launching in the UK in March 2020, the spot-treatment brand had been tricky to get hold of but, owing to its popularity, it is now available at Superdrug, which became the brand’s first stockist on this side of the pond in January 2021. Luckily, we got our hands on the hydro-star kit to see if it really lives up to the hype.
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Starface hydro-stars: £11.99 for 32 patches, Superdrug.com
First up is the super cute packaging; a hard yellow square pod containing 32 sheets, with four bright yellow star stickers on each.
Each star is filled with hydrocolloid, which draws out pus from the area (a lovely image, we know), blocks bacteria from getting in and prevents you from picking and popping inflamed skin.
In an ideal world, you shouldn’t be squeezing spots at all, as while the pressure forces pus out, it can also push pus further into the skin, rendering you with breakouts for even longer. This is easier said than done however, and, as poor practice as it is, it’s oh so satisfying. So anything that can help us avoid the dreaded pick gets our attention.
It’s recommended to leave them on for six hours or overnight, so we tried both. It can be a little fidgety removing them from the film, and they have a tacky feel on the sticky side which features a very good adhesive.
We applied three to some hormonal spots that just wouldn't budge on a clean face and jumped into bed. The next morning they hadn’t moved and they were so weightless that we forget we were wearing them.
We also wore them during the day, and while they aren’t quite suitable for the office, the patches were great to use while working from home. Again, we loved how they stayed put, even on our jawline and around the nose, looking like playful face decorations rather than a skincare treatment.
While they won’t do much for blackheads – you’ll have to rely on exfoliating acid toners and extraction facials for that – when applied to whiteheads we were dying to pop, we noticed a significant reduction in redness and they were almost completely gone after one use.
These stickers work fast while you feel nothing at all, and they do a superb job at preventing you from picking at or trying to squeeze spots.
The self-consciousness that comes with a smattering of spots quickly disappears too – a liberating feeling if you find being make-up free in public a challenge.
If you’re struggling with face mask-induced spots, particularly around the chin area, we’re happy to report they sit comfortably under a face covering without any issues, staying in place and treating the problem without hindering your day.
While we’ve become firm fans of the product, it is important to note that it’s not always a quick fix. Spots can take weeks to fully go away and there’s many other factors to consider such as hormones, stress, age, lifestyle and diet, which can all play a part in your skin health.
Instead think of them as an aid to reduce redness and minimise the size of the odd spot, while being so bright and colourful that they distract you from squeezing and picking at every chance you get.
You can buy them as a one-time purchase, with refills costing £9, or through a subscription service either once a month, every two months or every three months. If you’re new to them, we suggest trying them out before committing long term.
The verdict: Are they worth it?
Starface’s hydro star spot patches are an affordable, effective product to slot into your skincare routine, and are easy to use and deliver realistic results in battling a bugbear almost everyone experiences.
We love how quickly we saw a difference in the size and appearance of our spots and will definitely be going back for more. These stars are a handy companion to keep close when a pesky blemish appears. We can see why Caroline Hirons is a fan.
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