I can't remember where I first read about using hydrocolloid bandages for breakouts but they've been a crucial part of my acne care routine for years. The idea is that patching a blemish (especially a broken / picked one) overnight with these sticky products will allow the pus and other inflammatory junk to be absorbed out of the skin and into the bandage, calming things down and speeding up healing. Best of all there's this mesmerizing & gross visual payoff in the morning when I hold the bandage patch to the light and see just how much gunk is extracted overnight! (See pictures at end of post ^_^)
My first forays into acne patches were through completely transparent sticker-like sheets (think Missha Speedy Solution Anti Trouble Patch, Lioele AC Control Trouble Patch, etc). They were pretty much worthless except for covering up spots and preventing me from scratching while sleeping. Those pretty ads that promised I'd clear a blemish overnight were unfortunately untrue for me... BUT I did find another use for them (details to follow) so all was not lost! =)
Hydrocolloid bandages, on the other hand, really live up to their claims and the first type I ever tried was made by Nexcare, a major player in wound care products. They're under 3M, a company that makes "more than 55,000 products" according to Wikipedia and as American as they come. Interestingly, though, I've always bought my Nexcare Acne Patches through Asian eBay sellers because I can find the smaller-sized patches I need from Taiwan but not so much here in the US.
Over time I started looking at different brands because I run through these acne patches fast & I wanted to find a cheaper alternative. Google turned me onto Target's up&up brand of hydrocolloid bandages (called "Blister Bandages") and after using them for nearly a year I've some thoughts to share on how the two brands compare.