The big eco-swaps making pimple patches more sustainable

By Amanda Pauley | Published: 1-Mar-2023

Spot patches are a booming skin care category. We delve into the packaging process of the blemish product and what the key players are doing to become more sustainable

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Spot stickers have skipped fad status and delivered on the hype, becoming a long-lasting beauty trend in their own right.

The patches, which work to speed up the life cycle of a blemish by sucking out fluids and converting them into a gel that provides a moist environment for wound healing, have undergone a somewhat meteoric rise to the top. 

The category’s growth shows no signs of slowing down either. The global anti-acne dermal patch market size is expected to expand 6.1% to US$870.3m by 2030, according to data from analyst Grand View Research.

Unsurprisingly, the spot treatments have landed best with younger audiences, with 18 to 44-year-olds making up 55.2% of the market share in 2021. 

With brands like Starface causing a social media stir with its cute star-shaped patch designs, to influencers such as Caroline Hirons swearing by ZitSticka’s Killa Spot Clarifying Microdart Patch, it is no wonder the products have achieved cult status.

Other brands killing it in the market include Dots For Spots, Mighty Patch and Cosrx.  

18 to 44-year-olds make up 55% of the spot patch market share (Image: SkinChoice)

18 to 44-year-olds make up 55% of the spot patch market share (Image: SkinChoice)

But with mass growth, comes mass production and packaging.

As the beauty sector tries to significantly reduce the amount of waste it creates – organisation A Plastic Planet reports that the personal care industry produces 160,000 tonnes of plastic every year – the spotlight is on all manufacturers to do their part to help tackle the problem. 

“In the world of manufacturing and brand ownership, everybody knows that extended producer responsibility (EPR) is coming,” says Sian Sutherland, co-founder of A Plastic Planet.

The UK’s new regulation for packaging waste, which came into force this year (p65), requires all businesses to record data about the packaged goods they supply and their recycling processes.

It follows in the footsteps of other European countries, which already have something similar in place.

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