Prid vs Nexcare Acne Patches - Battle of the Holistic Spot Treatments

Prid vs Nexcare Acne Patches - Battle of the Holistic Spot Treatments

Welcome to the first ever Battle of the Holistic Spot Treatments. We have two contenders, raring to go. In one corner, we have an old-as-time ointment that smells like grandma's weird tea, and in the other we have some fleshy stickers built to suck your puss out like a pack of jolly monsters:

Acne Patch Monsters
Or maybe your zits are the jolly monsters. Or maybe you are.


Prid is billed as an "All Natural Drawing Salve" that is supposed to relieve pain, redness, and irritation due to minor skin eruptions, cuts, boils, and scratches. It is also supposed to be to be used for bringing things like splinters and infections up and out of the skin. (Your zits are "minor" eruptions, right? "Minor"? haha. Right??)

Prid Drawing Salve Review / The Acne Experiment (Crappy Candle)
Prid All Natural Drawing Salve :: The Acne Experiment

  • Smile's Prid - Carbolicum Acidicum 2X HPUS, Ichthammol 2X HPUS, Arnica Mont 3X HPUS, Calendula Off 3X HPUS, Echinacea Ang 3X HPUS, Sulphur 12X HPUS, Hepar Sulph 12X HPUS, Silicea 12X HPUS, Rosin, Beeswax, Petrolatum, Stearyl Alcohol, Methyl & Propyl Paraben

  1. Clean your face however you wish.
  2. Dry your face. However you wish.
  3. Don't apply anything while testing the Prid.
  4. Don't argue with me. (Do you want to test this or not?)
  5. Use some kind of tool to dig a little nub of Prid out of the tin -- like the edge of a spoon or a cut-off q-tip. Or a coffee stirrer. Or an adorable tiny spatula. Or maybe your nail, but make sure your hands are clean. Don't argue with me. (I'll turn this car around right around, I swear to Xenu.)
  6. Apply a little blob of Prid to just about any kind of inflamed acne.
  7. (It is not going to draw out your blackheads, sorry.)
  8. Leave it there.
  9. Either sleep on your back or put a band-aid over your Prid blobs. If you are a stomach or side sleeper, the Prid will almost certainly rub off.
  10. Oh right, this stuff is generally for nighttime use, but if don't care who looks at your blobs because who are you to judge my blobs, you can do it during the day as well.
  11. Wipe it off with a tissue in the morning. Water ain't gonna wash this stuff off very well.
  12. Re-apply nightly for the rest of your life.
  13. You're married to Prid now. I hope you have a happy life together.


When working in peak form, acne patches are meant to do double duty: they act as a protecting cover for zits while sucking the ever loving puss out of them. This makes them an ideal solution for skin pickers. For those adverse to topical products, acne patches might be right up your alley. If you are sensitive to adhesives, proceed with caution.

Nexcare Acne Absorbing Covers / The Acne Experiment (Crappy Candle)

Nexcare Acne Absorbing Covers :: The Acne Experiment
  1. Wash and dry your face as usual.
  2. Do not apply anything while testing the acne patches.
  3. I actually mean it this time. (Emollient products could hinder adhesion/function.)
  4. Wait 15 minutes after cleansing to make sure your skin is truly dry. If your skin is getting oily in the meantime, use oil absorbing sheets or tissues to dab it up.
  5. I'm sorry, this is going to be really gross.
  6. Acne patches are only meant to be applied to acne with obvious whiteheads on them, so basically anything that you would have normally picked and squeezed and scraped at with your gross dirty nails until you end up with a flaming red sore or infected hole. 
  7. (They will not suck your blackheads out, sorry again.)
  8. Some people will use a clean needle to "give the pus a route of exit."
  9. Resist the urge to squeeze. I know it's hard.
  10. If it helps, try to imagine that when you're squeezing, you could be forcing some pus into your brain.
  11. Well shit you squeezed it anyway. The good news is, you can still apply the acne patch. It might help suck out whatever is left.
  12. Carefully apply a patch to your zit with clean, dry fingers. Avoid touching the sticky part. You want max adhesion.
  13. Press it firmly on there. Max adhesion.
  14. You can apply the patches overnight or during the day, but if you apply during the day, people may comment on your fleshy stickers.
  15. If the patch is working properly, a white dot will form in the middle of it. This is your oil and pus being sucked into the patch.
  16. Remove the patch and marvel at what you just made. 
  17. Put every patch you remove in a little jar you keep on your bedside table.
  18. Give the jar to your mom for Mother's Day so she can see what a hard worker you are.

Before I get to my take, I want to break down what I know about these two products and objectively discuss how they work.

Looking at the ingredients in Prid, a couple jump out: Ichthammol, Sulphur (sulfur), and Arnica Mont (arnica montana):

  • Like clay and charcoal, sulfur acts as a drying agent; the drying action forces skin to "balance," thus drawing moisture out from a wound or inflamed spot.
  • Arnica montana (aka wolf's bane) is a flowering plant. When applied topically as an herbal remedy, it works similarly to ibuprofen, i.e. it has anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Ichthammol is derived from sulfur; Ichthammol ointment is sold on it's own and is commonly called "black drawing salve." Ichthammol ointment contains a lot of the same ingredients as Prid (including arnica and wax) and has anti-inflammatory, bactericidal, and fungicidal properties when applied topically.
  • Other ingredients—such as Calendula and Echinacea—have antiseptic and healing properties, while rosin—a sticky sap-like substance—and beeswax gives the Prid it's consistency.
  • The number one ingredient on the label, Carbolicum Acidum (carbolic acid) is a disinfectant. Fun sidenote: carbolic acid soap used to be the go-to soap for operating rooms.

Acne patches have a much simpler mechanism: they are hydrocolloid bandages. Hydrocolloid bandages are thicker and "gummier" than regular adhesive bandages, but also serve an additional function outside of protecting a wound while it heals. A "hydrocolloid" is a mixture that forms a gel in the presence of water. Hydrocolloid bandages mainly contain gelatin and pectin, and because gelatin is so good at absorbing moisture, hydrocolloid bandages are fantastic at sucking crap out boils, blisters, and acne. So, a hydrocolloid bandage will suck up moisture, pus, and oil, turn it into a gel, and hold it inside the bandage itself. Acne patches are essentially the same as hydrocolloid blister bandages, save for their shape and size. Some acne patches are medicated, however.

At the time of testing, I had an array of inflamed acne on my forehead and nose area. Based on my research, I decided Prid would work best on the closed cysts, while the acne patches would be better for zits with whiteheads, or for zits that I had already picked at. I didn't do a usual Acne Experiment trial for these (it's hard to gauge progress fairly with spot treatments), but I did take some pictures while I was testing them out.

Prid vs Acne Patches Before & After / The Acne Experiment
Prid Drawing Salve vs Nexcare Acne Patches Before & After :: The Acne Experiment

I tested both products in this way for about a month with almost nothing else -- I didn't even wet my face for a lot of the test (this is as close to the caveman regimen as I've ever gotten). After my first use of both products, I saw results. A couple of the cysts I applied the Prid to came to a head, while the acne patches formed little white dots on them. Over weeks of use, I found myself using the patches more than the Prid, plus they were ideal for body acne given the built-in-bandage factor. After initial successes with Prid, I didn't see as much of a miraculous over-night turn-around as I did with the patches. Ultimately, I decided Prid is a nice salve that will help keep a zit clean and happy but I don't actually think it's going to "suck" anything out of pores. I have used Prid since my trial run, and I do think it speeds the healing process a bit. Also, I know the herbal scent is unappealing to some, but I find it pleasant and soothing, deal with it.

Patches win.

I will likely use both in the foreseeable future. My little tin of Prid will last a really long time, while the acne patches will have to be repurchased more frequently.* If you are a skin picker, I think both of these products are worth a try. Both Prid and the patches physically covered my acne and deterred picking effectively. That said, acne patches are probably going to be a more satisfying solution. Actually being able to see that they were working proved to be a valuable experience for me. What's up pus, I've trapped you in a gelatin tomb. Try coming back from that, dick.

Up Next: Retin-A (I'm serious. Please don't judge me.)


*To prevent your acne patches from drying out, store the little sheet in a ziploc baggy with the air squeezed out. It may seem anal retentive, but these little dudes deserve it.

ALL Acne Experiment Posts are listed at The Acne Experiment MOTHER HUB

Nexcare Acne Patches vs Prid Drawing Salve Review :: The Acne Experiment
Nexcare Acne Patches vs Prid Drawing Salve Review :: The Acne Experiment

All Images © Crappy Candle / The Acne Experiment


  1. This may sound odd, but I have had good luck alternating between using Vick's vapor rub and Calamine lotion for overnight treatment of acne. Not a 100% cure but a significant improvement.

    1. I've heard of using Calamine lotion, but never Vick's vapor rub. Very interesting...

  2. I ran across your blog researching skincare like I usually do. I have always had extremely sensitive skin, cystic acne, pretty painful that actually reacts terrible to any acne treatment. The only way I could stop the cycle was when I just gave up and stopped putting anything on my face and just rinsed my face with semi warm water twice a day. I couldn't believe it. I don't put any soap or detergents on my face. I have had complete success easing my way into natural not harsh skin care. Eminence Organics was a god send. Find on amazon. Tata Harper cleanse is good too, utilizing natural active anti bacterials in essential oils to "cleanse", but it's really more like a lotion that your rinse off still.

  3. Hey Shay, you've probably heard a shit ton of stuff about LED light therapy, and I know you're a skeptic, but it can really help acne (I don't know if it does anything for PD) if you use it. A pretty cheap one (yeah, it's 150 dollars but some can be like 600 so it's a pretty good deal) that works really well is the Sirius Aurora Light Therapy. I hope you post again soon!

  4. I stumbled on your blog looking for Prid reviews and your writing style cracks me up. :-) I'm a fellow POD...sufferer? That sounds kind of sad. Let's go with person and then everyone can be pod people which would rock.

    OK, I do have a point. If you haven't yet, give calendula cream a try for POD flares. I was on antibiotics for mine for years and everytime I tried to stop, the little fuckers came right back. I didn't have a choice when I got pregnant, though, and the first couple of months were awful. Calendula cream cleared it up. My kid is five and I haven't needed antibiotics since he was born. He had really bad eczema for years and POD hates steroid creams - if my hand got even close to my mouth after putting steroid cream on him, it was a guaranteed flare. Calendula cream nips it in the bud every time. I know nothing works for everyone, but did want to toss it out there as something you might add to your arsenal. :-)

    1. Thanks for the tip fellow pod person! I'm going to put together a pod person guide, so this is very helpful.


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