Are Vitamin Patches Just Snake Oil on a Sticker?

Are Vitamin Patches Just Snake Oil on a Sticker?

Jul 12, 2022 Alex Brecher

Vitamin patches have gotten a lot of attention recently, so you may be wondering what the hype is all about. Can something so easy to use really be effective? Can you ditch your horse-sized oral capsules for convenient patches? Or are vitamin patches just snake oil on a sticker? 

Here’s the scoop on vitamin patches and why you may want to ask your doctor about using PatchAid as soon as you can!

How They Work

How can a patch deliver nutrients through your skin? It’s actually science-based! The patches contain an adhesive layer that contains the active ingredients, such as vitamins, minerals, herbal extracts, and more. 

You activate the patch by wearing it. When the heat from your skin hits the adhesive layer, the active ingredients begin to be extracted. They go into the outer layer of the skin, called the stratum corneum. From there, they go into capillaries, which are your body’s smallest blood vessels. Capillaries guide the nutrients to larger blood vessels so they can be circulated in the body and get to where they need to go.

Benefits Over Oral Supplements

Oral supplements include supplements that you take by mouth. Forms can include pills or capsules, chewable tablets, gummies, lozenges, and liquids. Patches have some undeniable benefits over oral supplements. 

  • You don’t have to worry about whether to take them with food or on an empty stomach. You can put them on when you like, and take them off 8 hours later.
  • There isn’t competition for absorption from the stomach or gut. When you take nutrients by mouth, they can compete for absorption because there are limited amounts of certain transporters that may be responsible for taking up more than one specific vitamin or mineral.
  • You don’t have to swallow large capsules that can be difficult or uncomfortable, or choke down liquids or chewable tablets that don’t taste good.
  • You won’t get an upset stomach due to side effects during digestion and absorption. Unlike ingredients in oral supplements, ingredients in vitamin patches don’t get digested in your stomach and gut. They go straight to your bloodstream through your skin. There’s no risk of nausea, diarrhea, constipation, or stomach pain from digestion.
  • There’s no aftertaste, the way there may be if you take certain oral supplements. Fish oil is well-known for having a fishy aftertaste as well as fishy burps, for example.

The matrix that suspends the ingredients in vitamin patches has another benefit. Patches are able to contain a greater quantity and variety of active ingredients than many oral supplements are able to deliver. 

As one PatchAid customer says, “This product is such a great alternative to taking pills, I finally remember to take my vitamins everyday!”

History of Other Transdermal Products

It’s not new to deliver medications and other healthy ingredients via patches. These are some examples of widely accepted transdermal adhesive patches that have been used for health reasons.

  • Birth control patches. These are alternatives to oral contraceptives. 
  • Nitroglycerin patches. Nitroglycerin treats people with angina, or chest pain. It relaxes blood vessels. 
  • Pain relief patches. Diclofenac is an ingredient in patches that can help reduce pain in specific places, such as at the site of a bruise or sprain. The medication goes through the skin instead of requiring you to take a pill and have it go through your entire system.
  • Nicotine patches. Used for smoking cessation help, nicotine patches contain nicotine and provide it to the bloodstream through the skin. That way, people get nicotine, which is the highly addictive substance in cigarettes, without taking nicotine in gum or lozenges.

There are also medicated creams that are able to deliver their ingredients via transdermal absorption instead of having the patient take them by mouth. Steroid creams, homeopathic treatments such as arnica, and skin care ointments are examples.

  • Homeopathic medicine like arnica
  • Steroid cream
  • Skin care ointments

Research Shows Patches Can Work

Vitamin patches aren’t an untested fad. Many studies have looked at whether they work. And, many have concluded that patches are far more than snake oil. They can deliver their ingredients and help boost nutrient levels. Still, there’s individual variability in absorption, so it’s best to ask your doctor to monitor your levels of any nutrients that are of specific concern to you.


With any novel product, it’s good to ask about safety. It’s no different with vitamin patches. PatchAid Vitamin Patches are latex and gluten free, so there are no concerns there if you have allergies. Ask your doctor if you have any concerns about side effects.

A PatchAid customer says, “I have even recommended these to my patients who need vits but can’t tolerate them orally. So excited to have this as an option.”

A gastric sleeve patient and a PatchAid customer said, “Because of my sleeve surgery I was worried about taking pills and struggling to get them all down with the amount of water needed. Since using these patches my vitamins are within proper levels and no skin irritation. Definitely worth a try. Also put on subscription so that I don't have to think about having to reorder.”

With so much promise and recent publicity, vitamin patches may sound too good to be true. But they’re not just snake oil on a sticker! They can be easier to use than oral supplements, and they have real ingredients and a scientifically backed method of delivery. Ask your doctor if PatchAid Vitamin Patches may be a good choice for you to get more nutrients and get you that much closer to reaching health and nutrition goals!

*The Food and Drug Administration has not evaluated these statements. PatchAid patches are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Anyone with a medical condition should seek the advice of a licensed medical practitioner. Individual results may vary.

Previous  / Next