Skin care companies are perpetually seeking new ways to stand out on today's crowded cosmetics shelf. The best way to do that, it turns out, is to offer a product that really works.

One of the biggest challenges that skin care manufacturers face is how to get ingredients to actually penetrate your skin - no mean task, given that your skin is designed to protect you and keep chemicals (even those helpful anti-aging ones) out. Recently, skin care companies have been turning to skin patches, a treatment method that's been in vogue with the medical community for many years.

These new skin patches are different from Frownies, those "as seen on TV" anti-wrinkle forehead stickers that claim to stretch your skin and help smooth wrinkles. (And which also don't do anything, a 2009 medical study demonstrated.) Rather, the new breed of patches acts as a delivery system rather than a physical wrinkle eradicator, much like nicotine or pain-control patches. But do they work?

"Yes, patch systems are effective delivery systems," Ni'kita Wilson, ‎CEO and director of innovation at Catalyst Cosmetic Development, tells us. "I have seen studies where incorporating a patch increases the penetration of the ingredients." One review article, published in the International Journal of Pharmaceutical Research & Allied Scienceslast year, found that patches create tension in various directions on the skin, thereby increasing its permeability.

This fall, a slew of new products incorporating patch technology hit our desks, to which we submitted to our increasingly (and increasingly worrisome) fine-lined face. We've already mentioned Lancome's posh new eye cream, which includes weekly patches, but these new products - from StriVectin, Sulwhasoo and Biobliss - target other areas, including your forehead and smile lines.

Click through for reviews of each, and please note that I can't discuss the long-term effects of the products, since I only used them for a few weeks.

More from Fashionista:
Bonobos to launch women's line with former Madewell designer
Rebecca Minkoff isn't launching a beauty line -- yet
Marios Schwab might be ghost-designing Margiela
How Alexander Wang is balancing Balenciaga with his own label