I prefer patches over cream any day of the week. Not only are they not as messy, they tend to be more accurate. The number of times I tried to get cream on my back, only for it to end up in awkward patches all over my shirt, little spots on my shoulder or somehow on my pants/hips were definitely inconvenient. I can even ask my kids to help with a patch without worrying they would accidentally touch their eye. 😳 I don't know if I'm the only one, but it seems to me like some patches last longer and are more effective than others. I've also had a few that I felt like took forever to activate once applied. Minor inconsistencies, though, and not large enough that I was unhappy overall with the product!