Acne is like the worst kind of house guest. It shows up uninvited at the least convenient time, overstays its welcome, and leaves a mess after it’s gone. Find out tips from dermatologists on how to prevent and treat the pesky but common skin problem.
HOW PIMPLES START
Acne starts from inside the pores which are openings in the skin through which fine hair grows. Sebaceous oil glands connected to the pores produce a substance called sebum, which serves to lubricate the hair and the skin. However, in excess, sebum combined with accumulation of dead skin cells provide a perfect breeding ground for bacteria. These clog up pores, leading to an infection and in little red bumps we as pimples.
START WITH OTC TREATMENTS
Over-the-counter treatments can stop mild breakouts from graduating to severe recalcitrant acne. “Anti-inflammatory ingredients such as salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide help to keep oil production in check while clindamycin fights the spread of bacteria,” explains Dr Chua Han Boon, Senior Aesthetic Consultant at SW1 Clinic.
Apply a treatment with 2 percent salicylic acid, which gently exfoliates, such as Benzac Acne Solutions Intensive Spot Treatment or one with clindamycin like SW1 Clear Bliss Clearing & Soothing Gel which clarifies and soothes skin to reduce redness. You can also switch to a daily cleanser such as SW1 Skin Gym Deep Cleansing Gel, primarily made of glycolic acid and salicylic acid, to clear away all traces of oil, impurities and makeup for a refreshed and clean complexion. Be patient though, it can take six to eight weeks before you notice a real change in your skin.
Read More: Get Everyday Clear Skin in 7 Steps
PAIR WITH CLINICAL FACIALS
To speed up acne clearance, combine skincare routine with clinical facials which use medical-grade equipment to effectively combat pimples and blemishes. Free yourself from troubled skin with Clear Blue Facial by SW1 Spa, designed around FDA approved, I-Clear blue light. “
Studies show that high-intensity blue light activates bacteria-fighting pigments in the skin and creates a toxic environment destroying P. acnes bacteria,” explains Dr Toby Hui, a Senior Aesthetic Consultant in Singapore.
Intralesional corticosteroid injections become a godsend too when huge, coin-sized pimples threaten to spill their ugly contents. “A diluted corticosteroid reduces inflammation, boosts healing and reduces the risk of scars. We provide this remedy under Pimple ER, a three-step facial add-on therapy to abate swelling and stop the infection,” adds Dr Toby.
Read More: 5 Common Makeup Mistakes to Avoid
STILL NOT WORKING? SEE A DERMATOLOGIST
If the breakouts are not clearing up after eight weeks, it’s time to visit a dermatologist.
“Early intervention by a skin expert can help manage acne condition and prevent acne scars,” says Dr Chua.
“If your acne is the hormonal type, topicals alone cannot make a huge difference,” says Diane Williams, a dermatologist in New York City. What may work well with a holistic skincare regime, is a prescription that regulates hormones such as oral contraceptive pills because they reduce oil production by suppressing testosterone.
Read More: How to Banish Bingo Wings for WOW Arms
This sentiment is shared by Dr Chua who recommends laser or light therapy on top of the usual topicals. Stronger antibiotic topical products or oral antibiotics may be prescribed too. He encourages patients to embrace combination therapy as it works better in the long term for treating acne.
Consider a treatment program such as the Purity Program which uses Vbeam Perfecta alongside 3 other technologies – Exilis Lift, I-Clear and Ultrasonic Deep Cleansing – to detoxify and purify skin. Vbeam Perfecta is one of the most effective FDA-approved laser for acne treatment, used to target the root cause of acne – overactive oil-producing sebaceous glands.