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acne treatment guide from a doctor

Recently, the Covid pandemic triggered a strange case of acne known as maskne, which is caused by the excessive use of facial masks. Many patients began looking for doctors or clinics in Singapore specialising in acne removal treatment or acne facials. 

Acne is an embarrassing condition that affects both men and women, as its presence on the face and body can seriously undermine one’s trust and self-esteem. Acne and teenage pimples are most common during adolescence. However, many adults suffer from acne as well.

With over 40 years of rich experience in medical and aesthetic practice, our doctors are pleased to offer answers to frequently asked questions about acne removal treatments in Singapore that work for our patients.

The Eeva Approach is a holistic and personalised strategy for ensuring successful acne clearance outcomes, allowing our patients to feel assured they are in good hands. Our doctors start your acne treatment with a thorough evaluation of the severity of your facial pimples. Following that, we design a treatment plan to heal and remove your acne, followed by a long-term plan to avoid recurrence and keep your skin clear.

Since our core values are honesty, ethics, and patient wellbeing, we must provide our readers and future patients with all of the knowledge they need to solve their skin problems. Continue reading to learn how you can treat acne to give you the clean, clear skin you’ve always desired.

What is acne?

Acne is a chronic or long term medical skin condition affecting the hair follicles and sebaceous glands. The sebaceous gland opens into a hair follicle to secrete sebum. As these hair follicles become clogged with sebum and dead skin cells, acne develops.

Acne pimples are one of the most common acne symptoms. All spots start with a pore blockage. They begin as comedones, which are tiny bumps. When they become infected or irritated, they develop into papules or pustules, which are inflamed, swollen, and angry bumps that may contain pus. Continue reading to find out what they look like.

What does acne look like? 

There are four main types of inflamed acne pimples: 

  • Non-inflammatory acne
  • Closed comedones – skin-coloured bumps usually <1mm in diameter. These are known as whiteheads.
  • Open comedones – skin-coloured bumps with black pore opening usually <1mm in diameter. These are known as blackheads.
  • Inflammatory acne

Inflammatory acne occurs when bacteria C. Acnes (Cutibacterium acnes) residing within the hair follicles infect the comedones, resulting in inflammation, swelling and redness. It can present as:

  •  Papules

These are red, swollen, firm bumps that may be tender, usually between 1mm to 0.5cm in diameter. 

  • Pustules

These are red, swollen, and tender bumps with pus pointing and ready to burst, usually between 1mm to 0.5cm in diameter. 

  • Nodules

These are red, firm, and tender bumps, over 0.5 cm in diameter. 

  • Cystic acne

These are angry, red, and painful bumps infected with pus and are larger than 0.5 cm in diameter. They happen when there is a blockage and inflammation deep inside the hair follicles. When they burst and expel the pus and debris, the skin heals with weak collagen repair. This will almost certainly result in deep and lasting acne marks. Consult a doctor if your acne has progressed to this stage. 

Acne is most common on the cheeks, forehead, chin, jawline, stomach, upper back, and shoulders since these areas have the most oil glands.

How does acne occur?

Acne arises when the pilosebaceous units in the skin have malfunctioned. A pilosebaceous unit consists of the hair shaft, the hair follicle, the sebaceous gland, and the erector pili muscle (this causes hair to stand on end when it contracts).

Acne sufferers have insufficient vitamin A in their hair follicles, according to clinical reports. They may have higher IGF levels (Insulin Growth Factor), which induces sebaceous gland dysregulation, resulting in acne.

This results in: 

  • Excessive sebum production which accumulates within hair follicles
  • Abnormal exfoliation – the dead cells of hair follicles do not exfoliate properly, clogging the follicles with dead cells, sebum, and debris. 
  • Growth of C. Acnes bacteria within the clogged hair follicle, resulting in infection.
  • Inflammation of hair follicles 

What factors cause acne?

  • Genetics – If one or both parents had acne, it increases their children’s likelihood of acne.
  • Puberty – Acne occurs mostly between the ages of 12 to 25. 80% of people who have acne are in this age group. Our clinic often has enquiries on acne treatment for teens. 
  • Hormonal changes – Hormonal changes in women in their mid-thirties or approaching menopause may cause acne due to a hormonal imbalance.
  • Stress – Stress results in hormonal imbalances, triggering facial breakouts. 
  • Prolonged contact with an irritant, e.g. poor-fitting facial masks made of uncomfortable material
    • Maskne treatment in Singapore has become a common concern as a result of Covid. Maskne, exacerbated by Singapore’s humid weather, has caused acne in many men and women. Acne appears on the lips, mouth areas, chin, and jawline covered by the masks.
    • Jobs with exposure to acne-triggering chemicals (e.g. employment in the petroleum industry) may also trigger acne breakouts. 
  • Medications – Certain antidepressants or steroids may worsen your acne. 
  • Acne breakouts may be caused by medical conditions that cause an overproduction of male hormones (androgens), such as polycystic ovarian disease.

How do I diagnose acne? 

Acne is diagnosed during the initial consultation with our friendly doctors at Eeva Medical Aesthetic Clinic by:

  • A thorough examination of your medical history to determine the causes of your acne.
  • A complete physical inspection of the affected areas. This will reveal the different forms of pimples or, in more severe cases, cystic acne. It is common to find a variety of lesions in the affected areas.

What can I expect during my first consultation with the doctor?

  • Our doctors may ask you for details on your medical history to better understand what led to your acne. 
  • A detailed physical examination of the affected areas, including your face, back, and chest, may be performed. If we see any acne scars or blemishes, we will inform the patient that acne scar removal procedures will be required in the next treatment step after the acne has cleared up. This ensures a complete 360-degree treatment, which is particularly important for facial areas.
  • Our medical team will create a personalised treatment plan for you based on our intimate knowledge of your skin condition – Eeva Acne Removal Treatment Solution. Once your acne has cleared, we will walk you through a personalised home care regimen to keep your skin clean and smooth.

When should I seek medical treatment with a doctor?

Seek medical attention if you have cyclical menstrual acne, chronic active acne, or worsening acne to avoid more complications. Cystic acne patients should get the best cystic acne treatment and removal in Singapore as soon as possible, as this form of acne causes deep permanent scarring.

What happens if I don’t treat my acne?

Untreated acne may lead to: 

  • Scarring

Untreated acne will leave you with permanent scars like ice pick scars, box scars, rolling scars, atrophic scars, or keloids. These scars can be very deep, especially in cases of cystic acne. Early intervention with effective treatment plans prevents scarring and serves as a good cystic acne spot treatment.

  • Blemishes

Post-inflammatory redness or hyperpigmentation takes a long time to disappear if the acne is not treated. Visible acne and acne scars affect your appearance and may result in reduced self-confidence, self-esteem, and even depression. 

This could adversely affect one’s social life, dating opportunities or even lead to self-imposed isolation. Parents frequently inquire about teenage pimples best treatments, as they do not want their children to be emotionally scarred due to adolescent acne. 

Deep, stubborn acne scars can now be permanently improved with the right devices and skilled doctors, thanks to advances in medical technology. Without expert help, it isn’t easy to return to pre-acne skin that is smooth, scarless, and poreless. Also, acne scar therapies are often expensive.

Our qualified doctors at Eeva Medical Aesthetic Clinic will be glad to advise you with a thorough procedure that removes scars and restores smooth and lucent skin.

How do I treat my acne? 

Our doctor-designed Eeva Acne Clearance Treatment plan provides a tailored solution to your acne, covering all aspects required to restore your skin to its prime.: 

Eeva Acne Clearance Treatment Outline

  • Treat existing acne till it has cleared 
  • Minimise acne scarring as the existing acne heals
  • Manage the skin globally to prevent new acne from developing 
  • Prevent future scarring 

Acne treatment is cautiously administered during this procedure based on the severity and form of lesions. Based on comprehensive analysis, our team of medical doctors has meticulously curated holistic and personalised care solutions that include:

  • Topical Medication

It is important to apply personalised anti-acne skincare with care. The Eeva Approach consists of a one-of-a-kind combination of clinical-grade skincare – Dermagold – and carefully chosen topical drugs to combat acne and improve skin quality.

  • Oral Medication 

At Eeva, our patients benefit from our doctors’ advice on consuming clinically approved supplements backed by evidence and proven effective. For example, Aknicare Combi, antibiotics, oral contraceptives, or isotretinoin. Check our article on Aknicare Combi to find out more about this effective oral medication in the management of acne. 

Oral anti-acne supplements help manage acne. Oral contraceptives, for example, can treat premenstrual acne and polycystic ovarian disease, which are caused by increased androgen (male hormones). If your acne is made up of a combination of persistent papules and pustules, a course of oral antibiotics may be successful in clearing the acne. For patients who have recurrent cystic acne outbreaks, oral isotretinoin is a good cystic acne treatment.

  • In-clinic treatment approaches

A combination of therapies can have a synergistic effect and give you more control over your condition, as well as a quicker recovery time. Eeva Medical Aesthetic Clinic invests in a tried-and-true mix of clinical-grade technology and specifically tailored treatments:

What are the specific topical prescription medications for acne removal?

Before we go into the various types of drugs, let’s take a look at what topical medications can do:

  • Reduce sebum production
  • Normalise skin keratinisation – without keratin, the skin will tear easily, resulting in infection.
  • Anti-microbial properties
  • Aids in anti-inflammation and skin healing

Benefits of Salicylic acid, glycolic acid, retinoids and retinoid derivatives:

  • Prevent hyper keratinisation (excessive growth of skin cells)
  • Boost dead cell exfoliation, which unclogs follicles and prevents facial pimples formation
  • Drying properties also help to minimise oil production

Uses of Benzoyl Peroxide:

  • Antibacterial properties. When combined with topical antibiotics, it also reduces antibiotic resistance, making treatment more effective.

The abovementioned topical medications are applied to active acne and acne-prone areas. They can minimise fine lines and improve skin texture when used regularly in low doses.

 Uses of Erythromycin and Clindamycin:

  • The topical antibiotics Erythromycin and Clindamycin work to suppress bacterial growth and inflammation.

What are some side effects of using topical medication for acne removal?

Some acid-based topical drugs, such as alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), beta-hydroxy acid (BHA), tretinoin, Differin, benzoyl peroxide, and salicylic acid, have a drying effect. If they are not used properly, they can irritate. People with sensitive skin can experience redness and irritation as a result of usage. 

Here are some common side effects: 

  • Skin irritation
  • Redness
  • Peeling
  • Itching
  • Stinging

We caution patients not to use topical antibiotics for more than six months, as this may cause the C. acnes bacteria to become antibiotic-resistant, rendering further antibiotic treatments ineffective.

Are there alternatives to topical medications for acne removal?

Topical medications may be harsh on your skin and may exacerbate your skin condition if you do not use them correctly. The result is not very holistic since the main goal of topical treatment is to remove acne with no other beneficial skincare properties.

As an alternative, our medical team created a specially developed skincare modular-based program that you can personalise to address specific skin conditions at any point in your life. It helps with your overall skin rejuvenation from the inside out, in addition to acne removal. 

Our team of physicians painstakingly developed our award-winning Dermagold skincare line. Our team will show you how to properly optimise the Dermagold Acne Clear System Kit, which includes a full range of multi-tasking skincare items to aid you in your acne treatment and removal journey.

What are the side effects of oral medication?

Prolonged use of oral antibiotics such as tetracycline, doxycycline, minocycline, and erythromycin can result in stomach upset, photosensitivity, vaginal thrush, and antibiotic resistance. Tetracycline is not approved for children under the age of 12 years.

Oral contraceptives can cause weight gain or depression. Oral isotretinoin is unsuitable for females who are pregnant or planning for pregnancy as it causes fetal abnormalities. Cholesterol levels or liver enzymes may also be elevated, requiring monitoring. Please read our article on the benefits vs side effects of isotretinoin

What are the common doctor’s procedures for acne treatment and removal?

Acne treatments are critical in treating active acne and ensuring the recovery of post-acne scarring.

Common clinical treatments for Acne Removal

1. Curas Acne Laser Treatment

Laser for acne treatment has successfully removed acne, facial pimples, and facial breakouts in the hands of our experienced Singapore-certified medical doctors. It decreases inflammatory lesions, bacterial growth, and sebum production quickly. It also enhances dead cell exfoliation, pore size reduction, and skin brightness, resulting in photorejuvenation. It rapidly fades blemishes, stimulates collagen, and aids epidermal remodelling to minimise possible scarring.

2. Venus viva Fractional Radiofrequency (RF) Treatment

This FDA approved Israeli technology is designed to treat your scars. It allows for the regulated, deep penetration of radiofrequency energy into your skin, reducing and healing inflamed acne lesions, shrinking pore sizes, and improving superficial to moderately deep acne scars all in one environment. Please read our webpage on how Venus viva NanoRF can help in acne and acne scar treatment. 

3. Steroid Injections 

Steroid injections are used to reduce swelling and inflammation in stubborn cysts and nodules. Our doctors have years of experience with injection procedures and are skilled at lowering patient pain. Please read this article to get advice from our doctors on acne treatment in Singapore

4. Acne Hydrapeels

Our patients enjoy the Acne Hydrapeels. A targeted device uses a pneumatic suction, and antioxidant solution to deep cleanse pores, remove sebum and debris, exfoliate dead skin cells, and minimise comedone formation.

5. Acne Extraction

Our skilled doctors will use an ultrasonic device to gently yet completely clear all of your blackheads, whiteheads, pimples, and acne.

6. Plasma Acne Treatment

This treatment uses plasma energy to speedily reduce the inflammation of red, angry bumps, allowing them to flatten and subside faster. It even triggers a healing response by stimulating collagen production, resulting in tighter and smoother skin. 

7. LDM Cellular Therapy 

True to our ethos of promoting skin wellbeing, Eeva has incorporated LDM (Local Dynamic Micro massage) Cellular Therapy. This German technology uses dual-frequency ultrasound energy to stabilise and harmonise the skin. It facilitates cellular repair via skin penetration, encourages acne healing, and aids cell repair and skin regeneration. It is advanced, safe, and efficient. 

What advantages does LDM Cellular Therapy have? When done correctly over time, it develops skin immunity and reduces the number of bad enzymes in skin cells, resulting in less skin damage. This results in hydrated, energised skin. Find out more about the benefits of LDM cellular treatment here

Are there side effects to in-clinic acne removal treatments?

The Eeva medical team believes in delivering treatments that are both safe and reliable. There are only minor side effects, such as slight redness that will go away easily. The majority of our in-clinic acne removal procedures are non-invasive and require no downtime, allowing you to have a procedure and then meet your friends for lunch. 

The result is photorejuvenation in every layer of your skin, treating pimples, pores, and pigmentation to give you a dewy and smooth complexion. It balances and controls sebum production, reducing pimple and acne outbreaks. There is no downtime, but you may experience a mild sensation during treatment. 

What are the benefits and side effects of laser treatment on your facial skin? Check out our article on the seven advantages of using laser treatment in Singapore. 

How can I manage acne after an acne removal procedure?

It is important to preserve your skin’s health! Our Eeva family will teach you how to care for your skin with our effective skincare solutions tailored to each individual’s specific acne skin disorder. Many acne patients are reluctant to use skincare products on their faces because they are concerned that it will cause their skin to become oily, aggravating their acne.

Hence, the proper skincare routine reduces acne and enhances skin texture and consistency, leaving you with radiant and clean skin. There are many types of skincare suitable for oily acne-prone conditions, but do look out for award-winning clinical skincare lines. Regular monthly maintenance laser and medi-facial treatments are essential to prevent further acne outbreaks and keep the skin clean and clear. 

Are home remedies effective for acne removal?

Many popular home remedy ingredients are commonly used and available at pharmacies. Here are some that can help relieve acne symptoms:

  • Tea tree oil has anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties.
  • Green tea extract possesses antioxidants in addition to anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties.
  • Witch hazel has anti-inflammatory effects.
  • Aloe vera has anti-inflammatory effects and is good for the skin. 

These therapies, although therapeutic, have not been scientifically confirmed. They may be effective for mild cases of facial pimples, but they may provide inconclusive results for acne outbreaks. We strongly advise anyone who suffers from frequent acne outbreaks to seek specialist medical treatment as soon as possible to avoid permanent scarring.

Conclusion

Acne is upsetting to contend with, but with the right acne treatment and professional medical advice, you can renew, refresh, and revitalise your skin. Eeva Medical Aesthetic Clinic’s Singapore-certified doctors have the expertise, experience, and devices to get your acne under control. 

Article References: 

  1. Weedon, David. “Disorders of Epidermal Maturation and Keratinization.” Weedon’s Skin Pathology (Third Edition), Churchill Livingstone, 27 Dec. 2010, www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780702034855000103. 
  2. Dréno B;Pécastaings S;Corvec S;Veraldi S;Khammari A;Roques C; “Cutibacterium Acnes (Propionibacterium Acnes) and Acne Vulgaris: a Brief Look at the Latest Updates.” Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology: JEADV, U.S. National Library of Medicine, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29894579/. 
  3. Marks, James G., and Jeffrey J. Miller. “Structure and Function of the Skin.” Lookingbill and Marks’ Principles of Dermatology (Sixth Edition), Elsevier, 22 Feb. 2018, www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780323430401000026. 
  4. McCartney, Christopher R. “Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: NEJM.” New England Journal of Medicine, 6 Oct. 2016, www.nejm.org/doi/10.1056/NEJMcp1514916. 

 

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