You have always been careful with cleansing your face properly, and moisturizing your skin regularly, but sometimes due to external factors, acne breakouts happen.
Acne is usually a temporary problem, but acne scars are permanent. Hence, the stage when you experience moderate and severe acne is the most crucial as handling it the wrong way or not taking care of it will result in scarring that will be permanent on your skin.
Scars of different level of severity forms when the dermis is damaged. To prevent these scarring or to reduce the severity, here are 5 important steps to adhere.
1. Understand yourself and identify the kind of breakout you have
Basics are always important. First identify the type of acne you are experiencing.
Acne has different forms:
- mild acne: whiteheads or blackheads that most of us get at some point
- moderate acne: this can cause red, inflamed pimples (called papules) and red pimples filled with pus (called pustules)
- severe acne: this causes bigger painful, pus-filled cysts or lumps (called nodules) under the skin
The next step is to know how whether you are highly prone to scarring. Some people are more prone to scarring while others who experience the same breakout recover without a scar in sight. If you are highly prone to scarring, it is best to see a doctor immediately to start a specialized acne treatment plan.
2. Don’t pick the acne
As tempting, it might be to pick or squeeze a pimple, don’t do it. You might think that this helps it to heal faster but this is a wrong mindset. Picking it can force debris deeper into the dermis, introduce more bacteria into the skin and cause more inflammation. This is especially true for deep, serious blemishes like nodules and cysts.
Remind yourself that popping pimples can extend the healing time and increases the chance of it leaving a permanent scar. Allow the blemish to heal on its own. If you’ve already picked at a blemish, take steps to help heal it and minimize skin damage: this may include topical, oral or treatments recommended by a medical professional.
3. Start to Treat Acne as Soon as It Develops
Acne breakouts can be taken care of if you act fast.
For mild acne such as blackheads and whiteheads (ie. Comedonal acne), topical medications to soften these comedones and facial scrubs or exfoliating masks can help to unclog these areas. Medical facials can also help to deep cleanse and remove these stubborn blemishes.
For moderate acne, over-the-counter-creams which contain Salicylic acid and Retinoids can help to treat these blemishes.
Salicylic acid helps to unclog pores, reduces swelling and redness, and exfoliates the skin when applied topically. It’s considered to be one of the more effective topical treatments for acne.
Topical retinoids are another acne treatment that also helps with pigmented acne scars as well. In addition to speeding up your cell regeneration and improving your skin’s texture, retinoids can also help reduce discolouration and make scars less noticeable according to some studies.
However, they can also make your skin sensitive to the sun/ UV rays. Always wear sunscreen daily when using anything that contains retinoids.Oral medications may be required and this will be determined by your treating physician during the consultation.
For severe acne which are painful, pus-filled cysts or lumps, it is best to see your doctor for medically proven acne treatments to arrest the acne condition as soon as possible so as to prevent scarring.
Regardless of the severity of your acne condition, it would be best to seek help from a doctor if over-the-counter treatments aren’t working. Getting acne under control as soon as possible is the best thing you can do.
4. Seek your doctor for professional treatments.
To target severe and worsening acne, there are treatments and medications available in the market.
At M-Aesthetic Clinic, we have the full range of effective Acne Treatments.
Acne Laser Treatment
Using a 2-step approach (Gold Laser & Spectra XT Toning Laser), Dr Ho Rui Ming combines these two laser treatments to treat Acne and inflamed skin lesions.
Gold Laser: Destroys acne bacteria and also eradicates acne. It reduces redness and inflamed skin by targeting the abnormal blood vessels and inflammation.
Spectra XT Toning Laser: Controls sebum production and soothes inflamed skin.
There is no downtime for both of these laser treatments.
Acne Cortisone Injections
The acne injection procedure helps to shrink and improve the appearance of large inflammatory acne cysts and cystic acne over 24 hours.
This treatment reduces inflammation, flattens swollen cystic acne and speeds up healing and recovery of your acne breakout.
How does the Cortisone Injection work?
A solution of corticosteroid/cortisone is injected directly into the active acne cyst/papule. Cortisone has anti-inflammatory properties and works by reducing the inflammation of the swollen acne cyst/ papule thereby helping to decrease the redness, swelling and pain.
The acne cyst/ papule will shrink and flatten noticeably over the next 24 hours. While some acne cysts may not flatten or disappear completely, most cystic acne and blemishes will resolve within a week of treatment when combined with Acne Laser Treatment.
Apart from the above Acne Treatments, there are medications such as Isotretinoin that help to eradicate active acne. Conditions do vary amongst individuals and an examination would have to be performed first to determine the suitability.
5. Don’t expose yourself to the sun
The sun’s harmful UV rays can worsen the inflammation, increase the intensity of redness, and can increase the risk of Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (ie. Pigmented marks that are left behind). Some acne medications may make your skin more sensitive to sunlight. It is best to limit your time in the sun, and wear protective clothing, such as a long-sleeved shirt, pants, and a broad-brimmed hat.
Always apply a broad-spectrum non-comedogenic sunscreen with at least an SPF 30 or higher. Non-comedogenic sunscreen does not clog pores.
It’s always also crucial to read the ingredients on the product label to know what you’re putting on your skin.
The soundest advice is to prevent pimples in the first place so that you’ll be able to prevent scarring. If breakouts happen, follow these steps to prevent scarring as much as possible.
While it is important to be equipped with this basic knowledge, professional Acne treatments done by certified doctors can help to eradicate the root of the breakouts – the acne bacteria and keeps the breakout at a minimum level, preventing acne from developing into a more severe form that can result in scar formation.
At M-Aesthetic Clinic, Dr Ho Rui Ming brings with him a wealth of experience and qualifications, combined with a deep passion for all things aesthetics related, especially acne scar treatments.
He understands that every individual is unique and hence he personalizes each treatment to suit each and everyone’s lifestyle. If you are facing an acne breakout, we can help you.
Enquire within now.