Facing an acne breakout typically consists of 2 battles – winning the Acne breakout itself and the second battle will be to Reduce Acne Scars. The first battle can be easily won, but many struggles with the second battle as the scars left behind ARE permanent, even after years since the last breakout. However devastating as it may sound, there are ways to treat Acne Scars.
The first step to treat Acne Scars is to treat Acne breakouts as soon as possible. Here are ways to treat acne breakouts.
1. Knowing what is Acne, its causes and symptoms
Understanding your enemy is the first step to winning a battle. Acne causes the formation of comedones (blackheads/ whiteheads), papules, pustules, nodules, and/or cysts, as a result of obstruction and inflammation of the hair follicles and sebaceous glands.
Acne is often caused by the bacteria Cutibacterium Acnes, under the influence of normal circulating dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA). Acne can present as noninflammatory lesions, inflammatory lesions, or a mixture, developing mostly on the face but also on the back and chest commonly.
There are a number of factors that can trigger acne:
- Mechanical irritation of the affected skin area (e.g. by scratching, squeezing the acne lesions as well as wearing tight-fitting clothing
- Certain metabolic diseases (such as PolyCystic Ovarian Syndrome)
- Nutrition (worsening of acne through consumption of dairy products and sugary foods: Foods with high glycaemic index)
- Climatic conditions (worsening of acne in a humid climate)
- Being overweight
- Menstrual cycle in women
- Application of cosmetics, hair products, and soaps that irritate or clog the skin
- Certain medications (creams and tablets containing cortisone, lithium, some antiepileptics, etc.)
- Exposure to sunlight can contribute to the worsening of acne
The typical symptoms of acne are blackheads (open comedones), whiteheads (closed comedones), pimples (ie. Papules / pustules) or nodular/ cystic lesions on the skin.
The skin around these spots is sometimes inflamed, red and painful. Over time, the affected skin may become darker or scarred.
- Non-inflammatory: Comedonal acne
(Figure: Closed and open comedones)
Whiteheads (closed comedones): small round lesions containing whitish material (sebum and dead skin cells).
Black heads (open comedones): small round lesions that look like dark spots on the surface
- Inflammatory: Affected areas are red and can be painful
- A) Mild/moderate acne:
- Small, reddish spots and bumps that may be filled with pus
- B) Nodulocystic acne:
- More severe form of acne
- Palpable hard lumps and knots of the skin larger than 5 mm
- Cystic lesions containing pus
- Scars may form during healing
2. Using the right skincare products when experiencing Acne breakout.
It is important to give time for the skincare products to work. It takes at least 4 weeks with constant care to see improvement. Complete clearing generally takes 3 to 4 months.
You should not wash your face too frequently as it can cause your skin to be dry and irritated. Ideally, it is best to wash when you wake up and before you go to bed. It is also recommended to wash your face when you finish an activity that makes you sweat or if your skin gets too oily throughout the day.
Salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide can help prevent clogged pores. Salicylic acid exfoliates the stratum corneum (outer layer of skin) and penetrates into pores to remove sebum.
- Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid, meaning it’s a chemical exfoliator.
- It is gentle enough for sensitive skin types to use.
Benzoyl peroxide is helpful for treating acne not only because it kills bacteria that contribute to acne, but because it helps prevent clogged pores. It is recommend to go for the micronized formulas because they cause less irritation and have a longer shelf life.
3. Not overusing skincare products
Using more skincare products is never a good thing for acne. Although salicylic acid and Benzoyl peroxide products are great to treat acne, it should never be used simultaneously on your face. For eg. cleansing with a salicylic acid product, followed with a salicylic acid pad and then completing your regimen with an application of the Benzoyl peroxide gel can make your face even more sensitive.
4. Consulting a dermatologist / aesthetic doctor
If over-the-counter products aren’t working for you, consider seeing a dermatologist or aesthetic doctor who can help you customise a treatment plan, including prescription medications and acne laser treatments.
At M-Aesthetic Clinic, we offer the full range of Acne Treatments in our Singapore clinic. To effectively eradicate the acne bacteria, Acne Laser Treatment can help.
Acne Laser Treatment
Using a 2-step approach (Gold Laser & Spectra XT Toning Laser), a combination of these two laser treatments can 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.
Apart from Acne Laser Treatments, we have topical medications, oral medications, supplements, skin care products and other treatments such as Acne Injections, Manual Extractions, Advanced Medical Infusion and Photo Rejuvenation that will help to reduce Acne.
To reduce Acne Scars is to prevent and control the Acne breakout itself. The lesser the breakout is, the lesser the scars. Though, it may be hard to prevent Acne breakouts, understanding its’ causes, symptoms and solutions will help to treat it properly.
At M-Aesthetic Clinic, Dr Ho Rui Ming believes that every individual is unique and hence a personalised and customised acne treatment plan will be done according to your lifestyle, habits and skin condition.
If you are suffering from an acne outbreak or would like to remove acne scars, get in touch with us today.