What is acne?
Acne is an inflammatory condition of the skin that affects 80% of adults. Teenagers are particularly affected by active acne due to puberty, but it does occur frequently in adults too. Common areas where acne occurs are the face, chest, back and neck.
An outbreak of acne can recur as often as every few months to a few years and around 30% of people continue to suffer from acne issues in their adulthood. Acne is a common reason for a lack of self-confidence as one’s appearance can be greatly impacted.
What causes acne?
Acne usually occurs for the first time during puberty. A group of hormones known as androgens trigger an increase in sebum production in the skin.
Dead skin cells and sebum may clog the pores of the skin causing comedones, also known as blackheads and whiteheads. When bacteria colonises the pores, the immune system gets activated and inflammatory cells migrate to the site of infection causing inflammation. Painful, swollen pimples can hence form.
Genetics may also play a role in the development of acne. However, acne is not caused by a single gene but is instead influenced by an interaction of many genes
Other reasons for active acne include:
- Hormonal changes due to factors like the menstrual cycle, stress
- Diet heavy on sugar, carbohydrates, dairy
- Skin irritation due to scratching, pressing or friction.
- Application of cosmetics, hair products and soaps.
- Certain medications like lithium, corticosteroids, DHEA
- Certain medical conditionslike Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
What are the types of acne?
There are several types of acne, namely:
These are open bumps filled with excess oil and dead skin. The dark spots look as though they have dirt inside but it is actually caused by irregular light reflection off the clogged follicle.
How can I prevent acne?
While acne can be mainly genetic, some measures may be taken to reduce the likelihood of acne. Such methods include:
You may want to cleanse your face with a gentle cleanser twice a day using warm water to remove impurities and dead skin cells.
Do avoid washing your face too frequently as this can irritate your skin and worsen your symptoms. Do not use soaps that are harsh on the skin.
Acne Treatment in Singapore by Harmony Aesthetics
The good news is that acne is a treatable condition, with excellent recovery expected when the right treatments are applied. At our clinic, we offer a wide range of acne treatments and provide a customised treatment plan tailored to each individual's unique condition. From gentle and non-invasive treatments such as medical skincare and medical facials to stronger treatments such as lasers, our doctors will take your lifestyle and needs into consideration to craft the correct treatment plan for you.
Depending on your condition, our doctors will customise a skincare regimen to prevent and treat acne symptoms while actively encouraging the regeneration and healing of your skin. This may include clinical-grade facial cleansers that gently cleanse without irritating the skin.
Medical skincare products may also be prescribed to unclog pores presenting as whiteheads and blackheads, slow down sebum production, reduce inflammation, as well as improve skin exfoliation. These prescription products are formulated to target the underlying causes of acne effectively without stripping away the skin’s natural moisture barrier, while encouraging scar healing.
Oral Medications are commonly prescribed when hormonal changes due to physiological or lifestyle factors trigger acne breakout. Oral antibiotics work by reducing inflammation and eliminating acne-causing bacteria. However, these are not prescribed for long durations to prevent the body from developing antibiotic resistance.
For females, anti-androgens or oral contraceptive pills may be prescribed. These work by blocking the effect of androgen hormones on sebaceous glands, reducing excessive sebum production. Stronger oral medication may be prescribed in severe cases or when other methods have failed to control acne symptoms satisfactorily.
Steroid injections may be recommended to control severe acne nodules and cystic lesions. Due to the nature of such lesions, topical medication will not be as effective as they cannot penetrate deep enough to where the lesions are. In comparison, steroid injections allow for anti-inflammatory ingredients to be directed straight into the nodular or cystic lesions. You should be able to see the injection taking effect within 1-2 days of the procedure.
Gentle exfoliative facials with whitening and healing functions help to hasten acne mark healing when combined with other medical treatments.
After stabilising acne outbreaks, it is crucial to prevent symptoms from coming back. As the main causes of acne are excessive sebum production, inflammation and bacteria, laser treatments are helpful in preventing future acne breakouts, as well as in treating stubborn acne symptoms.
At our clinic, we provide several different laser options based on your lifestyle and needs. We offer Q-Switch and Pico lasers such as the Spectra XT and PicoPlus, as well as vascular lasers like the Dual Yellow and Clarity II.
Q switch & Pico laser
Q-switch and Pico Lasers like the Spectra XT and PicoPlus help control sebum production and comedone formation - also known as black-and-whiteheads - by shrinking sebaceous glands. This effectively reduces the number of comedones, which translates to better acne control.
Pores are minimized, scars are lightened, and skin texture is also smoothened as a result of these lasers.
To treat active breakouts, vascular lasers such as the Dual Yellow and Clarity II may be used to destroy acne-causing bacteria and control sebum production.
The Dual Yellow and Clarity II lasers are able to penetrate deep into the skin’s layers to shrink blood vessels that fuel inflammation. They also stimulate collagen remodelling which helps to accelerate acne scar healing.