The Doctor’s In

We debunk the most common misconceptions about adult acne

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

We debunk the most common misconceptions about adult acne

Acne is not a problem exclusive to teenagers, Dr Teo Wan Lin, Medical Director and Consultant Dermatologist at TWL Specialist Skin & Laser Centre sheds some light on this skin condition.

Q. Will washing my face more often prevent pimples?

A. “As a dermatologist, I’ve heard from countless patients with acne how they wash their face three times a day and are puzzled that they still have pimples. Truth is, cleansers perform one function: To grab the dirt, oil and bacteria in the foam, which is then rinsed off with water.

Acne isn’t caused by dirt or bacteria, although they both can worsen the symptoms for those with acne-prone skin. However, there is a difference between normal cleansers and those which are dermatologisttested/ formulated. The latter are gentle on the skin, due to a good balance of the lathering agent and use of quality ingredients that do not strip the skin of its natural moisture. A honey-based cleanser is suitable for both oily skin and sensitive skin types as honey is a natural emulsifying agent and also has antibacterial properties.”

Q. What are some ways I can treat acne if I don’t want to go on antibiotics?

A. “Prescription medications could range from topical retinoids and oral antibiotics to isotretinoin. If the root of the problem is hormonal, your doctor may start you on oral contraceptive pills. Blackheads are best treated with chemical peels to control the oil production.

For patients who prefer not to be on oral medications, laser therapy is a safe and effective acne treatment method. Blue light is designed to treat acne when it is active, while ablative resurfacing can help cure the scarring after it subsides. Carbon laser peels also help to shrink oil glands and reduce production of oil.

In addition to treatment, prevention against future acne breakouts is also crucial. Diet and proper skincare with cosmeceuticals, are also important factors in contributing to one’s acne condition. Therefore, assessment and counselling with an accredited dermatologist, on specific advice about how to manage your condition, is important.”

Q. I suffer from post-acne scarring. What are some of my options for treating them?

A. “Post-acne scarring can be treated by an accredited dermatologist with advanced laser treatments, chemical peels and prescription creams of various combinations. Post-inflammatory pigmentation can be treated with topical retinoids like a serum with stabilised vitamin C. A dermatologisttested broad-spectrum SPF 50 sunscreen is also recommended to prevent worsening of scarring pigmentation, in addition to slowing down the harmful effects of UV radiation on skin-ageing and pigmentation.”


My Reading Room

Formulated to limit the production of sebum, the Bioderma Sebium Gel Moussant, $33.90 (200 ml), is a gentle cleanser which effectively removes impurities without stripping skin of moisture. Protect your skin against UV damage with the Kiehl’s Ultra Light Daily UV Defense SPF 50 PA++++, $56 (30 ml). This dermatologist-tested sunscreen is also formulated to defend against pollution.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice and readers are advised to seek advice from a qualified doctor if they are considering any cosmetic procedures. SPHM Pte Ltd does not accept any liability in respect of any action taken by a reader in reliance on any recommendations contained in this article.