Dr Karen Soh, medical director at Prive Clinic, gives her take on tackling blackheads and scarring caused by cystic acne.
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If I apply a moisturiser with SPF26 and a powder foundation with SPF32, do they add up to SPF58? Ong Chiu Peng
It doesn’t work like that when it comes to SPF; the only number that matters is the biggest one. In your case, you’ll only get a sun protection factor of 32. To keep the skin adequately protected, choose products with an SPF of 30 or above and a PA++ rating. Also, reapply sunscreen every hour if you’re out in the sun.
How can I get rid of and prevent blackheads on the nose? I’ve tried everything – extracting them with a blackhead removal tool, and using blackhead pore strips and even baking soda – but nothing seems to work. Help! Pae En Rui
Try over-the-counter creams with ingredients such as benzoyl peroxide, and salicylic and glycolic acids – these can help remove excess oil, dirt and dead skin cells. Consider, too, products with ingredients such as retinoids, and treatments such as chemical peels and microdermabrasion, which slough off dead skin cells to prevent clogged pores.
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What can I do to reduce the scarring left behind by cystic acne? Lorraine Teo
There are several options, including chemical peels, microdermabrasion and laser treatments. A chemical peel involves the use of an acidic solution to burn away the epidermis (the top layer of the skin), where the scars form. This stimulates the growth of new skin, thereby eliminating the scars or making them less obvious (depending on the severity of the scarring). Microdermabrasion functions in a similar way, the only difference being that this is a physical exfoliation treatment. Laser therapy is the most effective method as lasers can penetrate deep into the skin to reportedly kill off scar tissue and stimulate new cell growth – this helps reduce the look of scars. That said, it’s best to consult a doctor to discover which treatment will work best for you.