Acne. The word typically conjures the mental image of a spotty teenager, enduring the painful rite of puberty.
However, acne happens to adults too!
Adult acne is more common than you think.
In fact, up to 30% of adults suffer from acne.
Find out more about the causes of adult acne, and the treatments for it here.
What causes acne?
Acne is caused by excessive oil production of the skin glands.
Oil, along with dead skin cells clog up your pores, encouraging bacterial growth on the skin.
This eventually leads to infection of the skin, which appears as a pimple.
What are the common triggers of acne?
Known triggers of acne include:
Hormonal changes – during puberty, pregnancy or menopause
Medications – eg. steroids, anti-epileptic medications, lithium
Medical conditions – Cushing’s disease and polycystic ovarian syndrome
While stress, chocolate and inadequate sleep haven’t actually been medically proven to cause acne, they too have been identified as common triggers for acne outbreaks amongst women.
How is acne treated?
First, good facial care habits are vital for good skin.
1. Maintain good hygiene
Your hands are teeming with bacteria so keep your sticky fingers off your face!
And remember to clean your hands regularly, especially before applying facial products or makeup.
2. Pick the appropriate cleanser
A good cleansing routine is key to keeping your skin clean and clear.
Cleansers are formulated to suit different skin types – oily, dry or combination skin.
Choose the skin cleanser based on your specific skin type, as inappropriate cleansers can actually aggravate rather than improve your skin condition.
3. Be gentle with your skin
Avoid using exfoliating washes too often. While exfoliant washes help to get rid of dead skin cells, excessive use can be abrasive to acne prone skin, and can actually worsen the inflammation.
4. Invest in cosmetics
Stinging on cosmetic products may be tempting, but it comes at a cost to your skin!
Even with meticulous hygiene habits, bacteria can accumulate in cosmetic liquids and brushes over time.
The solution? Change your cosmetics regularly.
The validity of the product is usually indicated on the bottle or tube, so look out for it on the label, and toss it when it’s due.
Additionally, when purchasing new products, check that they are ‘non comedogenic’. These cosmetics are less likely to clog your pores and cause new acne formation.
Even with a judicious skin care regimen, some women are still burdened by acne prone skin. This is where acne specific medications play a role.
Some of the most commonly used acne creams and their mechanisms of action are highlighted below.
1. Benzoyl peroxide – unclogs pores and reduces skin bacteria
2. Salicyclic acid – dries up pimples, reduces oil
3. Topical retinoids – promotes skin regeneration, lightens skin, reduces oil production
4. Topical antibiotics – eliminates bacteria on the skin
Oral medications for acne include oral retinoids, oral antibiotics and hormone regulating medications such as the oral contraceptive pill.
Speak to your doctor about which medications are most appropriate for you. Your doctor can discuss the relevant benefits and side effects in more detail, and help you pick the most suitable option for your skin type and lifestyle.
And finally, remember that lifestyle factors do play a role in the health of your skin.
So hydrate, catch enough winks, and eat a clean balanced diet to achieve healthy glowing skin!
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1.) Dr Tan and Partners @Bencoolen
Main Doctor: Dr Michelle Chia
180 Bencoolen Street,
#02-20, The Bencoolen
Telephone: +65 6884 4119
Monday, Wednesday & Thursday
9.00am – 5.00pm
Tuesday & Friday
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Saturday – Sunday
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2.) Dr Tan and Partners@ Robertson
Main Doctors: Dr Grace Huang
(Anonymous HIV Testing is available daily too)
11 Unity Street,
#02-06/07, Robertson Walk
Telephone: +65 6238 7810
Monday – Friday
8.00am – 9.00pm
9.00 am – 9.00 pm
9.00 am – 2.00 pm
Public Holiday – Closed