Acne is a common condition in the skin that occurs when oil and dead skin cells clog your hair follicles. Although acne affects people of all ages and ethnicities, it is more common in adolescents and young adults. In their teenage years, males are more prone than females to get acne. Adult acne can still exist, and when it does, women are more likely to get it. Adult acne is widespread, and various Singaporean clinics offer treatment options for acne. If you are looking for a clinic option – visit Read further to learn more about acne and acne treatments available today.

Acne mostly appears in the face but can also appear in the forehead, upper back, the chest and shoulders. Acne can be identified in different types according to how they appear on the skin. Here are the types of acne:

  • Whiteheads-looks like white lumps that are formed when the blocked hair follicles remain beneath the skin
  • Blackheads-occur when the blocked hair follicles reach the skin surface and open up. The exposed sebum reacts with air and becomes discolored and appears black.
  • Papules-the type of acne that are described as inflamed lesions on the skin that look like little, pink bumps on the skin. Papules are painful to the touch.
  • Pustules or pimples: these are papules topped with pus-filled lesions (yellow or white in color) that may appear reddish at the base.
  • Nodules-large, painful solid lesions that are embedded deeply beneath the skin. Deep, painful, pus-filled lesions characterize severe nodular acne (also known as cystic acne).

Anyone can develop acne and there are factors that can cause acne and aggravate acne in adults. Acne is said to occur or become severe when someone is stressed emotionally. In women, acne can be more likely to develop during the premenstrual phase. The hormones can also contribute to acne growth. Some research also links acne to family history or background. If either of your parents had acne, researchers think you could be more likely to as well.

Use of certain medications can also promote acne growth as some medicines cause changes in the body like hormones, etc. Certain practices like using a face mask for long periods of time can contribute to debris build-up and skin congestion that promotes acne growth and practices of acne being squeezed and doing it wrongly will aggravate it instead. Prolonged use of a face mask, resulting in debris buildup and congestion on the skin. One’s diet can affect acne growth – high in glycemic load and dairy products are reported to aggravate acne.  Other factors like one’s family history can contribute to risks to developing acne. Topical acne treatments, such as creams and gels, are commonly used to target and reduce acne breakouts by addressing the underlying causes and promoting clearer, healthier skin.

Acne can be managed without the need of medication for some people but you can consult your primary care physician if self-care measures fail to eliminate your acne. Also, you might wish to get medical attention from a dermatologist if your acne is severe or persistent. For acne treatment, there are various options available in the market today. You can choose between topical medications, oral medications and therapies to manage acne.

Topical acne treatments have many forms. Among the most commonly prescribed acne treatment are the following:

  • Retinoids and similar medications-these are often used for mild cases of acne. These are available as lotions, creams and gels.
  • Antibiotics-the purpose of the antibiotics is to destroy bacteria found in the skin and reduce swelling as well as redness of the skin. It is commonly practiced to pair retinoid and antibiotic together during the initial months of the treatment. The antibiotic can be applied in the morning while the retinoid can be applied in the evening.
  • Azelaic acid- these are antimicrobial in nature and can also be used to treat skin discoloration caused by acne.
  • Salicylic acid-there are wash-off and leave-on products that contain salicylic acid, which may help prevent clogged hair follicles. There are few studies proving its efficacy.
  • Dapsone-iis advised to treat inflammatory acne with dapsone particularly in acne-prone females. Dryness and erythema are side effects.

Here are the oral medications prescribed to treat acne:l

  • Oral Antibiotics – these are often prescribed to those who have moderate to severe acne to reduce bacterial growth. For oral antibiotics the usual treatment recommended is a tetracycline or a macrolide. For patients who may not be fit to take tetracycline, macrolide is the next best option. This includes women who are pregnant and children below 8 years old.
  • Oral contraceptives in combination. The FDA has approved four combination oral contraceptives for women who also want to use them as a form of birth control. These products contain both progestin and estrogen. Using other acne drugs with this medication for the first few weeks may help since you might not see any improvements from it for a few months.
  • Drugs that block androgens-these are prescribed when oral antibiotics are ineffective. For women and teenage girls, doctors could advise taking medication spironolactone (Aldactone) which works by blocking androgen hormones from having an influence on the glands that produce oil.
  • Isotretinoin – recommended when other medications haven’t helped someone with moderate to severe acne

Doctors can also recommend therapies that can be used alone or together with other medicines for acne. Here are the most common:

  • Light therapy-there are several light therapies that have been proven to be successful. For this type of treatment, several visits to the doctor may be required.
  • Peeling agent/chemical peel – for this process, a chemical solution (e.g. salicylic acid, glycolic acid or retinoic acid) is repeatedly applied to treat minor cases of acne. The treatment can result in better looking skin but its effects are temporary and more treatment is needed.
  • Extraction and drainage-this is applied by doctors to to further treat patients who still have condones after using topical creams. The process will involve the use of a special tool to remove the left-over condones. This can also make the skin look better but might leave scars on the skin.
  • Injection of steroids- Steroids in the form of an injection can be administered directly. The use of steroids can result in the rapid recovery from acne and can also reduce discomfort brought about by the acne.

One Face Clinic — Dr David Ng Cheow Hua

1 Tras Link #02-01 Orchid Hotel, Singapore 078867

Phone: +65 6222 2262

WhatsApp/WeChat: +65 9822 2989