5 Doctor-approved Treatments to Try Now
Pimples. The one thing standing between you and clear skin. If only we could always have the baby-smooth skin we were born with. Unfortunately, this only happens to the fortunate few, while the rest of us have to contend with combating acne and pimples for a large part of our lives.
Acne vs pimples. It’s easy to become confused with which is what, and before you know what it is you’re dealing with, how would you know how to nip it in the bud?
So let’s break it down for you. What is Acne?
Acne is a skin condition that happens when your hair follicles become plugged with oil and dead skin cells. As a result, whiteheads, blackheads or pimples develop and these usually appears on the face, forehead, chest, upper back and shoulders. Acne is found to be most common among teenagers, although it does affect people of all ages. Depending on its severity, acne can cause emotional distress and scar the skin. It’s recommended that you start treatment for acne as early on as you can.
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Symptoms of acne
- Small red, tender bumps (papules)
- Pimples, which are papules with pus at their tips (pustule)
- Large, solid, painful lumps beneath the surface of the skin
- Painful, pus-filled lumps beneath the surface of the skin
So what are pimples?
A pimple is a small pustule or papule and develop when sebaceous glands, or oil glands, become clogged and infected, leading to swollen, red lesions filled with pus. Pimples are a part of acne and are also known as spots or zits. They are most likely to occur around puberty, but they can happen at any age.
During puberty, hormone production changes which can cause the sebaceous glands, located at the base of hair follicles, to become overactive. This explains why pimples are most likely to occur during the teenage years and around menstruation for women.
Pimples most often affect the face, back, chest, and shoulders as these areas tend to have more sebaceous glands.
We can be sure no matter where they appear, most of us are overcome with an inane desire to pop them. But popping isn’t the best way to get rid of them, although they seem to guarantee a quick fix.
Popping pimples, blackheads and whiteheads, can cause scarring on the skin and even further inflammation, prolonging and even exacerbating the problem. You’ve probably tried an insane amount of acne treatments already – skin-drying gels, ditching dairy, drinking your body weight in water, turmeric and honey masks? Whether you’re dealing with a rash of whiteheads or the cystic, under-the-skin kind, spots can be debilitating to live with. But you don’t have to suffer, because there is an array of professional, dermatologist-approved treatments you might not have even thought about trying. We got some of the best experts in the business involved to lay out the pros and cons of each. Spotless skin? Yes please.
- DOUBLE CLEAN
For a start, it’s important to get your skin well cleaned for any other treatments or medication to be effective. Makeup, BB creams and sunscreens are now made to be long-lasting and sweat-resistant. What this means is that it takes more than a splash of water to remove them from your skin. Remember that waterproof or water-resistant formulations are usually not water-soluble so use innovative formulations that can dissolve these oil and debris from your skin and pores.
For this purpose, experts recommend using a cleansing oil that can dissolve other oil-based formulas yet dissolves easily in water. The notion that oily skin should not use oil to cleanse the skin is mistaken indeed. In fact, cleansing oil is far superior in removing waterproof and oil-based makeup which is the number one cause of comedomes. “By leaving the skin fresh and clean without using SLS (commonly found in soap), it does not over-dry skin, leaving it feeling tight and irritated, and thus does not stimulate a rebound in oil production after” says Dr Low Chai Ling, creator of the CHAI cosmeceutical line. There is an option for the meticulous to follow up with a cleanser of their choice, though Dr Low’s recommendation is to always choose the cleanser that is gentlest on your skin, no matter what your skin type. “Your skin is not the toilet floor,” she says.
Try: Lemon Quartz Ultra Soft Facial Cleansing Oil from SW1 Shop is a 2-in-1 makeup remover and facial cleanser with camellia oil that gently melts away impurities, including waterproof makeup, leaving behind pure, silky soft skin. What we love about this product is that it thoroughly cleanses skin without stripping natural moisture, leaving it balanced and nourished. It is also completely free from mineral oils, so skin stays hydrated.
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Retinol or retinoids are derived from vitamin A and work by unclogging pores,’ explains Dr Low. ‘They are the treatment of choice for blackheads and closed comedomes, the small, stubborn skin-coloured bumps that often appear on the forehead and sides of the cheeks or jawline.’
Put simply, retinoids prompt skin cells to regenerate at a faster speed. They stimulate collagen production and exfoliate the top layers of skin cells. This all helps to reduce the formation of blackheads or whiteheads and other acne lesions.
Try: Retinol Peel is a combination of complexion renewing glycolic acid with retinol. Peels can not only be used to treat active acne but hyperpigmentation (basically discolouration left behind by spots) and superficial acne scars. Peels that harness glycolic acid can improve both acne and pigmentary changes in darker skin types. Retinol Peel does double duty to tackle problematic skins by expertly dissolving dead cells and clearing clogged pores as well as stimulate skin regeneration and cell turnover.
- LED PHOTOBIOMODULATION
I-Clear is a form of photobiomodulation light therapy in the blue wavelength that has been shown in studies to eliminate P. acnes bacteria and get to the root cause of breakouts. When combined with photobiomodulation light in the red wavelength called LED Red which can improve residual marks left on skin even after pimples have gone away, your complexion can see a quick turnaround from blemished to clear in weeks. Consistency is key however, according to Dr Low. We know the life span of a pimple is about six weeks, so for all treatments to work, you need to keep at it for about as long, she says.
Try: Clarity program is SW1’s answer to problem skins without the pain of manual extractions and risk of scarring. It cleverly alternates I-clear and LED Red to give the patient the best of both worlds—acne-clearing as well as complexion enhancements. It’s best done twice a week for a start in the active treatment phase, once acne starts to clear, you can drop to a maintenance phase of once every fortnight.
- LEAVE MANUAL EXTRACTIONS TO THE PROS
As far as picking goes, it’s hard to resist the lure of the magnifying mirror, that evil contraption that turns every pore into a crater. But while it may appear that your clogged pores number in the thousands, many of those little dots, particularly on the nose, are entirely normal hair follicles. Resist the urge to squeeze; leave extractions to the professionals. Using technology to clear your skin without causing more damage is key to a great complexion in the long run.
Try: Excellent for those who want to keep their complexions clear and problem-free, Deep Deep Clean is a facial designed to clear skin without manual extractions. It employs sonic therapy to dislodge clogged pores as well as saline jets to flush out dead cells, earning it the moniker “no-nonsense deep cleansing treatment”.
- ORAL MEDICATION
Isotretinoin is an oral vitamin A derivative (roaccutane), usually reserved for severe, persistent acne or acne that is leaving marks or scars on the skin. According to the derms, roaccutane is one of the most effective acne treatments out there. It suppresses sebaceous gland activity (excess oil production), helps us to shed our dead skin cells more effectively to prevent blocked pores and also reduces inflammation and the growth of P. acnes, the bacteria implicated in acne development.
Spironolactone is an oral medication that was initially developed for blood pressure and heart failure but also seems to work in female adult acne by acting on hormones in the skin. Those with PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) are likely to find that Spironolactone helps reduce acne significantly because it has anti-androgen effects to block male hormone testosterone and excessive oil production, which can both cause spots.
Topical antibiotics, such as erythromycin and clindamycin, are effective acne treatments.
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Try: There is no magic pill when it comes to clearing your acne. What may work for one person may cause side effects in the other. As such, it is important to work with your doctor to find the correct medication as well as dosage that will suit your body.
So what treatments still reign supreme and are worth investing in? Most experts agree that a multi-pronged approach—that tackles acne from many different angles—delivers long-term results. Think of it as cross-training for your skin; in other words, the answer is built on a thoughtful combination of three major principles, overseen by a skilled panel of doctors.