Unless you are one of those lucky few, most of us probably would have had to deal with some form of acne in our teenage years. Some of us might even have acne for the first time as an adult! Although all resources on the internet tell us not to pop your pimple, all of us would have done that at some point in time.
After your skin recovers from popping pimples, you may notice acne scars on your face which cannot seem to go away no matter what you do. In general, such acne scars can be categorised into 2 types: Indentation on the skin and acne marks, which are post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH).
While there are countless suggestions on the internet advising people on ways to reduce acne scarring, only a handful of these suggestions are effective. We put this question to some of the leading aesthetic doctors in Singapore to understand what are some of the best acne scar removal active ingredients in skin care products that can help you achieve glowing, flawless skin.
What can we do to prevent acne scars?
First and foremost, never ever pick your pimples using your bare hands. Refrain from doing that because you may inadvertently introduce bacteria into the open wound, causing your skin to become more inflamed, leaving behind permanent scars.
If the acne is mild, you may try to make some minor adjustments to your lifestyle. For example, wash your face twice a day. If your face becomes oily very quickly, you can remove the excess sebum using facial blotting papers during the day.
Mild acne can also be managed with topical treatments of retinoids or adapalene. These are effective for people who suffer from comedonal acne. On the other hand, people with inflammatory lesions will benefit from benzoyl peroxide, azelaic acid or topical antibiotics.
In severe cases of acne breakout, doctors usually employ in-clinic treatments and topical treatments.
ANTIBIOTICS The first line of treatment for severe acne is usually to take a course of antibiotics to reduce the inflammation and swelling. If the treatment fails to reduce the acne, your doctor may recommend isotretinoin. It is a potent medication to treat more severe form of cystic acne that don’t respond to other antibiotics. Have a chat with your doctor because isotretinoin has serious side effects such as dry skin and lips.
ACNE TREATMENT If you have a painful cyst or boil, your doctor may inject the cyst with a corticosteroid to quickly reduce the swelling and inflammation. Some doctors may also use radiofrequency microneedling treatment to deactivate the offending sebaceous glands so that acne doesn’t recur anymore. A technology that hails from Korea, AGNES acne treatment uses a tiny insulated needle that transmits low levels of RF energy into the skin to deactivate the sebaceous glands. Gold PTT treatment is also commonly used to deactivate sebaceous glands using selective thermolysis.
MEDICAL FACIALS Other than pampering yourself with a nice, luxurious facial treatment, facials done in medical clinics are designed to combat acne and oily skin. Treatments such as ultrasonic cleansing, aquapeel treatment, and chemical peel are some common steps you will find in medical facial treatments for treating acne.
What are some active ingredients in skin care products to look out for?
WITCH HAZEL Touted as one of the best remedies for acne scars, witch hazel is an affordable and commonly found natural astringent that can control inflammation and reduce skin redness. It also has anti-bacterial properties that can help to reduce bacteria growth on the skin.
CENTELLA ASIATICA Suitable for sensitive skin. Other than its anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, centella asiatica is known for its abilities to stimulate collagen synthesis for tissue regeneration. This means that prolonged use of this active ingredient may result in a long-term improvement in depressed acne scars.
ALOE VERA It is one of the most widely available ingredients in Singapore. Aloe vera is effective for lightening PIH marks, all thanks to the compound called aloesin that reduces overproduction of melanin. Although it doesn’t help to heal scars, it is good to fade PIH marks.
Always seek medical attention as soon as you can if you find the acne condition not improving over time. Early intervention almost always achieves better outcome as the doctor only needs to treat the acne with little harm done to the skin in the hands of a professional.