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THE SKIN JOURNAL

We want to help you understand your skin, so that you know what’s going on with it, what to put on it, and how to care for it. Sciency stuff that answers so many of your skin questions, written in a clear and simple way. Penned by our founder, Ee Ting Ng.



Focus & Fixes - Acne

15 January, 2018

Focus & Fixes - Acne

Well past your teens, but still struggling with spots? This SOS is for you.


Why am I still breaking out?

Acne is an inflammatory skin condition, caused by internal (hormonal) or external factors e.g. environment, unsuitable products or diet. A detailed explanation is available here.

Daily Routine Focus

Go here for a comprehensive guide; below is a condensed version.

Cleanse

  • Right technique
  • Make sure you are cleansing long enough (at least 50 seconds). Apply circular motions, going through every crevice of your face. Double cleanse if you are not able to get everything off after the first go.

  • Rinses off completely
  • Choose a cleanser that rinses off thoroughly without a cloth/cleansing tool/hot water, as they can irritate inflamed skin.

Exfoliate

  • Non-abrasive
  • Avoid scrubs as not only do they cause micro-cuts on skin, they can spread bacteria from one area to another.

  • AHAs, BHA
  • Acids are best at removing excess cell build-up for acneic skin. Finding one with the right formulation is key.

Treat

  • Anti-irritants
  • Calming ingredients (e.g allantoin and niacinamide) are useful in reducing redness and swelling.

  • Sebum-regulating
  • Reducing oil production reduces the severity and frequency of breakouts. Niacinamide is a fantastic vitamin that reduces sebum without drying skin out.

  • Topical anti-bacterial
  • When infection-control is required, spot treat using a fast acting anti-bacterial like benzoyl peroxide.

Moisturise

  • Light-textured, Oil-free
  • Similar to my recommendation for congestion-prone skin, a light and oil-free product is less likely to cause/worsen blemishes.

  • Humectants
  • Humectants provide moisture without occlusion. Examples are glycerin, propanediol, amino acids, sodium hyaluronate.


Other tips

  • Eliminate sources of bacteria
  • Change pillow cases regularly, clean and disinfect mobile phone/sunglasses, use tissue to pat dry face instead of reusing a towel.

  • Sufficient sleep
  • Sleep is when our body repairs itself. It's important not just for skin but our overall well-being.

  • Diet/Food allergy
  • If you've tried everything without avail, the cause might be dietary. Eliminate one food group at a time so you can identify the offender. Start with dairy, gluten and soy.

  • Medical attention
  • If your acne is worsening, see your doctor. Sometimes, medication is necessary to promptly reduce the infection and prevent further damage.

  • Supplementary treatment
  • A non-invasive/irritating treatment worth looking into is Kleresca. It eliminates bacteria and reduces inflammation simultaneously.

  • Dealing with sudden breakouts
  • In a sudden breakout episode, just cleanse twice a day and nothing else, avoiding makeup if possible. In 2 to 3 days, your skin should settle and you can go back to your normal routine. Otherwise, see your doctor.


Dealing with acne can be incredibly frustrating. However, it very treatable and manageable with a gentle and simple routine.