5 Popular Solutions For Acne

5 Popular Solutions For Acne

DTAP Clinic (Caring & Treating Since 2005)

Known for its propensity to get worse just when one needs a clean face for a job interview or a date, acne is usually an unwelcome companion affecting quality of life. Young people have a tendency towards acne, but for some people, the problem persists into adulthood. Acne during pregnancy also affects many women.

DTAP (Dr. Tan & Partners) Skin Clinic 

Acne treatment

What do you know about Acne?

To treat acne, we must first understand why and how it happens. We all have hair follicles, structures in the skin which house hair. Sometimes, oil produced by the skin, also called sebum, combines with dead skin cells to clog the hair follicle. We also have a type of bacterium called P. acnes on our face most of the time. 

When hair follicles get clogged, P. acnes feed on the clogged, causing inflammation and infection.

Types of Acne

Acne blemishes or lesions may take the form of whiteheads, blackheads, pustules, which are usually called pimples, cysts and nodules.

Whiteheads and blackheads are sebum plugs; if the sebum plug fills up the follicle entirely without air entering it, the sebum plug remains white, hence the term whitehead. If the sebum plug allows air to enter, the sebum reacts with it and turns black, become a blackhead. 

A pimple usually first appears as a red bump, and if pus forms inside, it becomes an acne pustule, which is a full-fledged pimple.

A cyst is basically an overgrown pimple; the infection has traveled deep into the skin, creating a bump which is filled with pus, and which may look red and angry. 

Nodular acne is similar to cystic acne in the sense that it is also formed deep underneath the skin, but nodular acne is usually harder due to its contents hardening over time. Both may be painful to the touch. 

People suffering from cystic acne or nodular acne usually have tried many different acne solutions, to no avail. There are many methods of treating acne as well as many avenues of treatment. Usually, treatments aim to achieve one or more of the following; that is, reduction of sebum, killing the bacteria and reduction of inflammation. 

Here are the 5 most popular solutions for Acne

1. Antibiotics

Antibiotics can be very effective to reduce acne by killing the bacteria causing the infection and inflammation. Used under a doctor’s prescription, they can reduce an outbreak and get the skin back to normal.

It is important to note that antibiotics for acne do come with potential side effects such as giddiness or an upset stomach. Some antibiotics may also cause increased sensitivity to the sun. Repeated use or misuse of antibiotics may cause increased antibiotic resistance. In certain cases, some people do not respond to anti-acne antibiotics. The antibiotics also do not address the main cause of the acne, which is the sebum clog. Antibiotics may take up to six weeks for their full effect and as with all antibiotics, the person taking them must fulfil the whole course.

2. Topical applications

Over the counter products such as creams, lotions and gels for acne containing benzoyl peroxide provides a fast and convenient solution. Benzoyl peroxide is an antiseptic and anti-microbial, helping to reduce the bacteria which causes acne on the skin. It also produces a peeling effect on the skin, shedding dead skin cells, drying up the excess sebum and killing the bacteria underneath. 

The good thing about benzoyl peroxide is that it is able to treat a spot specifically, making it suitable for a person who has the occasional pimple. For more severe or stubborn acne, acne without inflammation, like whiteheads and blackheads, benzoyl peroxide may not be the best solution. Cystic acne may also have deep inflammations that benzoyl peroxide cannot reach.

3. Isotretinoin

Doctors may prescribe isotretinoin for more severe cases of acne, such as acne appearing as nodules and cysts. Isotretinoin targets the production of sebum, reducing the main source of acne. This medication may take a few weeks for optimum effect, and maintenance therapy is recommended to prevent reoccurrence.

However, isotretinoin has several potential serious side effects. As it reduces sebum, it also dries skin. People who take isotretinoin may find themselves experiencing dry skin, cracked lips and dry scalp. They may also find themselves with thinning hair or dry hair which is prone to breaking.

It is recommended that breast-feeding mothers and pregnant women with acne do not take isotretinoin as it has been proven to cause birth defects and can pass into breast milk. Although isotretinoin has been proven to be successful in the management of severe and cystic acne, it is usually prescribed with care by doctors in light of the side effects listed above.

4. Extraction

Acne extraction remains very popular as people tend to feel gratified by the immediate exit of the sebum and waste materials. Sebum plugs such as whiteheads and blackheads which have a section that protrudes above the skin may be easier to extract.

Extraction aims to remove the clog around the hair follicle by applying force. Before the acne removal process starts, the patient may undergo exfoliation or steaming in order to open up the pores. When the sebum and other acne waste materials are removed, the inflammation is able to die down. In this case, it is better to head to a doctor for extraction to ensure sterility of equipment used. A doctor is also able to advise on other concurrent methods of treatment, like for example, antibiotics.

The problem about extraction is that the force applied may force some bacteria and skin debris further into the hair follicle. This may increase the inflammation, and in worse cases, this creates a bigger cavity where more skin and sebum gets collected, leading to a larger acne blemish in the same spot. Sometimes, the extraction of the sebaceous material may also lead to scarring as the skin through which the material passes stretches or break. You may address the immediate problem by popping the pimple, but cause a more permanent one by creating an acne scar. Bear in mind that solutions for acne scarring are inevitably more difficult and costly than acne treatment.

5. Combined Vacuum and Light Therapy

There is currently only one technology in the market which simultaneously uses vacuum technology for sebum extraction and light therapy to kill bacteria, and it is a machine manufactured in the United States called Theraclear.

Theraclear uses a handpiece that is capable of exerting a vacuum suction in the skin. 

Vacuum suction used in the process of extraction pulls the skin along with the sebum upwards, eliminating the issue of the sebaceous material and bacteria being pushed deeper into the skin. At the same time, Theraclear also delivers a broadband flash of light that kills the bacteria. Once the sebum is removed, associated redness disappears and the blemish itself begins to flatten. Theraclear is also FDA-cleared to treat moderate to severe acne, which includes cystic and nodular acne.

Theraclear treats the root causes of acne, which are the sebum clog and the bacteria, without harsh side effects. It can be used in conjunction with many other acne medication and therapies, but it is also highly effective on its own. Theraclear also has the advantage of spot treatment. For example, the hand piece can be aimed at a particular pimple, or the doctor can choose to use a needle insert which penetrates into cystic acne to extract the contents. 

There are other types of light therapy for acne, but they are not combined with vacuum extraction, and as such, do not remove the sebum clog. The considerations for Theraclear are that it may take a few sessions to treat the acne, and that it cannot be used together with any acne medication that cause the skin to be sensitive to light, or on people whose skin are already sensitive to light. However, it is one of the recommended acne solutions for pregnant women and youths as it is extremely safe.

In conclusion, many solutions to acne abound, and if acne is something that bothers you, there are so many ways in which you can get it resolved. Choose one of the above methods that is listed above suitable for your profile, your needs and your budget. If in doubt, consult a doctor specializing in acne who can advise you on a recommended treatment. Remember, acne is not something that you have to live with.

Watch Dr Michelle Chia explain the Theraclear Acne Treatment

How does TheraClear as an acne treatment work?

The treatment is conducted in four quick and easy steps:

Step 1: Position

The handpiece makes full contact with the acne treatment area.

Step 2: Cleanse

Pneumatics deep cleans pores by extracting build up of sebaceous material.

Step 3: Treating Acne

Along with targeting heating of the dermis, the light activates porphyrins to destroy P. acnes and  reduces sebum

Step 4: Complete

Obstruction in the pilosebaceous apparatus is removed and skin normalizes.

Unlike other devices, TheraClear™ consists of asuction component. Without the suction, the sebum remains inside the pilosebaceous gland making the treatment far less effective.

The TheraClear™ suction is strong and effective yet painless and comfortable.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on TheraClear

Are there any side effects?

There are no side effects from the treatment. We will conduct a test shot before proceeding with the full treatment.

How effective is it and how long does it last?

Patients typically stay clear for 3 months post-treatment. Those on maintenance regimens have stayed clear for a year or more.

Usually, after one treatment, there is little improvement.  After the second treatment, patients should notice a modest improvement.  The third treatment, however, seems to produce the most significant improvement and after the fourth and fifth treatment, most if not all the acne lesions should be gone.

Are there any follow-ups?

4 – 5 treatments are needed for best results. More treatments will be recommended for more severe acne cases. Follow up sessions will be scheduled one to two weeks apart.

Dr. Tan & Partners @ DUO Galleria (Bugis MRT)

TheraClear Acne Treatment is only available at our DUO Galleria branch.


+65 6976 5023

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