Dealing with unsightly acne scars after the short-lived acne breakout is just like the lingering emotions you have for your partner after a bad breakup with your ex.
Having to nurse the unexpected acne breakout amidst your busy schedule is challenging enough, but the psychological trauma that acne scars and the dark marks leave behind is far-reaching.
There are steps you can take to minimise pimples from popping up all over your face. But for people who are constantly battling acne breakout, the next best thing you can do is to nurse your skin back to health with our causing any permanent scarring or hyperpigmentation to your skin.
We speak to Dr. Siew Tuck Wah, Medical Director of Radium Medical Aesthetics, to tell us how to handle lumps and bumps so that they don’t leave unsightly marks after they subside.
1. Don’t pick your scars or squeeze your pimples
“You’ve probably heard this before, but we cannot emphasize this enough,” says Dr. Siew. Popping a pimple on your own increases the risk of worsening the infection. When deeper infection sets in, there is a higher chance of discoloration and scarring when the wound heals.
It is tempting and convenient to squeeze your pimples at the comfort of your own home. However you should refrain from doing so. Trying to drain the pus from your wound may expose the wound to other bacteria. If serious infection sets in, scarring or hyperpigmentation may occur.
Instead of scratching your acne, apply some spot treatment gel directly on the pimple before you go to bed and wait for it to dry overnight.
2. Clearing your pores on your own
Let’s be completely honest: It is definitely satisfying to empty your clogged pores to keep your face clean. “Avoid using sharp tools and fingernails to extract the gunk out of your pores,” says Dr. Siew. If the equipment is not clean, bacteria may make its way into the pores, causing more trauma and inflammation.
Always leave the deep cleaning to the experts. Visit a doctor to have your face cleaned in a safe and hygienic manner. One of the most effective ways to clean your pores is to undergo a carbon laser peel treatment. A thin layer of liquid carbon is first applied on the skin. When the laser hits the liquid carbon, it creates a reaction and instantly removes the carbon and the debris that are lodged on the carbon. At the same time, the treatment minimizes the pores, giving you a smoother face with smaller pores.
3. You wear makeup to cover your acne
Don’t try to conceal your pimples and acne with your makeup. Doing so may irritate the skin and cause your skin condition to get worse. “When you have an acne breakout, the best thing to do is not to cover it with concealer. By covering it with thick layers of makeup, it may perpetuate a vicious cycle,” say Dr. Siew.
The ideal way to manage acne is not to wear any makeup to conceal them. If not wearing any makeup is not a practical solution, choose non-comedogenic products that don’t aggravate your acne.
4. Shake up your skincare routine
It is hard to embrace change. We know how difficult it is to step out of your comfort zone and change your skincare routine that you have been using for years. Over the years, our skin undergoes aging and it may respond differently to your existing skincare products. What worked for us several years ago may not be as effective now.
You should consider changing your skincare products every 3 years. Don’t be afraid to talk to a doctor to find out what you need to achieve a flawless, smooth skin.
5. Don’t wait until it’s too late to see a doctor
“People often wait until they are left with no choice before they consult a doctor. The skin is usually in a bad condition and a lot of effort is required to treat the acne scars and marks,” says Dr. Siew.
There is a wide range of minimally-invasive treatments that can effectively reduce the dark pigments and acne scars. Dual Yellow Laser is one of the most popular pigmentation treatments in Singapore. It relies on a copper bromide laser technology to break down the dark pigments in the skin without causing any collateral damage to the surrounding skin.
Acne scars are slightly more challenging to treat. It may require repeat sessions to reduce the appearance of acne scars. Superficial scars can be treated with a skin resurfacing laser such as CO2 laser treatment. It ablates the top layer of the skin and encourages new collagen and skin to grow.
There are different types of acne scars which require different treatment methods for best results. In such cases, a combination treatment may be required. For example, INFINI Plus Revival Program offered by Radium Medical Aesthetics is a prime example of a combination treatment for treating the most stubborn scars. Using a multi-pronged approach, it combines INFINI, subcision acne scar treatment, and PDRN to treat complexion with different scar types.
Seeking treatment early and taking preventive measures are always the most convenient and affordable way to address skin problems.