Keeping Acne Under Control

I mentioned previously that acne should be thought of as a chronic condition – it can be controlled, but may decide to become active once proper skincare is not observed; it not only affects teenagers, but also adults. In fact, up to 1 in 4 adults may be bothered by some form of acne..

The next question is then: what can you do keep it at bay?


Again, your mum is right. (Damn!) More fruits, more exercise, less late nights, less stress, and a healthy diet rich in antioxidants all help to keep the pimples away.

Sun exposure does not “fry” and destroy the pimples as popularly believed! More sun actually worsens acne as it induces the sebaceous glands to produce more oil and clog up your pores even more.

Topical Skincare

An antibiotic or antibacterial lotion is important to reduce the P. acnes bacterial on the face.

A mild skin peel helps to remove the dead outer layers of the skin and reduce clogging of the pores.

Lotions and serums containing salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide have been shown in numerous studies to help reduce acne. However, caution must be exercised as these agents can cause redness and irritation to the skin, resulting in flaking and discomfort.

Vitamin A derivatives, or retinoids, are extremely useful in acne. They work by increasing cell turnover, and thus unclogging pores.

Newer agents, such as azelaic acid and niacinamide show promising results as well.

I cannot over emphasize the importance of a good skincare regime to combat acne. Consult your doctor to have him/ her prescribe a suitable skin care regime for you.

Oral Medications

Traditionally, oral antibiotics (e.g. doxycycline) were used to treat acne. Unfortunately, they need to be taken over a long period (months) in order to be effective, and come with side effects which are intolerable to many.

Roaccutane, a vitamin A derivative, revolutionalized acne treatment more than a decade ago.

Lasers and Lights

One of the more effective treatments for acne, in my experience, is light therapy. Over the years, many different lasers have been used for the treatment of acne, such as IPL, LED blue light. To date, the Diode laser remains the best choice.

Combination is power!

In my practice, I use a combination of different modalities – topicals, medications, and aesthetic treatments, to act synergistically to keep acne under control. The important thing to note is, however, treating acne requires commitment on your part. It can take weeks, and will require constant care to continue to keep it at bay!