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Best Acne Treatment: Dermatologist’s Guide

August 12, 2023
Best Acne Treatment Protocol

Looking for the best acne treatment that’s also dermatologist recommended? Dr.TWL Pharmacy offers a comprehensive range of acne treatments targetting all skin types including sensitive skin. This installment of Skincyclopedia is a mini masterclass on acne brought to you by Dr.TWL Pharmacy—Singapore’s dermatologist-driven specialist pharmacy specialising in over-the-counter acne, pigmentation, sensitive skin and aging skin concerns. The pharmacy’s treatment protocols are formulated according to dermocosmetic principles, manufactured to the highest EUROISO22716 standards.

Welcome to Skincyclopedia, a comprehensive online encyclopedia with new entries weekly on all things skin! 

Whether you suffer from comedonal, papular or cystic acne, the pharmacy’s dermatologist formulated acne care protocols are designed to treat troubled skin from its root with natural ingredients backed by the latest dermatology research.

Are you a teen or an adult suffering from acne? We begin with the specific type of acne that affects teenagers, also known as physiologic acne. Most adult acne sufferers also start off having acne in their teen years, so understanding this process is crucial. 

Best Acne Treatment Sensitive Skin Protocol

Physiologic acne 

Those suffering from physiologic acne experience acne bumps over an area known as the T-zone. The T-zone encompasses the forehead and the nose-chin line, which is somewhat configured to the letter “T”. Physiologic acne has also been referred to as a form of hormonal acne, except that all acne is in fact hormonal in its origin.

During puberty there is a surge of the male hormone testosterone in both sexes. Testosterone results in increased oil gland activity. Oil glands are also known as sebaceous glands which produce sebum. In those who are genetically prone to acne, there is a receptor known as PPAR-y which is specific to acne itself.  The surge in testosterone causes inflammation to develop. The process that leads to visible acne bumps looks something like this: 

  1. Microcomedones which are invisible to the naked eye form in the deeper layers of skin
  2. Under the influence of increased oil production and genetically driven inflammatory processes, the microcomedones are driven to the skin surface
  3. Visible whiteheads and blackheads appear, known collectively as comedones
  4. Comedones get infected by surface bacteria, leading to the formation of red and inflamed bumps known as papules and cysts

Adult hormonal acne 

Moving on to adult hormonal acne. Adult acne isn’t actually clearly defined in medical terms, but here’s a rough guide that can help you navigate if you are really suffering from adult acne: 

  1. You have never had acne before in your teen years and are experiencing it in your twenties or after
  2. You’ve had acne as a teen and it has persisted beyond age 21
  3. You have been diagnosed with polycystic ovarian disease (PCOS) and/or pending gynaecological investigations for irregular periods/fertility problems

Look no further, the best acne treatment for adults is found at Dr.TWL Pharmacy, Singapore’s specialist acne care pharmacy for your OTC acne treatment needs. 

Dr.TWL Pharmacy: home to the best acne treatment for adults and teens alike

Why choose us? Dr.TWL Pharmacy’s acne treatments are based on dermatologist developed acne protocols that are designed to help persistent acne. Whether you have previously received prescription treatment or otherwise, our clinically-tested skincare routines and acne creams can help you get clear skin while staying oral medication-free.*

Who is this for? 

  • If you are looking for a long-term maintenance over-the-counter treatment that does not involve oral medications
  • Those who have already been on acne treatment before and experienced recurrence
  • Have mild-moderate acne and want a more holistic approach to acne treatment with dermocosmetics/cosmeceuticals
  • Have experienced skin irritation with retinols/retinoids, have skin allergies to traditional acne creams like salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide

*not a substitute for medical consults. You will be assessed for suitability for purely over-the-counter treatment during your initial assessment. Our protocols are compatible with prescription medications and can be used as an adjunct treatment. 

Did you know? Teenagers suffer from a specific type of hormonal acne that is slightly different from adult acne. While both types of acne can be considered “hormonal” in nature, teenage acne can affect those without a family history of acne whereas adult acne is typically associated with a strong genetic predisposition. 

Teenage acne encompasses a hormonal type acne, also known as physiologic acne because it is regarded as a normal symptom of your body’s changing physiology during puberty. The surge in testosterone causes increased oil gland activity in both males and females, resulting in an increase in skin oiliness which can accompany acne breakouts. 

What is the best acne treatment?

There is really no one-size fits all acne treatment. This is why traditionally, dermatologists will first assess the patient to determine the type and severity of acne before recommending an acne treatment regime. The type of acne is determined by the presence of whiteheads/blackheads (aka comedones) or red bumps known as papules. The bigger, more inflamed types acne are referred to as cysts and usually point to a subtype of acne known as nodulocystic acne. Cystic acne is considered as the most severe of all and will usually require oral medication treatment. 

AURORA LED Light Therapy System
Dr.TWL Pharmacy offers the LED light therapy system which is modelled after LED light therapy used in dermatology practices. It is suitable for treatment of all types of acne including moderate to severe cystic acne as an alternative to oral medications.
Polysaccharide Mask Plant Based Actives Berberine for Acne
Organic Berberine Extract targets mechanisms in acne formation, blocks androgen/sebum production, anti-inflammatory & bactericidal.

The best acne treatment delivered in cream form, without oral medications

During your consultation, you will be assessed for suitability to start on our best-selling acne care creams. Berberine has been proven to address the major underlying causes of acne in dermatology research: it has anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial (antibacterial) and even anti-oxidant and skin healing effects.

The problem with traditional acne creams and why they do not work after some time 

Traditional acne creams are formulated based on the outdated understanding of acne—that it is due to bacteria alone. While C acnes (Cutibacterium acnes) has been identified as the causative bacteria for acne, it is not the only driving factor. In fact, the latest dermatology research shows that acne formation requires a synergy of different processes that drive inflammation.

For example, one must first be genetically predisposed to acne. If you have a family member with a history of acne, it is likely that you will also develop acne during puberty. Oil production then kickstarts the process of microcomedone formation. The genetically driven process of inflammation then drives the microcomedoes to the surface of skin. This process usually takes about 2-4 weeks, by the end of which a visible whitehead or blackhead appears. 

Here is a list of reasons why acne creams stop working: 

  • Antibiotic resistance

Antibiotic gels like clindamycin and erythromycin are often prescribed as spot treatment. However, it is also a well-known fact that the use of antibiotic gels and creams lead to bacterial resistance. This is dangerous for the body and also ineffective when it comes to acne treatments.

  • Does not address root causes of acne holistically

In order to fully treat acne at its root, one has to target all the underlying physiological processes involved in acne formation. For example, benzoyl peroxide a popular acne spot cream works as an astringent and by peeling the surface skin cells. This is problematic because while it dries out the pimple, the best spot acne creams must  be designed to quickly reduce inflammation. Rather than just making skin dry. In fact, use of benzoyl peroxide is one of the reasons for the oily-dehydrated skin phenomenon which plagues acne sufferers.

Why choose Dr.TWL Pharmacy’s acne solutions: access the best acne treatment for sensitive skin 

Your skin is unique. Our dermatologist designed acne treatment protocols offer botanical-based topical treatments that help to rebalance oily-dehydrated skin. The active ingredients help to stabilise the skin microbiome, balancing the entire skin ecosystem for long term maintainence and prevention. Unlike traditional acne therapy, there is minimal/zero risk of skin irritation.  In addition, our formulations contain antioxidants that help to treat and prevent all types of acne scars. From the moment you apply our pimple cream, it gets to work to quickly reduce skin inflammation and prevents acne scarring. 

Best acne treatment products: discover them all at Dr.TWL Pharmacy

Dermatologist Formulated Blemish Spot Pimple Cream

The best acne treatment is one that holistically targets the root causes of acne. Traditional acne creams do not possess antioxidant properties and instead focuses on the outdated concept of “drying out” the pimple.  For instance, benzoyl peroxide is an astringent and an antiseptic.

Based on the latest scientific models of acne, benzoyl peroxide would not be an effective acne treatment because it does not have anti-inflammatory effects that prevents formation of microcomedones. On the other hand, the blemish spot cream works to reduce inflammation quickly while promoting skin barrier healing instead of drying out skin. This means that skin recovers quickly, minimising scarring. 

SilkPeel MediFacial Kit for Acne

The silkpeel with medi-facial essences are modelled after in-clinic hydrodermabrasion and microdermabrasion technologies that are used to treat acne. At the pharmacy, our specialist dermatology nurse will advise you on the most suitable home-based hydrodermabrasion kit for your needs. 

Universal Beauty Bar Facial System

This impressive hydrodermabrasion set offers a countertop luxury skincare experience minus the footprint. The Universal Beauty Bar is an excellent alternative for expensive in-clinic medi-facials. Prevent recurrence of acne without oral medications with a holistic method combining anti-inflammatory botanicals, water-based vacuum exfoliation and antioxidants.  

Looking for the best acne treatment for hormonal acne? Dr.TWL Pharmacy is Singapore’s first dermatologist-led custom-skincare pharmacy . We offer state-of-the-art skincare devices paired with custom formulations like mask peels and complete acne skincare routines. All acne care products are designed for all skin types including sensitive skin. 

Best acne treatment for sensitive skin: LED light therapy

 If you suffer from dry, irritated skin, acne treatment can be a nightmare. This is because traditional acne creams and even oral medications like isotretinoin dry skin out. Such an approach has even led to the oily-dehydrated skin phenomenon, which isn’t just uncomfortable—it harms the skin barrier. Tretinoin or adapalene are prescription retinoids that damage the skin barrier and are usually prescribed together with moisturiser therapy. While they are effective for the treatment and prevention of comedonal acne (i.e. whiteheads and blackheads), they worsen actively inflamed acne. This is also one of the key causes of skin purging. 

CC Cream Foundation for Acne-Prone Skin
CellTalk Cosmeceutical CC Cream: Serum foundation that is dermatologist-approved for all skin types including acne, rosacea, sensitive/dry Skin.

Did you know? Acne purging is not a must for those undergoing treatment. It is specifically related to use of retinoids, which drive the inflammatory process. While retinoids were previously regarded as the mainstay of topical acne treatment, it is no longer the case. Multiple botanical actives have been proven to have similar retinoid-like effects but without skin irritation i.e. bakuchiol, peptides etc. the added benefit is that these actives have a holistic effect on skin. Peptides have anti-microbial effects which helps to stabilise the skin microbiome, for instance. 

Best acne treatment for oily skin


If you find your acne-prone skin feeling even greasier after using certain products, this may be the reason why. Paradoxical hyperseborrhea is a condition in which the sebaceous glands work even harder to produce sebum/oil when there is a disruption in the skin microenvironment. Imagine your skin as an ecosystem in which different factors interact with one another in connected feedback loop to maintain balance.

When you use astringent products which promise to remove excess oil, what you are really doing is stripping the skin of moisture. Essentially, “degreasing” products don’t just remove excess oil—many of these products indiscriminately remove even protective oils on the skin’s surface. This eventually leads to a disrupted skin barrier, leaving your skin feeling dehydrated on the outside. That isn’t the end of the story though. Your skin then sends a message to oil glands—which then work overtime to produce more oil to compensate!


Choose gentle, dermatologist-recommended formulations which respect the skin barrier if you suffer from acne-prone skin. This may sound counterintuitive if you are used to astringent skincare designed to target oily skin, but hear me out. Healthy skin actually does a great job of regulating itself from the inside-out, if given a chance to. So if you have oily skin, you should choose a cleanser that fulfils the following criteria:

  • Gentle cleansing i.e. your skin should not feel squeaky clean after cleansing—that is usually a sign of “over cleansing”
  • Anti-microbial properties 

Oily skin also tends to be acne-prone, which is why a cleanser with antibacterial effects is helpful. Where possible, natural emulsifiers like honey or soy should be incorporated, as opposed to chemical surfactants. 

  • Anti-inflammatory effects

A little known fact about oily skin is that it is more prone to oxidative stress—potentiating the inflammatory processes that occur during acne formation. The ideal cleanser should incorporate anti-inflammatory botanicals—that can help reduce acne inflammation in the long run. 

Acne: who gets it? What are the best acne treatment options available?

In this section, we go through the ideal acne treatments for the following groups:

  • teenage males 
  • teenage girl
  • adult in 40s

The best acne treatment for teenage males may differ from that of an older adult female for example, simply because different factors are at work. In a teenage male, it is the surge in testosterone that is responsible for an increase in oil production, leading to an acne breakout.

The best acne treatment for teenage girls with mild physiologic acne may just be in the form of over-the-counter acne creams and a well-formulated acne skincare routine. For moderate/persistent acne, LED light therapy like blue light is helpful. Dr.TWL Pharmacy’s AURORA Light Therapy machine is modelled after in-clinic light therapy machines used for delivering blue light treatment for acne. Oral medications may be an option if topical treatments fail. 

The best acne treatment for a 40 year old woman, on the other hand, will depend on whether she is suffering from polycystic ovarian disease (PCOS). This is a possible contributing cause of adult acne. The hormonal imbalances in PCOS result in acne that persists beyond teenage years—resulting in what is often regarded as “ adult hormonal acne”.   In an older adult female, say one in her 40s, sudden onset acne may spell an underlying hormonal change—which warrants a gynaecological investigation for PCOS. 

Dr.TWL Pharmacy Consultation with Dermatology Nurse

The best acne treatment for sensitive skin: dermatologist recommended

Our dermatologist-driven acne protocols are specially designed for sensitive skin with minimal/zero irritation products. Consult with our skin expert to find the best treatment options for your sensitive skin. Get in touch today by WhatsApp at +65 97286734.

@drtwlderma Acne Treatment Dermatologist Singapore Designed Home Treatment Regimen No Oral medicine Retinoid Free For sensitive skin Whatsapp us at +65 97286734 for more! sg derma Sg skin clinic Sg skin Routine Sg skin Tik Tok Sg skincare glowing Sg skincare girl #homefacialcare #acnetreatment #acnetreatmentsingapore #acneskin #dermaclinic #sgdermatologist #learningisfun #learnontiktok #instantglowingskin #sgdoctor #instantglowing #instantglowup #homefacial #skincare101 #skincaretips #sensitiveskincare #skincarehacks #skincareroutine #dermdoctor #dermatology #singaporedoctor #singaporedoctors #dullskin #dullskinroutine #dullskinsolution #dullskincare #dullskintips ♬ Sunrise – Official Sound Studio

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