While acne is a common skin disease, it is often difficult to treat severe acne, like the nodulocystic form. Also known as cystic acne or nodular acne, such severe forms can cause significant damage to the skin and affect one’s self-esteem.
Is my acne mild or severe?
If you find that you have only one or two pimples appearing at a certain time of the month, it is considered physiological acne and it is mild. The occasional outbreak you experience is often resolved on its own.
However, if the original blackhead or whitehead becomes badly infected by surface bacteria that it triggers the skin’s inflammatory response, a cyst wall may form around the original site of inflammation.
How do I know if I have cystic acne?
Cystic acne, or nodular acne, are larger and more severe than the typical pimple. These nodules feel like stubborn, firm bumps under the skin and can last for months. You can get them on the face, neck, back, chests or shoulders.
What causes cystic acne?
Cystic acne develops from milder forms of acne. Oil and dead skin skins that clog the oil gland also traps bacteria within, causing inflammation. You may also be genetically disposed to developing cystic acne, if your parents had severe nodules, you are more likely to get it.
Hormones are also another major cause for cystic acne, which may explain why they can develop during puberty. Hormonal changes that take place during pregnancy can also trigger cystic acne.
What happens when your cystic acne is not treated?
Treatment of cystic acne can be challenging as topical treatment is usually less effective. If left untreated, your cystic acne may become a permanent scar. This can be painful, red and get secondarily infected over time. If the condition worsens, an abscess will develop, that is a collection of pus under the skin.
Do not squeeze or pick the pimple, as it introduces more bacteria to an already infected cyst. Extraction of the cyst with sharp objects by non-medical professionals should also be avoided, as they are not safe and sterilized in a medical environment. Doing so only introduces potential for bacteria to affect you, even if you are not acne prone. For example, we have been referred patients who had what started as an ordinary pimple, infected by a rare infection known as atypical mycobacteria. The bacteria originated from tap water with use of an unsterilized instrument by a facialist, leading to granulomatous infection of the skin and led to a sequence of biopsies as well as several months of oral antibiotics for treatment.
How should you treat cystic acne?
When you develop a single bump that becomes large and painful, it is a sign that your acne may be severe. If the acne does not disappear after a maximum of 2 months, it is unlikely that it is just normal physiological acne. This warrants medical treatment before the cystic acne worsens. Over-the-counter acne treatments are less effective against cystic acne and it is best to visit an accredited dermatologist as soon as possible.
Under the care of a dermatologist for assessment, one would expect an injection of triamcinolone, a steroid that can reduce swelling and inflammation, leading to the resolution of the cyst wall.
Another common therapy is oral isotretinoin, known for its efficacy for cystic acne. Severe acne tends to be unresponsive to drugs such as oral tetracycline or topical adapalene/benzoyl peroxide. It helps to fight acne by reducing the size and activity of your oil glands and reducing acne-causing bacteria. However, isotretinoin also has side effects, limiting its usefulness for certain patients. Side effects include liver damage, depression, behavioural change and risk of causing serious birth defects. Isotretinoin can also make your skin feel very dry. Your eyes will also feel drier than normal.
Cosmeceuticals should also be used in tandem with oral medications. Use moisturizers regularly, such as Multi-CERAM™ Moisturizer for a healthy and hydrated skin barrier. Vitamin C serums have anti-acne abilities and help to accelerate healing scars. An anti-bacterial cleanser is also essential to allow a thorough cleanse, consider a gentle cleanser such as Miel Honey™ Cleanser.
To treat scars, chemical peels and laser resurfacing can be considered.
Visit a dermatologist to get a professional diagnosis, who will be able to pick the best form of treatment to suit the severity of your acne and reduce scarring.
© 2019 TWL Specialist Skin and Laser Centre. All rights reserved.
Meet with Dr Teo Wan Lin, an accredited dermatologist at TWL Specialist Skin & Laser Centre, for a thorough consultation to determine the most suitable treatment for your skin.
To book an appointment with Dr Teo, call us at +65 6355 0522, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, you may fill up our contact form here.
Planning for your big day? Yes, you have finally found your dress, and you are beyond ecstatic. Only to be bogged down with issues about the wedding venue, sending invitations, your flowers and finding suitable photographers. Nevertheless, don’t let all the stress get to you, and your skin! You would certainly want to walk down the altar with glowing radiant skin after all, so here’s a guide to prep your skin just in time for your D-Day.
When it comes to wedding beauty, women tend to get more hardworking with their regular masking and night-time routines. Changing your beauty routine two or three months before your big day can give you ample time for your skin to reach its optimal condition. Apart from religiously looking after your skin, keep a lookout for your lifestyle habits. Start exercising, take regular meals, and cut down on the alcohol. Make sure you are sleeping well; a lack of sleep will certainly play no help in skin recovery.
Treat those dark spots and wrinkles with a chemical peel
If a major skincare concern such as hyperpigmentation has been troubling you, visit a dermatologist to see what your options are. You can go for chemical peels to reduce the appearance of sun spots, fine lines, wrinkles, enlarged pores and acne scars.
Performed by a dermatologist, a chemical peel treatment improves the appearance of the skin by gently stimulating the top layer of the skin cells by applying a solution made of fruit-derived acids. Such acids include alpha-hydroxy acids, glycolic acid, lactic and salicylic acid. This treatment can stimulate the skin to regenerate, revealing a taut, baby-smooth skin.
Chemical peels are more cost-effective compared to other treatments such as lasers, and more beneficial for the skin than beautician facials. A thorough evaluation is required before proceeding with a chemical peel. It is not recommended to undergo chemical peels with aestheticians or beauticians. In Singapore, only medical doctors have access to the prescription-level peel strength required to allow results.
Consult your dermatologist for an assessment for a chemical peel treatment plan catered for best results leading up to your wedding day. After the treatment, you may experience a reaction similar to sunburn where redness can be seen. Commence your chemical peel treatment plan at least three months prior to the wedding, for time buffer in particular, for your skin to be optimally renewed ahead of time and avoid any potential redness.
Common beauty concerns before a wedding include back and chest acne. Being in a wedding dress means your back and neck area will most likely be exposed. Acne at these areas as well as the face, may be well managed and controlled with chemical peels by your dermatologist, for your most radiant self to be presenting on the big day. Do avoid the sun as much as you can and stick to complete sun protection, such as sunscreen and sunglasses to reduce the sun damage.
Makeup may have varying results on camera, so it’s probably unwise to count on that to capture your best on the wedding day. To ensure that radiant glow on photos, a little more effort now on your skincare routine, could be a very worthwhile investment to yield super glowing and almost flawless (if not flawless) skin on camera on your big day.
Pre-wedding skincare routine at home
Go for a rich, nourishing serum like the Elixir-V™ Total Recovery Serum for hydrating, lifting and tightening of your face for the sculptured V-face look. Such a serum is perfect for pampering your face before your big day. The Larecea™ extract found in the serum supports skin regeneration and helps in reversing signs of aging. Hyaluronic acid is also included to preserve and replenish moisture, working to keep our skin hydrated. Antioxidants such as Resveratrol protects the skin against sun damage and lowers incidence of skin disorders. Infused in the Elixir-V™ is also Oligopeptides, which are essentially protein molecules that can help to repair and lift the skin, giving brides the perfect V-face look.
Vitamin C should also be an imperative component in your pre-wedding skincare regime. Try the Vitá C Gold™ Serum if you are guilty of living without Vitamin C previously, as a proprietary formulation with a super-stabilized form of Vitamin C that delivers more anti-oxidant efficacy than the conventional ascorbic acid which deteriorates quickly. Vitamin C is a superstar ingredient that helps fade pigmentation and uneven skin tone. The ability of this vitamin to aid the skin in healing and resist acne, keeps it a top favourite ingredient, and you can also bid farewell to errant sun spots and scars from your youth. It also protects skin cells from damage, keeping the skin healthy and bright for your wedding day.
Other miscellaneous tips you will need
It’s a proud moment, and you have the right to flaunt it. Everyone will be throwing glances at your rings, so ransack your vanity drawers for that spare hand cream you never used. Toss it in your hand bag and perhaps another on your bedside table. Start a habit of lathering your hand cream on, and that will be one problem crossed off the list.
And if you are rocking a backless wedding dress, you would want to keep your back acne far away. It can be nerve-racking, but if you start a regimen early, you can still bring back the sexy back. Apply a minimum SPF30 sunscreen liberally, as clothing does not block all the UV light. Keep your sunscreen lightweight with like the SunProtector™ to avoid the greasy feel whilst ensuring that the sun does not cause more damage or breakouts. For mild acne, even on the back, commencing a diligent skincare routine with cosmeceuticals could yield very tangible results ahead of your wedding day. For best results and in cases of more severe acne, however, consult your dermatologist for peels, topicals and a complete treatment plan to help in skin renewal, to unclog pores and reduce back acne.
Lastly, to avoid looking greasy on camera, dust some good setting powder to limit the shine while still keeping the glow.
© 2017 TWL Specialist Skin and Laser Centre. All rights reserved.
Meet with Dr. Teo Wan Lin, an accredited dermatologist at TWL Specialist Skin & Laser Centre, for a thorough consultation to determine the most suitable treatment for your skin.
To book an appointment with Dr. Teo, call us at +65 6355 0522, or email email@example.com. Alternatively, you may fill up our contact form here.