What is a Chemical Peel?
A chemical peel treatment is designed to improve the appearance of the skin by gently stimulating the top layer of skin cells known as the epidermis by applying a solution composed of fruit derived acids such as alpha-hydroxy acids, glycolic acid, lactic and salicylic acid. This stimulates the skin to regenerate, to be smoother and less wrinkled.
Who is Chemical Peel for?
Chemical peels are helpful for acne prone as well as normal skin, as a regular form of anti-ageing treatment to maintain one’s youthful appearance. In general, patients with fairer skin and lighter hair are ideal candidates. However, depending upon the type of skin problem encountered, darker skinned patients may also experience good results. If you are looking to minimise or eliminate the lines around your eye or mouth area, wrinkles that are caused by sun damage, aging and hereditary factors, aging spots, mild scarring, certain kinds of acne, skin pigmentation such as sun spots, age apots, liver spots, freckles or splotching due to the consumption of birth control pills or dull skin texture and colour, chemical peels are effective treatment methods. It is also good to note that chemical peeling can also be seen as a cost-effective solution for those who are currently undergoing other treatment modalities such as lasers for a skin rejuvenation purposes. Chemical peels are also more beneficial than beautician facials, in terms of skin rejuvenation and as an adjunct to acne treatment.
What should I know about Chemical Peels?
Chemical peels were developed and should be performed by a dermatologist, rather than an aesthetician or a beautician. Find out more about what a dermatologist is here. A thorough evaluation is imperative before embarking upon a chemical peel. In Singapore, if you are not a medical doctor, you will not have access to prescription strength chemical peels which actually work. Hence, it is not recommended to visit beauty parlors or aestheticians who offer chemical peels that either may be dangerous (it should only be performed under medical supervision) or provide not much benefit.
After a chemical peel, one’s skin is also temporarily more sensitive to the sun. It is pertinent to avoid overexposing the areas that have been treated with chemical peels to the sun as the new skin is fragile and more susceptible to complications. It is advised to protect your skin from the sun with an application of sunscreen and minimising direct contact with the sun by wearing hats or seeking shade with umbrellas.
To prevent any side effects, visit an accredited dermatologist for your chemical peels. Dermatologists will prescribe the proper follow-up care to reduce the tendencies of skin discolouration.
What to expect during a Chemical Peel?
The eye area is protected during the chemical peel and skin is first thoroughly cleansed to remove excess oils. During the procedure, one or more chemical solutions such as glycolic acids are used. As the chemical solution comes into contact with the skin, most patients would experience a warm sensation which lasts about three to seven minutes. Depending on the indication for the peel, the dermatologist will select the proper chemical peel agent and apply the selected solution to the skin. As these applications produce a controlled environment whereby a small amount of damage is induced on the skin, to trigger off new collagen formation.
What to expect after a chemical treatment?
Patients usually experience a reaction similar to a sunburn. There generally is no downtime beyond superficial peeling of the skin which presents as redness and mild flaking. See your skin become less greasy, more radiant and healthy after your first peel!
© 2017 twlskin.com. All rights reserved.
Meet with Dr. Teo Wan Lin, 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.
Whether you are a local, or an expat that lives in Singapore, one is struck by the stark weather of this equatorial city- constantly humid with temperatures rising above 30 degrees celsius. The cause of our sweaty pimply skin, simply put, Singapore’s weather causes bad skin-acne on the face, pimples on the chest and back. True or false?
Also, too many aesthetic clinics and medi-spas are advertising some sort of acne treatment for our humid climate, how does one know if it’s going to work? Does bad skincare cause problems and what exactly constitutes good skincare?
As many of my patients have asked, I share my top tips on maintaining good skin in Singapore (which you could achieve on your own), and how to get treatment when you really need it.
1. If it’s bothering you, you may have a real skin problem. Do see a dermatologist.
Do you suffer from any of these: sensitive skin and break-outs if the products were not right? Constant red face? Having flaky itchy skin whenever you’re traveling? Always having a pimple breakout at that time of the month?
If you have any of these symptoms, stop self-medicating and applying a bunch of anti-redness or “sensitive skin” products if you have these symptoms, it’s just going to make it worse. All of the above can be treated with proper medications. Eczema treatment for flaky, sensitive and itchy skin, hormonal acne treatment for pimples around that time of the month, and sometimes it isn’t even really acne. I’ve seen cases of perioral dermatitis that have been wrongly diagnosed as acne and obviously did not improve.
Acne on the chest and back is often actually a fungal infection known as pityosporum folliculitis. This sort of chest and back “acne” requires treatment with specific antifungal lotions and creams. People who are at risk include athletes or those living in a humid country like Singapore, as the constant sweating and the moist environment worsens it. When chest and back acne or fungal infections are left untreated, it leaves bad scars and even develops secondary bacterial infections.
If you always have a red face you may likely suffer from rosacea. Rosacea treatment is with correct oral antibiotics and creams before anti-redness lasers (to eradicate the blood vessels) are used. Rosacea is triggered off by hot climates, spicy foods, emotions in certain people who are at risk. It is likely to be related to increased blood vessel sensitivity as well as certain mites that live on your skin (demodex mites).
If you have any such symptoms, stop all skincare products and promptly seek the care of a dermatologist rather than self-medicate, or adopt a “wait-it-out’ attitude. Some tips: Look for the labels “dermatologically tested and formulated” when it comes to choosing cleansers, moisturisers and cosmeceutical products. Avoid testing many different cosmetic products which have no scientific evidence proving effectiveness. Finally, where possible avoid dust, extremes of temperature and humidity, prolonged contact with sweat as these tend to worsen skin sensitivity.
2. Don’t use just any wash on your face, use a dermatologist-tested and formulated cleanser.
It almost feels like because Singapore is so warm we constantly need to keep washing and keeping clean because of the sweat! As a dermatologist, I’ve heard from many patients with acne how they struggle to wash their face 3 times a day and are puzzled that they still have pimples. Cleansers perform one function, they emulsify the dirt, oil and bacteria in the foam which is rinsed off with water. Acne not due to dirt or bacteria, although they both can worsen people who already are prone to acne, such as those who have a family history of acne, so no amount of washing can actually get rid of acne.
There is a difference between normal cleansers and those which are dermatologist-tested/formulated. Cleansers approved by dermatologists are gentle on the skin, due to a good balance of the lathering agent and use of quality ingredients that do not strip the skin dry of it’s natural moisture while cleansing effectively. I personally formulate a honey-based cleanser which is suitable for both oily skin and sensitive skin types in Singapore (honey is a natural emulsifying agent which also has anti-bacterial properties) for my patients. Cleansers that leave your skin feeling squeaky clean is usually a bad sign, so stop using your supermarket cleanser and start looking carefully for those “dermatologist-tested and formulated” labels.
3. Don’t buy more scrubs or clay masks to clean your face better.
It amuses me that most of my patients are shocked when they hear this from me, their dermatologist, almost as if I am wrong to say that. Dermatologists do not agree with a lot of what beauty companies/aesthetics providers (who are not qualified dermatologists) are telling the public. The beauty industry is limited by what they are allowed to use in their salons (none of the prescription medications that would actually work is found in these places) and are are very happy to include more products in your regimen to earn your dollar. Dermatologists have seen way too many complications because of an incomplete understanding of the actual science of how skin behaves. Scrubbing with harsh beady grains of sand would work if your skin was made of wood, like sandpapering it down. In reality, you do not brighten or “exfoliate’’ your skin with that but rather you are causing damage and irritation to your skin, that’s maybe even the cause of your sensitive skin and red face problems.
Clay masks? Totally unnecessary even for oily and acne-prone skin types because it’s actually the salicylic acid content in these masks that causes your acne to get better, but not without really dehydrating your skin after that (these masks are dry out your skin with an astringent). Most of my patients end up with a red itchy flaky face, on top of acne after they go on a clay-mask spree hoping that it would cure their oily face and acne. Dermatologists do not prescribe clay masks for any skin problem because there are much more effective options for treatment of oily skin and acne. What counts in a skin treatment product is the active ingredient in these masks and products, so again, start looking down the ingredient list of your next bottle!
4. Use cosmeceuticals but do thorough brand research first.
Haven’t heard of cosmeceutical yet? It has become quite a fashionable word amongst the dermatologists community (for those in the know). It’s a marriage of two words “pharmaceuticals” and “cosmetics”. It’s actually referring to skincare with active ingredients best for skin that’s backed by dermatologists.
Am i too young? Or too old? Do i even need to get started?For best results, start on cosmeceuticals early, in your twenties for maintenance of your youth. If you are already in your thirties and forties or beyond, fret not, cosmeceuticals are a useful adjunct to the laser/filler/botox treatments recommended by your dermatologist and help to enhance and maintain the effects of such anti-aging treatments.
There are a myriad of cosmetic brands that claim wonders. Unfortunately, cosmeceuticals are not regulated by the HSA and so are not bound to their claims. Hence, it’s difficult for the consumer to know if a given product can do what it claims it can do, contains the ingredients it claims to, or if the ingredients are even active forms? Moreover, if the ingredients have phototoxic or photo reactive properties when exposed to the sun, among other concerns.What then? There is true evidence for the anti-aging properties of cosmeceuticals, but you are wise to consult a dermatologist before you buy. The HSA does not regulate the effectiveness of anti-aging products available without a prescription.
5. Go for a chemical peel or a medi-facial monthly at your dermatologist’s office in your twenties. Lasers in your thirties and beyond.
What is true about acne and the humid Singapore climate is that it all encourages the build up of dead keratin (read: skin flakes) which plug the pores and cause inflammation. Even if you don’t have acne, the build-up of keratin on your face with reduced skin turnover as one grows older, or due to environmental conditions such as exposure to pollutants and to sun. All these cause free-radical damage and accelerated aging, makes one’s face look dull and hence lose the bright complexion of one’s youth. A regular chemical peel (salicylic, lactic or glycolic acids as suited for your skin type should be determined by your dermatologist) or a medi-facial (I would use a vacuum handpiece with customised chemical peel solutions for patients), would reduce your chances of having oily acne-skin breakouts and reverse early signs of mild aging. It’s affordable as well. However, this alone will not work for a lot of patients with more severe acne/oily skin, for which they may require laser treatments to shrink oil glands or take oral isotretinoin for control of severe acne.
© 2017 Dr. Teo Wan Lin. All rights reserved.
Dr. Teo Wan Lin is a leading dermatologist in Singapore and also the Medical Director of TWL Specialist Skin & Laser Centre.
To book an appointment with Dr. Teo for Acne Scar Treatment, call us at +65 6355 0522, or email email@example.com. Alternatively, you may fill up our contact form here.
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