What aesthetic treatments are most suitable for acne?
Almost everyone has faced acne at some point in their lives. When you speak to those with acne, chances are, on top of experiencing those small, red inflamed bumps, they tend to also face a spectrum of skin issues, including:
- Papules (Red bumps)
- Pustules (Red bumps with pus)
- Cystic acne (considered the most severe form of acne)
- Nodular acne (larger and more serious than regular pimples, skin-colour and looks like a large and hard bump under the skin)
- Acne scars
- Red marks (post-inflammatory erythema)
- Brown marks (post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation)
Simply put, with acne, you’re not just dealing with excessive sebum and dead skin cells, but other underlying issues like dry skin, oily skin, too much collagen production etc. Because acne is a complex and multifaceted process that is influenced by your response to inflammation and bacteria, surely we want to take a multi pronged approach that combines lifestyle changes, medication and treatments. Which is why apart from maintaining a good skincare regime and exercising a healthy diet, I recommend that patients with acne go for aesthetic treatments to complement their efforts.
In this article, I will share some aesthetic treatments that are designed to work for acne, why I recommend them and a broad overview on how I treat mild to severe acne.
Acne treatment in Singapore
Fractional Energy Devices
Many of my patients would know that I’m a huge fan of Fractional Energy Devices. Not only are they brilliant at treating active acne, they are also a lot safer in taking care of post-inflammatory erythema and depressed acne scarring, which can happen if you have acne. Fractional Energy Devices work by creating intense but small zones of injury in the skin and making use of untouched surrounding skin to assist in the healing process. At my clinic, I own a few types of these devices:
Fractional laser resurfacing
For this, it’s my trusty Fractional Ultrapulse CO2 laser. During treatment, a single laser beam is fractionated into microscopic laser shafts. These tiny laser shafts penetrate into deeper layers of the skin to push out old damaged skin. New skin cells are created in the process. More than 70% of my patients find that even after a year from doing the treatment, their active acne problems are a lot more manageable. On top of that, they find improvements in other textural skin issues like wrinkles and large open pores too.
Fractional Microneedle Radiofrequency
Instead of depending on laser light penetration, Fractional Microneedle Radiofrequency uses micro needles to deliver radiofrequency energy deep into the dermis without harming the upper part of the skin. Compared to fractional lasers, fractional microneedle radiofrequency has a favourable side-effect profile like increased safety, faster recovery and higher efficacy. In fact, many patients experience a 70% reduction of acne just after 3 treatments! I must also add that radiofrequency energy is colour-blind and can be used safely on all skin types.
Carbon Laser Peel
Unlike most carbon laser peels executed with nanosecond lasers, I use the highest-powered picosecond laser, the Discovery Pico Plus. Carbon laser peels work by targeting active acne and coarse pores. At the same time, they also produce a controlled peel to improve the skin’s radiance and complexion. The Discovery Pico Plus also has a photo thermal function, which when used together with a carbon laser peel kills acne bacteria and stimulates collagen renewal at the same time. If you ask me, this method effectively kills 2 birds with 1 stone.
With chemical peels, due to their high concentration of acid, you want to be really careful with them. But when they work, they target most of the pathophysiological factors associated with acne. Some benefits include the exfoliation of dead skin cells, comedolytic effects from induced keratolysis and decreased sebum production.
Hydradermabrasion is basically a concoction of chemical peels, antioxidants, crystal-free exfoliation and vacuum extraction. They work hand in hand together: the chemical peels and antioxidants treat the acne, extraction unblocks the pores and exfoliation stimulates skin cell renewal.
Vascular lasers include pulsed dyed lasers, long pulsed diode lasers or Nd:YAG lasers. They work by targeting haemoglobin in blood vessels and destroying them. In my experience, they work perfectly fine for inflammatory acne but will not help with depressed acne scarring. So if you’re looking for something that would help with both your active acne and acne scars, I recommend any of the treatments above.
Treating mild acne
For mild acne, I suggest:
- Hydradermabrasion, carbon laser peels, chemical peels complemented with topical medication and skincare
- Stubborn cases may require fractional radiofrequency or oral medication
Treating moderate to severe acne
For moderate to severe acne, I suggest
- Hydradermabrasion, carbon laser peels, chemical peels complemented with topical and oral medication and skincare
- Fractional radiofrequency or fractional laser if there is minimal scarring
- Fractional micro needle radiofrequency if there is obvious and deeper scarring
Of course, these are just broad recommendations. If you need help, feel free to drop a line and I’ll see what I can do.
- Min, S., Park, S. Y., Yoon, J. Y., Kwon, H. H., & Suh, D. H. (2016). Fractional Microneedling Radiofrequency Treatment for Acne-related Post-inflammatory Erythema. Acta dermato-venereologica, 96(1), 87–91. https://doi.org/10.2340/00015555-2164
- Kim, S. T., Lee, K. H., Sim, H. J., Suh, K. S., & Jang, M. S. (2014). Treatment of acne vulgaris with fractional radiofrequency microneedling. The Journal of dermatology, 41(7), 586–591. https://doi.org/10.1111/1346-8138.12471