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What is Botox?

Botox, or botulinum toxin, is an injectable treatment that is primarily targeted to treat wrinkles, fine lines and creases on the face. It can also be used as a non-permanent facial contouring treatment to slim down your profile. Botox is more widely known as an effective anti-aging product for improving the appearance of your skin. Botox is able to treat signs of advanced aging as it promotes collagen production and skin elasticity. In Singapore, Botox is used to temporarily give patients a younger and tighter look.

What is Acne?

Our body is covered in tiny pores or hair follicles which produce oil or sebum. This oil or sebum helps keep our face soft and moisturised. However, the pores or hair follicles may get blocked by oil, bacteria, dirt, and dead skin cells, which results in the development of whiteheads, blackheads, and pimples.

This blocking of pores is commonly referred to as acne. Acne tends to occur in areas with a large amount of oil glands such as the forehead, face, chest, shoulders, and upper back.

In Singapore, acne affects approximately 88% of youths (aged 13-19 years old). If you experienced acne-related issues as a teenager, the chances of you developing adult acne are higher — about 41% of adults with acne experienced this condition since they were adolescents.

What causes Acne?

  • Excess sebum or oil production: acne tends to occur in places of the body with a high number of oil glands. The excess oil gets stuck in the pores causing them to be clogged with oil and bacteria, resulting in acne.
  • Genetics: acne can be passed down from family members.
  • Bacteria: bacteria and oil can block hair follicles and pores, causing acne.
  • Hormones: acne has been shown to be affected by the hormone androgen.
    There are also several factors that can exacerbate your acne:
  • Diet: diets high in carbohydrates and dairy can exacerbate your acne.
  • Hormones: some women experience a worsening of their acne during or before menstruation.
  • Stress: stress does not cause acne, but it can make your symptoms worse.
  • Medications: some medications such as those that contain corticosteroids or testosterone can exacerbate your acne.

What are the symptoms or types of Acne?

  • Blackheads: open pores or hair follicles that have been blocked by oil and bacteria, which turn black when exposed to air.
  • Whiteheads: closed pores or hair follicles that have been blocked by oil and bacteria.
  • Papules: inflamed small pink or red bumps.
  • Pustules: pus-filled pimples that can scar if disturbed.
  • Fungal acne: excess yeast develops in the hair follicles.
  • Nodules: deep and large pimples beneath the skin that can be painful.
  • Cysts: large, pus-filled pimples.

Is Acne painful?

Acne is not usually physically painful; however, if you develop nodules or cysts, these types of acne are uncomfortable, painful, and tender to the touch.

Who is at risk of developing Acne in Singapore?

While acne can affect anyone, there are certain factors that increase your risk of developing acne:

  • Age: adolescents from the ages of 13-19 years old are more at risk of developing some form of acne compared to adults and children.
  • Hormonal changes: individuals going through the changes of pregnancy and puberty are more susceptible to developing acne.
  • Oily products: acne is caused by pores or hair follicles being blocked by oil, so individuals who use oil-based products are at an increased risk of acne.
  • Friction on face: since the pandemic started, some individuals have bee experiencing more instances of acne due in part to wearing masks. Dirt, oil, and bacteria can get trapped there and end up blocking pores or hair follicles, resulting in acne. Pandemic aside, friction on the face caused by other things can also increase your risk of acne.
  • Smoking: smoking or second-hand smoke can cause dirt and bacteria to build up and block pores or hair follicles, resulting in acne.
  • Family history: you are more likely to develop acne if you have a family member with acne.

How is Acne diagnosed?

Acne is diagnosed during a physical examination of the area of concern. There are several stages of acne, and your doctor will be able to identify the severity of your acne.
Grade Severity Symptoms
1 Mild Consists of mostly whiteheads and blackheads with a few papules and pustules.
2 Moderate Consists of severe papules and pustules, usually on the face.
3 Moderately severe Consists of numerous papules and pustules with the occasional cyst or nodule, affects face, back, and chest.
4 Severe Consists of numerous painful pustules, cysts, and nodules.

What are the treatment options for Acne in Singapore?

Beyond seeing a doctor, you should ensure you have these self-care techniques in line:

  • Always remove your make-up and never go to sleep with your make-up on.
  • Wash your skin with a gentle soap that contains salicylic acid or benzoyl, once or twice a day and after exercising.
  • Do not use oil-based cosmetics and alcohol-based cleansers.
  • Do not squeeze, pick, or scratch your pimples.
  • Apply over-the-counter acne creams that contain benzoyl peroxide, sulphur, adapalene, salicylic acid, or resorcinol.

Clinically, acne caused by bacteria can be improved with medication. In suitable cases, lasers or other energy-based procedures can be used. Proper treatment planning aims to reduce active acne and prevent acne scarring.

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