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from Singapore asked a question

Is it possible to become reliant on acne products?

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Dr Shane Abucewicz Tan
Dr Shane Abucewicz Tan
(19 Reviews)
50 answers on DxD


Acne & Scars Aesthetic Medicine

Hi Doctors,

I am a 20+yo male, with mild oily/sensitive skin. After coming back to Singapore from staying 6-months in Europe, my skin seemed to worsen. I then went on to visit a beauty salon and the beautician suggested extractions with different types of treatment (laser, chemical peel etc). After the first session, my skin seemed to improve a little, but after awhile, I started breaking out again. I then went back to the beauty salon, but this time round it didn’t seem to help a lot as I would break out again in a matter of few days. I’ve not gone back to the beauty salon since.

At this point, I am considering if I should visit a dermatologist. However, previous experiences (from both myself and my friends) seem to suggest that visiting a dermatologist would result in reliance on certain products, and if you stop using those products, you would break out worse. Some back story – 2 years ago, after unsatisfactory results from visiting the beauty salon, I went to a dermatologist in Toa Payoh. The products that I used helped to clear up my acne, although my skin seems to become a lot more sensitive after using those products (I get a itchy “heat rash” feeling on my face and sometimes over my body when my body feels “hot”). After I finished using the products, I stopped visiting since my acne had cleared up significantly. However, I experienced breakouts again just after about 6 months of not using their products.

Right now, I am using Dermatologica’s Clearing Facial wash. I would say I would still have frequent pop-outs of pimples/whiteheads, and there are a lot of scars/ pimples on my face – probably a case of moderate acne. I am exploring using natural remedies, such tomato/cucumber/lemon juice masks, but have not really embarked on using them. I am feeling pretty helpless and clueless now, so I’d greatly appreciate if I can have some inputs from here.

Many thanks!

DOCTOR’S ANSWER (3)

Dear YJ

I know how frustrating it is to face the issue of persistent acne.

There is no real evidence that skin gets resistant to topical products but obviously anecdotal accounts would suggest otherwise.

To cut it short, it sounds like you might need some oral medications like doxycycline or isotretinoin to improve the acute flares first, while using a appropriate skin regimen. From personal experience myself, when facing a flare we tend to overdo things, be it using OXY 10 five times a day and having chemical burns, or washing our face 10 times a day.

Medicines I feel can be a great bridge to stabilising your skin, whilst starting a suitable skin care series.

Don’t lose heart as many have walked this path before. Consult your doctor and treat early to avoid further scarring as well as treat the existing scarring. Best of luck!

0 529 views 0 Doctors agree Wed Jan 24 2018 07:44:03 GMT+0000 (UTC)

Dear YJ,

There are 4 main issues that cause acne and that are:

  1. Excessive sebum ( oil ) production
  2. Presence of a bacteria called P. Acnes on the skin
  3. Continued Inflammation of the skin cells due to sebum leaking onto the skin cells
  4. Excessive production of cells clogging up the pores

Any lifestyle factor can trigger off any of those 4 issues, causing acne. Thus, I wouldn’t label one as “reliant” on acne medications. Just like we have to eat everyday, but we don’t label ourselves as “reliant” on food.

It’s important to examine every part of your lifestyle to find out what is the cause triggering it? Is it your late sleep? Your fingernails picking at your skin? Hormonal changes? Clogged skin pores? Etc

Hope that answered you on a deeper level rather than superficially treating symptoms and signs.

0 530 views 0 Doctors agree Wed Jan 24 2018 07:41:55 GMT+0000 (UTC)

Dear YJ,

I agree with Dr Lee that there is no real evidence that your skin can get resistant to topical skincare. The way you described your outbreaks worsening after stopping the skin care for 6 months, it sounds like something else triggered the acne after curing it previously.

It may be helpful to consult a skin doctor to see what is the reason for the flare and control any exacerbating factors. There are various types of acne and you may not need oral medication if you are just suffering an outbreak of comedonal (blackhead and whitehead) acne.

Hope this helps!

0 530 views 0 Doctors agree Wed Jan 24 2018 07:43:09 GMT+0000 (UTC)
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