Out, spot, out

Grow­ing older also de­mands grow­ing wiser — es­pe­cially when adult acne strikes. mary lim out­lines sev­eral strate­gies to keep the skin zit-free

Prestige (Singapore) - - CONTENTS -

so­cial me­dia nearly had us fooled. Ken­dall Jen­ner very nearly stole the thun­der at this year’s Golden Globes red car­pet not for her dress but with the acne on her cheeks and chin. The In­ter­net had a field day as fol­low­ers chose to diss (or de­fend) the cat­walk princess. She would have none of that, and sub­se­quently called on oth­ers to “never let that sh** stop you!”

Singer-song­writer Lorde has also taken to In­sta­gram to share about her strug­gle with acne. “Do you wash your face? It’s like, yes, I wash my face, I’m just ge­net­i­cally cursed,” she laughed.

Other fa­mous faces who have pub­licly flaunted their zit-hit miens in­clude Chrissy Teigen, who gar­nered more than 16,000 likes with her “pe­riod skin”, and Star Wars actress Daisy Ri­d­ley, who tried “ev­ery­thing” to im­prove acne un­til she learnt it was re­lated to her poly­cys­tic ovary syn­drome.

No mat­ter how th­ese per­son­al­i­ties and in­flu­encers try to up­sell on self-ac­cep­tance and con­fi­dence, reg­u­lar folks such as you and I are apt to re­main skep­ti­cal. It is one thing to bat­tle

pim­ples dur­ing pu­berty; it is an­other to spend most of your adult­hood caked in con­cealer. Fe­males have been handed the shorter end of the stick — adult acne is more com­mon in women than men, so goes a re­port in The Jour­nal of Clin­i­cal and Aes­thetic Der­ma­tol­ogy. The same study also reveals that break­outs ap­pear on the lower third of the face, jaw­line and neck, sug­gest­ing that they are due to hor­monal fluc­tu­a­tions.

Save for the men­strual cy­cle, preg­nancy, and poly­cys­tic ovar­ian syn­drome, changes in a woman’s hor­mone lev­els have much to do with stress. CRH (short for cor­ti­cotropin-re­leas­ing hor­mone), which is trig­gered by stress, binds to re­cep­tors in se­ba­ceous glands and sends se­bum pro­duc­tion soar­ing, caus­ing in­flam­ma­tion and re­sult­ing in pim­ples. So you might want to in­crease those vis­its to the gym — ex­er­cise re­leases en­dor­phins that can help in­crease feel­ings of re­lax­ation.

The prod­ucts we use to im­prove our skin can some­times have the op­po­site ef­fect. Steer clear of come­do­genic in­gre­di­ents (some com­mon ex­am­ples in­clude lau­reth-23, co­coa but­ter and oleth-3) as th­ese can clog pores, and fra­granced for­mu­las. If you use makeup reg­u­larly, go for lighter cov­er­age and ap­ply with a gen­tle hand. If makeup causes itch­i­ness, ditch it. Pay at­ten­tion to cleans­ing as well; check that your cleanser con­tains in­gre­di­ents such as sal­i­cylic acid, gly­colic acid or ben­zoyl per­ox­ide, which help rid im­pu­ri­ties and in­hibit the for­ma­tion of blem­ishes.

A diet heavy on re­fined carbs such as pro­cessed foods and white rice can cause spikes in your blood sugar, leading to ex­ces­sive in­sulin in the blood. This stim­u­lates the pro­duc­tion of pore-clog­ging cells and in­crease ac­tiv­ity in oil glands. Eat more of foods like whole grains, fresh veg­eta­bles and lean pro­tein in­stead. In­clude foods or sup­ple­ments with pro­bi­otics, as good bac­te­ria pro­mote gut health and cut acne de­vel­op­ment.

If acne per­sists de­spite con­sis­tent use of over­the-counter top­i­cal treat­ments, con­sult a der­ma­tol­o­gist. Clin­ics such as Cam­bridge Ther­a­peu­tics of­fers var­i­ous treat­ments to help pa­tients deal with acne and re­lated con­cerns, such as in­flam­ma­tion, se­bum pro­duc­tion and scar­ring. The Neogen Plasma Acne Treat­ment uses plasma tech­nol­ogy to tackle even con­di­tions such as eczema and pig­men­ta­tion.

Plasma en­ergy has a ster­il­is­ing ef­fect so it de­stroys bac­te­ria and im­pedes its growth in skin. This can im­prove in­flam­ma­tion (and the red­ness that ac­com­pa­nies it). And by work­ing from the deep der­mis lay­ers, it pro­motes more ef­fec­tive heal­ing and skin re­gen­er­a­tion. As such, skin’s abil­ity to ab­sorb in­gre­di­ents be­comes boosted, which fur­ther en­hances the ben­e­fits of top­i­cal treat­ments.

The treat­ment does not use laser so it’s gen­tler on skin that’s more sen­si­tive or prone to red­ness. Bet­ter yet, it also does not re­quire oral med­i­ca­tion, such as an­tibi­otics, which is usu­ally pre­scribed to treat se­vere acne.

An­other treat­ment avail­able at the Cam­bridge Med­i­cal Group is its In­no­va­tive Korean Acne Treat­ment So­lu­tion. Through the tech­nique of elec­trother­mol­y­sis, an in­su­lated mos­quito nee­dle is in­serted into skin to tar­get se­ba­ceous glands where the acne oc­curs. This method sup­pos­edly helps min­imise re­cur­rence and down­time, and is rec­om­mended also for scar re­moval.

If you are OK with laser, con­sider Pico + Hexa MLA. The Pico laser not only of­fers light­ning-fast but also ul­tra-short (one tril­lionth of a sec­ond, to be ex­act!) pulses. The other com­po­nent is the Hexa Mi­crolens Ar­ray Tech­nol­ogy, lauded for fo­cus­ing light en­ergy up to 15 times more in each dot for bet­ter pre­ci­sion and re­sults.

How it works: When used to­gether, they cre­ate tiny “bub­bles” un­der the skin that lift de­pressed acne scars upwards to the sur­face. Skin be­comes smoother as a re­sult. As this tech­nique does not hurt the sur­round­ing cells, re­cov­ery is sup­pos­edly quicker at typ­i­cally two days. It is also con­sid­ered less painful than, say, CO2 laser and sub­ci­sion.

A ses­sion can be com­pleted in un­der 10 min­utes, dur­ing which a top­i­cal anaes­thetic cream is ap­plied to keep your skin com­fort­able. After that, a cool­ing mask is done to ac­cel­er­ate heal­ing. Scabs usu­ally form one or two days after but should fall off nat­u­rally within seven days.

Re­al­ity bites but be­hind ev­ery cloud lies a sil­ver lin­ing. Those with acne-prone skin are likely to not only live but also look younger for longer than those with per­fect skin.

A study by the King’s Col­lege Lon­don an­a­lysed skin sam­ples from more than 1,200 fe­male twins and showed that peo­ple with acne usu­ally have longer telom­eres, which cause them to age more slowly. Telom­eres are the caps found on the tips of chro­mo­somes, which serve to pro­tect cells against de­te­ri­o­ra­tion. Over time, telom­eres can become short­ened and even­tu­ally break down to bring about cell death and has­ten age­ing.

Now that’s some­thing even grown-ups will ap­pre­ci­ate.

Be­hind this cloud lies a sil­ver lin­ing: Those with acne-prone skin are likely to live and look younger for longer

KEN­DALL JEN­NER

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