Acne Treatment Review in Singapore: Which Are Effective?
January 15, 2021
My biggest problem: Nodular acne
Having struggled with a skin condition like acne all your life, it has become something you’ve painfully accepted. I figured I’d have to deal with it – cautiously – for the rest of my life, relying on the traditional acne treatment I could find in Singapore like cleansers and topical creams.
My acne almost become a part of me, and sometimes I forget that normal skin does not look like this:
I would experience acne daily – they would appear as big, bulbous cysts on my T-zone (forehead, nose, cheeks and chin areas). Sometimes, they itch and I would have to consciously refrain myself from scratching the affected areas. When they grow in clusters, it would throb and hurt.
I can’t recall how many times I felt close to tears dabbing precious gel ointments to the nodules in hopes of clearing it up. I’ve lived my whole life thinking that I’d always be haunted by nodular acne.
It would flare up when I’m going through my menstrual cycle, and as soon as some finally cleared up, another single nodule would appear. It became a vicious cycle.
As a teenager, it made me feel extremely self-conscious about my appearance, and I would apply copious amounts of makeup to conceal them. Little did I know this would only worsen my acne.
What I’ve tried: Acne prevention & treatment
My acne has been more manageable now that I’ve stopped resorting to makeup to hide the inflammation, but I still struggled with the redness and inflamed areas on a daily basis.
My go-to skincare routine would always involve using off-the-shelf skincare products – a specific acne management range I will not disclose here for various reasons. While they are effective in cleansing the skin, I needed something stronger to keep acne at bay.
Increased physical activity
I’ve always lived a sedentary lifestyle, with the only physical activity being my commute to and from work. I’ve since picked up running and jogging as the occasional cardio exercise, and I’ve grown to love the workout.
Being physically active can help manage acne breakouts through improved blood circulation. I spend 30 to 45 minutes running, and have picked up from once to twice weekly. I have seen subtle but inconsistent improvements on my skin since I started running, but it doesn’t do much to tackle the active acne on my skin.
I sought the help of the general practitioner (GP) across the street from where I lived. I was prescribed with antibiotics to control the frequency of the inflammation, and for a few months my skin seemed to clear up. I felt ecstatic – it was like watching my skin be restored to life.
When it was at its clearest – with no sign of active acne nodule anywhere on my face – I cried. I have never seen my face so spotless.
It was only later that I came to notice my clear skin is only dependent on the pills, and that it is not viable in the long run. My acne problem disappears when I’m on the oral medication, but when I’m off them, my acne resurfaces.
Seeing my flawless skin only motivated me further to search for a more practical solution. While I’m still practicing all the above acne management measures, I still needed something more permanent to manage my acne, and to get rid of it once and for all.
Finding the perfect acne treatment
It was around the second course of antibiotic treatment (each course lasted about 3 months) that I received from my GP that I started to do my research on nodular acne management.
That’s when I came across Illumia Medical and their articles on acne treatments, and a lot of what they said aligned with my personal thoughts and goals. I figured it wouldn’t do any harm if I had a consultation with the doctor there and see what she thinks about my situation.
Dr Ong Xiang Ning’s bio alone gave me a spurt of faith. At the very least, she knows what she’s doing, and I find myself embracing an emotion I haven’t had my hands nor my heart around for quite a long time. Hope.
I called the clinic to arrange an appointment, and took the earliest slot they had with Dr Ong.
The consultation process
When I arrived at Illumia Medical, I was taken aback by the elegance of the clinic design. I was led down the main entrance hallway and was immediately greeted by a wide panoramic view of the streets in Wheelock Place.
The staff were friendly and showed me to a waiting area, where I made myself comfortable on their plush armchairs. I filled out the general consultation form before meeting Dr Ong.
Upon entering her room, Dr Ong made me feel at ease with her gentle eyes and the warm smile behind her face-mask.
She listened attentively as I described to her my problem and the solutions that I’ve tried before. With her medical experience in clinical dermatology and her invested interest in managing various dermatological conditions including moderate to severe acne, she was kind to explain how my skin was behaving and reacting.
She jotted down for me the main problems that we would have to address to achieve my desired goal, which is for clear skin.
The acne treatment game plan
During the consultation, Dr Ong noted down my immediate problems:
Excess sebum production
Increased production of acne-causing bacteria.
To tackle these, Dr Ong recommended the Pro Yellow Gold Laser to reduce the sebum production and minimize the existing redness and pigmentation on my skin.
I was skeptical of laser treatments, as I have read about the possible incompatibility of acne-prone skin with lasers and how this may worsen the skin condition. Laser treatments can be very effective for acne scars, but active acne?
As it turns out, it can help reduce acne and pigmentation tremendously.
Dr Ong listened to my doubts and provided a solution: as the Pro Yellow Gold Laser can cause a slight acne purge in acne-prone skin, she prescribed oral medication and topical acne ointments for me to mitigate this risk.
I was happy with this suggestion, as it meant that I could go through with the laser treatment as prescribed without having to deal with severe acne purging.
After the Pro Yellow Gold Laser treatment, my skin will then be analyzed again to see if we can take a stronger course of action to directly target the sebum glands and reduce the skin inflammation – using the Pico Discovery Laser. I was excited.
An additional treatment that she prescribed me was the Miracle S.E.P. (Scalpelectroporation®) Facial, which is a transdermal mode of delivery using patented technology to deliver a potent acne solution deep into my skin – without the use of needles. This will help diminish the inflammation deep within my skin and prevent future breakouts, or significantly reduce its possibility.
Beginning my acne treatment in Singapore
With such a detailed treatment plan to help me manage my acne better, I felt that I was in a good place, and couldn’t wait to get started.
Before I was shown to the treatment room, I had to photograph my current skin condition to track my progress. The “before” photos and even negative photos were taken – the extensiveness of redness, acne-causing bacteria and inflammation on my skin looked so apparent on the negative photo. These make good references to track the condition of my skin throughout the treatment process.
I took a photo of the photo-taking machine at Illumia’s reception – from the ceiling. Look at that!
I will share Part 2 of my acne treatment journey, where I share my honest reviews about yellow lasers, picosecond lasers and acne facial treatments to resolve my acne.
From the bottom of my heart, I understand what it’s like to live with insecurity because of physical flaws and imperfections on the skin. It is not be too late to seek acne treatment in Singapore, where the types of effective treatments for different kinds of acne are abundant.