Top Beauty Questions Of 2017 Answered By Dr Georgia Lee
At the end of every year, Google releases lists summarising the most searched terms according to category. In the never ending quest for beauty and flawless skin, we are all bound to have countless questions. With the help of Dr Georgia Lee, we will be answering some of the top questions so get ready to take notes!
1. How to get rid of pimples
Dr Lee: Firstly, one has to identify the reasons causing the acne.
Top factors which cause acne:
1. Excess oil production
2. Hair follicles clogged by oil, dead skin cells, occlusive products such as makeup, using the wrong skincare or beauty items
4. Excess male hormone activity
4 factors known to aggravate acne:
1. Changing hormonal levels. Androgen levels surge during puberty in both boys and girls, causing the sebaceous glands to enlarge and produce more sebum. Likewise, hormonal changes related to pregnancy and the use of oral contraceptives can also affect sebum production.
2. Certain medications. Examples include drugs containing corticosteroids, testosterone or lithium.
3. Diet. Some studies suggest that certain dietary factors, including dairy and carbohydrate-rich foods may worsen acne.
Once the cause has been identified, then the appropriate treatment can be better instilled.
What you can do if you have an acne problem:
One can select skincare or medication that reduces sebum production, controls bacterial count, or increases cell turnover. Early intervention is important to prevent or control the degree of scarring.
Results may take about six to eight weeks, and the skin may get worse before it gets better. Acne can take many months or years before clearing up completely.
Methods of treating surface acne:
1. Retinoids and retinoid-like drugs derived from Vitamin A. This ingredient increases cellular turnover and reduces clogged pores. However, it may cause photo sensitivity and is better applied at night.
2. Antibiotics control the acne causing bacteria count and inflammation. Topical antibiotics alone aren’t recommended for prolonged usage as they may lead to drug resistance.
3. Salicylic acid and Azelaic acid. Salicylic acid may help prevent plugged hair follicles while Azelaic Acid has additional antibacterial properties.
Oral medications which can help with widespread or deeply embedded acne:
1. Antibiotics to reduce both bacterial count and inflammation are best used with topical retinoids and benzoyl peroxide. Possible side effects include gastric upset, thrush and photosensitivity.
2. Combined oral contraceptives. Possible side effects include weight gain, increase in pigmentation, migraine attacks.
3. Anti-androgen agents. The drug spironolactone works by blocking the effect of androgen hormones on the sebaceous glands. Possible side effects include breast tenderness and painful periods.
4. Isotretinoin. This is very effective for those with severe acne or those that have tried other options with poor results. Potential side effects include abnormal lipids and liver function, an increased risk of depression and suicide, and severe birth defects to babies while on the medication for a month after cessation of the oral medication.
Physical therapies which can help with acne:
1. Extraction of comedones followed by photopneumatic therapy to better clear the pores of sebum and product build-up.
2. Some lasers can help to control sebum but I prefer to use this as a means of control when weaning off oral medication or if the patient is not suitable for both topical and oral medications.
3. Radiofrequency in the right frequency can help to control deep seated lesions
DrGL® Cleanser Oil Control removes impurities and excess oil, fends off acne-causing bacteria and soothes redness, penetrates deep within for skin-revitalising benefits exfoliates without irritating the skin helps fight cell-damaging free radicals.
2. How to get rid of acne scars
Dr Lee: First, we need to differentiate between blemishes from acne and scars as I find that sometimes both are referred to interchangeably.
If it is discoloration from acne;
1. Red marks – IPL (Intense Pulse Light) and vascular lasers are usually useful help to reduce redness.
2. Pigmentation (Post inflammatory hyperpigmentation) – time, spot treatment lightening products and sun protection will help diminish the marks
If it is indeed scars (which is disruption of the skin’s architecture);
(a) Depressed scars
(i) Ice pick – resurfacing lasers are best for this. Surgical revision for the more obvious ones
(ii) Boxcar – laser resurfacing, subcision
(iii) Rolling – skin tightening for those who wants improvement without the downtime, laser resurfacing, subcision
(b) Hypertrophic scars – series of steroidal injection to flatten the scars
(c) Keloids – series of steroidal injection to flatten the scars, cryotherapy; with or without vascular lasers or IPL to reduce the intensity of the red color
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