Acne 101

  • So Just What Is Acne And What Causes Acne

    Zits, acne, pimples... call them what you may, acne affects most teens and a good chunk of the adult population too. This much-maligned condition causes different types of acne to appear on the face, back or chest, but just what causes acne and how does it all work?

    Acne is a skin problem with a variety of causes.

    Several factors contribute to the appearance of acne. But, it is mainly due to hormonal disorders (puberty, premenstrual syndrome, pregnancy, etc.) that lead to an increase in the Androgen hormone that causes the body to produce more sebum (oil produced in the skin’s oil glands).

    However, there are also other factors like stress and fatigue, which can lead to an overproduction of sebum and bacterial proliferation. When sebum can no longer flow normally, pores can become clogged.

    In a nutshell, Acne is formed when Sebum can no longer flow normally; pores become clogged and form either whiteheads or blackheads. Clogged pores are a conducive environment for Bacteria to grow and this can lead to the clogged pore becoming inflamed, forming those red angry acne spots that we all dread.

  • The six stages of Acne

    • From retentional acne to inflammatory acne there are different forms of acne. It can first appear as comedones (blackheads and whiteheads), which are retentional acne. In an oxygen-deprived environment and when pores are clogged, bacteria naturally present in the skin (called P.acnes) can proliferate and create inflammatory substances which spread in the underlying layers and cause inflammatory acne.

    • Stage 1: A normal follicle

      Stage 2: Follicle With SebumExcess sebum causes follicle to be clogged with Sebum, dead skin cells & bacteria.

      Stage 3 : A WhiteheadSebum, Cells and bacteria accumulate in the follicle.

      Stage 4: A BlackheadSebum in the clogged follicle oxidizes and mixes with melanin to form the blackhead.

      Stage 5: Inflamed Pimple/AcneTrapped Sebum is ideal for a bacteria (P.Acnes) to live and multiple. Body’s immune System fights the bacteria and causes inflammation.

      Stage 6: Post-Inflammation Acne MarksIn the process of repairing skin damage caused by the inflammation, red acnemarks might appear at previously inflamed areas.

  • The five golden rules for treating Acne

    • When it comes to acne-prone skin, there's only one question on everybody's lips - how can you get rid of acne, and fast? Here are some golden rules to follow….

      1. Thoroughly cleanse the skin with a product specifically formulated for oily skin. Avoid oil based cleanser and opt for a water-based or gel cleanser.
      2. Be consistent with your anti-acne skincare routine. Use skincare products to thoroughly cleanse skin, control sebum production and correct/treat acne.
      3. Be it makeup or skincare products, look for non-comedogenic products. Non-comedogenic products are gentle on the skin and do not cause pores to be clogged, preventing acne from being formed.
      4. Protect the skin from the sun, which contrary to popular belief, is a false-friend to acne.
      5. Don't squeeze blemishes.

      Recommended Products:

      1. Cleanser: Effaclar Foaming Purifying Gel
      2. Toner: Serozinc
      3. Acne treatment: Effaclar Duo [+]
      4. Sunscreen: Anthelios XL Ultra Light Fluid

  • Get Expert Tips On Acne Prevention

    • Like the old adage goes, prevention is always better than cure. Hear some expert tips from us on how you can help prevent acne…

      1. Keep your face clean. No matter if you are suffering from Acne, it's important to wash your face at least twice daily in order to remove impurities, dead skin cells, and extra oil from your skin's surface. However, do not wash more than needed as this might actually cause more harm instead. Remember to use warm, not hot, water and a gentle facial cleanser. Using harsh cleansers can hurt the already inflamed skin and cause more irritation. Also, avoid scrubbing your skin harshly with a wash cloth, an exfoliating glove, or loofah (a coarse-textured sponge).
      2. Use an oil control moisturizer. Many acne products contain ingredients that dry the skin, so using a moisturizer is a must in your fight against Acne. Also oil control moisturizers help to control sebum production and prevent excess sebum from clogging pores and causing Acne.
      3. Use makeup sparingly. During a breakout, avoid wearing too much foundation, powder, or blush. If you do wear makeup, ensure that it is thoroughly cleansed off at the end of the day. If possible, choose oil-free cosmetics and those that are labeled as "noncomedogenic," meaning it should not cause acne. Read the ingredients list on the product label before buying.
      4. As much as possible, your face should always be a “Hands-Free” zone. Throughout the day, our hands accumulate a lot of bacteria that will spread to your face upon touching. Also, never pick or pop pimples with your fingers, as it can lead to infection and scarring.
      5. Eat “Acne-Friendly” food. Most experts agree that certain foods, like chocolate, don't cause pimples. However, avoid greasy food and junk food and instead, add more fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains to your diet. A point to note is that dairy products and foods high in processed sugar may trigger acne. Avoid these.
      6. Relax. Feel that your skin gets oilier before a big presentation? Research shows that stress can actually cause your skin to produce more sebum and lead to the formation of acne.
      7. Clean your cell phone and change your pillowcases often! Our mobile phones are perhaps the one item that we carry around most often, from the gym to the toilet, our mobile phones are exposed to a lot of bacteria and should be cleansed often. Dirty pillowcases and sheets can also contain bacteria. Try to change your pillowcase every other day and change your sheets once a week.
      8. Less is more. Avoid using a variety of products if you have acne or sensitive skin as it can irritate your skin further and cause more breakouts. Use a simple skincare routine that you can keep to and use consistently to treat your acne!

  • How to prevent and treat Acne Marks/Scars

    • Acne can be a major source of frustration. Not only are zits painful, embarrassing and downright unsightly, they also like to leave little "reminders" of the time you've spent together. Here's our quick guide on how to prevent and fade acne marks and scars, so you can feel confident and complexion-clear.

    • Post-acne marks: what are they?
      The humble pimple is a hotbed of inflammation. The skin reacts by increasing blood flow to the area, carrying "soldier" white cells to fight off bugs and repair the damage. Unfortunately, this intense reaction can persist even after the blemish itself has gone, leaving a red mark (more commonly seen on fair complexions).

      On darker complexions, the inflammation can provoke melanin production within the skin, creating a persistent brown mark. Doctors call this post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation or PIH.

      Untreated, these marks can hang around for months. Luckily, help is at hand. Effective dermocosmetics solutions are available at your local pharmacy, plus prescription options include retinoids to chemically exfoliate skin, which brings the pigmented cells to the surface. Above all, some simple tips can help keep marks and scars from forming - see our 5 Golden Don'ts below.

      Pitted scars
      Acne scarring occurs where a deep blemish has become so inflamed that enzymes have eaten away at the skin's inner building blocks, such as collagen and elastin. The skin produces scar tissue to heal the damage, but the result is a not-so-pretty pitted appearance: you might call it a crater, dermatologists call it atrophic scarring.

      Fading darks spots and scars
      When it comes to acne scars, prevention is better than cure, since getting rid of them is a lengthy and pricy business. We're talking lasers, chemical peels, microdermabrasion... The best policy is to make sure your acne-care regime is on-point so they don't form in the first place.

      Your 5 Golden Don'ts to prevent acne marks and scars:

      1. Don't pick, pop or squeeze - this amps up inflammation and spreads infection.
      2. Don't use harsh cleansers or abrasive scrubs as anything aggressive on skin will worsen the inflammation responsible for scarring and marks.
      3. Don't skimp on hydration, instead opt for an oil-free moisturizer. Hydration is essential for optimal healing.
      4. Don't shun SPF because you think it's greasy or clogs pores. UV radiation worsens the appearance of scars and dark marks so be sure to apply a mattifying, non-comedogenic sunscreen daily.
      5. Don't hesitate to consult a dermatologist for expert advice on how to tackle any acne-related issue

      Recommended Products:

      1. Acne marks treatment: Effaclar Duo [+]
      2. Acne Scars treatment: Cicaplast

  • How blackheads form and what you can do to banish them!

    • Blackheads that appear in the center of your face, often around the nose, are some of the most difficult to manage and are the ones that we dread (since they are so obvious). Read on to discover what they are and how best to treat them.

    • What are they?
      Blackheads are (annoyingly) easy to spot on the skin, they are dark in color and slightly raised. While they are a mild form of acne, blackheads can sometimes cause sufferers more psychological stress than other spots due to their obvious appearance.

      What causes blackheads?
      Blackheads are formed due to clogged hair follicles. Follicles contain hair and a sebaceous gland, which produces sebum to help keep the skin soft. However, dead skin cells and sebum can gather and form a ‘plug’, which turns a blackish color when it is oxidized (upon contact with outside air)

      Treatment Ingredients
      There are certain products that will claim to be targeted at blackheads but contain alcohol, menthol and eucalyptus. These ingredients should be avoided as they will essentially increase oil production and worsen the problem. Ingredient-wise salicylic acid is your best friend. The acid will unclog your pores and also deal with the problem of dead cell build up by promoting healthy skin-cell turnover.

      Regular exfoliation
      Another blackhead pitfall we have probably all fallen in is treating the skin as though it is dirty. Blackheads may resemble tiny specks of dirt but they are not formed because your skin in unclean, so quit scrubbing your face so hard! Scrubbing may in fact stimulate the nerve endings, which leads to a release of hormones that increase oil production.

      Armed with this information, a little patience and with the right skincare products, you will see your blackheads start to fade!

      Recommended Products:

      1. Face cleanser (to thoroughly cleanse impurities): Effaclar Foaming Purifying Gel
      2. Toner (to shrink pores): Serozinc
      3. Treatment (contains Salicylic Acid): Effaclar Duo [+]

  • What does the term non-comedogenic mean and why is it important?

    Non-comedogenic is a term that is increasingly appearing on skincare labels, usually listed alongside assurances that a product is paraben free and allergy tested. So what exactly does non-comedogenic mean, and why is it important for those with acne-prone skin?

    What it means?
    The word comedo, or plural comedones, refers to a type of imperfection/blemish that forms on the skin. These blemishes are a result of clogged pores and are considered one of the milder forms of acne that can evolve into a pimple.

    What are pores?
    Pores are simply small openings in the skin. When excess sebum (a natural skin oil) is produced it mixes with dead skin cells and can clog a pore causing a comedo.

    So what does non-comedogenic mean?
    Non-comedogenic indicates that a product has been formulated and tested to avoid clogging pores. However, it is important to note however that while these products do not claim to cure or treat acne-prone skin, they make sure the formulations won’t block your pores which can be one of the main causes of acne, making it an ideal formulation in the quest to prevent acne from occurring in the first place or aggravating it.

    Comedogenic products and acne-prone skin
    While ingredients used in cosmetics are safe, everyone’s skin is different and those with acne-prone skin sometimes need to be stricter with what they use.

  • Adult Acne 101: Why and how to treat

    • Acne is a common experience for those going through puberty. But, dermatologists are spotting a growing trend: adult acne. Patients fall into two different categories: Those who had acne in adolescence and carried the condition into adulthood, or those who experience acne for the first time as adults. The question becomes “What causes adult acne and how to treat it?” Here are some answers.

      1. Hormones: Around puberty, hormones are bouncing around, but then they even out and equilibrate. Adults, and in particular adult women, are more likely to have fluctuating levels of hormones. This may be due to menstruation, pregnancy, birth control pills, menopause and other forms of contraceptions.
      2. Genetics: Having a first-degree relative (that means mom, dad, brother, or sister) with acne is a predisposition to both adolescent acne and adult acne.
      3. Stress: Stress can affect other organs such as brain, heart, and lungs, so why not the skin? Stress can cause small amounts of a hormone called cortisol to be released and cause inflammation in the skin, sometimes in the form of acne. A few minutes of relaxation each day (be it exercise or meditation) can be the best natural acne treatment, and can go a long way for your overall health and complexion.
      4. Medications: With age comes the higher potential for diseases that require medication. Medication can certainly be the culprit for new onset adult acne. Some common medication acne triggers include testosterone, progesterone, steroids (both topically and in pill form), lithium and other mood stabilizers, phenytoin, isoniazid, vitamins B2, B6, and B12, halogens, and epidermal growth factor inhibitors (as may be used with some cancer treatments).
      5. Cosmetics: Attempts to turn back the hands of time with Anti-ageing products which are most often heavy creams and salves can lead to clogged pores. To avoid blemishes, choose light serums and lotions specifically labeled oil-free or non-comedogenic.

  • Acne in the city: why sun, stress & pollution are your new beauty enemies?

    Overstretched, sleep-deprived and multi-tasking to the max, urbanites are used to seeing tired features and a dull complexion in the mirror. But did you know that a city environment can also aggravate your acne? Here's how sun, smog and stress form a "tag-team" that's no friend to your complexion, plus some tips on how to fight back and stop city acne!

    Urban pollution particles can penetrate skin

    One of skin's major city stresses is pollution. Tiny dust particles known as PM 2.5 can squeeze through the skin's protective barrier and wreak havoc. They trigger a chain reaction that starts with oxidation of sebum at skin's surface, followed by increased oil production and hyperkeratinisation - more dead cells at the surface.

    The bottom line? Blackheads look worse and new acne can crop up.

    Everyone seems to be talking about the dangers of pollution, but what type of daily care helps skin defend itself? Anti-adhesion textures which work to stop pollution particles from sticking to skin and doing their worst are a good place to start.

    Sun exposure can worsen acne - even if you've always thought the opposite!

    UV light is another beauty enemy (yes, a sunny day can have its downside!). In fact, one myth about acne that just won't die is that sunlight is acne-prone skin's saviour. Wrong! In the very short term, a tan can make your complexion look more even, but the sun's drying effect causes skin to rebound into "oil overdrive" after your holiday. The oil combined with a thickening of skin's top layer clogs pores and prevents sebum from escaping properly.

    The bottom line? Sun modifies skin's behaviour, making it more acne-prone.

    Skin is in need of specific protection to shield it from UV rays. The first step? Broad-spectrum UV protection covering both UVA and UVB. Opt for fluid, oil-free and non-comedogenic textures.

    Stress aggravates blemish-prone complexions

    Long hours, exams or deadlines, a crazily competitive landscape... Ever noticed your complexion tends to suffer when the going gets tough? You're not alone: scientific research has proven a link between high stress levels and acne severity. (1) The truth is that doctors still haven't worked out the exact nuts and bolts of the stress effect, but it's thought to involve stress hormones which trigger the sebaceous gland to manufacture extra oil, turning skin into a breeding ground for blemishes.

    The bottom line? It's not your imagination: stress is a genuine acne trigger. When it comes to stress in the city, each person needs to find their own way of staying zen: going out with friends, hitting the gym or simply stepping away from the screen - make sure you set aside some me-time... your skin might just thank you for it!

    (1) Acta Derm Venereol. 2007;87(2):135-9. Study of psychological stress, sebum production and acne vulgaris in adolescents. Yosipovitch G, Tang M, Dawn AG, Chen M, Goh CL, Huak Y, Seng LF.

  • Fact or Fiction: Can Food Cause or Cure Your Acne?

    • There’s no question that the food we put into our bodies can have an impact on our skin. But when it comes to acne, there are plenty of misleading information and myths. So read on and learn to tell fact from fiction…

      1. Dairy can cause acne

        TRUE
        Different studies report different results, but there is some evidence that increased dairy intake can be an acne trigger. Docs don't know exactly why, but the working hypothesis is that hormones in milk may be the culprit. Try cutting down on dairy (without taking things to the extreme) and see how your skin fares. And remember, whey protein shakes are like mega-concentrated milk! Steer clear if breakouts are an issue.

      2. Chocolate causes acne

        FALSE
        Everyone is different, so if you find chocolate causes you to break out, avoid it if you can. But there's no solid evidence that chocolate has any effect on acne. Plus dark chocolate is packed with skin-loving anti-oxidants!

      3. Sweets and cakes can trigger breakout

        TRUE
        Recent studies have shown that high Glycemic Index foods - the ones that cause blood sugar to spike - can make acne worse. We know it's easier said than done, but to keep your skin happy, stick to high-fiber foods like wholegrains and pulses instead of simple sugars and white flour.

      4. Drinking lots of water will flush out acne

        FALSE
        Proper hydration is essential for good overall health and your skin is no exception, but extra trips to the water cooler are not going to clean out your pores any time soon (if only it was that simple!).

      5. Fish oils are a friend to your complexion

        TRUE
        Oily fish are rich in omega 3 fatty acids which help to fight inflammation in all of the body's systems, including our largest organ, the skin. Try to slot in a serving of salmon or tuna a couple of times a week. If you can't face fish, walnuts are a great source too.

      6. Vitamin and mineral supplements help most cases of acne

        FALSE
        The main causes of acne are essentially hormonal and not related to vitamin or mineral deficiencies. However, a balanced diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables will help provide skin with the essential nutrients it needs to heal pimples. A "rainbow on your plate" is a good rule of thumb, as colored fruit and vegetables are packed with natural anti-oxidants that help skin keep inflammation in check.

      7. Greasy foods like pizza and fries feed acne

        FALSE
        A common acne myth is that grease on your plate translates to more oil in your pores, but there is no direct link between the two. However, a diet rich in saturated fat can fuel micro-inflammation in all of the body's organs, including the skin. In short, pizza and chips won't cause acne, but moderation is the best policy for overall health.

      8. Alcohol can bring on breakouts

        FALSE
        There is no convincing evidence that alcohol has any bearing on acne. However, it is known to make facial redness worse by causing blood vessels to dilate in the skin and it's also dehydrating, so always drink in moderation.

Get Expert Tips

Hear From Dermatologist Dr. Chiam And Local Influencers
As They Answer Top Questions About Acne!

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  • Overnight Cure For Acne & Acne Marks?

    Hear from Influencer, Shine Koh, and Dermatologist Dr Chiam as they share their thoughts on whether an overnight cure for Acne exists.

Our Acne Solution

FOR OILY ACNE-PRONE SKIN

Treat Acne In 3 Simple Steps

  • CLEANSE

    • Effaclar Foaming Purifying Gel

      • 100% Of Users Feel That Skin Is Cleansed
      • Removes Excess Sebum Without Drying Skin

      Source: Blind Use Test 2 weeks – France – 246 users

      LEARN MORE
  • CONTROL

    • Serozinc

      • 73% Of Users Feel That Skin Is Less Shiny
      • 56% feel that imperfections are reduced

      * Tested on 41 caucasian subjects (including 4 men), aged between 19 and 40, with oily acne-prone and inflammation-prone skin, during 4 weeks.

      LEARN MORE
  • CORRECT

    • Effaclar Duo (+)

      • Reduces all signs of acne
      • Lightens acne marks by 42%*
      • Effective from 24 hours**

      * Efficacy analysis on 15 subjects after 2 months of applications **Cosmetoclinical study – 38 subjects

      LEARN MORE

STEP 1: CLEANSE

How It Works

Removes Excess
Oil/Sebum

EFFACLAR Foaming Purifying Gel gently purifies the skin thanks to cleansing agents selected to respect sensitive skin. It eliminates impurities and excess sebum while leaving the skin clean and fresh. 

How To Use

Foam in the hand with a little water and apply to the face, massaging gently. Rinse thoroughly.

STEP 2: CONTROL

How It Works

Used As A Toner Mist To Help Prevent Acne By Controlling Sebum Production And Tightening Pores. Also Helps To Soothe Inflamed Acne.

How To Use

Mist generously across face.
Suitable to mist over makeup too.

STEP 3: CORRECT

How It Works

Effaclar Duo (+) treatment is clinically proven to fight acne and clear even stubborn blemishes, blackheads and whiteheads. Reduces all signs of acne, lightens acne marks by 42%* and effective from 24hours**

*Efficacy analysis on 15 subjects after 2 months of application
**Cosmetoclinical study - 38 subjects

How To Use

Apply a thin layer on affected areas or over the whole face. Use in the morning or/and in the evening after toner.

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