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A Doctor-Approved Beginners Guide To Treating Different Types Of Acne

Don't worry, you're not the only one embarking on an anti-acne journey.

Ah, acne — our biggest beauty woe that’s unfortunately a recurring problem no matter how old we are. Given that most of us live in a humid and stressful environment and are constantly exposed to harmful environmental pollutants, acne is something we definitely can’t avoid. Thus, it’s important to invest in the proper treatments. But, before purchasing your next anti-acne buy, you should know what sort of acne you have (yes, there are different kinds) as each require a different set of products to treat them effectively.

Dr. Lum Yang Xi of IDS Clinic shares that acne can be classified into inflammatory and anti-inflammatory acne, where each broad groups can be further subdivided. “Non-inflammatory acne include blackheads and whiteheads. Generally, these can be treated and
prevented with good skincare,” she said.

And by good skincare, she suggests looking for products that contain ingredients like tea tree oil,
clover flower and lilac extracts that can help to refine pores. However, if the acne persists, she recommends booking a facial appointment. While these are rather common, there are some severe cases where it gets really red, painful, pus-filled and huge.

Known as inflammatory acne, it which can be further broken down into multiple stages — ranging from mild to severe — known as papules, pustules, nodules and cysts. Each type is infected with different types of bacteria. Dr. Lum also advises that mild inflammatory acne can be treated as per usual with the inclusion of products that contain good antioxidants like vitamin C and probiotics to help calm the inflammation and the number of lesions. But when it comes to moderate and severe acne, she feels that using a combination of treatments with oral medications or, even some light/laser treatments are best.

Now that you’ve got the basic information, here are some products to consider.

Porcelain Intensive HA+ Hydrating Serum, $198
Probiotics Although this is known as a hydrating serum, this multi-tasking product is way more than just that. This super serum is ideal for all skin types and is made with four different complexes to treat a variety of common skin concerns. Its Anti-Acne Complex makes it suitable for those with acne-prone skin as it is made with lactobacillus ferment (a type of probiotics) that conditions skin and counteracts acne bacteria to prevent breakouts. Besides that, it’s even formulated with a Deep Moisture Complex to hydrate, an Anti-Ageing Complex to prevent cell degeneration, repair skin and reduces wrinkles and redness. Lastly, its Sensitive Complex calms and soothes. Elizabeth Arden Superstart Probiotic Cleanser Whip to Clay, $48
Probiotics This contains a probiotic complex, as well as pink and green clays to unclog pores while glycerin is added for maximum moisture. Upon application, this transforms into a mineral-rich clay texture to purify, prep and infuse skin with protective probiotics to support skin’s natural defenses, prevent breakouts and stabilise skin. Fresh Vitamin Nectar Vitamin C Glow Powder, $66
Vitamin C This powder to foam treatment is meant to be used twice weekly for an instantly brighter complexion. It comes with two separate packets — one is supercharged with 20 per cent active vitamin C to give dull skin a boost in radiance while the other is a blend of vitamin E and B5, minerals and citrus fruit extracts to gently exfoliate, soften and revitalise tired complexions. Bonus: it’s gentle enough for those with sensitive skin. Sunday Riley C.E.O. Vitamin C Rapid Flash Brightening Serum, $120, Sephora
Made with a gold standard form of vitamin C known as THD ascorbate which is both highly stable and oil-soluble, this fast-absorbing serum is said to give instant brightening results while polishing and protecting the skin. Phytosterols work to reduce the look of redness and skin sensitivity while saccharide isomerate extract treats pores and reinforces the skin’s moisture barrier. Porcelain Balance Daily Cleansing Gel, $59 (tea tree oil)
Tea Tree Oil Formulated with four different complexes, this super cleanser rids unwanted dirt and grime for a clearer complexion. Tea tree oil (found in its Anti-Acne Complex) works together with chemical exfoliants AHA and BHA to prevent breakouts and ensure skin remains spot-free. The Body Shop Tea Tree Oil, $19.90
Known as the brand’s cult classic product, this is made with a potent blend of tea tree essential oil, which is known for its powerful purifying properties. Apply it directly to the targeted areas of concern to reduce blemish and inflammations. Allies of Skin 1A All-Day Pollution Repair Mask, $139
A reformulated version that is now 50 per cent more concentrated and features a new star ingredient known as teprenone, it protects DNA and improves skin’s resilience while fading dark spots. Main image: