For as long as I can remember, I’ve struggled with acne issues. Most people that I meet are surprised when I tell them this. They say that my skin looks fine. I even get praised for good skin sometimes. The truth is, I’ve just been pretty good at managing my skin issues…until about 3 years ago.
My skin starting breaking out and it just didn’t stop. I don’t know why it happened or what I did wrong. All of a sudden, it seemed like the remedies that used to work for me just stopped working and my skin got progressively worse and worse. I tried so many different products, benzoyl peroxide, glycolic acid, retinol, etc, etc. You name it, I’ve probably tried it. I even went on a few rounds of antibiotics (if I remember correctly) and went to see a TCM but again, nothing worked. My skin would seem like it was clearing up but then it would worsen overnight.
Finally, one day about a year ago, I decided that I had enough of trying to fix this problem on my own and work with a doctor to try and heal my skin. It’s been a year-long journey and finally, I’m confident enough to say that my skin is now ok. It’s still not a 100%, but I’d say that it’s cleared up and improved by about 90%.
So now, I’ve decided to share what has worked for me because I realise that I’m not alone on this. I’ve had quite a lot of friends and people come up to ask me for advice on skin, especially on breakouts and acne issues. It looks like my advice works most of the time, so I think that I should be on to something here. I’ll be splitting this article into a series of weekly posts because I have so much to share! I hope that you’ll find it useful – if you’re not struggling with skin issues, please share it with someone who is. I really hope that my sharing can help in one way or another!
The first thing I did that really helped my skin improve was to diagnose properly what was wrong. I know that this seems pretty obvious but for the longest time, I didn’t know the type of acne that I was suffering from. It was only after seeing Dr YZ. Tan at Mizu Aesthetic and doing some research on my own that I found out that I probably had a combination of pityrosporum folliculitis (say what??) and acne. It’s basically fungal acne and it’s a real b*tch to treat. The acne that I had was not the typical kind that you often see. I didn’t have large bumps on the surface of the skin or under. I just had a lot of clogged pores all over my face, especially on my forehead and the sides of my face. My skin felt really bumpy and rough. Sometimes, the clogged pores would get infected and a pimple would form. If you’re wondering if you have fungal acne, here are a few tell-tale signs:
- antibiotics do not work for you (they actually make it worse)
- acne medications do not seem to work for you
- you seem to break out from everything – creams, moisturisers, toners, etc.
- you have small bumps or clogged pores all over your face
If you’d like to find out more about fungal acne, check out this article here. It is very comprehensive and has lots of information on this.
So, after seeing Dr Tan, we decided on a course of treatments for me that’d involve peels and lasers and NO antibiotics (I will cover peels, lasers and all the other treatments that I did at the doctor’s in another post). Also, to treat the fungal acne, I got a tube of Nizoral cream (image below) from the pharmacy (it’s basically anti-fungal cream) and started using it once a day at first and then I stepped it up to 2x a day. I probably used this cream for about 2 months.
While my skin didn’t clear up completely from this (because I probably had a combination of fungal acne + acne), I definitely saw improvements and my skin slowly started to look and feel more stable.
I will share about what else I did and used that helped clear my skin in the next few posts but my takeaway for you from this first post is:
1) Please see a doctor to get a diagnosis so that you can really treat the issue properly if you’ve been trying to deal with acne issues on your own but it’s just not improving. If you’d like to see Dr Tan, click here for the clinic’s contact details.
2) You might be suffering from fungal acne if you’ve tried all sorts of acne treatments and it just doesn’t seem to work for you. Again, please see a doctor to get a second opinion.
3) Finally, here are 2 tips that I got from different doctors that I’ve found particularly useful.
- Wash your face after you shower because you might be breaking out from something that you’re using such as your shampoo, conditioner, etc.
- This is a hard one, but give your skin a break and stop using foundation, cushion, bb/cc creams etc when you’re breaking out. Use loose powders instead. The doctor I got this advice from would probably not approve, but I was using the Chanel compact foundation (I figured it’s still kinda like powder, haha) and a concealer stick from Eucerin. It contains salicylic acid to treat spots at the same time. This only has 1 shade, so it might not be suitable for everyone. I only went back to using foundations and the rest after my skin cleared up.
For the next post, I will share about how I cleared my skin from the inside out. I took a lot of vitamins and supplements (I still do) and avoided some foods. Do check back to read!