Acne vulgaris is a skin condition wherein the pores of your skin become blocked by oil or “sebum”, bacteria, and dead skin cells. The blockages lead to the development of blackheads, whiteheads, nodules, and other types of pimples on the face, chest, and back. These are the areas of the body where there are plenty of oil or “sebaceous” glands.

It may be caused by:

  • Genetics
  • Hormones
  • Stress
  • Humidity
  • Oily personal care products

Acne is commonly experienced by teenagers due to fluctuating hormone levels but it can occur at any age.

Is Your Acne Affecting Your Quality Of Life?

Consult our MOH-accredited dermatologist for a comprehensive evaluation and personalised treatment plan.

Dr Noor Hanif Said

Medical Director & Consultant Dermatologist

Over 20 years of experience
in medical, Surgical & aesthetic Dermatology

  • Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS, Singapore)
  • Membership of the Royal College of Physicians (MRCP, United Kingdom)
  • Fellow Of The Academy of Medicine, Singapore (FAMS, Dermatology)

Prior to starting his private practice at Mount Elizabeth Novena Specialist Centre, Dr Hanif was a dermatologist at the National Skin Centre and a Visiting Consultant with the Khoo Teck Puat Hospital Dermatology Service.

Apart from his expertise in the management of general dermatological problems such as eczema, psoriasis, hair loss and acne, he has special interests in pigmentary disorders and aesthetic dermatology.

Acne Treatment Options

The treatment of acne can include topical medications, oral medications, and other therapies such as the following:

  • Retinoids

    Retinoic acids or tretinoin are often used for moderate acne and are available as creams, lotions, and gels. These topical medications prevent the plugging of hair follicles.

  • Antibiotics

    Taken either orally or applied topically, antibiotics kill bacteria on the skin and help in reducing redness and inflammation.

  • Azelaic acid

    Produced by yeast, azelaic acid is a naturally occurring acid that has antibacterial properties. It is a topical medication option for pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers.

  • Salicylic acid

    Salicylic acid helps prevent plugged hair follicles and is available as an ingredient in facial washes and leave-on products such as creams.

  • Combined oral contraceptives

    Oral contraceptives that combine progestin and estrogen can be used as acne therapy in women who also wish to use them for contraception.

  • Dapsone

    Dapsone is available in gel form and is a recommended treatment for inflammatory acne.

  • Spironolactone

    Spironolactone, an anti-androgen drug, can be used for women if oral antibiotics aren’t working. It decreases the activity of the sebaceous glands by blocking the effect of androgen hormones.

  • Isotretinoin

    Isotretinoin is a derivative of vitamin A and is available in oral form. It may be prescribed when moderate or severe acne fails to respond to other treatments.

  • Light therapy

    Light therapy or phototherapy has been successful at times. Most will require multiple sessions for it to take effect.

  • Chemical peel

    Salicylic acid, glycolic acid, or retinoic acid are repeatedly applied to the skin to improve the appearance of the skin and treat mild acne.

  • Drainage and extraction

    Using special tools, the doctor removes whiteheads and blackheads or cysts that remain after the use of topical medications. This however might cause scarring.

  • Steroid injection

    Nodular and cystic acne can be treated by injecting a steroid drug into the lesions.

your journey to optimal skin health

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Mount Elizabeth Novena Specialist Centre 38 Irrawaddy Road, #10-36
Singapore 329563
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your journey to optimal skin health

Make An Enquiry

    your journey to optimal skin health

    Make An Enquiry

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Can certain types of food cause acne breakouts?

    Some studies suggest that dairy products can cause breakouts because of the hormones present in them. Other studies have shown that a high glycemic index diet (white bread, white rice, soft drinks, etc.) can worsen acne.

    Can I wear makeup if I have acne?

    Yes, you still can. Look for products that are labeled “non-comedogenic”, “oil-free”, “won’t clog pores” and “alcohol-free”.

    Will I stop having acne?

    For those who developed acne during puberty, this usually goes away without treatment at the end of puberty. However, acne can still persist in adulthood for some. Finding the right treatment strategy for you is key in treating acne and preventing it from coming back.