Troubleshooting problematic skin: Your guide to treating everything from acne to cellulite and more
No rash decisions here
From acne to cellulite, there are a hundred different ways your skin can let you down. Granted, there's nothing wrong with having a little dryness or a couple of stretch marks here and there (perfect skin just doesn't exist, and that's perfectly okay), but you can't deny that it's nice to feel *flawless* once in a while. Luckily, every problem has a solution, and it all starts with identifying the cause.
So, to get some answers for our skincare predicaments, we reached out to Dr Jane Frances Kwan, the aesthetic physician and owner of Dr Jane Clinic. Skincare solutions happen to be her forte, so we gave her 10 symptoms and asked her to troubleshoot them–this is what she had to say.
Excessively dry skin
Cause: Overwashing, dry and cold conditions, unbalanced skin pH, preexisting skin or health conditions
Solution: Refrain from overwashing (avoiding harsh soaps and washing too often), always apply moisturiser after cleansing and improve skin hydration by applying hydrating sheet masks to the face daily.
Cause: Overproduction of sebum as a result of dehydrated skin
Solution: Using a face cleanser with glycolic acid regularly will remove excess sebum on the skin; on top of that glycolic acid cleansers also have anti-ageing properties.
Cause: Diet, hormonal imbalance, clogged pores, bacteria, excessive oil production
Solution: The choice of treatment for acne depends on its type and severity; however, the basic steps to address this issue is to adopt the right skincare regime with a set of suitable skincare products. For example, spot treatments like benzoyl peroxide will help to get rid of acne inflammation. That said, do consult a doctor if your acne condition is beyond control.
Solution: Acne scars can be treated with in-clinic treatments like microneedling, chemical peels, subcision and laser treatments. Laser treatments by far give the most effective and satisfying result, with the Discovery Pico laser being highly recommended. Just know that different laser treatments work differently, so be sure to consult a doctor first.
Cause: Unknown, but is probably a combination of genetic and environmental factors
Solution: Always protect your skin with a good sunscreen and avoid using products that irritate your skin. In addition, there are plenty of topical and oral prescription medications available to help reduce the redness and breakouts associated with rosacea. Further, laser and light therapies work well for rosacea too.
Cause: Irritants (soaps, detergents, certain fabrics like wool), dry conditions, dry skin, stress or allergens
Solution: Firstly, identify and avoid the triggering factors. Next, remember to moisturise your skin–use a moisturising body wash and avoid hot showers or baths. If your eczema flares persist, do consult a doctor.
Cause: Overactive pigment cells and sun damage
Solution: The picosecond laser–the most advanced laser in the market–is an effective and quick treatment that targets age spots directly. Further, using a good sunscreen daily (and to reapply it every two hours) is necessary to reduce skin damage.
Cause: Blood pooling in the veins located towards the more superficial layers of the skin
Solution: Sclerotherapy or laser treatments are available in clinics. Do consult a doctor for the best choice of treatment.
Stretch marks and cellulite
Cause: Stretch marks are caused by rapid weight gain, pregnancy, plastic surgery, growth spurts, bodybuilding, steroid use; Cellulite has no identified cause but is likely the result of an interaction between the fat layers and connective tissue under the skin.
Solution: Stretch marks are indented streaks on the skin, while cellulite manifests as dimpled skin especially on the thighs, buttocks, hips and abdomen (mostly in women). There are no over-the-counter topical treatments that have been proven to reduce the appearance of stretch marks or cellulite. However, laser and light therapies, as well as injectable treatments like PRP, have shown some improvement for stretch marks. Also, heat-based therapies like ONDA have also been proven to reduce the appearance of cellulite. As always, consult a specialist for treatment.
Cause: Lack of natural exfoliation within the skin and assorted hair removal techniques.
Solution: Exfoliate regularly and (if you can) avoid removing your body hair. If you can’t, then waxing or epilating is a better option. If you must shave then do use a good quality razor. However, the best option would be to undergo laser hair removal treatments—it's a more effective, longer-term solution to removing unwanted hair, and they prevent future ingrown hairs.
This interview has been edited for clarity.
About Dr Jane Clinic
Dr Jane Clinic provides various aesthetic and skincare solutions for acne and acne scars, skin lifting and tightening, face, leg and body sculpting, hair growth and hair removal, as well as Botox and fillers, amongst others, using some of the latest technologies in the market including Discovery Pico Laser, Motus Moveo Alexandrite Laser and ONDA.