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Spot squeezers, hands off, please. Zap your zits the smart way! © Corbis Images

Here’s a handy line-up of stuff to look out for if you’re battling adult acne – sort of like a skin-friendly version of Singapore’s notorious 5Cs.



Dr. David Orentreich, Clinique’s Guiding Dermatologist, says we should be positively vampiric in our response to UV rays. Here’s why; tanning thickens the outermost layer of skin (the “epidermis” in derm-speak), which can cause build-up of gunk in your follicular pores, which in turn may progress to pimple formation.

This catastrophic cascading effect can be circumvented quite simply indeed: Just use sunscreen. Take it from Joshua Wong, Senior Patient Care Pharmacist at Guardian Health & Beauty: “Remember to use a non-comedogenic sunscreen to protect the skin while doing outdoor activities as sun exposure can worsen acne.”

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To that end, I’m loving Bioré’s budget-friendly UV Perfect Face Milk, which comes amped up with sebum-absorbing powders and a very impressive SPF50 PA++++ rating. Beauty bonus: No leathery sun-cured skin!


Dr. David Orentreich also says that strenuous activities resulting in heavy perspiration causes your skin cells to swell, with the accompanying warmth bumping up the likelihood of lumps.

If you’re a Shape mag-reading, gym bag-toting sort of girl, there’s absolutely no need to revert to couch potato-ism.

Instead, go ahead and work yourself up into a sweat, then lather off. “Sweat acts as a film that combines with surface oils to trap substances in the pores, which is why it’s especially important to shower soon after an intense workout to remove this greasy film,” Dr. David Orentreich adds.

Rules for treating adult acne fast Clinique anti-blemish.pngTo calm your post-gym flush, try blanketing on Clinique’s incredibly comforting Anti-Blemish Solutions Clinical Clearing Gel; the caffeine and marine algae extracts are said to alleviate angry skin redness. See? No sweat!


Smog is essentially a slurry of airborne pollutants – think the horrid haze that’s become an annual lowlight for Singapore – with smog’s pore-clogging potential being of concern for our complexion.

“The haze may aggravate acne in some individuals,” Joshua Wong says. “If you’re exposed to the haze for a prolonged duration, be sure to wash your face with a gentle cleanser to remove any particles deposited on your skin.”

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Zero in on soap-free solvents, which are less likely to cause the skin irritation which can boil over into blemishes, and cap your cleansing to twice a day. “Aggressively treating breakouts with harsh scrubbing can result in inflammation, which can lead to an increase in the severity of breakouts,” Dr. Nadine Pernodet, Vice President of Basic Skin Research for The Estée Lauder Companies says.

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My current cleansing obsession is Curél’s Sebum Care Foaming Wash, which yields a fine foam that lifts debris without my having to exert too much elbow grease. I’m also quite partial to using a protective daytime shield like Kate Somerville’s new HydraClear Hydrating Acne Gel. The gel’s botanical broth of willow herb and marine algae mollifies aggravated skin and glides on like the most sumptuous of serums. Just fab.


The most amorphous of the four ‘S’s, I admit, but being engulfed by emotional pressure can produce pimples. Here’s Dr. Nadine Pernodet spelling out the science behind stress-induced spots: “Stress may exacerbate blemish conditions through its effect on adrenal gland hormone production, or through its effect on the immune system, which modulates the inflammatory reaction.”

Translation: Stress screws up your hormones and impairs your immune system, making your skin unfair game for spot-causing bacteria. You can help slash your stress levels by getting enough sleep, for starters. Dr Pernodet has some really neat insights: “Sleeping in a dark environment helps to synchronise the body’s natural rhythm, which in turn will help control the overproduction of sebum.”

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Try boosting your body’s defense against acne with a nightly one-two punch courtesy of Estée Lauder’s Clear Difference Advanced Blemish Serum and Clear Difference Targeted Blemish Treatment, both of which work in tandem to temper stress-induced splotches.

Personal endorsement: I absolutely adore these two superheroine salves; suss them out for yourself at your nearest Estée Lauder cabin, please!



Take it from Mr Koichi Ishida, Curél’s Global R&D Manager for Beauty Care: “Ceramide is the essential ingredient in skin as it replenishes and helps retain moisture, strengthening the skin’s resilience as a natural barrier against external irritants.” 

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When it comes to acne, ceramides have also shown great promise in zapping zits, at least according to La Roche-Posay. The French skincare specialist says that procerad, the patented ceramide in its new Effaclar Duo+ gel, helps hold the fort against both blemish formation and post-blemish brown spots. 

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Ceramides are also of course the cornerstone of one of the most cherished cosmetic brands around; do as I do and treat occasional spots with a curative capsule of Elizabeth Arden’s legendary Ceramide Capsules Daily Youth Restoring Serum. Perfect for negotiating that no woman’s land between battling post-pubertal spots and warding off post-menopausal wrinkles!

Key takeaways? Memorise the 4 ‘S’s to avoid and the 1 ‘C’ to covet – or do me a favour and bookmark this page for easy reference – and you’ll hit the spot, so to speak. Sending all of you good skin vibes!

Bioré UV Perfect Face Milk SPF50 PA++++, $15.50 for 30g, is available at all leading pharmacies, supermarkets and hypermarkets. For more information, visit www.kao.com/sg/biore and follow Bioré on Facebook.  

Clinique Anti-Blemish Solutions Clinical Clearing Gel, $35 for 15ml and $52 for 30ml, is available at all Clinique counters. For more information, visit www.clinique.com.sg and follow Clinique Singapore on Facebook.

Curél Sebum Care Foaming Wash, $19.90 for 150ml, is available at selected Guardian and Watson’s stores from mid-June 2014. For more information, visit web.kao.com/sg/curel and follow Curél Singapore on Facebook.

Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Capsules Daily Youth Restoring Serum, $70 for 30 capsules and $139 for 60 capsules, is available at all Elizabeth Arden counters. For more information, visit www.elizabetharden.com.sg and follow Elizabeth Arden Singapore on Facebook.

Estée Lauder Clear Difference Advanced Blemish Serum, $90 for 30ml and $130 for 50ml,  and Clear Difference Targeted Blemish Treatment, $54, are available at all Estée Lauder counters. For more information, visit www.esteelauder.com.sg and follow Estée Lauder Singapore on Facebook.

Kate Somerville HydraClear Hydrating Acne Gel, $105, is available at all Sephora stores. For more information, visit www.sephora.com and follow Sephora Singapore on Facebook and Twitter.

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo+, $38.90, is available at the Westgate Derma Center and all major pharmacies. For more information, visit www.laroche-posay.com and follow the brand on Facebook.