How would you deal with a complexion emergency? Three dermatologists share their expertise.
Dr Ker Khor Jia, consultant dermatologist, National Skin Centre
Dr Ang Por, consultant dermatologist, Dermatology Associates
Dr Patricia Yuen, consultant dermatologist, Patricia Yuen Dermatology
SCENARIO #1: A SUDDEN PIMPLE
Dr Ker: No squeezing! Instead, I apply a topical anti-inflammatory agent such as benzoyl peroxide or a topical antibiotic such as clindamycin.
To play down how a zit looks, I use a non-comedogenic concealer that does not aggravate the blemish.
Dr Ang: The most important thing is not to pop the pimple and to use a topical acne-care product such as clindamycin and benzoyl peroxide. For persistent breakouts, I would consider oral medication and/or going for blue-light therapy to help reduce the presence of acne bacteria in the skin and treat the acne.
Dr Yuen: I use my clinic’s Skinsense Acne Spot Therapy. This vitamin C-based, non-comedogenic and fragrance-free product is formulated to help reduce the redness and swelling caused by the pimple while shrinking it and helping it dry up faster.
SCENARIO #2: WAKING UP WITH A PUFFY FACE
Dr Ker: To reduce the puffiness, I wash my face with a gentle cleanser and cold water before using a mask or putting a cold towel over the face.
Dr Ang: I apply a moisturiser to soothe the skin, stay away from the sun and heat, as well as stop using all cosmetics. If my face is itchy and puffy, I would take an antihistamine. If the puffiness does not subside in an hour or if there is any pain, itch or peeling, you should consult a doctor.
Dr Yuen: I try to do some exercise, such as swimming and going for a run. Once I get my metabolism going and work up a sweat, I notice that the puffiness disappears.
SCENARIO #3: GETTING SUNBURNED
Dr Ker: To speed up the skin recovery, I use a gentle cleanser and apply topical steroids to the affected area twice daily. I also use a fragrance-free and ceramide-infused moisturiser, which I put in the fridge so it feels more comfortable on the skin when I apply it. I will also reapply it multiple times throughout the day to soothe and hydrate the skin. I repeat this simple skincare routine until my skin recovers. But if the sunburn is extremely severe, a short course of prednisolone – a type of anti-inflammatory oral medication – may be needed to help the skin heal. This has to be prescribed. At the end the day, prevention is key – I avoid excessive sun exposure and apply an SPF50 sunscreen on all exposed areas. If I am going out into the sun, I wear a hat and appropriate clothing with ultraviolet protection factor (UPF).
Dr Ang: To soothe the pain that accompanies sunburn, I apply a generous amount of moisturiser or an aloe vera gel on the affected area. If the burn is severe, I use a topical steroid cream as well. I do not scratch or peel the skin as this can cause further damage. If the skin starts to blister, you should see a doctor.
Dr Yuen: I apply a mild steroid cream, which has to be prescribed by a doctor, on the affected area for a couple of days to calm and soothe the skin.
The original version of this story was published in The New Paper on Feb 28, 2017.