Q: Does acne affect Asians and Caucasians the same way?
The presentation of acne in Asians and Caucasian are very similar. But the risk of scarring, especially hyperpigmentation, is significantly higher in Asian skin. It is because Asian skin produces more melanin than Caucasian skin types. Hyperpigmentation is genetic and it is also the reason why Asians are more prone to dark spots and hyperpigmentation from sun exposure.
Because of the risk of pigmentation, Asians need effective treatments to prevent scarring and pigmentation. It is very difficult to treat scars and pigmentation. Although there are some ways of removing them such as peels and laser, they are usually very expensive and are never completely efficient. It is more efficient to treat acne rather than treating the scars and pigmentation that acne leave behind. And the best way to avoid scarring is to treat acne at the very beginning, because pigmentation can appear very quickly after a few weeks.
Additionally, Asian skin is typically more sensitive compared to Caucasian skin. Many acne treatments can be harsh on the skin so it is important for Asians to use treatments which are effective yet gentle on the skin.
Q: Why is it important to treat acne early?
The key problem does not lie in treating acne because there are efficient products available out there. But rather, the real problem lies in educating people on the need to treat acne from the very beginning.
Some recent studies show that only 50 per cent of acne patients go to a doctor for their acne problems. And very often they wait more than one year before going for their first consultation. It is a huge waste time. Not treating acne from the beginning is one of the main reasons why scarring and hyperpigmentation from acne may occur. The psychological impact of acne and hyperpigmentation is now very well known. So, it is a pity to delay treatment and be at risk for scarring, when there are efficient treatments available.
Q: How to achieve clear skin?
Acne-free skin can be achieved through proper treatment and maintenance. To achieve long-term results, combining acne treatment together with an acne maintenance care regime is more effective than using only "quick fix" treatments to prevent recurrence.
Mild acne need at least 2 to 3 months for treatment while moderate to severe acne need a minimum of 6 to 12 months. After this initial treatment, most dermatologists believe that acne-prone skin should continue on a maintenance therapy.
Answers provided by Dr Henry Pawin, a dermatologist. He is a member of the Group Expert Acne, a group of eight French dermatologists. Dr Pawin was in Singapore recently to share about Papulex, a new range of acne maintenance products that have been clinically demonstrated to be effective in managing mild to moderate forms of acne.