Therapeutic Dermatologic Formula #1: The Ultimate Beauty Regimen for Acne-Prone Skin


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Hello everyone!

Being a long-time acne sufferer myself, I can fully relate to the inconvenience this common skin condition poses. As envious as I am of friends who are able to live by the simplest beauty routine (like, using just water to cleanse their faces) and yet still have perfect complexion, I know it is virtually impossible for me to do likewise and get similar results. But due to sheer laziness and the fact that I didn’t like the feeling of a pile of skincare products weighing down on my face every night, I had been depending on a single facial cleanser for years solely to keep dirt and oil from clogging my pores.

But with my recent breakouts (no thanks to the prolonged haze), I’ve come to realise that I needed to step up my game if I wanted to clear up my face. And to achieve that, I’d have to incorporate toning and moisturising into my daily beauty regimen. However, finding the right skincare products for my routine can be no easy feat, especially when I have oily skin that breaks out even with the slightest change in my regimen.

Luckily for me, I didn’t have to search high and low for a suitable product because help eventually came knocking on my door!

Thank you, Therapeutic Dermatologic Formula!

For oily and acne-prone skin

For oily and acne-prone skin

In case you haven’t heard of Therapeutic Dermatologic Formula (or TDF for short), it was first established in the USA and later Singapore in 1994. A pioneer in alpha-hydroxy acids (AHA) glycolic acid formulations, TDF’s areas of expertise include management of acne, pigmentation disorders, photo-ageing and ageing skin conditions. It is a respected name in the field of aesthetic dermatology and also a well-recognised prescriptive skincare brand among medical and aesthetic professionals.

As the saying goes, the best things in life are meant to be shared. Hence, in this first installment of a four-part skin care series, I will be sharing with you guys my day-to-day beauty regimen using TDF products. Have oily and acne-prone skin like me? This should definitely be interest to you so read on! 🙂

Let's begin by wetting our faces! (I wasn't kidding when I said I had breakouts, right?)

Let’s begin by wetting our faces! (I wasn’t kidding when I said I had breakouts, right?)

1. Cleanse

Regardless of gender, face washing is no doubt the most fundamental step in any skincare regimen, especially for night time. No matter how tired or sick I am, I would muster up my last bit of energy just to wash my face and get that squeaky clean feeling. Besides, the last thing I’d want to get during my sleep are more pimples from my contaminated pillow!

This beauty rule doesn’t just apply to people who wear makeup often as research has shown that cleansing is key to maintaining youthful looks. It does a lot more than rinsing the face with water which only removes about 65% of oil and debris from the surface. As a resident in one of the most humid cities in the world, it is also important to note that cleansing helps to unclog pores, dissolve dirt and makeup as well as to remove excess oils and prevent excess oil production in the day.

TDF AHA Facial Wash & Deep Acne Facial Wash

TDF AHA Facial Wash & Deep Acne Facial Wash

TDF has recommended 4 types of cleansers for their Oily and Acne-Prone regimen. Here, I’ve shortlisted two – the AHA Facial Wash and AHA Deep Acne Facial Wash. They are primarily catered for the same skin type, just that the former is suitable for oily and acne-prone skin (preventive) while the other is ideal for comedogenic and acne-ridden (corrective) skin. For clearer illustration, I will only be using the AHA Facial Wash in this quick guide!

TDF AHA Facial Wash

TDF AHA Facial Wash

TDF AHA Facial Wash

TDF AHA Facial Wash

The AHA Facial Wash is a 2-in-1 gel cleanser and exfoliator that combines with an acne-fighting alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) and soothing botanical and marine extracts as well as antiseptic agents to help prevent flare-ups.

TDF AHA Facial Wash

TDF AHA Facial Wash

TDF AHA Facial Wash

TDF AHA Facial Wash

TDF AHA Facial Wash

TDF AHA Facial Wash

TDF AHA Facial Wash

TDF AHA Facial Wash

TDF AHA Facial Wash

TDF AHA Facial Wash

A pellucid pale green liquid at first, it gradually works into a lather upon contact with wet skin. It gently deep-cleanses pores, removes excess oil without over-drying and clears surface impurities. After cleansing, my skin felt very refreshed and supple!

Do wash with lukewarm water as too hot a water temperature can strip your skin of essential natural moisture and healthy oils. Try not to wash your face in the shower as the high water pressure can also break capillaries and in turn aggravate your skin condition. Besides, your skin will also become dry if it stays in water for too long!

2. Tone

After cleansing comes toning, which is absolutely necessary for people with oily skin. While toners are usually optional for people with normal skin type, they actually provide the extra kick needed by oily skin to remove any little traces of makeup that the cleanser is unable to reach.

Skin toners are available in several kinds – skin fresheners (the mildest form), tonics (slightly stronger) and astringents (strongest form). Astringents are normally recommended for oily skin as they tend to be drying. However, when the skin loses oil, it goes into an overdrive to produce more to keep its moisture balance in check. In view of this fact, TDF has come up with a milder and gentler version of astringent (hence, you probably can call this a tonic instead) so that your skin remains smooth and clean after use!

TDF Mild Astringent

TDF Mild Astringent

TDF Mild Astringent

TDF Mild Astringent

Similar to what I’ve explained earlier, the Mild Astringent is a clarifying toner that removes traces of cleanser and impurities. It maintains your skin at a healthy balanced pH level (which was distorted by the cleanser earlier on) and aids in the application of serum and moisturiser products thereafter. It helps to tighten and shrink pores, making it more difficult for debris and dirt to penetrate your skin. As a result, it also controls acne and prevents blackheads.

TDF Mild Astringent

TDF Mild Astringent

TDF Mild Astringent

TDF Mild Astringent

TDF Mild Astringent

TDF Mild Astringent

TDF Mild Astringent

TDF Mild Astringent

TDF Mild Astringent

TDF Mild Astringent

You can use own fingers for this step but I personally like using cotton pads to prevent wastage (and I don’t really trust that my fingers would be entirely clean too). Unlike the cleanser, you’d only need to apply the astringent to problem areas of the skin, such as the pimples themselves to prevent dehydration on unaffected parts.

Do prevent rubbing the cotton pad back and forth or it may cause irritation to your skin. In addition, toners are meant to be dried off naturally or absorbed into the skin so there is no need for you to rinse it away after that!

3. Moisturise

Finally, moisturise your skin after the toner has dried as a wrap-up to the regimen. The moisturiser helps to retain and restore the moisture (duh!) that was robbed in the process of toning. Nevertheless, this is a step that’s often skipped by those with oily skin due to the common misconception that moisturisers would cause the skin to appear “oilier”. In fact, it’s the complete opposite! Without moisturisers to increase water content of the skin, it would actually produce excess sebum to make up for lack of hydration and then defeat the purpose of this entire routine!

To tackle the problem of having an even greasier complexion after wearing a moisturiser, you can try a light one with mattifying properties like the Ultra Light Hydrator I’m about to introduce to you!

TDF Ultra Light Hydrator

TDF Ultra Light Hydrator

TDF Ultra Light Hydrator

TDF Ultra Light Hydrator

The Ultra Light Hydrator is a must-have mattifying moisturiser for oily and combination skin types. This sheer lightweight formula hydrates the skin to restore moisture balance and regulates sebum production, keeping blackhead-bearing oil at bay. Regular use enhances your skin’s texture, firmness and clarity. Oil-free and with a non-greasy finish, it is also excellent as a makeup base.

TDF Ultra Light Hydrator

TDF Ultra Light Hydrator

TDF Ultra Light Hydrator

TDF Ultra Light Hydrator

TDF Ultra Light Hydrator

TDF Ultra Light Hydrator

TDF Ultra Light Hydrator

TDF Ultra Light Hydrator

TDF Ultra Light Hydrator

TDF Ultra Light Hydrator

TDF Ultra Light Hydrator

TDF Ultra Light Hydrator (oops, a little too much here, but this picture is for illustration purpose only!)

With just a tiny amount, massage it into your skin in an upward motion (to prevent premature sagging) and be more gentle on delicate areas around the eyes.

Once you’ve completed the above, you’re done! It’s that simple 🙂

Here’s the result after going through the 3-step beauty regimen!

After

After (you can compare this with my Moisturise selfies)

Notice the natural glow around my face? I definitely felt a lot cleaner and more refreshed after using the recommended TDF products!

Do you have similar experience with TDF? Chime in below!

Thanks for reading and do stay tuned for the next installment 🙂

All TDF products are exclusively sold at all clinics, National Healthcare Group polyclinics, SingHealth polyclinics, hospitals and public/restructured specialist centres. For more information on product availability, click here.

Therapeutic Dermatologic Formula (TDF)

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19 thoughts on “Therapeutic Dermatologic Formula #1: The Ultimate Beauty Regimen for Acne-Prone Skin

  1. Hi Fiona,

    You mentioned the 2 kinds of cleanser in your post. The AHA facial and the Deep Acne wash. One preventive and one corrective. I’m currently facing some acne issues so I should begin with the Deep Ance wash and once the condition gets better I should switch to the AHA facial wash for prevention or is it fine to just continue to use the Deep Acne wash?

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  2. Hi Joyce! Ideally, you should be using the Deep Acne Facial Wash if you’re experiencing breakout on your skin now and once your face has cleared up, you should switch to AHA Facial Wash. But do bear in mind that this regimen is only suitable for oily skin! If you’ve combination skin like me (dry on surface, oily beneath), you should stop using acne cleansers once your face has cleared up because they tend to be quite drying. I learnt from my aesthetician that it’s always good to have 2 cleansers to switch around 🙂 But I’m no expert so if you really need professional advice, you’re encouraged to consult your dermatologist 🙂

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  3. Hi Fiona!

    Thanks for getting back on this (:

    I’m not really sure if I’m combination skin actually. How do you tell? I just constantly feel that my face is oily, maybe it’s the clogged pores causing it! Sigh! So I’m really hoping this Deep Acne Cleanser helps! How long after did you use to clear up your face? If you don’t mind me asking, what is the other cleanser you’re alternating it with? The non ache cleanser.

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  4. Hi Joyce, sorry for the late reply! I was told that combi skin face would feel stretched and tight after wash. That’s exactly how I feel every time I wash my face. My face is actually dry on the surface but oily beneath. From your description your skin seems to be on the oily side on both, so I guess your skin is should be more suited for the TDF products featured here 🙂

    I alternate with my Body Shop cleanser but I’m intending to change that too!

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  5. Hi Fiona,

    Thanks for getting back at my questions haha. Feeling kinda helpless actually previously. I started using the TDF products and yes it’s getting better now.

    It’s slowly clearing up and I’m starting to feel a little tight at some areas of my face after washing. Does that mean I’m actually combination skin as well? In that case it’s recommendable to alternate the wash? How often do you alternate? Like one day TDF acne wash and the next body shop and all or two days alternate once?

    One more question is I see that TDF do have products for normal skin too, maybe I can alternate with that series? What’s your recommendations?

    Sorry I’m asking a lot of questions. Totally clueless.

    Thanks again!

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  6. Hey Joyce! Sorry for the late reply.. have been pretty tied up with my final year project. Yes you sound like you do have combination skin. Either that or the product is too drying for your skin (happens after your face clears up). You should start using normal skincare products now! Yes, TDF normal skincare range is an ideal choice since the acne range has improved your condition 🙂

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  7. Hi Fiona,

    No worries! Really appreciate you getting back to me on this! I saw your latest post on TDF products again. Was thinking to get the acne solution 8 too!

    Anyways I’ll consider buying the normal range to alternate with this deep acne wash. Do you know which one of their normal range I should be using? And how often do you alternate it?

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  8. Oops, sorry to tempt you with more products! But if it works for you, then it should be a worthwhile investment! 🙂 I don’t know about the normal range though because I was only sent products for acne and dry skin. Perhaps you wanna consult polyclinic doctors (since it’s a lot cheaper) before you buy? I switch over to normal range once I see a big improvement in my complexion, like maybe just a few small little pus-filled zits here and there. Only when I get huge headless bumps would I switch back to acne cleanser again coz those are merciless!! Hope that helps! 🙂

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  9. Hi Fiona!

    It’s really good that you’re writing about these so I have some reference to! (:

    I was just browsing through TDF brochure but it seems that they only have oily & acne prone skin OR normal to dry skin. Is combination skin considered under normal?

    I will probably do like what you did. Use the normal range till I see those big zits and I will swop to acne wash.

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  10. Hey Joyce! Sorry for the late reply once again as I was overseas! Combination skin has a mixture of all types – normal, oily and dry, whereas normal is just.. normal (the au naturale perfect skin I guess). So they are definitely not the same 🙂 Yes please feel free to follow my regimen if you’re comfortable with it!

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  11. Hey Cynthia! You can buy TDF products at Polyclinics. Actually if you were to google the TDF products, you should be able to buy them from a website too 🙂

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  12. Hi Fiona,

    I understand that I could purchase TDF products over the counter, can I check with you..

    “Perhaps you wanna consult polyclinic doctors (since it’s a lot cheaper) before you buy?”

    Does this means that I could purchase the TDF products at a subsidized price through polyclinic doctors?

    Thanks!

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  13. Pls email me it’s been a long time since i used this product and im planning to buy..

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  14. Hi Fiona
    May I ask how long have you been using the TDF product and also do you still use it? Also, please let me know how your skin is now

    I am just a bit worried about the alcohol content in the AHA toner

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  15. I’ve been using for close to a year and yes, I’m still using them! My skin has cleared up more or less but I cannot deny that I’ve also sought additional help from skin specialists (I will blog about it soon!). But I don’t trust any other brands except for TDF so yea 🙂

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  16. Hi Fiona,
    Thanks for your reply. May I ask how often do you use the AHA 8% product. I am thinking of using it once daily?

    Also, have you noticed any side effects? I am primarily concerned about the alcohol content in the product

    Thanks

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  17. I use all TDF products (except for E-rase) at least twice a day 🙂 Morning and night. No side effects so far.I think as long as you follow the proper skincare routine it shouldn’t give any problems at all.

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