Therapeutic Dermatologic Formula #2: How to Treat Oily Skin & Acne

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Hey everyone!

Despite taking special care of my complexion, my skin is bound to have a major breakout at least once every month due to hormonal shifts (ladies should know what I mean). These are unlike my usual zits as they are typically cystic which mainly occur around my cheeks, chin, jawline and hairline/scalp (mainly at places which are out of sight). They are headless bumps that hurt to the touch and because popping them is close to impossible, they take weeks to heal! They can’t be concealed with makeup entirely too since the bumps would still be very obvious especially from the side. Furthermore, they often leave awful hyperpigmentation when they subside to remind me of the painful experience. Gosh, why is it so hard being a woman?! :\

Another issue I have during my menstrual cycle is the sudden influx of oil on the skin (also the cause of my breakout mentioned earlier). My face becomes a virtual oil slick and it melts down my makeup even when I stay indoors the whole day. I don’t have the habit of carrying oil blotting sheets with me as I had read that they would only lead to more oil production. Therefore I would try to avoid being photographed although sometimes it can’t be helped.

But the condition seems to have improved quite a bit ever since I started using Therapeutic Dermatologic Formula (TDF) products for oil control and acne care last month. From the the same range as the ones I had featured previously, I feel that these products serve as a corrective to oily and acne-prone skin rather than a preventive – very suitable for people who are already battling oily skin and acne. So if you’re looking for ways to deal with the shine and the unsightly pustules (or even cysts like mine), look no further!

(from left) Acne E-Rase, AHA Oily & Acne Solution & Clay Mint Mask from Therapeutic Dermatologic Formula

(from left) Acne E-Rase, AHA Oily & Acne Solution & Clay Mint Mask from Therapeutic Dermatologic Formula

Do note that these products work best as supplements to the 3-step beauty regimen (cleanse, tone, moisturise) I wrote about in the first TDF feature and should only be used when necessary or (as advised by an aesthetician) daily until the skin gets better otherwise you may risk having your skin dried up.

1. Control

For those with severe acne, normal cleansing alone won’t be enough to rid them. Therefore you’d need this to be part of your routine:

AHA Oily & Acne Solution 8 (100ml)

AHA Oily & Acne Solution 8 (100ml)

AHA Oily & Acne Solution 8 (100ml)

AHA Oily & Acne Solution 8 (100ml)

AHA Oily & Acne Solution 8 (100ml)

AHA Oily & Acne Solution 8 (100ml)

AHA Oily & Acne Solution 8 (100ml)

AHA Oily & Acne Solution 8 (100ml)

Immediately after cleansing and drying my skin thoroughly with the Deep Acne Facial Wash (a stronger cleanser for my menstrual acne, brief review on Facebook), I applied the AHA Oily & Acne Solution 8 liberally on my face twice daily, morning and night. This formula helps to control breakouts and clear up complexion and prevent blemishes from forming by clearing clogged pores, correcting enlarged pores and removing excess oil or other lipids present on acne-prone skin. When used regularly, the skin becomes smoother and shine is kept under control.

AHA Oily & Acne Solution 8

AHA Oily & Acne Solution 8

AHA Oily & Acne Solution 8

AHA Oily & Acne Solution 8

AHA Oily & Acne Solution 8

AHA Oily & Acne Solution 8

The solution is a colourless lightweight and runny liquid (like water) that rapidly absorbs into the skin with just a few gentle pats on the face. The excess evaporates like water and does not leave a tacky feeling on the skin.

Recommended sequence:

Cleanse* (AHA Facial Wash/Deep Acne Facial Wash) → Control (AHA Oily & Acne Solution 8) → Tone* (Mild Astringent) → Moisturise* (Ultra Light Hydrator)

*Compulsory

2. Correct

Pimple treatment gel/cream is one of my must-haves for bad skin days because it dries out and flattens specific pimples fast enough before an important event. They are my emergency breakout fix. But from my years of using various acne gel, most of them work better on regular pus-filled pimples and not the cystic ones. They also generally do little to stop the development of zits that have not surfaced. Isn’t it frustrating to be able to feel an oncoming pimple and yet feel helpless about it? Well, now you can!

Acne E-Rase (20ml)

Acne E-Rase (20ml)

Acne E-Rase (20ml)

Acne E-Rase (20ml)

Acne E-Rase (20ml)

Acne E-Rase (20ml)

Acne E-Rase (20ml)

Acne E-Rase (20ml)

The Acne E-Rase is a blend of advanced deep exfoliating ingredients (Salicylic Acid, Lactic Acid) that control the most common concerns associated with acne by regulating the sebum production.

The exfoliant helps to slough off dead skin cells that clog pores which can then cause a breakout. Salicylic Acid, for instance, is both an exfoliant and an anti-inflammatory which effectively reduces inflammation and relieves pain. It’s a lot less irritating like Benzoyl Peroxide (my nemesis – gave me a terribly swollen and crusty face on both occasions that I used it) so allergy level to this product should be relatively lower for those with sensitive skin.

Therefore, besides treating existing blemishes, breakouts and blackheads, this acne treatment gel is capable of addressing future blemishes before they even appear as well without over drying the skin.

Acne E-Rase

Acne E-Rase

Acne E-Rase

Acne E-Rase

A pale-yellow light and pellucid gel, the product flows out of the tube uncontrollably when I first removed the cover so do make sure you open it with the tip faced upwards. The Acne E-Rase is to be used after cleansing and drying the skin thoroughly and should be applied on the affected acne spot twice a day (once a few minutes before makeup to allow sufficient time for it to dry, and another before bedtime for me) until they are visibly reduced.

However, because acne treatment gel tends to be drying on the skin, you have to use a moisturiser (the Ultra Light Hydrator makes a great choice!) on top of it to prevent your skin from flaking. Basically, the general skincare rule is to apply the thinner product first so that the thicker one above can “lock in” the one below. Of course, the sequence varies according to different skin types and conditions. When in doubt, consult your dermatologist!

My pimple had clearly shrunk and dried out after application!

My pimple had clearly shrunk and dried out after application! (obviously I didn’t put on any moisturizer because I was too lazy)

I was way past my menstrual period when I took these pictures so I didn’t have any cystic acne (not like I wished there were!) to demonstrate the product on, but I did have some stubborn pustules. The result was quite amazing as I could actually feel that my zit had subsided and the small oncoming ones around it had also dried out completely. They could all be concealed entirely with tinted foundation by the following day.

Recommended sequence:

Cleanse* (AHA Facial Wash/Deep Acne Facial Wash) → Control (AHA Oily & Acne Solution 8) → Tone* (Mild Astringent) → Correct (Acne E-Rase) → Moisturise* (Ultra Light Hydrator)

*COMPULSORY

3. Mask

Facial sessions are the perfect excuse for you to relax on your couch/bed and do nothing (though I still use my phone sometimes hehe eh, don’t act like you don’t) so I am always looking forward to them. Not only are face masks easy and hilariously fun to use (who hasn’t scared anybody with their face mask before?!), it also delivers noticeable results after a single use.

Clay Mint Mask (60g)

Clay Mint Mask (60g)

Clay Mint Mask (60g)

Clay Mint Mask (60g)

Clay Mint Mask (60g)

Clay Mint Mask (60g)

Clay Mint Mask (60g)

Clay Mint Mask (60g)

Clay masks are normally recommended for oily skin because of the drying and tightening nature of their natural clay substances. The Clay Mint Mask combines natural earth clays – kaolin and bentonite – for intensive pore-purging and elimination of impurities. It decongests clogged pores by drawing out dirt, excess sebum and other cellular debris. Weekly use of this mask detoxifies the skin to unveil a clearer and more refined complexion.

Clay Mint Mask

Clay Mint Mask

Clay Mint Mask

Clay Mint Mask

The greyish-green product comes out of the tube like a toothpaste but it’s rather structured in a way that it does not break off easily from it so it won’t cause as much of a mess as the AHA Oily & Acne Solution 8 or the Acne E-Rase.

After cleansing

After cleansing

The picture above was taken at night, hours after applying the AHA Oily & Acne Solution 8 and Acne E-Rase illustrated above! Can you tell that the pimples (on the forehead especially) had reduced quite substantially? Their redness were now a light-pinkish.

With Clay Mint Mask

With Clay Mint Mask

Close up

Close up

To use, apply desired amount (the thicker the better but I’m prudent when it comes to using beauty products) of mask to cleansed face and neck (skipped this area because I didn’t want to wet my body) with finger tips or brush. The mask spreads evenly and hardens completely within 2-3 minutes. Leave on for 15-20 minutes and then, rinse it off with lukewarm water and pat the skin dry with a soft towel. As the name describes, the mask gives the skin a very therapeutic minty sensation (even more shiok in an air-conditioned room!).

Prior to this, I used mainly peel-off masks because it’s less time-consuming. But subsequently I realised that they are not as absorbent as clay masks and certainly a lot messier. Some experts have advised against applying mask after shower as they feel it would be too drying for many skin types yadda yadda (well, there’s always the other side of the coin ¯\_(ツ)_/¯) but I prefer to apply nighttime beauty products on a squeaky clean face and then conveniently head to bed thereafter. Furthermore, the facial pores would also be enlarged after a hot shower so the mask would definitely be absorbed into the skin more rapidly!

Recommended sequence:

Cleanse* (AHA Facial Wash/Deep Acne Facial Wash) → Mask (Clay Mint Mask) → Control (AHA Oily & Acne Solution 8) → Tone* (Mild Astringent) → Correct (Acne E-Rase) → Moisturise* (Ultra Light Hydrator)

*COMPULSORY

Now that I have managed to keep my pimples under control, the next step is to treat the hyperpigmentation left behind by my past acne! If you are trying to get rid of your stubborn hyperpigmentation as well, stay tuned for the next installment of my TDF skincare series! I have more tips and product recommendations in store for you 🙂

Hope this guide has been useful to you and many thanks for reading! 🙂

To find out more about my beauty regimen for oily and acne-prone skin, click here for Part 1!

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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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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