Nobody wants to have a complexion that looks like pizza, but what to do if you’re being trolled by hormones, periods and stress?

Below is what we have tried in our quest for good skin: French clinic Estheclinic’s Intensive Acne Treatment that involves IPL and LED technologies, attending French skincare label La Roche-Posay’s recent Derm Class, where they launched their Effaclar range of acne-targeted skincare, and where Dr Justin Boey, the clear-skinned medical director of Sozo Aesthetic Clinic and speaker at the Derm Class, dispelled some pimply myths.

Estheclinic’s Intensive Acne Treatment

No thanks to adult acne and its subsequent scarring, our complexion colour could almost rival a ripe tomato’s.

We have relied on high-coverage foundation to conceal the redness for the longest time, until we hear of EstheClinic’s new Intensive Acne Treatment using Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) and Light-Emitting Diodes (LED) technologies.

Each treatment session aims to reduce the inflammation and redness of acne-ridden skin, and kill residual bacteria that is causing pimples to pop up. Considering that this French beauty clinic chain was founded in Paris, could we achieve the same kind of flawless, no-make-up look like a chic Parisienne?

We rock up to EstheClinic’s elegant Rochester Park branch one afternoon (they also have just-as-charming outlets at Tanjong Pagar and Joo Chiat) for the 90-min session, which is divided into two parts.

The first half of the treatment involves IPL: our friendly therapist carefully moves an IPL ‘flashgun’ over our face and neck that uses high-intensity pulses of light to stimulate collagen production and improve the appearance of acne scars. We expected some hot, painful zaps, but this is surprisingly painless and relaxing.

After the IPL sesh, our therapist leads us to another room for the second half of the show involving a cheem-sounding LED Photomodulation machine.

Simply put, this wonderful device uses non-thermal red-and-blue light pulses that kill lingering acne bacteria and stimulate your skin to start healing itself. It also soothed our cranky skin; after a short nap where we basically did nothing but lie on a treatment bed and wait to become pretty, our therapist happily encourages us to check out our new and improved complexion in the mirror.

Where our face had been red and inflamed before, our skin is now a lot more even-toned and less oily, even without a stitch of make-up. “You don’t even need foundation after this,” chirps our therapist.

Okay, our red pimple marks gradually went back to being reddish after a week or so, probably 'cos we had only gone for one session. For maximum effect, several sessions are recommended. The price of each session, from $380, ain't cheap too. But surely, it's worth it to like a fresh-faced Frenchwoman, oui?

Estheclinic’s Intensive Acne Treatment starts at $380 for a 75-min face-only session, and $450 for a 90-min face-and-neck session. For more info, go to

Confessions of a Skin Expert

Dr Justin Boey, the medical director of Sozo Aesthetic Clinic, tells us what works and what doesn’t when it comes to dealing with acne.

1. Acne charts are not legit
The intriguing online acne charts that depict the cause of your breakout based on where your spots are? According to Dr Boey, they are fake news: “It’s hard to pinpoint the cause of your acne based on its location. Usually I go through with my patients their history, like stress factors and menstrual cycle, before I can determine what caused their acne.”

2. Your pimples might not even really be pimples
What’s red, pus-filled and appear as swollen bumps on your face? Not always pimples, says Dr Boey. “Sometimes it’s rosacea [a pretty common skin condition that causes redness and spots on your face].” So before you plaster your face with counterproductive acne cream, go to a dermatologist to determine that you’re in fact not suffering from rosacea.

3. It’s not always your make-up that’s giving you acne
While Dr Boey recommends using non-comedogenic make-up products to avoid breakouts, it’s really how you remove your war paint that makes a difference. He shares, “If you don’t wash off your make-up properly, it can cause pimples. Usually I recommend a good oil cleanser, Vitamin A skincare to reduce oil production and an exfoliating facial once a month [for acne-prone skin].”

4. Extra exfoliating doesn’t mean your skin is extra clean
Exfoliating aggressively can injure your skin, cause inflammation and worsen your acne, so use your facial scrub sparingly.

5. Greasy food does not really give you acne
While Dr Boey acknowledges that “certain dairy and oily food products can cause acne”, he explains that the main causes of acne are “stress, hormones and genetics”. He adds, “Genetics also play a role in the type of acne scarring you have. Some people get brown or red marks, or depressed scars. I always recommend treating scars early, as they can be difficult and expensive to treat [over time].”

View Next

View Next