Best Pimple Cream for Acne Prevention & Treatment

anti-inflammatory pimple cream

Your search for the best pimple cream ends here! Our dermatologist led skincare pharmacy compounds prescriptive action active ingredients for effective pimple creams. This article is written in conjunction with our founder, Singapore dermatologist Dr. Teo Wan Lin. We aim to shed light on the best products for acne you can get at our online pharmacy. Learn all about the science behind our top selling pimple creams. Also, we cover how the best pimple cream can be used for both acne prevention and treatment. 

Top 5 acne products you can get at our pharmacy

1. Blemish Spot Cream – $45

Blemish Spot Pimple Cream

The best selling pimple cream at our pharmacy, the Blemish Spot Cream, combines effective plant extracts that reduce inflammation, swelling with antibacterial and oil control effects. Can be used for both acne prevention and treatment. Chlorella vulgaris inhibits acne inflammation. Argan oil lightens acne scars and reduces formation of post inflammation hyperpigmentation. 

2. Berberine Face Mask for Acne – $55

Berberine Face Mask for Acne

A pimple cream treatment delivered in the form of a face mask. The Dr.TWL Mask Bar is our in-house formulary service that custom compounds pharmaceutically active ingredients for acne, pigmentation, oil control and scars. The Berberine Acne Face Mask uses a reusable polysaccharide material as a cosmeceutical reservoir to deliver active ingredients to skin. Discover more about how berberine works here.

3. Miel Honey Cleanser – $95

Antibacterial Honey Cleanser for Acne

The best pimple care treatment includes not just effective pimple creams but also appropriate cleansers.  The Miel Honey Cleanser is the most popular cleanser in our pharmacy for acne sufferers. The reason? It effectively treats the skin microbiome. It restores the natural balance of good bacteria on acne-prone skin. This reduces acne flare ups and severity, due to Cutibacterium acnes.  It is also a non-drying cleanser that restores the natural oil regulation of skin. This means it does not dehydrate skin like usual pimple treatments. This acne cleanser is developed with Arnica Montana for reducing inflammation for all skin types, especially helpful in inflamed acne.

4. Hydrocolloid Patch – $15

Hydrocolloid Blemish Vanish Pimple Patch

The best pimple cream treatment should pair up with a hydrocolloid patch. The reason is simple. Before pimples develop, the ideal pimple cream should prevent formation of comedones. The pimple cream then soothes inflammation and reduces scarring once the pimple forms. However, what exactly is inside a pimple? Dead skin, debris, pus and dirt that forms inside the pimple needs to drain before it flattens out. Squeezing is a no. This introduces bacteria causing worsening swelling, leading to an inflamed acne bump or worse, a cyst.

Pairing your pimple cream with a hydrocolloid patch is the best way to quickly flatten angry acne bumps. Remember to allow the pimple cream to be completely absorbed before applying the hydrocolloid patch. Look for hydrocolloid patches without any active ingredients. Salicylic acid and other drying pimple patches will cause irritant contact dermatitis to inflamed pimples. This is one reason why you find after using your pimple patch, your acne gets worse instead.  

5. Oil-Control Acne Products with Anti-Inflammatory Action – $187

Anti-Inflammatory Oil Control Bundle

Oil production is linked to acne. Acne sufferers can have dry skin, but they are also producing excessive sebum over certain areas like the T-zone. This imbalance in oil production leads to worsening acne. Oily skin that causes a shiny appearance of skin is also uncomfortable in a humid tropical climate like Singapore. This is why oil control acne products are usually part of an ideal acne care regimen. Our oil control range consists of acne products with zinc oxide. Zinc oxide is not just antibacterial, it can effectively reduce oil gland activity. Use the zinc oxide loose powder over your makeup as skincare that doubles as makeup to control shine and treat oily skin. Want to up your oil control? Choose our biofunctional textile ZINCOOL mask that incorporates zinc nanoparticles that contact your skin all through the day when you are wearing the face mask.

Why do some people never seem to get acne? Lowdown on what causes acne 

Acne is predominantly genetic. This means if you do not have the genetics for acne, even with the bacteria present on your skin, you will not develop acne. This may seem unfair, but most people are actually acne prone. This is worse in a tropical climate like Singapore. With the advent of mask-wearing during the COVID-19 pandemic, even people who never got acne before suddenly became acne prone. This is another factor that influences acne development – the skin microenvironment. While skin is not a respiratory organ that needs to breathe, the concept of breathability is that there is healthy air flow over the surface of the skin. This means that the skin microenvironment, including the microbiome, can remain in balance. 

Best pimple cream? An acne prevention cream that works

anti-inflammatory pimple cream using plant extracts
Power packed dermatologist pimple cream formulated using bioactive plant extracts to quickly reduce and inhibit spot inflammation.

The Blemish Spot Cream stands out as both an acne treatment and prevention cream. Many people misunderstand that pimple creams should only be used when they have a pimple. The truth is, the best pimple cream can perform both functions of treatment and prevention. For acne treatment, the pimple cream should bring down inflammation quickly. Ideally, it should also reduce the chance of scarring by blocking melanin production. This often relates to the antioxidant ability of ingredients. Many plant extracts can effectively reduce scarring this way.

Our Berberine Mask, for example, can be effective for reducing post inflammatory hyperpigmentation in acne sufferers. For acne prevention, the best pimple cream formulation should be one that stops comedones from forming. Whiteheads and blackheads start off as microcomedones. These are invisible at the bottom most layer of the epidermis. By the time it reaches the surface of skin, that’s why you start to see whiteheads and blackheads. When these get infected with skin bacteria, this is when acne bumps occur. For a pimple cream that can prevent pimples, use a formulation that actively targets ongoing processes that cause acne. Here is a summary:

  1. Oil regulation
  2. Antibacterial activity 
  3. Anti-inflammatory properties to counteract natural genetic tendencies
  4. Microbiome stabilising with antioxidant properties

How to use an acne cream properly, according to a dermatologist

Our chief scientific officer Dr. Teo Wan Lin, also a dermatologist at TWL Specialist Skin & Laser Centre, explains. “Traditional acne creams containing benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, sulfur – these are not suited for acne prevention treatment. This is due to its potential to cause irritant contact dermatitis. Irritant contact dermatitis is very similar to chemical burns. This is not ideal as acne prevention requires usage over the entire acne prone area. Therefore, our work at Dr.TWL Dermaceuticals focuses on anti-inflammatory botanicals instead of chemical derivatives. There are also botanicals that have a caustic effect on skin, such as tea tree oil. These are what we also avoid in our acne preparations.”

This is how you should use our blemish spot cream to obtain the best results for your acne treatment

  1. Acne prevention: Cleanse skin twice a day with antibacterial Miel Honey Cleanser. Immediately after cleansing, while skin is slightly damp, apply a liberal layer of the blemish spot cream over the T-zone, as well as your usual acne prone area. For adult acne, this may be the U-zone. For maskne, this may be the O-zone.
  2. Acne bump treatment : The Blemish Spot Cream is designed to be reapplied several times a day to soothe inflammation. Reapply a liberal amount, a thick visible layer over inflamed acne bump at least 3 times a day. 

Acne prevention vs acne treatment creams

Traditionally, dermatologists separate these 2 categories. An example of a preventive acne cream is a prescription retinoid. Many over the counter retinols marketed for acne prevention work similarly. Both are recommended for use at night, to minimise the risk of developing photosensitivity. A prescription retinoid like adapalene and tretinoin acts by reducing comedone formation. Microcomedones under the surface of the skin take about 2-4 weeks to surface as whiteheads or blackheads. An effective acne prevention cream can reduce this process.

The problem with retinols and retinoids is again tolerability. It causes irritant contact dermatitis with increasing concentrations. It also can cause idiosyncratic reactions. One can tolerate the same strength of retinoid for years before suddenly becoming intolerant as one ages. That is likely due to the aging skin barrier becoming more sensitive to retinoids. This is very important because adult acne is quite common. This group of patients will require a non-drying, well-tolerated acne prevention cream.

Berbeine Acne Mask
Our pharmacy compounds the berberine acne mask for acne treatment and prevention. On a prevention basis, the benefit of berberine is that it targets multiple pathways involved in acne formation. From inflammation that causes comedones to form, to bacteria and oil production. It also works by lightening existing acne marks due to its antioxidant properties. 

Conventional pimple creams are not for acne prevention

Most pimple creams are made for acne treatment. That usually means it dries out pimples. This may be based on an outdated understanding that pimples are solely due to oily skin and bacteria. As we know now it is not true. Acne is a multifactorial disease that is primarily characterised by inflammation and microbiome imbalances. Hence, traditional active ingredients that work by drying out the skin create a problem when used outside of spot treatment. For example, for acne prevention. When applied over the entire acne prone area, there is a higher chance of irritant contact dermatitis. 

What active ingredients should not be used for acne prevention 

Problems with benzoyl peroxide as a pimple cream are due to irritant contact dermatitis. Benzoyl peroxide works by killing the bacteria present on skin. However, it is also highly irritant. Benzoyl peroxide especially in concentrations above 2.5% can cause irritation for even oily skin types when applied over a large surface area. 

How to find the best pimple cream for your acne type 

Do whiteheads, blackheads and inflamed acne bumps need to be treated differently? If you have mostly whiteheads and blackheads, dermatologists recommend prescription retinoids to reduce microcomedone formation. These creams should be applied over the entire acne prone area. In fact, applying directly over inflamed pimples usually causes inflammation and redness to get worse.

Red inflamed acne bumps and cysts are treated best by oral medications when they are more than 5-10 each time you flare up. You may require a course of prescription medication prescribed by a dermatologist. For topical cream application, using the Blemish Spot Cream can quickly reduce swelling and promote healing. At night, apply the hydrocolloid patch to help the pus drain out the next day without squeezing. 

Best strategy to treat and prevent acne, dermatologist tips

You may be hoping that the best pimple cream can do wonders for you – but is it practical? Well, depends on the severity and type of acne you have, according to dermatologist Dr. Teo Wan Lin. For those with adult acne with persistent flares over months, it is likely they do require at least a short course of treatment with standard oral antibiotics (i.e. doxycycline, erythromycin) or isotretinoin if more severe. An alternative would be blue light therapy. Pimple creams and antibacterial cleansers are also important as adjunct supportive therapy. These provide quick relief for inflammation and can significantly improve healing times and reduce scarring. 

AURORA LED Light Therapy Home Facial Device for Acne
The AURORA Home LED Facial Device delivers a therapeutic course of blue light suited for treating acne without oral antibiotics. Home delivery included with free gifts.

Summing up: 3 Pharmacy Tips for Choosing the Best All Round Pimple Cream 

1. Best pimple cream for acne prevention – how does it work?

Always use a non irritating pimple cream formula that you can apply over the entire acne prone area. Preferably in the daytime and the nighttime, depending on whether the ingredient causes sun sensitivity.

2. Best pimple cream for acne treatment – how does it work?

Many people seem to think that a magic miracle pimple cream exists. It does not. What is true is that even the best prescription pimple creams can lose effectiveness. An example are the clindamycin/erythromycin gels used to kill bacteria on the surface of the skin. “If you have used any of these before, you will quickly realise that the pimple cream works very well in the first month. Thereafter, the effectiveness fades quickly and then becomes completely ineffective. This is a true sign of bacterial resistance. In fact, infectious disease specialists generally recommend avoiding topical antibiotics for this reason- it can induce widespread bacterial resistance. This is also why clindamycin and erythromycin have been combined with benzoyl peroxide in newer formulations purportedly to reduce resistance,” Dr. Teo shares. 

Best pimple treatment – How dermatologists treat acne

So the bottom line is, if your acne is moderate to severe in nature you will actually require prescription oral medication by a dermatologist. The best pimple cream we recommend is one that is based on non-drug, botanicals with pharmaceutical properties. For example, the Blemish Spot cream. However, for mild acne you may respond to skincare alone.

Anti-Acne Discovery Kit

3. Best pimple cream to calm an angry pimple? How do I treat an angry zit? Tips on Emergency pimple treatment

When you have an angry red pimple next time- remember this. Do not pop your pimple! Understand what’s happening under your skin is a little bit like a volcano – when it is hot and angry, don’t aggravate it further! Rather, treat it to a warm compress, such as with a slightly warm cotton pad over it after cleansing. This encourages the pus to drain out. However, most pimples will not pop on their own within the first 2 days. If you try to help, you will likely end up with an angry pimple for much longer than that!

Apply the blemish spot cream liberally to reduce inflammation and scarring. Also, cover with a plain hydrocolloid patch throughout the day to protect it from bacteria and friction. Repeat at night for at least 3 days. Voila! The pimple will usually discharge itself by then. If you are facing a pimple that won’t go away after 2 weeks or if you have an important event coming up, it may be time to book an appointment with your dermatologist who can decide if an intralesional steroid injection is suitable for you.

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