Plant based Pimple Cream: Best Acne Products for Sensitive Skin
Our pharmacy formulates acne and pimple creams that are free of retinol/retinoid and benzoyl peroxide, suitable for all skin types including sensitive skin. In this interview with our founding dermatologist Dr. Teo Wan Lin and chief scientific officer of Dr.TWL Dermaceuticals, we reveal the science behind our best selling plant based pimple cream, the Blemish Spot Cream. Apart from drtwlderma.com, the Blemish Spot Cream is also available via our new launch Amazon USA e-store!
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Dermatologist Pro Tips for Pimple Management:
How do you stop a pimple from getting worse? Any quick fixes?
Pimples are quite nightmarish for those who suffer from it. Women with adult acne dread the menstrual flare-ups of acne. Here are a few key pimple remedies to bear in mind- and also some to avoid:
Do: use a non-irritating plant based pimple cream both for treatment and prevention such as the Blemish Spot Cream. If the pimple is draining pus, use a warm compress to gently express the pus without squeezing. The best time is right after a warm shower. If your pimple wont go away after 2 weeks or more, you may have a cyst. Acne cysts are best treated with steroid injections by your dermatologist.
Don’t: use retinoids on active pimples. This is not well known, and many purportedly are told by non-dermatologist doctors ie. beauty doctors, aesthetic doctors and beauticians that they should use retinoids on all acne. Retinoids can cause severe and worsening inflammation on active acne. Generally, dermatologists advise to use retinoids over acne-prone areas, and to avoid directly over inflamed pimples. Rather, if necessary, your dermatologist may prescribe topical steroid lotions to quickly quell inflammation. These are meant only for short term use as they can cause steroid acne.
Which cream is best for getting pimple-free clear skin?
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The key is knowing that many acne creams are initially effective, then they lose effectiveness. If you observe your acne not responding to pimple creams anymore, this could be due to a few reasons.
Acne cream contains an antibiotic
Antibiotics containing acne creams such as erythromycin or clindamycin gel have shown rapid development of bacteria with antibiotic resistance. These are prescription creams that are often effective only in the short term. These antibiotic based pimple creams rapidly lose effectiveness because skin bacteria learn to overcome the antibiotic effect. Antibiotic resistance is a serious concern also for the body. Dermatologists are aware of these concerns. Some drug manufacturers have added on benzoyl peroxide to these pimple cream formulations. This is supposedly to reduce the development of antibiotic resistance. However, benzoyl peroxide increases the risk of burning and stinging sensations, due to irritant contact dermatitis.
Acne condition is getting more severe
Topical acne treatment products such as acne antibacterial cleansers and pimple creams are important. For treatment of mild and moderate acne, they may be enough. However, many times, for moderate to severe acne, especially adult acne, effective pimple creams and cleansers are only adjuncts. This means it supports treatment together with oral medications such as oral antibiotics and isotretinoin if needed. Please consult with an accredited dermatologist if you do not get better with topical treatment alone.
Plant based Pimple Cream by Dr.TWL Pharmacy
The Blemish Spot Cream is a plant based pimple cream, consisting of active ingredients designed to target acne without skin irritation.
Comprising 34 different actives to target acne, this best selling pimple cream in our domestic Singapore market is 99.6% plant based. We formulate the Blemish Spot Cream to treat and prevent acne. Unlike traditional acne pimple creams which cause skin irritation due to irritant contact dermatitis, the blemish spot cream is formulated with effective but minimally irritating ingredients. In fact, it contains a highly tolerable form of retinol known as retinyl palmitate, which is the least likely to irritate sensitive skin with acne.
How do I get rid of acne without irritating my skin?
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Skin irritation caused by acne products is common. The reason is because the traditional acne creams all work similarly. Especially for over the counter formulations- these contain astringents such as sulfur, calamine, tea tree oil, benzoyl peroxide. Some other ingredients for acne creams can include salicylic acid, alpha hydroxy acid, lactic acid and retinols. In terms of prescription acne creams, retinoids such as tretinoin and adapalene are effective in treating comedonal acne, as well as preventing new acne from forming.
However, these cause irritant contact dermatitis. This can occur even after years after use, and does not mean the individual is allergic to it. Rather, it can be quite an unpredictable response. Generally dermatologists advise to increase the dose gradually. However this can still be a problem in sunny climates like Singapore. Retinoids cause photosensitivity, a form of sun sensitivity. This is why those on retinoids and retinol must use sunscreen in the day time.
Using a plant based pimple cream like the blemish spot cream with non-irritating, non drying active ingredients can help treat acne without irritating your skin. This is especially important for those with sensitive skin.
Impressed by the plant based blemish spot pimple cream and its list of benefits? Read on to discover more!
Plant based everything is trendy. But is it truly better for us and the environment? Naysayers even amongst the scientific community object to the idea of “clean beauty” dismissing it as a fad, pure marketing and unscientific. We are all entitled to our opinions. In part 2 of this article, since you are here at Dr.TWL Pharmacy, we just thought to ask our founder, board certified dermatologist Dr. Teo Wan Lin what she thinks.
What is the significance of the term plant based, in the world of health and beauty?
The implications of plant based products, in my opinion, are twofold. First it reduces the ecological impact- plant derivatives are always innately biodegradable. It is shortsighted to think that plastic waste and chemical runoff does not affect the individual. These actions upset the delicate ecological system- directly impacting climate, our food supply and ultimately, the contaminants get to the individual. The beauty industry is not an area immune from these impacts.
The second implication is related to the entire host of benefits that plant extracts bring to the skin microenvironment. A decade ago, plant extracts were often dismissed by the scientific community as homeopathy or alternative medicine to be viewed with suspicion. However, the rise of the cosmeceutical industry especially in Korea and China, backed by well-evidenced benefits of plant antioxidants. In fact, what many do not know is this – most drugs are chemical copies of what is originally available in nature.
In my opinion, this increasing knowledge is important for a democratic health and beauty landscape – hopefully also a self-regulating ecosystem when consumers start to choose plant based options. It is important to realise, that I am referring to the conglomerate of plant actives our team is used to working with – flower and root extracts of certain species. These are also selected to be able to interact favourably with the skin microenvironment. Specifically, regulating the microbiome, sebum production and also moisture levels. Overall, it can enhance skin resilience, a concept that relates to the ability of skin to fight off environmental damage.
Many botanicals and plant derived actives are toxic to the skin and the body – so simply equating plant based to beneficial is not a rational approach. One must also bear in mind that while not plant based, amino acids that naturally occur in the skin can also be synthesised and these have shown to improve collagen growth for example.
What were your considerations when you and the team formulated the blemish spot cream, as a plant based alternative pimple cream?
The cream has been used as the principal pimple cream in our partner dermatology clinic since 2018. Traditional topical acne creams used in dermatology practices are based on benzoyl peroxide, azelaic acid and retinoids all have one major downside- the potential to cause irritant contact dermatitis. For inflamed acne, which is the commonest reason why specialist treatment is sought with a dermatologist, this is much worse. Acne instead of getting better with pimple creams, gets angrier and triggers off surrounding redness and swelling.
As most cases seen by dermatologists are at least moderate if not severe in nature, patients are also on oral medications like antibiotics or isotretinoin. The basic requirement of a pimple cream is then actually for an anti-inflammatory effect. None of these traditional pimple creams are anti-inflammatory in nature. As a result, many dermatologists actually prescribe a short course of topical steroid lotions or creams (2-3 days at most) for application on inflamed acne bumps. In my opinion, that is not ideal. Topical steroids are non essential for acne treatment and the reason why we keep it to a short duration for treatment is because of the risk of steroid acne. Steroid induced acne happens because topical steroids change the local skin immunology – the way the skin microenvironment behaves. This is harmful for a common condition like acne – there must be more efficient ways to manage this.
In addition, many of these traditional acne creams are only usable for spot treatment. Whereas in correct acne cream application – dermatologists advocate applying over the entire acne prone area to prevent acne bumps from developing in the first place. Benzoyl peroxide has the potential to cause severe irritant contact dermatitis. With the advent of maskne, it caused even greater problems because it bleaches fabrics. Hence, the creation of the Blemish Spot Cream was an endeavour that originated from these practical concerns I had as a dermatologist.
How common is skin irritation caused by pimple creams?
Very common. In fact, depending on the percentage used, benzoyl peroxide almost always causes skin irritation over medium to long term use. This is a futile intervention in my opinion because it frustrates both the physician and the patient.
How does plant based skincare fare in terms of scientific assessment?
The realm of cosmeceuticals is growing because non-prescription topical ingredients are safe in pregnancy, breastfeeding states and also because of our growing awareness of the skin ecosystem. An ecosystem is the best way to describe the latest understanding of the skin microenvironment. This means instead of antibacterial effects- we are looking at microbiome balancing benefits. Instead of anti-wrinkle, muscle relaxing effects, we are targeting skin resilience. Skin resilience harnesses the skin’s natural healthy mechanisms to fight off free radical damage. These ultimately reduce signs of photoaging. Ageing beautifully is much more in tune with societal beauty standards now then trying to reverse aging-which afterall is a natural process.
How do you define clean beauty, does it exist?
Clean beauty has garnered a dirty reputation amongst some in the scientific community. That is rather unfortunate and must be explained this way. Clean beauty as a term in itself is a layperson invention- but the underlying concepts warrant closer examination by the scientific community. One must remain open minded whilst defending scientific principles. Any step towards reducing ecological damage is a positive step for the whole world. However, if that means increasing microbial contamination, or blatant unscientific claims- then the scientific community must make a stand. Conscious beauty is a more accurate way to define our efforts towards a greener, more efficient beauty industry.
Has maskne changed the approach to acne treatment? If so, in what way?
Yes. Maskne has changed the landscape for acne treatment in quite a radical way. Those who never suffered from acne now find themselves developing maskne. Mask wearing also is not going away soon. This increases the risk of occlusion acne. Usual acne creams such as retinoids and benzoyl peroxide have worsened irritation risks under occlusion. Botanical based acne creams are beneficial in this regard.
What makes an effective pimple cream?
An effective pimple cream must target underlying acne pathways. The deficiency in traditional formulations is that there is a single focus on “drying out” the pimple, based on an outdated understanding that acne is caused solely by excess sebum. Rather, we know now that acne is a complex condition resulting from an interplay of genetics, inflammation, the microbiome and the skin microenvironment. An effective pimple cream ideally targets all these aspects.
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