Azelaic Acid and Tretinoin Cream: OK to Use Together?

You must have heard these two skincare actives: azelaic acid and tretinoin. But do you understand what these two activities are about? And what are their benefits for the skin? Some actives can be too harsh on the skin used alone, let alone used together in the same routine.Therefore, what can possibly happen to your skin if you use it together in your skincare routine? In my previous post, I talked about my experience with tretinoin and how it helped with my acne. Let’s learn more about azelaic acid and tretinoin cream, and the use in skincare.

What is Azelaic Acid and Tretinoin?

Azelaic acid is a naturally occurring chemical in the skin. According to research papers, Malassezia furfur, a type of fungus normally found on human skin, produces azelaic acid. Azelaic acid has an anti-inflammatory effect and it also is effective against acne by stopping the growth of acne-causing bacteria (P.acne). Other than being anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial, an added bonus is its effect on pigmentation. It helps to reduce hyperpigmentation and therefore can be used to treat melasma as well as to even out skin tone for acne prone skin. Azelaic acid is also exfoliating, it promotes faster skin cell turnover.

Tretinoin is another skincare active that is popular as acne treatment as well as anti-aging solution. It is basically Vitamin A that you can apply topically on the skin. Tretinoin promotes cell turnover, helps to unclog pores hence prevent acne, and also boosts collagen production. 

Mixing Azelaic Acid with Tretinoin

Seeing those benefits laid out above, you might think that it’s a good idea to mix azelaic acid and tretinoin together. Both azelaic acid and tretinoin help with acne in different ways. So you will think using both will enhance the benefits for acne even more, right?

You might be right. However, you should do this with precaution. Both azelaic acid and tretinoin cream will increase the cell turnover of the skin. Therefore, a side effect of using both together in the same routine might be dryness, flakey skin or irritated skin. Simply put, both azelaic acid and tretinoin cream when used together can cause over exfoliation that leads to skin irritation. However, for skin that is already well accustomed to these actives, you may not face this irritation anymore. But please be careful when you start incorporating these actives in your routine, start slowly.

How to Use Azelaic Acid and Tretinoin Cream in Skincare Routine?

I am currently trying to use both actives in my skincare routine and let me tell you what works for me. Rather than using azelaic acid and tretinoin cream in the same routine (for e.g. night routine), I split the use of each in the morning and at night. 

In the morning, I use my hydrating toner, then Vitamin C serum before putting on Azelaic Acid. After that I put on moisturizer and lastly, sunscreen. It is important to always put sunscreen (and ample amount of them) on your skin if you use exfoliants in your skincare routine. In my case, I use azelaic acid and tretinoin cream in my routine, so sunscreen SPF 50 is imperative. 

At night, I use the same hydrating toner, hydrating serum, followed by thicker night time moisturizer. And then I carefully slug under eye areas, creases near the nose and corners of my mouth using Vaseline. Then I put my tretinoin cream on my skin. 

azelaic acid and tretinoin cream

Should You Use Azelaic Acid and Tretinoin Cream Together?

In summary, azelaic acid and tretinoin can be used together in your skincare routine. If your skin is not too sensitive and can handle it, you can layer the two in the same routine. However, if you are worried of over exfoliation or overly dry skin, you can use azelaic acid in the morning routine and tretinoin at night. The result that I have from using both actives has been incredible. My skin is so soft and supple, and you can really see the glow. And people actually commented that my skin looks very nice and healthy.

tretinoin before and after_january 2023

Tretinoin Before and After: Own Experience

There are so many questions from everyone about tretinoin and the benefits it has on the skin. People widely associate tretinoin as vitamin A for the skin. There are so many names for this chemical, you might also have heard the name Retin-A. They are basically the same thing. Actually, Retin-A is a brand of a tretinoin that somehow got associated with the chemical substance itself. However, now you know that when someone refers to Retin-A, they are actually referring to tretinoin. 

Tretinoin effect on the skin

Why do people use tretinoin? People use this chemical because of the benefits that it gives to the skin. It helps to increase the rate of cell turnover on the skin, also it can help to improve the overall texture and chemistry of the skin, and regulate the oil glands. Other than these benefits, it can also stimulate the production of collagen, hence it helps with wrinkles. Many people got to know about this chemical substance because of the acne problem. And then they realise after that the benefits from tretinoin is not only clearing their acne, but also helping to keep their skin young. 

Personally, I started my journey on tretinoin because of my acne concerns. I wrote a lot about pimples and acne in this blog as well, due to my struggle with them.

Tretinoin ideal candidate

As mentioned earlier, if you have acne and you want to clear your skin, tretinoin is one of the best options out there for your skin. However, some people with more sensitive skin might get irritated by tretinoin. Don’t fret, there is an alternative to tretinoin that is as good as tretinoin but less irritating i.e. adapalene (popular brand for this is Differin).

Another group of people who are interested in tretinoin are those looking for anti-aging skincare products. There are many scientific and clinical proofs that tretinoin does help to reverse ageing or at least preserve your skin’s youthfulness. There are so many people out there who are living proof of tretinoin’s effectiveness as an anti-aging skincare product.

Skin improvements from tretinoin

I started using tretinoin because my dermatologist prescribed me one (I need to thank her!). Back in October 2021, I had maskne around my nose and mouth area. I used tretinoin for 4-5 months but I was not consistent, because my skin was peeling so badly back then. I did see a huge improvement in my skin texture and how clear and soft my skin has become though. However, starting March 2022, I made a point to do it consistently after seeing so many women in their senior years having very good skin thanks to tretinoin.

tretinoin before and after_oct 2021

This is my skin in October 2021. Many spots and clogged pores around the mask area especially. Texture of the skin was also not smooth.

A few months after, my acne became much more under control. I was still struggling with the dryness and flakey skin. But I just focused on moisturising my skin more. You can see that my skin is dry in the photo below and there are some flakey area. 

tretinoin before and after_march 2022

This is my skin in January 2023 (see photo below). I’ve been using tretinoin for more than 1 year at this point. With consistent fortnightly use of tretinoin, now my skin has tolerated it better and it does not flake as badly as before. And starting a few weeks ago, I just started to amp up the frequency of my tretinoin from every other night to every night. And if you see some redness there, I did have mini purging in the past few weeks due to the increased tretinoin frequency.

tretinoin before and after_january 2023
tretinoin before and after_january 2023_2

Am I satisfied with the result from tretinoin?

Yes, I am satisfied with my tretinoin before and after. It was a journey and I did not expect instant results. You need to be patient with tretinoin. The more you are impatient with it and put too much, it will backfire on you.

Tretinoin, based on a lot of scientific studies, can change the chemistry of your skin and I can see how my skin improves so far. The frequency of acne/pimple has reduced so much. I don’t get cystic acne anymore except 1 or 2 in the past year. My skin texture due to acne scar has improved as well. I can get glowing skin when I moisturise my skin well now that my texture has improved. This is something that I couldn’t achieve before. Overall, I feel more confident in my own skin and I only wear SPF (and not foundation) when I go out now. I am excited to see how my skin will further improve from here.

close up shot of a clay sculpture

Vaginal Rejuvenation Laser: Should You Do It?

Vaginal health and condition is very important for not only females themselves, but for their sexual partners as well. As women age and give birth, the vaginal muscle and lining will naturally change. They will sag more and the vagina itself may become less tight. Is there any way to fix this? Previously we have covered the topic of laser treatment for acne and also AFT hair removal. Now we will talk about vaginal rejuvenation laser, which is one of the ways to rejuvenate your vagina.

vaginal rejuvenation laser

What is vaginal rejuvenation laser?

It is a procedure to promote new production of collagen by emitting heat on the skin layer responsible for this production. The end result is tighter vaginal canal as well as more moisture production on the canal. Nearing or during menopause, women often experience vaginal dryness and this procedure can help alleviate this symptom. With more moisture on the canal and a tighter canal, both women and men can experience more pleasure during sex.

How much does vaginal rejuvenation cost?

In Singapore, vaginal rejuvenation cost can be as expensive as S$5000 and above. However, if we talk about cost, it is hard to come up with a very accurate number. This is subject to every individual’s condition and the experience of the clinic in doing this treatment. The number of vaginal rejuvenation laser treatments may vary depending on the condition of the individual as well. So please find a reputable clinic and do a consultation with the professionals.

vaginal rejuvenation laser_happy woman

Who will benefit from this laser and should you do it?

Anyone who experience vaginal dryness whether it is due to menopause or if naturally you have less vaginal moisture production in the canal. There are another type of vaginal rejuvenation laser that focuses on the outer appearance of the vagina. For that one, anyone with discomfort due to the physical appearance of the labia can also opt to improve the outer appearance of the vagina.

If you are a good candidate for this procedure and think that you can improve your quality of life by doing this, go for it. Sexual life is important and also your emotional health is important too. If you are not happy with your sexual life and how your vagina looks, you can take steps to improve the situation. Check with the professionals who run the clinic about your suitability, side effects and also the costs, before you decide to do this treatment!

person blue eyes photography

Castor Oil for Under Eye Wrinkles

Castor oil is a natural skincare that our ancestors use to maintain youthful and beautiful skin. Previously we have covered the topic of castor oil for acne scars, and now we will talk about castor oil for under eye wrinkles (and other wrinkles!). Have you ever wondered whether castor oil works for under eye wrinkles? Read more about this!

castor oil for under eye wrinkles_under eye wrinkles

What caused under eye wrinkles?

Wrinkles happen when our skin lost its elasticity and also collagen level. As we age, our skin also tends to be drier. With the drier skin and lost elasticity, the skin sags and wrinkles more easily. 

Signs of aging are often obvious from eye wrinkles, be it under eye wrinkles or crow feet. The under eye area has thinner skin and when we age, the skin becomes thinner and has less collagen. This is when the under eye wrinkles start to appear. This process can happen faster if you smoke, never wear SPF around the eye, have a very expressive eye movement in your daily life and if you carry certain genetic traits. 

Castor oil for under eye wrinkles

Given that castor oil has hydrating and moisturizing properties, applying castor oil on the under eye area can hydrate and moisturize the under eye. This will help to slow down the appearance of under eye wrinkles. Castor oil also has ricinoleic acid that helps to stimulate elastin and collagen production. Hence, it can help to maintain youthful under eye area when applied consistently.

Be mindful that castor oil may irritate the eye for some people, and many sources advise to avoid letting castor oil getting into the eye. However, there are people who use castor oil on the eye area without irritation. 

If you have applied castor oil on small patch of your eye area and have no irritation, you can be more carefree in your application of castor oil. Some people apply castor oil on the eye lid and under eye area and massage the oil with eyes closed. This can help with the blood circulation around the eye area and help the skin to absorb the oil. The castor oil can help to hydrate and moisturize not only the under eye area but also the corners of the eyes where crow feet may appear. Doing this can concurrently promote the growth of your eye lashes (which is a bonus!).

castor oil for under eye wrinkles_application

Is castor oil good for under eye wrinkles?

From my research, castor oil is good to prevent under eye wrinkles. However, the extent to which it helps with existing under eye wrinkles might depend on how deep or extensive the wrinkles are. It can definitely help with fine lines under the eye. However if you have deep under eye wrinkles, castor oil might benefit you to a smaller extent. For deeper or more extensive wrinkles, you may need to check with your beautician for other treatment options (like botox). 

Prevention is always better than treatment. If you are in your 30s or entering your 30s, start preventing under eye wrinkles! Hydrate and moisturize your under eye area and also wear sunscreen around the eye. If normal sunscreen irritates your eyes, try gentler sunscreen for babies for your eye area. Also, adopt healthier, age-defying lifestyle that will help you to maintain your youthful look. Also, eat a lot of antioxidant food to fight the aging process.

I am inspired to write this post after I watched a Youtuber named  Jennifer Myers who has been using castor oil consistently for more than 6 years. She has beautiful, thick eyelashes besides wrinkle-free under eye area. Check her out here! 

Castor Oil for Acne Scars: Is it Effective?

Castor oil is broadly used since the ancient time for beauty due to its moisturizing property. Despite the popularity of castor oil as part of ancient beauty regime, many millennials or gen-Z do not know about castor oil and its benefits for skin health, particularly for acne and acne scars. Previously we have talked about other ways to get rid of acne scars: laser acne scar removal and also how to get rid of acne scars on back. This article will delve into the use of castor oil for acne scars.

castor oil for acne scars_oil bottle

Castor oil and acne scars

If castor oil is good for acne scars, how does it help with the scars? You need to learn more about the different properties of castor oil below.

Hydrating and moisturizing the skin

Castor oil is rich in fatty acids. Castor oil contains triglycerides, which is the main component of our skin’s natural oil. Its main fatty acid is hydroxy fatty acid, which gives castor oil its emollient properties. Emollient property is the same as occlusive property. This occlusive property helps to seal the hydration in the skin from escaping. Hence, it helps to maintain the moisture level of the skin. When people talk about castor oil’s moisturizing property, this is the reason why castor oil moisturizes the skin. 

Castor oil is also a humectant, which means it attracts water. Therefore it can help to hydrate the skin upon application. The hydrating and moisturizing properties of castor oil helps with skin healing. When there is acne scar after the infection, the many layers of affected skin area need to heal completely so that the scar can improve. This is how castor oil helps with acne scar. 

Anti-microbial and anti-virus

The specific name for castor oil’s fatty acid chains is ricinoleic acid, an unsaturated omega-9 that occurs in mature castor oil plants. Ricinoleic acid protects the skin against harmful bacteria and viruses. Therefore, it helps with preventing acne as well. According to research, castor oil is also low in comedogenic score (1 out of 6), which means very low likelihood of clogging the pores. The last thing you want to have when you are trying to heal your acne scar is the occurrence of new acne.

Promotes elastin & collagen production

Other than that, ricinoleic acid in castor oil also stimulates elastin and collagen production. Elastin and collagen production helps with skin healing as well as diminishes signs of aging. Because of this, castor oil helps with the healing of acne and improvement of acne scar. If you are interested in anti-aging topic, we also write about age-defying lifestyle and habits that you can start adopting!

How to use castor oil for acne scars

castor oil for acne scars_how to use

Given its humectant and moisturizing properties, you should use castor oil on damp skin, after you put your hydrating toner. Similar to other humectants in your skincare (e.g. hyaluronic acid), it will give your skin more benefits when applied on damp skin. Castor oil will lock the hydration and moisture on the skin. Hydrated and moisturized skin can heal faster, so your acne scars can improve faster as well. 

Other than that, be mindful not to use castor oil too often if you are in a very dry climate. When you apply products like castor oil that are humectants on the skin, they will draw the moisture from deeper layers of the skin. In dry climate, this will cause your skin to be drier rather than hydrated/moisturized. 

Castor oil has a very thick texture. When you apply castor oil on your acne scar, put thin layer and massage the oil on the area. Massaging the area will also help with the blood circulation, which will promote faster healing of the skin. Do not apply too thick of a layer of castor oil, as it will not make your acne scar heal faster. Focus on applying the oil consistently, rather than applying a large quantity of it. 

Is castor oil good for acne scars?

Yes, castor oil is good for acne scars. However, always test putting castor oil on a small patch of your skin. This is because every skin is built differently. Despite all the benefits of castor oil for skin, some people might have allergic reaction or react badly to castor oil. 

There are different types of acne scars. Castor oil might help a lot with fresh acne scars or acne scars that cause changes in skin texture. However, for flat, hyperpigmented acne scars, castor oil might help to a limited extent. Instead of castor oil, you can try to brighten the hyperpigmentation and even the skin tone using Vitamin C. I have done a review on Vitamin C serum for acne and acne scars which you can read here.

Chemical Peel for Back Acne (and Scars)

Back acne can affect your confidence, especially when you want to bare your back. It can be when you are going to the beach and want to wear your bikini, or if you want to attend an event and wear a backless dress. Whatever it is, back acne can happen to anyone and you need to learn how to manage it. We have covered the topic of back facial for back acne and whether that works, so make sure to check it out. Now we will cover the topic of chemical peel for back acne and whether that works!

chemical peel for back acne_backless dress

Chemical peel for back acne

A lot of beauty centers offer chemical peel for back acne. Have you ever felt tempted to try this hoping that it will stop your back acne from occurring? How does chemical peel for back acne work? 

Chemical peel for any kind of acne is normally using the typical acids that are good for skin. It can be lactic acid (AHA) or salicylic acid (BHA) in higher concentration than what you find in normal skincare products. Therefore, it needs to be administered by professionals in beauty centers. Moreover, the application is only for a short period of time (several minutes). This is in contrast to the home application of these acids via skincare products that you can leave overnight on your skin. 

It does help with acne including back acne as it will remove the dead skin layer and help to surface the younger, newer skin underneath. If you have clogged pores due to dead skin cells which lead to acne on your back, chemical peel can also help to mitigate the issue. The chemical peel will help to reduce the occurrence of blackheads and whiteheads too. Since blackheads and whiteheads can lead to acne, this will improve acne condition.

However, having said that, you will still need to take care of your back acne. Take precautions like wear a breathable fabric and maintain your hygiene well. Please follow all the best practices to keep your back clear from acne, as what we mentioned in our article on Sweat/Back Pimples. 

Is it effective to get rid of back acne scars?

Chemical peels cannot get rid of deep acne scars on the skin unfortunately. It will not help with the texture of the skin significantly. However, what chemical peels can do for you is to lighten hyperpigmentation. A lot of people with back acne scars see darkened back acne scars which can take a long time to recover. Chemical peel for back acne scars can help fasten the recovery process of this hyperpigmentation.

What will happen after chemical peel?

As the name of the treatment suggests, the chemical peel treatment will peel the skin. It may not happen immediately after your do the treatment, but this can happen a few days after. What you can see visually is your skin flaking away. When that happens, do not pick your skin. Let it flake at its own pace. You can also refrain from going out when this happens because you might see a lot of skin flakes from your back.

With the newer skin coming to the surface, your skin will be more sensitive to the UV ray as well. Avoid the sun for a while, or apply a generous amount of sunscreen to protect your skin during this time. This is especially so if you are treating your back acne scars using chemical peel as well. The increased photosensitivity due to the chemical peel might increase the hyperpigmentation of your back acne scars if you do not protect your back properly.

Should you do chemical peel for back acne?

Chemical peel can really help your back acne and your back acne scars if you have them. However, there are some precautions you will need to take note of before you embark on the chemical peel journey.

Understand your acne type

If you have back acne where it is only surface level and most likely caused by clogged pores or blackheads/whiteheads that are infected, yes chemical peel for back acne can help. However, there are different types of back acne. One of them is cystic acne on the back, which can be caused by inflammation/infection deep in the body system. I would suggest you to find the root cause of this cystic acne, which can be reaction to a certain food ingredient, hormonal imbalance, to mention a few. Personally, I tamed down my back acne a couple of years ago by taking Zinc supplement. Zinc supplement is very good for the skin when taken in moderate amount. A lot of acne sufferers have lower zinc level in their body compared to people with clear skin. Read up more about Zinc supplement for acne in my other post.

Sun protection post chemical peel is necessary

chemical peel for back acne_sunscreen

Also, be mindful of sun protection post chemical peel. If you cannot limit your sun exposure post chemical peel for some reason, perhaps wait until you can protect your skin from the sun before you do this procedure. Chemical peels are not cheap and you would want to get the most benefit out of it. You do not want to get acne-free skin in the expense of getting pigmentation or hyperpigmentation. 

Cheaper alternative to chemical peel at home

As mentioned, acids used in chemical peels are mainly lactic acid and salicylic acid in high concentration. If you cannot afford professionally-administered chemical peels, you can start by doing it at home by buying skincare products containing lactic acid or salicylic acid. You can try with lower concentration before working your way up. If you can be consistent in doing it every night, you might get as good result from chemical peels at beauty center, at a fraction of the price. The caveat is, you need to do it consistently and perhaps over a longer period of time. 

Infected Pimple on Face & How to Treat

It can be annoying enough to have one pimple on your face. Not to mention if the pimple gets infected, becomes red and swollen. Have you ever experienced this? Not only that it is painful, you might not want to look at the mirror, let alone meet people. I have experienced bad infected pimples on temples and forehead before and it was frustrating. If you can relate to this, read more about infected pimple on face and how to treat infected pimple.

Infected pimple on face

infected pimple on face

How can you get an infected pimple on face? First of all, infected pimples can have many looks and there are many possible reasons for the infection.

Infected pimple can be one single pimple that starts as clogged pores and gets infected. Upon infection, it becomes inflamed and swollen with pus inside it. This can happen when you try to squeeze the clogged pores, but the action irritates the pores or damages the skin around it which then gets infected. Or sometimes this kind of clogged pores just suddenly become inflamed and infected. If your body is prone to inflammation, this can happen.

Or you might be referring to a pimple that gets infected when you try to squeeze it. And shortly after you might see the surrounding clogged pores become infected as well. The infected pimple creates a cluster of red, swollen pimples. 

How to treat

Do not try to squeeze the pimple until it shows the yellow head. Once the yellow head shows up, you can squeeze it gently to get the pus and blood out. After that normally I will cover the pimple with an acne patch. Acne patch is my best friend in sucking out the excess liquid/pus that I could not squeeze out. Acne patch will also help to cover the wound, so that you will not touch the wound and infect it again. This way the wound can recover faster. 

If you have a cluster of infected pimples, be gentle even if you want to squeeze any of them or all of them. You can choose to cover them as well with an acne patch. Or, you can choose to treat them with antibacterial spot treatment or cream of your choice. Many people benefit from using benzoyl peroxide. Some can use a more natural remedy like tea tree oil. Or if you get antibiotic cream from your dermatologist to apply on infected pimples, you can apply that too. 

If you have pimple cream that has a strong active ingredient, be mindful to just use it for spot treatment on the pimple. Do not put it all over your skin. This is because some creams can dry the skin. For me, benzoyl peroxide at any percentage will dry my skin so badly that it will flake the next day. You do not want to irritate your skin further.

How to reduce swelling on face from infected pimple

If your infected pimple is swollen, you can use ice compress to calm down the inflammation and reduce the swelling. 

However if the swelling has been happening for sometime and there is liquid build up under the skin, you might want to fasten the healing process by bringing the pimple to its head. You can do it by compressing the infected pimple using warm cloth/towel. Do not press your infected pimple in the process, but gently compress the pimple area. This can help with the blood circulation around the area, which will fasten the healing process.

Healing from infected pimple

confidence in skin

The most important thing to remember about dealing with infected pimples is to be gentle with yourself and your skin. You need to be patient when your body is going through an infection. You might feel pain in the area where you have infected pimples. If the infection spreads to many parts of your face or your body, you will need to seek professional help. This might require oral antibiotics from the doctor at the hospital. Simple treatment at home will not help. 

Not only that infected pimple feels painful physically, it might also affect your self esteem and confidence level. If this happens to you, this is normal and you are not alone. Just focus on recovering from the infection first, and then you can focus on your looks later on. There are many ways to look good again after you experience infected pimples – be it skincare or even beauty treatments! 

Learn more about pimples with Skin-pedia!

Fungal Acne Korean Products Recommendations

Fungal acne is a type of acne that often affects us, especially those in humid and hot countries. The characteristic of fungal acne is itchy and appearing as clusters of small red bumps. It often appears as spots on your forehead and chin, and the sides of your face. Other than the face area, it can also appear as spots on your chest, back, neck and arms. Normal acne products often do not work on this type of fungal acne. Having said that, there are a lot of skincare products targeting fungal acne. However, the focus of this post is fungal acne Korean products. Previously we have talked about skincare products like best exfoliators for acne and best Paula’s choice products for acne. Let’s find out what Korean skincare products you can use for your fungal acne.

fungal acne korean products_skincare bottles

Fungal acne Korean products in the market

There are many fungal acne Korean products out there. However, how do you know what Korean products are safe for your fungal acne and will not aggravate your fungal acne?

The first general role is, avoid products that contain polysorbate as surfactant. Malessezia (the common fungus causing fungal acne) loves this ingredient and can thrive with this ingredient.

Secondly, do not use oil-based products for a while. If a product contains a bit of oil (not as the main ingredient), it is still okay but please try to avoid this ingredient as much as possible for now.

Thirdly, do not use occlusive ingredients and ditch sheet mask for now. Sheet mask works by occluding your face and feed your skin with beneficial ingredients. However, the process itself creates a moist and warm environment on your skin. And remember, fungal acne happens in the first place because of fungus overgrowth in a moist and warm environment.

Korean products for fungal acne

When we suggest products for fungal acne, ideally the products contain anti-fungal ingredients. Or at least, does not contain ingredients that will promote the fungus to grow further. Let’s take a look at some fungal acne Korean products for your skin below.

Fungal acne face wash

An ideal fungal acne face wash is a face wash that is slightly acidic and hydrating. This is because slightly acidic face wash at around pH 5.5 will protect the skin mantle or skin barrier. This pH is close to the natural skin pH level and therefore will help to maintain a healthy microbiome ecosystem on the skin. Moreover, hydrating face wash will ensure the integrity of your skin barrier by maintaining the moisture/hydration level. Face wash that strips the skin from its natural oil will irritate the skin, and might worsen the inflammation of the fungal acne.

Some recommendations for fungal acne face wash from Korean brands are:

Moisturizer for fungal acne

fungal acne korean products_moisturizer

Generally, products containing these ingredients are good for fungal acne. So if you see moisturizers that have any of these ingredients, they will be safe for fungal acne.

  • Aloe Vera gel
  • MCT oil
  • Xylitol
  • Lactic Acid, Acetic Acid & Citric Acid
  • Climbazole
  • Sandalwood oil (source)
  • Niacinamide (B3), plus dl-panthenol (B6) and glycerin to improve skin barrier

Also, moisturizers containing mugwort are good to soothe the inflamed skin. Propolis and honey based moisturizers are also safe for fungal acne as these ingredients are antibacterial and antifungal. Moisturizers with snail mucin are also good in calming the skin and help the skin or even acne scar to heal faster.

Some fungal acne Korean moisturizers you can try are: 

Sulfur for fungal acne

fungal acne korean products_mask

Sulfur as an ingredient is good for removing fungus from the surface of the skin. It can be sulfur in moisturizer or sulfur in face mask. 

For moisturizer with sulfur, you can try Wishtrend Sulfur 3% Clean Gel. And for face mask with sulfur, you can try this Innisfree volcanic clay mask. 

Should you use fungal acne Korean skincare products?

Yes, you should, especially if you have tried other non-Korean brands that do not work for you. Korean skincare industry is quite advanced and sophisticated. Their R&D capabilities is excellent and they utilize a lot of amazing ingredients in their products. If you see Koreans, they generally have very beautiful skin as well. You can check out this website Skinsort to filter for products that are safe for fungal acne as well. 

Pimple on Tattoo: How to Handle It Properly

Imagine just having a tattoo and suddenly there is a new pimple appearing on the skin area. Have you ever had this pimple on your old tattoo, or pimple on new tattoo? How did you handle the pimple? Previously we have discussed about pimple on back, pimples on temples – and now we will discuss pimple on tattoo.

pimple on tattoo

Pimple on tattoo

Pimples are mostly due to clogged pores or hair follicles that become infected. And pimples do not discriminate. They can appear on clear skin, they can appear on tattooed skin. You would want to treat pimple on tattoo with more care, simply because any wrong move might damage the tattoo.

New tattoo on skin means the skin has fresh wound. There is open wound on the skin that can increase the likelihood of infection. Having said that, it does not mean that pimple can only appear on new tattoo. Old tattoo can have pimple too as long as there is clogging on the pores which get infected by bacteria. 

What you should/shouldn't do on a pimple on tattoo?

You should not pop or squeeze pimple on tattoo, whether it is new or old tattoo. Generally, tattoo ink resides on a deeper layer of skin compared to the one where pimple often appears. If you put topical cream or ointment and let the pimple dry by itself, the tattoo will not be affected. However, if you squeeze your pimple, the infection might actually spread to a deeper layer of the skin. If the deeper layer of the skin where the tattoo ink resides gets infected or inflamed, this might move around the tattoo ink. Hence, the tattoo pigment might get affected by this infection/inflammation. Similarly, cystic acne that stems from deeper layer of the skin has higher risk of changing the tattoo.

If this happens on a new tattoo, the risk of infection spreading to surrounding area and deeper layer of the skin when not handled properly is even higher. Moreover, fresher tattoo may mean that the ink has not set in place completely. Therefore you need to treat pimple on new or fresher tattoo with even greater care. 

You should not pick on the pimple wound either, as doing so might fade some of the tattoo ink. 

How to care for your skin with tattoo?

Having pimple is not comfortable, and if you have tattoo, you would not want to have pimple on tattoo either for aesthetic purposes. To prevent issue with your tattoo due to pimple, make sure you maintain good body hygiene and give extra care on the area with tattoo. Wash the area and also exfoliate it so that you can avoid clogging of the skin pores and hair follicles. If you want to check out best exfoliator for acne, read up on a dedicated post on this topic!

My Mole Removal Before And After & Tips!

Mole removal has many techniques nowadays. The different techniques are applicable for different types of moles. There are some techniques that are less invasive and more invasive. The downtime of the mole removal wound can differ too. If you are curious about mole removal before and after, read up more as I share my experience in this post.

Why did I remove my moles?

I have experience removing 3 moles on my body so far. One was near my eye and the other two were on my arm. I think they did grow bigger many years ago, and stopped growing now. But they did change in size, which made me worried and therefore I visited the doctor. The only way for the doctor to confirm if it is ‘alive’ or cancerous is to take it out and send it to the lab. Therefore, I removed my mole at the end.

Various mole removal techniques

The moles that I have were raised on the skin. They were not flat moles. Dermatologists can remove flat moles that appear as brown or black speck on the skin through non-invasive methods like laser. On the other hand, they may need to remove raised moles that are typically bigger using more invasive methods like excision.

Excision also has a few types. I previously had a typical excision on a protruding mole on my arm where they use the surgical knife to cut the mole out. Another type of excision that I had was on my flat pigmented mole, and the technique used was punch excision. The process of punch excision was faster and the wound healed more quickly too from my experience.

Again, consult your dermatologist on which method that will be suitable for your moles. Inappropriate method may increase the chance of your mole coming back again.

Tips before you do mole removal

There are three tips that I want to share here, so please take note.

First, find a good dermatologist! That is very important and I learnt from my experience doing mole removal 3 times. Read their reviews. In Singapore, Google reviews are quite reliable. I went to 3 different clinics and the quality of the stitching, the speed of healing and also the reoccurrence of the mole vary across the three clinics. The two better clinics are more expensive but I am very satisfied with the result. Whereas the cheapest one among the three caused me a lot of pain from the stitching, the wound healed slower as a result (not sure if it’s from the improper stitching), and the mole was not removed properly. Pay more for a better service and result – that is my lesson learnt.

Second, mole removal wound on the face vs body can be different in terms of healing process. The dermatologist I visited told me that it heals faster on the face compared to body part. And I experienced this first hand. My mole removal wound near my eye healed in 2-3 weeks time, whereas the wound on my hand healed after 2-3 months. The scar near the eye is almost invisible whereas the one on my hand is visible and I got slight hyperpigmentation there.

Third, if you are prone to pigmentation, you will need to take extra care of your scar post mole removal. This is because the scar might darken with the UV exposure. So you may need to avoid too much sun when you still have fresh scar from the wound. Also, going forward you should apply sunscreen on the scar area to prevent it from darkening.

Mole removal before and after

This is the mole removal before and after for the protruding mole I had on my face, near my eye. Because of the tricky position near my eye, I went to a more expensive clinic with very good review in Singapore. This mole removal costed me >SGD 1,000. But it was very worth it and I will choose them again if I have to start over. This was by Stephanie Ho clinic in Orchard, Singapore.

mole removal before and after_mole near eye before
Mole removal invisible scar

This one was with a clinic that was cheaper. The price for mole removal was almost 1/3 of Stephanie Ho clinic’s, but I was not satisfied with the service and outcome. The stitching of the wound was not done that well in my opinion and the wound hurt really bad. In comparison, my 2 other mole removal wounds only hurt a tiny bit. Moreover, the wound healed more slowly and I think it was because of the way the wound was stitched. The scar resulting from the wound is also bigger than expected. Since the scar was bigger, the hyperpigmentation that I get on the scar is more obvious too. 

mole removal before and after_mole on arm before
mole removal before and after_mole on arm after
Mole removal scar