Since mid-last year, I’ve been struggling with acne. A few zits here and there gradually led to a full-blown face of painful bumps. Naturally, I went on panic mode and tried every acne product out there, as well as countless tips and tricks beauty bloggers have shared online. I tried dabbing apple cider, rubbing on potato juice, using a turmeric and carrot cocktail, making an oatmeal face mask, and even applying garlic on my face—you name it, I did it. It probably wasn’t fun for my husband to sleep next to a garlic-smelling face but hey, he had to live up to his marriage vows: for better or for worst.After so many failed attempts at DIY remedies, I finally decided to go see a local dermatologist here in the Philippines, Dr. Gaile Robredo-Vitas of Derm HQ, and it turned out to be the best decision ever.Dr. Gaile is very outgoing and easy to talk to. She took time not only to examine my skin, but also to find out what my skincare routine was, what products I was currently using, and what my lifestyle was like.
I’d like to share with you some of the things I learned from her, as well as some information I found from my own research and experience.
The 3 stages of breakouts
Acne comes in three stages: mild, moderate, or severe. If your breakouts are few and fairly minor, you’ve got mild acne. This may mean you have some blackheads and bumpiness, and even an inflamed pimple here and there, but in general your blemishes aren’t widespread. Mild acne may improve with over-the-counter treatments. However, moderate and severe forms should be treated by a dermatologist.
I had moderate acne. Noticeable breakouts with lots of blackheads and bumps spread across my cheeks, jawline, and forehead.
To address these, Dr. Gaile prescribed a topical gel and oral antibiotics. These two medications really helped to target the bacteria and gradually reduce inflammation.
Acne is complex and different for everyone, that’s why applying garlic might not work for all cases. In addition, different people respond differently to medication. I, for example, had a quick response to the antibiotics prescribed to me. In two weeks, my skin was noticeable clearer so my daily antibiotics dose was eventually reduced to just every other day. (This is one reason why it’s so important to go back to your doctor for follow-up check-ups.) Now I’m off-medication and my acne is all gone…knock on wood!
For severe acne patients, the whole treatment process can sometimes take up to three months. It’s important to see a dermatologist as soon as possible, to prevent permanent or long-term damage. Patience is also key.
Cleaning and clearing
After two weeks of taking medication and seeing that my inflammation had reduced (I still had breakouts but they were not as many and not as painful), I booked my first facial appointment at Derm HQ.
Dr. Gaile has a trained esthetician at her clinic. She ensures that the right products are used for every skin type. For the facial, the esthetician cleansed, steamed, and lightly pricked my face to extract stubborn blackheads. She also applied an acne medicated mask and toned and moisturized my skin. I have to admit that the pricking was a little painful, but don’t worry, it’s absolutely tolerable and worth it especially when you see all the gunk they extract out.
A few weeks ago, I also decided to try microdermabrasion for the first time. The name may sound scary and painful—I had to Google and read other peoples reviews and thoughts before settling for a session—but don’t be put off by it. Basically, microdermabrasion is a non-invasive treatment that gently exfoliates the thicker, uneven outer layer of your skin to reveal a fresh and less dull appearance. Plus, your skin will feel more supple and smooth after!
Apart from facial services and acne treatments, Derm HQ also offers a variety of other services. For more information, check out their website.
Dr. Gaile Robredo Vitas
Island Plaza Salcedo Building
105 LP Leviste Street Salcedo Village
+63 920 920 9739