Acne is the 8th most prevalent disease in the world! It affects about 10% of the population. Statistics show it affects over 85% of teenagers in Australia have it. So how does it occur? How is it different in those with Chinese skin? Read our blog to learn more.

Acne a common chronic inflammatory skin disorder that is usually seen on the face, neck, chest and upper back and shoulder region. Acne develops mainly due to a combination of genetic factors and environmental influences. Things like make up, pollutants, climate, hormonal changes and stress can all influence acne. Contrary to popular belief, acne is not due to a build-up of dirt on the face and completely removing certain food groups from your diet is unlikely to help. Those with acne often have an alteration in the process of skin shedding and there is often excess sebum production and inflammation in the skin.

Acne was reported as the number one skin diagnosis in Chinese people living in the USA (NAMSC survey results 2002) and the second most common diagnosis among people being treated in Singapore’s National Skin Centre. While Chinese skin encompasses light skin through to darker skin tones, there are some facts about acne in Chinese skin in general that you need to know.

1. It needs to be treated early
Treating acne early will help prevent pigmentation from occurring on the skin in areas where pimples appear. One study in the USA revealed nearly 50% of patients with Chinese skin get brown/dark patches in areas of acne (called post inflammatory hyperpigmentation). Others get post -inflammatory erythema. Treating early will prevent this complication.

If you have acne, it is important to start oil-free cleanser and moisturiser and see your doctor early to get the pimples treated.

2. Keloid scars may occur
People with Chinese skin are more likely to develop keloid scars than those with Caucasian skin. Keloid scars are an overgrowth of fibrous tissue that develops due to trauma. They are most common on the face, ears, chest, upper back and shoulders. You can read more about keloids here 

A study in West Malaysia showed that lighter-skinned Chinese patients were more likely to develop keloid scars than darker skinned Indians and Malays. In Hawaii a study showed keloids were five times more common in those with Japanese skin and three times more common in Chinese skin than in Caucasian skin.

Keloids can be treated with tapes, creams, injections and lasers but the best treatment is prevention! Treating acne early helps prevent keloids from forming.

3. There is a higher chance of dermatitis with retinoid use
Vitamin A derived creams (tretinoin, adapalene and others) can cause redness, irritation and dryness of the skin. These side effects are more common in those with Chinese skin and Indian skin. This clinical observation is supported by research that shows that water loss through the top layer of the skin is higher in those with Chinese skin, making it more susceptible to irritation and dryness.

Carefully selecting the type and strength of creams and lotions for acne in those with Chinese skin is important and choosing cleansers and moisturisers that will enhance the skin barrier function is critical, especially when acne treatment is being started.

4. Not all lasers are safe
Carefully selecting lasers to treat redness, pigment and scarring is important if you want the best results with few side effects. The type of laser that is best suited to you is best decided after an in-depth examination of your skin type, colour, composition and main problem that needs to be treated.

Those with more heavily pigmented skin should avoid use of intense pulsed light therapy (IPL) as this can cause scarring and hyperpigmentation.

Feel like reading about acne and diet? Click here 

The information contained in this blog post is intended as a guide only and should not substitute seeking medical attention. Please see your healthcare provider for more information on suitability of products, treatments or procedures.