Whether it’s the odd spot during that time of the month or a full-blown, painful breakout around your jawline, cheek or forehead, chances are we’ve all had an encounter with acne at some point in our lives. And while the immediate urge is to annihilate those nasty acne bumps with the strongest products you can find, you will get better, longer-lasting results when you give your skin some TLC.
While some of us might reach out for products containing salicylic, glycolic and lactic acids, tea tree oil and sulphur, CEO of Re:erth, Shinji Yamasaki, tells us that you don’t always have to. He makes a case for his new product, Blemish Control, which contains none of those ingredients but claims to target all types of acne, including antibiotic-resistant acne (more on that later). Just how does it work? We chatted with him to find out more.
What are some of the causes of acne?
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Two main causes of acne are hormones and genetics. Acne in an inflammatory skin condition. The cause is actually not bacteria. The bacteria infects the follicle due to the inflammation and the irritation caused. So people who are, unfortunately, genetically predisposed to get acne, are always going to be genetically predisposed to get acne, and there’s really not much you can do to combat that. The other side is hormones, and hormones fluctuate in men and women. Androgen hormones stimulate your skin to produce more oil, and [these are] essentially the living quarters of bacteria. They actually eat off it as well. So the more sebum you produce, you are essentially making more living space for the bacteria.
Those are the main causes but there are other aspects that can contribute to the formation of acne such as unclean makeup brushes. It’s also important to cleanse your face, [skipping] scrubs and exfoliators, as those will just irritate your skin more, which causes more inflammation. Depending on the person, certain foods, especially refined sugars, carbohydrates—in certain people does trigger [breakouts].
Given the weather in Singapore, are people more susceptible to breakouts here?
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The heat and humidity cause the skin to produce more sebum, unfortunately, so when that happens, [you’re more likely to breakout], as opposed to living in a very dry climate where your skin will also be very dry. Again, it’s all about creating or having that environment in your pores and follicles that is ideal for the bacteria to grow.
Tell us about antibiotic-resistant acne.
WTF is antibiotic-resistant acne and do you have it?
So the acne-causing bacteria, or actually all bacteria really, they’re organisms. Organisms will always try to defend themselves. It’s almost like us, we learn to protect ourselves as well. [It’s] like natural selection. So those bacteria that are not able to protect themselves will die away, and the ones who will remain are the ones that can protect themselves and those will now grow. When those grow, the antibiotics are not going to work. So that’s really the fear, and it’s not just about acne. You hear about the superbugs, whether it’s influenza or whether it’s any other bacteria or viral diseases. They’re just getting stronger, because we are able to kill off so many already and the only ones who survive are the “strongest”.
So how do you treat acne if it is resistant to antibiotics?
Targeting the blemish-causing bacteria is really important because that’s where the blemishes occur and that’s where it infects the inflammations and the pores. The difference of how we do it is that we’re almost using existing systems of your immune system to combat bacteria. How we’re doing it is we’re using lysozyme, an enzyme that is found in most animals innate immune systems. They’re found in tears, they’re found in saliva. The one we use is from egg white, but also colostrum has very high immunoglobulins, and these are naturally occurring in colostrum as well as in our bodies and in animals. And it forms part of our immune systems, so we’re really fighting the bacteria by using natural methods of combating these organisms.
What you need to know about Re:erth’s Blemish Control
It’s effective because you really target the blemish causing bacteria. A lot of other ingredients, they try to control sebum production [and] therefore [can be] very drying. We really approach blemish care in a completely different manner. Then again, the ingredients and our products also have been tested. One of the ingredients have been published in scientific journals, it’s been talked about in the scientific community. So, the ingredients are unique, the methodologies are unique, and different, and therefore effective.
It doesn’t contain blemish-fighting ingredients such as salicylic acid, sulphur, tea tree oil, etc. Here’s why.
These ingredients are common, and as a skincare brand that prides ourselves in having unique ingredients and unique methodologies, we are philosophically all about skin health and it’s in the word really, it’s “skin care”. In line with that, we don’t want to use any ingredients that people may be very sensitive to, ingredients that are very drying or sensitising for individuals. It’s really a combination of things. Technology that we use, and ingredients that we use are so unique, patented, is very well-documented scientifically as well, which again is part of our beliefs. We want to use ingredients that are unique and scientifically backed and have a new approach to skincare and blemish care in this instance.
Is Blemish Control also effective in treating hormonal, comedonal acne?
That type of acne forms much deeper within the follicle, but again the root of the infection is the same bacteria. So if you’re targeting the bacteria, the frequency of the bacteria going deep into the follicle becomes less and less with continued use. If it’s already there, obviously it’s a little more difficult to target. So unfortunately, if you already have nodules or cystic acne our advice is always go see a dermatologist. But again, our product targets the blemish causing bacteria. It’s really not just what you have now, but what you can potentially reduce down the line as well. So with continued use, you should see less and less frequency at blemish formation.
Does Blemish Control also help tackle post acne marks?
Yes absolutely! One of our three key actives that we have in our in our product is water soluble vitamin A. Unlike regular oil soluble Vitamin A, water-soluble vitamin A firstly penetrates the skin 60 times better than its oil soluble counterpart. And not only that, it [doesn’t cause] skin irritation, sensitivities, or any of those types of negative effects that can be found with the use of normal oil soluble vitamin A. That’s because water-soluble vitamin A only converts into vitamin A once it’s in the skin, and it only converts into retinoic acid once it’s inside the skin cell. Our studies show that especially in comparison to existing oil soluble vitamin A, water soluble vitamin A increases skin thickness as well as skin elasticity significantly better than its oil soluble counterpart.
The best way to use Blemish Control
I think when you start using it, one of the things that we do suggest is to define for yourself what exactly you want from the product. If your goal is to really target blemishes and you want to clear your skin of blemishes, our suggestion is really to use a non-sensitising, gentle cleanser like our Clarifying Cleanser, which is very good. Use that, and after towel-drying your face, use two to three pumps of Blemish Control on your whole face, and if you’d like, an additional amount on specific breakouts or blemished areas, and that’s it. We suggest using only Blemish Control for a few weeks, no moisturiser. The only time we suggest using a moisturiser is if you have very dry skin and even then, to only use an oil-free moisturiser. But this is only if you really want to take care of blemishes, and if that is your primary concern.
If your primary concern is to manage breakouts, as opposed to clearing [breakouts], again the first two steps are the same, and once Blemish Control is absorbed—it’s oil-free as well, it’s gel, it doesn’t take long for it to be absorbed—you can go into your usual skincare routine.