Why affordable acne treatment? Because I have struggled to pay.
My initial struggles
My family wasn’t exactly well-to-do. I supported myself through university by giving Chemistry and Biology tuition; working as a banquet waitress; selling computers in IT shows. I completed my NUS Degree in Biomedical Science in 2.5 years instead of 3 years, just so that I could save on a semester school fees. I had to take a student loan to pay for my university school fees.
My acne woes began when I was 15 years old. My search for affordable acne treatment began in the drugstores with cheaper anti-acne products, like Neutrogena, Proactiv, Clean & Clear. They didn’t work. So, I moved on to mid-range products like Body Shop, Clinique and then to more expensive brands like Dermalogica. All of them didn’t help with my acne. I tried a beauty salon and they only made my acne condition worse. I spent more than a thousand dollars on products and packages for facials. After a few very painful sessions of extractions, I stopped going to them. My package was wasted but I didn’t have a choice. Thereafter, I went to doctors to seek help.
Dermatologists vs Aesthetic Doctors
Throughout my journey of finding a cure for my acne, I have tried quite a few doctors. However, most of them were GPs as I couldn’t afford dermatologists. And it also happen that these GP were my customers. Consultations with dermatologists are at least S$100 and above while GPs and aesthetic doctors charge from S$25-40. Private dermatologist products are often more expensive compared to GPs as well. Dermatologists charge more than GPs because they require an additional 6 years of specialised training after completing medical school. Aesthetic doctors are mostly GPs who do aesthetics like lasers, agnes treatment, botox, fillers, etc.
A good example of GP skin doctor, who many mistaken for dermatologist, is Niks Maple Clinic. I was an ex-patient of Dr Ong from Maple Clinic. The multiple chemical peel sessions from Maple Clinic left my skin super sensitive. I also didn’t like the products of Niks as it felt like my face has a thick layer of products. I can’t remember how long I was with Niks Maple Clinic as it was more than 10 years ago. But I definitely stuck on for more than 6 months before I knew the treatment wasn’t working for my acne.
The 3 doctors who have helped me in my acne free journey.
- Dr Gary Keong, Valley Medical Centre (Clinic & Dr has since changed as this was more than 10 yrs ago)
When I was a poor student, he gave me discounts for my accutane / roaccutane treatment. My university mate was working part-time as a clinic assistant on weekends in this clinic. She told the doctor about my plight and the doctor kindly gave me a discount for my acne treatment. I went through a 6 months course of accutane. He didn’t have skin care products though. It stopped my obvious big red cystic acne but I still struggled with clogged bumpy skin.
- My aesthetic dr (cannot be named)
Dr helped me achieve and maintain acne free skin for 3 years when I undergo lasers biannually and microdermabrasion treatment monthly. This is also the dr who introduced cosmeceutical grade skin care to me. His products are mostly more than S$100 for a 30ml size. I was first introduced to hyaluronic acid serum by this dr and fell in love with this serum as it helped remove my deep forehead wrinkle. I had a deep wrinkle on my forehead at the age of 24 and that’s because I didn’t have a proper skin care regime. If you don’t already know, Skinlycious is selling a potent hyaluronic acid serum at close to 66% cheaper of dr’s price because this is a product I cannot live without. Now, I still go to this dr for occasional aesthetic procedures like laser for skin rejuvenation.
- Dr Seah PP
Dr Seah was the only dermatologist I consulted for my acne. He’s a really nice doctor who gave students discount on his consultation fees. A real pity he has passed away in 2015.
The second phase in life when I was really poor
The second time when I was damn poor was when I decided to start a business after I was fired from my job. I was jaded and I thought my career was finished with a blemished record. The picture on the right sums up why I was fired. I invested my savings and did my first business full time for 1.5 years. I failed, lost all my savings and owed my parents money. Because of stress during this period, my acne flared up again. My whole face was filled with uncountable closed comedones, so much so that friends were asking if I had rash. This time, my aesthetic doctor couldn’t help me. The aesthetic procedures didn’t work anymore. And when I was so poor, I could feel the pain in my pocket with every pump of the $100+ hyaluronic acid serum. However, there weren’t suitable products out there that I could use nor do I dare to try new products for fear of worsening my acne.
I closed the business after 1.5 years and went back to work. Thankfully, many doctors gave me good testimonials, and I had 3 job offers. When I went back to work, a nurse introduced Dr Seah to me when she saw my acne skin. I went to see him and by using using his home-made old school products in unglam medicine bottles and prescription cream, together with products from my aesthetic dr, I cleared my acne after 3 months. Skinlycious was born in 2013 and we worked with Dr Seah, referring severe and moderate acne cases to him. He was carrying prescribing Skinlycious products on top of some prescription creams/medications to his patients.
Best Anti-Acne products were born
A little shameless here to claim that Skinlycious has the best anti-acne products since I’m the founder. But Skinlycious products have worked the best for me. And it’s because of Skinlycious products that I can still maintain my acne free skin. I’m still using every product in the range now. The testimonials from satisfied customers also add on to my belief that Skinlycious products are great. Of course, everybody’s skin is different and there will be some who are unsuitable for my products. A small number of people might experience purging with salicylic acid. I hope acne sufferers can try my products as first-line. If it doesn’t work, we can identify which ingredients they are sensitive to and suggest an alternative.
Having gone through many aesthetic procedures like lasers, microdermabrasion, blue light therapy, chemical peels, I can confidently say that the best treatment for acne is still medication and correct skin care products. Through this process of formulating Skinlycious products, I also discovered that many ingredients could make my skin oil up. Thus, firming my belief that using the right skin care coupled with the right medications and prescription, would be the best acne treatment. Major plus is that it’s a much more affordable acne treatment than procedures like lasers or agnes treatment.
A gap in complete acne care
After the passing of Dr Seah, I always felt that there’s a gap where I couldn’t give my customers a more complete care. I know for severe cases, they would need medications. I, myself, benefited from taking Accutane. And for moderate cases, if they want to see results faster, they could head down to see a doctor for retinoic acid cream.
I did ask quite a few aesthetic doctors if they would like to incorporate my products into their treatment but all of them have their own skin care line and obviously, they are not as cheap as my products. I got rejected by all of them.
Introducing Dr Leow Cheng Gek, Jade Medical Clinic
Dr Leow was recommended to me by a friend. She said that she’s the best doctor she has seen so far.
I shared with her my vision of having effective, affordable acne treatment. I’m glad that she shares the same vision. I know how it’s like to be struggling and paying for expensive products and treatments. I just hope that by pricing my products more affordable, I can help more people clear their acne.
If you have acne and would like a professional consultation, you can visit Dr Leow @ Jade Medical Clinic.
8 Eu Tong Sen Street
#13-99 The Central Office Tower 1
Mon / Tue / Thu / Fri:
9.00am to 5.00pm (Walk-In)
5.00pm to 6.00pm (By Appointment Only)
Sat: 8:30 am to 1.00pm (Last Registration 11.45am)
Sun: By Appointment Only.
Special thanks to these other doctors.
I met these doctors when I was working as a pharmaceutical representative selling drugs to doctors.
– Dr Sng L. C, Rowell Clinic
She saw my skin condition and asked me if I would like to take Diane 35 (contraceptive/hormone pill) for my acne. I took it for 3 months and there was no improvement, so I stopped. Nonetheless, I really appreciate the discount on the drugs.
– Dr Judy Chen, Pariqua Clinic
An equipment company loaned her a blue light emitting machine. Usually, the equipment companies will loan the doctors to try out their machines. If the doctors like it, they buy it. Blue light therapy is known to help improve acne condition. Dr Chen offered free blue light therapy treatment for me as she wanted to test out the machine. For two weeks, I would head down to her clinic during lunch hours and try out blue light therapy. There weren’t any significant improvements to my acne after the intensive blue light therapy. Needless to say, she didn’t buy the machine and returned it to the company.
About the Author : Jasmine Kang
Founder of Skinlycious – a one stop skin care solution for acne and acne-prone skin. A science geek, who has struggled with acne for 14 long years. Armed with decades of acne-fighting experience and bioscience / pharmaceutical knowledge, she seeks to find solution for her own acne-prone skin. She also takes immense joy in helping people regain confidence by solving their acne woes. Her secret ambition is to rid the world of irritating acne.