Acne is very common and treatable

Among the most common skin problems we treat are breakouts, pimples and acne. Even though acne is very common in teenagers, do not be tempted to ignore it and think it is a normal part of growing up. It can sometimes lead to permanent acne scarring if the acne is severe and treatment is delayed. Acne can also have a significant impact on confidence and social wellbeing. While extremely common in teenagers, adult acne is also on the rise and can persist to the ages of 30s or 40s. As acne can leave permanent scars, it is very important to get effective treatment early and we are here to help.

There are many types of acne making an assessment by a trained dermatologist an important first step before appropriate treatment can be prescribed and tailored to your type of acne. There are also other skin conditions that can look remarkably like acne but will not respond to the usual acne medications. Your experienced dermatologist will assess your skin carefully before recommending any treatment.


The excellent news is we now have highly effective treatments for breakouts and acne. Our management strategies follow international guidelines:

  • Mild acne - Special anti-inflammatory, anti-comedonal cleansers, prescription-only antibiotic and anti-inflammatory creams
  • Moderate acne - Oral antibiotics, hormonal treatments in combination with prescription-only creams
  • Severe acne - Vitamin A derivatives (Oratane) are highly effective for switching off severe acne. It can reduce the size of oil glands, oil production, skin cells clogging up pores and inflammation. Lower doses are used in our practice as it provides excellent results with minimal side effects. Your safety whilst taking these tablets will be ensured with close monitoring by your dermatologist. A course of treatment typically lasts 10–12 months, depending on severity. Large majority of patients who take it achieve excellent clearance of their acne, experiencing long-term remission of acne symptoms.


Acne scarring on the face can often be a source of embarrassment and dissatisfaction. Once active acne is controlled, you can embark on a course of acne scar laser treatments to improve the appearance of scars. We use top of the range lasers to effectively target acne scars including:

  • Fractional CO2 Smartxide laser – to treat deeper scars that cause depressions and textural irregularities on the skin
  • Picoway laser – to fade brown marks quickly; also treats mild to moderate scars
  • Pulsed dye laser ( VBEAM) – to fade pink or red marks quickly, also improves textures

By utilising a variety of lasers to target different post acne scar issues, we always aim for minimal downtime with maximal effects. Stronger laser treatments may have downtime of around a week and you will be informed of these beforehand. Usually, a course of repeated treatments, at 4-6 weekly intervals, are required to resurface the skin and improve the appearance of acne scars.

It is important that you avoid a tan before or after your laser treatment to minimise the risk of post laser pigmentation. Before performing the treatment for you, your dermatologist will have an honest discussion with you about the predicted outcome, the estimated number of treatments required, and the possible downtime or complications. We are highly focused on the delivery of good outcomes with the lowest possible risk.

Dr Stephanie Ho has always had a deep interest in the treatment of acne post inflammatory hyperpigmentation and acne scarring, resulting in many collaborative studies with eminent Hong Kong dermatologists and the publication of several articles in scientific journals.



Chan NP, Ho SG, Yeung CK, Shek SY, Chan HH. Fractional ablative carbon dioxide laser resurfacing for skin rejuvenation and acne scars in Asians. Lasers Surg Med 2010 Nov; 42(9): 615-23

Chan NP, Ho SGL, Yeung CK, Shek SY, Chan HH. The use of non-ablative fractional resurfacing in Asian acne scar patients. Lasers Surg Med 2010 Dec; 42(10): 870-5

Ho SG, Yeung CK, Chan NP, Shek SY, Kono T, Chan HH. A retrospective analysis of the management of acne post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation using topical treatment, laser treatment or combination topical and laser treatments in Oriental patients. Lasers in Surgery and Medicine 2011 Jan; 43(1): 1-7