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Gold Photothermal Therapy treatment: Treating Acne with Gold

Treatment of Pregnancy related acne with Gold PTT

Pregnancy is possibly one of the most celebrated, but perhaps also one of the most stressful periods in a women’s life. The hormonal changes not only affect the mood, causing stress directly, it can also other issues like acne outbreaks, further adding to this stress. However, pregnancy comes with many contraindications, and acne treatment during pregnancy are very limited. Gold PTT, however, is one of the safest acne treatments for pregnant women on the market.

What causes pregnancy acne?

Acne can appear anywhere on your body, from more exposed areas like the face and the scalp, to usually covered areas like the torso and the buttocks. They can occur at any age but are especially common during pubescent years or pregnancy due to hormonal fluctuations.  In fact, more than 50% of pregnant women can expect to develop acne mild to severe acne outbreaks.

As with many other forms of acne, pregnancy acne is caused by hormonal fluctuations, specifically a group of hormones called androgens, which include testosterone and androstenedione. The hormones primarily responsible for acne also include the same set of hormones.

During pregnancy, androgen levels increase significantly during the first trimester and continue to rise throughout the different trimesters. Among other effects, androgen stimulates sebum production by increasing the activity of the sebaceous glands in the skin. The excessive production of sebum can lead to congestion of the pores, causing bacterial build-up, and eventually, leading to acne breakouts. In addition, the increased fluid retention can trap certain toxins in the body, which can also contribute to acne.

What does pregnancy acne look like?

Pregnancy acne is fundamentally identical to regular acne and often takes on similar form like:

  • Comedones, which develop when the hair follicles are clogged. They can be either open (blackhead) or closed (whitehead)
  • Papules, which look like raised areas of skin tissue that varies in shape, colour and size
  • Pustules, which are bumps that are filled with pus. They develop when walls of skin pores are broken down, or when the pore becomes infected/inflamed
  • Nodules, which extend into the deeper layers of the skin and they usually require medical treatment
  • Cysts are the most severe form of acne and develop deep within the skin. They are usually clogged pores that contains a combination of bacteria, sebum and dead skin cells, causing the pore to become severely inflamed. Large cyst may require surgical removal.

Treatment for pregnancy acne

Like all other times, acne occurring during pregnancy should not be neglected as they can lead to permanent scarring.  Managing acne while pregnant is tricky, as pregnancy comes with many contraindications. Many oral or topical acne medication acne enter affect the developing infant, and should be used with care, or not used at all. While over-the-counter acne medications may be considered safe, the safety of using certain ingredients such as benzoyl peroxide, oral isotretinoin and other topical retinoids while pregnant has not been established, as some of them are associated with birth defects.

Pregnancy acne usually subsides when hormone levels return to normal but there are also treatments which pregnant ladies can do to control the acne breakout.

Gold Photothermal Therapy Treatment (PTT) for pregnancy acne

Gold PTT treatment is one of the latest non-invasive treatment for acne on the market. It treats acne by selective, controlled thermolysis of over-active sebaceous glands with the help of specially manufactured gold nanoparticles.

The treatment has 3 key components: Ultrasound Sonophoresis, Laser treatment, and most importantly the gold nanoparticles. The treatment is carried out in 3 main steps:

  1. An ampoule of Gold PTT nanoparticles is applied evenly to the treatment area.
  2. The gold nanoparticles are delivered into the pores via sonophoresis (a form of ultrasound drug delivery) at 40khz. This is done using Bellasonic, an ultrasound device imported from South Korea. Excess, undelivered gold nanoparticles are then gently wiped away with a clean cloth. 
  3. Our doctors will use specialised lasers like the 800nm Diode Laser and the 1064nm Long-pulsed laser to excite the gold nanoparticles. This efficiently converts the photo energy from the laser to heat energy, treating acne in the process.

The heat from the gold nanoparticles treats acne via 2 main processes:

  1. The heat lyses overactive sebaceous glands in the pores, doing permanent, but controlled damage to these glands. These will permanently reduce their secretion, and in turn reduce the chances of these secretions clogging the pores and causing acne
  2. Acne causing bacteria in the pores are killed by are the heat, reducing bacterial activity and alleviating acne symptoms

Through these 2 processes, Gold PTT effectively neutralises ongoing acne, while preventing future outbreak, making it one of the most well-rounded treatments on the market

Process of Gold PTT treatment

Typically, there will be at least 3 sessions over a 1-week interval. Our doctors may recommend further sessions as required depending on your condition. Each session takes about 30 to 45 minutes.

Most patients will see results within 6 weeks after the first treatment session, and some patients report seeing slight results in just a few days.

Advantages of Gold PTT treatment

  • Comfortable and relatively painless. You will only experience a gentle tingling sensation when the laser heats up the gold nanoparticles
  • No downtime. You can immediately return to your daily routines after each session
  • Localised, controlled and targeted treatment. The gold nanoparticles focuses the heating on only the overactive sebaceous glands, and leaves surrounding tissue unaffected.
  • Safe, even during pregnancy. The gold nanoparticles used are not absorbed by the body and naturally shed away with dead skin tissue after the treatment. In the rare event that the particles do enter the bloodstream, they are bio-inert and will not interact with your body or the developing infant in any way, and will eventually be discharged from your body naturally.

The Clifford Clinic, is the first aesthetics clinic in Singapore to offer Gold PTT treatment and our doctors are both skilled and experienced with performing this treatment. In addition, our doctors are also highly experienced in managing pregnancy and post-pregnancy related acne. We have specialised programs specifically tailored for pregnant and breast-feeding mothers. By incorporating Gold PTT into these programmes, we can offer a more well-rounded treatment for pregnancy acne for you.