Author: Dr Branden Seow
At The Clifford Clinic, we take pride in the results we can achieve for patients who struggle with persistent, recurrent or difficult acne conditions.
Sick and tired of acne that gets treated with only medication but after some time, the acne condition recurs? Frustrated with persistent acne that just somehow won’t go away with prolonged creams and oral medications? Do you also not like the idea of having to take prolonged oral antibiotic or pills? Fret not!
While topical creams and oral medications play an integral role in treating acne, and they do and can work well for many patients, they sometimes may not enough in be treating recurrent acne or solving persistent acne. This is where AGNES or GOLD PTT treatment can come in useful.
What is AGNES Acne?
AGNES is a technology that The Clifford Clinic brought in from Korea.
Initially, researchers in Japan found out that for acne patients with recurrent acne, pimples were appearing on the same spot of the face again and again. Through advanced digital mapping techniques, the Japanese researchers discovered that of the thousands of pores on the face, the same few hundred pores were responsible for recurrent acne breakouts. They concluded that recurrent adult acne was due to damaged pores on the face, which were more prone to becoming blocked.
Based on this finding, it led to a Korean doctor inventing AGNES. With the use of a micro-insulated needle, AGNES utilizes radiofrequency (RF) energy to directly zap at the damaged pores. The founder termed this process selective sebaceous gland destruction (SSGD). As such, this will result in a reduced recurrence rate of the acne.
AGNES is a safe and effective treatment. It has minimal downtime. It can give visible results after one treatment. From our experience at The Clifford Clinic, most patients will need at least two sessions to produce good results. This is because in one session, not all problematic pores will surface as acne at the point of treatment. As such, we will not be able to identify those unsurfaced acne to deliver RF energy into. However, some patients do indeed respond very well with just one session.
By treating these problematic pores selectively, researchers found that it was possible to resolve 83% of non-inflammed acne and over 93% of inflammed acne, when treated with 3 treatments over a year! Once these problematic pores were treated, they did not recur for the duration of one year after the last treatment. Even after a year, most patients continued to remain well, with only a 16.7% requiring a repeat treatment to achieve clearance.
What is GOLD PTT?
GOLD PTT stands for Gold Photothermal Therapy. Gold nanoparticles are first applied onto your face and then delivered into the pores and glands via an ultrasonic device. Next, once the gold nanoparticles are inside the pores, laser devices are used to heat up the nanoparticles. This targeted heating modifies overactive pores and glands that are responsible for acne to produce less oil, thus reducing the recurrences of acne outbreak.
Gold PTT enables laser energy to be delivered accurately and precisely to the pores. The gold nanoparticles act as focal points for laser energy, concentrating the heating effect of the laser at specific points. This allows for a highly localised therapeutic hyperthermia of tissue, rendering the overactive sebum-producing glands. Noble-metal materials such as gold are selected due to their highly desirable and tuneable optical properties for various therapeutic applications. The preciseness of Gold PTT allows doctors to specifically target the sebum-producing glands and kill acne-causing bacteria without affecting the surrounding tissue.
In one research study, patients received three successive treatments at 1- to 2-week intervals. The acne pre- and post-with GOLD PTT were evaluated. In four patients, a biopsy was taken before and 1 month after the last treatment. Significant reductions in acne lesions were noted after the use of gold photothermal therapy. In the histopathological findings, a decrease in inflammatory cell infiltration and fibrotic changes of the dermis were observed after gold photothermal therapy. Gold photothermal therapy had showed significant clinical and histological improvements in acne.
Is AGNES or GOLD PTT better for me?
For recurrent acne whereby patient can identify an area or zone, AGNES is better. For example, every two to three months, acne outbreak at the cheeks and the nose happens and the acne spots always appear at those few areas. Then, AGNES will be good.
For persistent acne that doesn’t go away, AGNES is better. For example, despite having applied only cream for a long time and yet the acne is still persistent, AGNES can help.
For recurrent acne whereby it is very hard to say it is is always recurrent at a particular spot or area, then GOLD PTT can help better. For example, for one outbreak, the acne can be at the cheeks only. For another outbreak, it can be at the forehead only, with no involvement of the cheeks. For such cases, GOLD PTT is better. Despite so, AGNES is still able to help in terms of reducing the recurrence rate at that zone and to resolve the acne faster.
AGNES and GOLD PTT serve similar purposes. While different in some ways, they can be complementary with each other. It is also common for patients to do both, resulting in better outcome for acne control.
Although useful and effective, we also got to understand that acne is a multi-factorial skin issue that requires a well-rounded approach to control. In addition to AGNES and/or GOLD PTT, good skincare regime, oral medications and topical creams, dietary restrictions of refined sugars and dairy products as well as lifestyle modifications should not be overlooked.
Do drop by to The Clifford Clinic and enquire about what is more suitable to you!