Laser Acne Scar Removal Experience & Review

I believe in treating acne from within and having a good skincare routine at home to properly tackle skin issues. I previously wrote about lifestyle changes for acne, which is a slower but more sustainable way to combat acne. However, there were times I felt very desperate about my acne and felt impatient about it. During those times, I can’t wait to get rid of my acne and the scars. I was hoping for a quick fix when I decided to try laser acne scar removal. I will cover my own experience doing laser acne scar removal and also how much does laser acne scar removal cost. Also, check out my other post specifically on chemical peel for back acne and its scars and how to get rid of back acne scars.

laser acne scar removal_treatment procedure

How I decided to do laser acne scar removal

Working in a corporate environment makes me always want to look good, be it my outfit, my physical appearance, and especially my skin. I had a few instances where deep inflamed cysts appeared on my face. I hated seeing my reflection in the mirror. And what was worse was that the redness was visible through my makeup. Foundation or concealer only made it look worse. 

This pushed me to go see a dermatologist to fix this issue. I was actually reluctant to do this earlier because I had disappointing experiences with dermatologists in the past. I thought that dermatologist only knows how to treat the symptoms (acne) without solving the root cause of acne. They probably will just push treatments, antibiotics, and topical products instead of looking deeper into the cause of the skin issues. However, I decided to put this behind me thinking this time might be different. So I googled “dermatologist near me” and I found one near the CBD area I lived in.

My experience with the treatment

At the time of this writing, it has been 5 months since I started going there for laser acne scar removal treatment. The package consists of 12 sessions including laser treatments and chemical peels. Most of their customers are office workers and they come during lunchtime to do treatments. Their treatments are popular because they do not require any downtime i.e. you don’t see the typical redness or peeling after laser treatment.

How much does laser acne scar removal cost?

One word to describe it is EXPENSIVE. If you wonder how much does laser acne scar removal cost, the 12 session package costs a whooping SGD5,000. This is more than the average people’s monthly salary in Singapore. With this price tag, I expected superior treatment or a very knowledgeable dermatologist. The reason why I went to the clinic was to prevent the reoccurrence of cystic acne and also to improve my skin texture. Among the two, the first one was the main reason that made me think the 5,000 price tag might be worth it. 

How effective is the laser treatment?

laser acne scar removal_checking face

Effectiveness in reducing reoccurrence of acne

The laser acne scar removal treatments were not just to target scars, but also existing acne. The lasers used were supposed to help with improving the skin overall from the deeper layer of the skin. Unfortunately, I did not see any improvement in terms of acne occurrence. New acne still showed up.

Effectiveness in improving skin tone and texture

The laser acne scar removal treatments were not effective in improving my skin texture or my skin tone, which is quite disappointing. Also, I have this particular spot on my cheek which is reddish (it looks like a persistent PIE scar). I have been asking the dermatologist to remove that redness and also asked her what is the possible cause of that red spot. Given the price tag of my package, I expect some explanation of what might be going under the skin. I was not surprised when she could not give any explanation of possible causes and instead asked me to spend more money to buy cream to apply on that spot. Eventually, I still need to go back to the internet again to look for the answer myself.

Before you buy any laser acne scar removal package, do this!

Now that you know how much does laser acne scar removal cost you, you need to decide wisely before you buy any package. Be mindful that any dermatologist clinic might have alluring advertisements. They might have some celebrities endorsing the service. Keep in mind that if you are tight on budget, you may want to rethink the package. 

The result that some of the customers have might be the result of continuous maintenance as well. That means that before laser acne scar removal can be effective, you might need to commit thousands of dollars to do more sessions. Also, they may offer you antibiotics for acne if your acne persists despite the lasers and peels. I am generally against antibiotics because they destroy good gut bacteria, which is important for healthy skin.

If you are patient enough to undergo a more natural but slower route, start by adopting a more healthy diet and lifestyle. Incorporate anti-inflammatory, antioxidants, probiotics and all these goodness into your diet. Your lifestyle and what you put into your body every day will determine your skin health more than anything else. Read more about sugar acne link and also probiotics for acne in their dedicated posts.

Pantothenic Acid for Acne: Review

I have tried changing my diet to get rid of acne before. It did work well. However, there was a period of time when I could not follow the restrictions. My skin worsened. It made me wonder whether there is something lacking in my body that caused me to have persistent breakouts. This led to me researching and I found out about Pantothenic Acid for acne improvement. I will explain more about my experience taking Pantothenic Acid for acne, Vitamin B5 benefits for skin, and how to take Pantothenic Acid for acne. 

pantothenic acid for acne_pills

Vitamin B5 benefits for skin

Vitamin B5 is a water-soluble vitamin that is essential in our body metabolism, acting as a coenzyme in an energy-producing chemical reaction. It is also important to regulate blood sugar levels. There is no research that explicitly explains the role of vitamin B5 in acne control. However, there are theories out there that lay out some possible causation relationships between the vitamin and acne. One of them is that Vitamin B5 is required to produce Coenzyme A (CoA). This coenzyme is essential for fat metabolism and the production of hormones, to mention a few. With limited CoA, the priority is to use CoA to produce hormones leaving the lower levels of CoA available for fat metabolism. Consequently, the body can’t process fat effectively and it accumulates in the body; causing high sebum production and therefore acne. Here is how the vitamin B5 acne link was born.

How to take Pantothenic Acid for acne? 

There is a science-backed online source that recommends 750mg of Pantothenic Acid combined with 250 mg of L-carnitine for severe acne. If you have mild acne, you can reduce the dosage. The combination with L-carnitine is optional, but some people say that it helps to ‘boost’ the effect of Pantothenic Acid in regulating sebum production on the skin. Personally, I just took Pantothenic Acid without L-carnitine.

A lot of research mentions that it is okay to take a higher dose than recommended as long as you don’t go extremely high because the excess amount will go out from the body along with urine (given that the vitamin is water-soluble). You can choose to reduce the dosage after your skin clears up if you are worried about over-consuming the vitamin. Please do more research on this, especially if you have certain medical conditions.

Also, be mindful that whatever we take orally might interact with one another. Check out this article on what drugs/substances might interact with Pantothenic Acid.

Based on my experience, how effective is Pantothenic Acid for acne?

Pantothenic Acid did help me to a certain extent in controlling my acne. I stopped getting those angry red bumps on my face after consuming Pantothenic Acid two months ago. However, from my experience, I developed a dependency on this vitamin. When I stopped taking Pantothenic Acid for my skin, acne started to pop out again. 

If you want to try out taking Pantothenic Acid for acne and confirm the Vitamin B5 benefits for the skin, you should do it diligently for a few months at least. You will not see the effect in a few weeks’ time, not to mention overnight. The photo below shows my skin 2 months after Pantothenic Acid and Japanese water therapy.

pantothenic acid for acne_clear skin

Should you try Pantothenic Acid for acne then?

[Update from 2022] I am writing this final paragraph after I stopped taking this vitamin. From my personal experience, the side effect of stopping the intake is quite bad on my hair. I had a bad hair fall for a few months after I stopped taking Pantothenic Acid for acne. I read on Reddit that this is not uncommon, so watch out for this! There is a Youtube video by Dr. Dray that is very informative on Pantothenic Acid for acne and its efficacy. Check it out.

At the end of the day, every human body is built differently. What did not work for me might work wonderfully on some of you. I suggest you can give it a try, but observe how your body reacts to it. If it does not fit you, you can find other supplements that can help with your skin health. I have long switched to taking Zinc supplements, which have been working well for me for the past few years now. I cover my experience with Zinc supplement for acne in this other post, so check it out.

Learn about acne, skincare and skin health with me!

AHA vs BHA: Best Exfoliator for Acne

What are AHA and BHA? We may often encounter these names on skincare products and are not really sure what they are. They are chemical exfoliators that are very potent in unclogging pores on the surface and from within. In my opinion, they are the best exfoliator for acne and acne prone skin. I have covered the topic of skin barrier repair products, which can help with acne. Now, let’s educate ourselves a little bit on these potent exfoliating chemicals and also learn about AHA vs BHA.

AHA vs BHA: what is AHA and what is BHA?

AHA stands for Alpha Hydroxy Acid. It is derived from natural substances like sugar cane, milk, and some fruits. There are AHAs that are derived synthetically as well. AHA is a water-loving/hydrophilic, water-soluble acid with small molecules. They exfoliate the surface of the skin and at the same time hydrate the skin. Most of the workings by AHA are on the surface of the skin. That is, they do not penetrate deep into the pores or deeper layer of the skin. However, they are still a potent ingredient to rejuvenate aging skinAHA is also the best exfoliator for acne that is smaller, only on the surface and less severe.

BHA stands for Beta Hydroxy Acid. It is oil-loving acid and therefore can penetrate deeper into the skin pores and get through the sebum that clogs the pores. BHA exfoliates the skin by refining and normalizing the lining of the skin pore. Moreover, BHA is also anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial. Therefore it is often used to treat blackheads, whiteheads and acne. The most common type of BHA is salicylic acid. BHA is the best exfoliator for acne that is deeper in the skin because it works its way to skin deeper layers.

Now you understand AHA vs BHA and the difference in the way they work on the skin. The combination of their varying functions makes AHA and BHA the best exfoliator for acne.

AHA vs BHA: Incorporate in your routine

best exfoliator for acne_skincare

When people hear the word “chemical” or “acid”, they often feel scared to put this substance on their skin. Do not fret! There are some acids that are good for the skin. And when used properly in the right range of concentration, they can do your skin wonder. In fact, AHA and BHA may be a game-changer in your skincare routine. This is especially so if you are dealing with clogged pores, dull and tired skin, aging skin, and acne.

AHA and BHA are the best exfoliator for acne prone skin. They are chemical exfoliator, as opposed to physical exfoliators like St Yves facial scrub. For people with sensitive, acne-prone skin with breakouts, you should never scrub your skin. When your skin is breaking out and irritated, the last thing you should do is to scrub and irritate it further. You might be tempted to scrub your face hoping to get rid of the dead skin cells, dirt, and sebum that clog the pores. However, you can do it using a gentler method using AHA and BHA. If you are not sure to use AHA vs BHA, try both and start with a lower concentration.

How to use AHA vs BHA?

To get the benefits of the best exfoliator for acne, you need to understand how to use them.

Rather than picking AHA vs BHA, you can use both within the same day but alternate them. For instance, AHA in the morning and BHA at night or vice versa. I recommend not to use any of these products in the morning as they make your skin more photosensitive. So the best way to use AHA and BHA is to use them on alternate nights.

When using AHA or BHA, your skin becomes more sensitive to light and more prone to hyperpigmentation. Always use sunscreen with SPF 50, whether you leave the house or not as sun rays still get into the house through windows or doors. Moreover, don’t forget to reapply every 3-4 hours.

Don’t combine AHA or BHA products with Vitamin C. AHA, BHA and Vitamin C altogether may be too acidic and too harsh for the skin. Be kind to your skin barrier. If your skin barrier is damaged, your are prone to skin irritation.

I apply AHA or BHA after cleansing at night. If you want to combine these best exfoliator for acne you can use this order: AHA/BHA, facial essence, moisturizer or hydrating serums. If you use hydrating toner, you can do it in this order: AHA/BHA, toner, and moisturizer.

What best exfoliator for acne to try?

AHA is effective in the range of 5-15%, while BHA is effective in the range of 1-2%. When you start you can use it 2-3 times a week at first, starting from low percentage of acid when you are introducing these products onto your skin before working your way up if you think this works for you. If you want to incorporate AHA and BHA on daily basis, you can use products that have a lower percentage of the acids (low percentage, but high frequency).

Other than using BHA as actives, you can also use BHA in the cleansing step of your skincare routine. Some “anti-acne” or “deep cleansing” cleansers often have salicylic acid (BHA) in their formulation. Examples are Cerave Renewing SA Cleanser, Neutrogena Deep Clean Cream Cleanser, La Roche-Posay Effaclar Medicated Gel Cleanser, to name a few.

Favorite best exfoliators for acne

  • Paula’s choice BHA (2% BHA) – I am currently using this. So far I am satisfied with the results. You use it consistently for 1-2 weeks and you can notice that your nose pores look more refined, and the blackheads / sebaceous filaments production seems to be under control.
  • Alpha-H Liquid Gold (5% Glycolic Acid) – This product has received rave reviews from a lot of skincare junkies. It contains glycolic acid, and it exfoliates while moisturizing the skin at the same time. It is ideal for aging, tired-looking skin. In fact, this brand has a myriad of glycolic acid-containing products to choose from.
  • CosRx Pimple Clear Pad (0.5% BHA) – Good for beginners on BHA. This contains a very low percentage of BHA. However, if your skin is very sensitive and you want to see how BHA works for you, try this out. This product is one of the bestsellers from CosRx (a Korean brand).
  • Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum (AHA and BHA blend 12%)This might be too advanced for those who want to start using AHA / BHA for the first time. The percentage of AHA BHA is high and you may feel some tingling sensation when you use this. However with persistent usage, many find this blend really smoothes their skin, making their skin more glowing and radiant.

Spot treatment using the best exfoliator for acne

If you have acne and you are into homemade stuff, I bet you have heard or maybe you have even tried an aspirin mask. This mask is a tried and tested method to treat your acne at home. It works well on acne or pimples because of the salicylic acid contained in aspirin. What you do is crush a few uncoated aspirins and mix them with water or honey (honey is moisturizing). We recommend that you use honey in your mask mix to prevent your skin from becoming overly dry.

Bear in mind that this mask is quite drying on the skin, so if you have some pimples here and there, you may want to just spot treat the pimples. The BHA  will help to calm the inflammation on your skin down and therefore reduce redness and swelling. Don’t forget to put on moisturizer or facial oil after rinsing off the mask. This best exfoliator for acne is not limited to toning the skin, but you can use it for spot treatment as well.

Should you use AHA vs BHA as best exfoliator for acne? 

You should try either AHA, BHA or both. I am glad I try them out early and reap the benefits on my skin. They really helped me with my whiteheads, clogged pores, blackheads, and my persistent issue with acne. I will continue using AHA and BHA in my skincare routine for the rest of my life. So, start your journey with these best exfoliator for acne today!

Learn more about skincare, acne and skin health with me!

Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum Review

There are other posts in this blog on skincare products. I have reviewed some of the best Paula’s Choice products for acne. I also have reviewed Mario Badescu Drying Lotion before. This time, I will review the Mad Hippie Vitamin C serum. If you are interested in this serum, make sure you read this before you make your purchase.

Mad Hippie Vit C Serum
Trying out this new serum. Satisfied so far!

I have been using serums every now and then to improve my skin. Before discovering this brand I have been using Skin Inc‘s serums, which I realize now are very pricy relative to other brands. Skin Inc serums were very good as well and I have nothing bad to say about it. However, if you use them regularly and use them up very fast, you may want to consider something more affordable.

What is the Mad Hippie brand? 

Mad Hippie is a skincare brand from Portland in the States.  My guess is the name comes from the reputation of Portland as a hipster city. This brand takes safety and health very seriously. Hence, their products are rich in the following ingredients: antioxidants, peptides, bioavailable vitamins, and alpha hydroxy acids. This is in contrast to other commonly used ingredients in mainstream skincare products like parabens, synthetic fragrance, petrochemicals, etc.

mad hippie vitamin c serum_ingredients

Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum Review: How do I like it? 

I really enjoy the light texture of the serum. It is very fast absorbed into the skin. The smell is also very nice and not overpowering: a fresh, citrusy fragrance.

How to use Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum? 

I use the Mad Hippie Vitamin C serum twice daily, morning and night. It is the first thing I put on my face after washing my face. 

In the morning, use this serum before moisturizer and sunscreen. The combination of high antioxidant serum and sunscreen is very effective in combating the photoaging effect of the sun’s UV rays. You can read this article from Real Simple to find out more.

At night, I use this serum after cleansing my skin. I do not use toner, so this is the first layer in my skincare. Then I layer moisturizer and a sleeping mask on top. 

What is the serum's effect on my skin?

The Mad Hippie Vitamin C serum works wonderfully on my skin. It really evens out my skin tone. And this is a big win for me because I tend to have a long lasting redness from acne. The serum also makes my skin brighter, more radiant, and fairer. Moreover, the antioxidant property helps to combat small breakouts even before they appear. Therefore, I have been having fewer breakouts now. However, it cannot help much with preventing the big cystic pimples. It does help with a faster recovery from those cysts nonetheless.

Is Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum value for money?

Very much! It is relatively cheaper for a serum. Especially when compared to other brands like Skinceuticals CE Ferulic which can cost S$258 (NT$5520) for 30ml. The efficacy of this serum also makes it the top skin care product on my shelf that I use day and night. 

The brand’s proposition of safety and natural ingredients also makes this product worth a try. In Taiwan, this product is available at for NT$829 (30ml bottle). I did not take note of the price that I paid at COSMED but it may be cheaper when there is a discount.

Should you buy Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum? 

If you are looking for a Vitamin C serum to add to your skincare routine, I highly recommend this serum. It is affordable and very effective. Do read up on reviews for this product though, as each person has a different skin type.

Update on May 2022: I have purchased many bottles of the Mad Hippie Vitamin C serum so far (5+), and my verdict for this product remains the same. I love this product even more now!

Learn more about acne, skincare and lifestyle for skin health with me!

La Roche Posay Effaclar Product Reviews

When it comes to products for sensitive skin, we often have doubts whether the products will actually work. If they do, amazing! If they don’t, I will give them away to friends who use them or throw them away. I am lucky that I found these three La Roche Posay Effaclar products that work for me. They are formulated in France and I got to know them from review videos on Youtube. At the time of writing, I have been using these products for almost 2 years. I reviewed best Paula’s Choice products for acne in my other post. In this post I will give you La Roche Posay reviews specifically on the Effaclar product range. I will explain these products based on the order of how I use them.


Effaclar Duo (+) to unclog pores

The Effaclar Duo product has a plastic packaging which I like very much. This is because unlike metal tubes, the plastic packaging is very durable. That is, it will not break and leak. You can also cut the tube open when it is almost finished and get the last few drops out.

On the product, it reads Corrective, unclogging care, anti-imperfections, anti-marks. I use it right after putting on moisturizer. Personally, I find it useful in keeping my breakout under control. It also helps to reduce blemishes and the occurrence of whiteheads and blackheads. Over time, it also claims to help correct imperfections on the skin. I can attest after using this for some time that this product improves my overall skin condition.

For those curious about ingredients, this contains:

  • Procerad: ceramide that protect against appearance of red or brown marks from breakout
  • Niacinamide: anti-inflammatory, soothe the skin
  • Piroctone Olamine: combat bacterial growth
  • Micro-exfoliating LHA: unclog pores

Effaclar K(+) to regulate oiliness on skin

I use this in addition to the Efflaclar Duo. Honestly, if the benefits from Effaclar Duo are sufficient for your skin, you do not need this. However, I like to be thorough in my skin regime. Also, I was looking for another product that can boost the efficiency of Effaclar Duo.

The product reads “Oily skin, renovating care, anti-oxidation, anti-sebum 8hr“. I use this because I get oily in my T-zone during the hot summer day. This helps to prevent clogging on my T-zone and regulate the sebum glands.

This product contains:

  • Antioxidant Vitamin E: shield the skin epidermis
  • Anti-sebum complex (carnosine + airlicium): protect the skin with proteins
  • Micro-exfoliating LHA: unclog pores, prevent excess sebum from oxidising into comedones

My only complaint about Effaclar K(+) is the metal packaging. This is because the tube can easily have dents and the product can easily leak out from them. Nonetheless, this does not happen very often but it happened before. Especially when I pack it in my bag during my travels.

Effaclar A.I. to spot treat acne

Effaclar A.I. is my weapon against those fat, pus-filled, angry pimples. It is a targeted breakout corrector. You just need a tiny amount of it, apply it on the pimple, and the pimple gets dry really fast. Hands down, it is the most effective targeted pimple cream I have ever used. I have tried tea tree oil ointment and Oxy cream / benzoyl peroxide before and none works as well as this one. Other products tend to be effective the first few times you use them and the efficacy dwindles over time. Also, benzoyl peroxide irritates my sensitive skin whereas Effaclar A.I. helps to spot treat the acne without irritation.

Ingredients in this product are:

  • Niacinamide: stops the evolution of breakouts
  • Piroctone olamine and glycacil: purifies the bacterial source
  • Micro-exfoliating LHA: activate the skin’s regeneration process

Should you get La Roche Posay Effaclar products?

These products are hypoallergenic, paraben-free, and non-comedogenic so they are safe for acne prone skin.. And most importantly, these Effaclar products work really well for me. Plus, small amount goes a long long way. I am reasonable when applying them on my skin, not too stingy and not too much. In my case, I use up Effaclar Duo and Effaclar K+ within 7 to 8 months. Whereas for the Effaclar A.I., since I only use a small amount of it topically on each pimple, it lasts me for a few years.

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