How to get rid of acne scars on back

Previously I have covered the topic of sweat pimples which often appear on the back, hence we associate them with back acne. However, not all back acne are sweat pimples, vice versa. Back acne can appear for the same reason as facial acne. It can be due to hormonal changes, stress, bad hygiene, etc. What frustrating is not only the active back acne, but also back acne scars. Let’s talk more about how to get rid of acne scars on back.

Preventing dark acne scars on the back

how to get rid of acne scars on back_back facial

Acne scars on the back can be frustrating. If you are prone to hyperpigmentation from your facial acne, you are likely to have hyperpigmentation from your back acne as well. Before you focus on how to get rid of acne scars on back, you should focus on getting the back acne under control first. The more you have active acne on the back, the more dark acne scars you may get. You can choose to have back facial, where they remove blackheads and clogged pores on your back. These blackheads or clogged pores can be recipes for active acne. 

Also, my mistake with my own acne on the back is I picked them. And it was difficult not to do that back then because it was itchy and painful. So, I squeezed and picked on them. This is not advisable at all, please do not do this at any cost. If you can go to dermatologist straight away to control the active back acne, please do it. 

When you have active acne or even dark acne scars on your back, refrain from sunbathing under the sun baring your back. This is because the sunlight can actually worsen your hyperpigmentation on the back. Cover your back for now and limit the UV overexposure on your back. 

Get rid of dark acne scars on back

The question remains, how to get rid of acne scars on back? There are some ways to do it.

Back exfoliation using BHA

I have written before about my love for Paula’s Choice products especially its BHA 2% in another post. Not only that I use it for my face, I also use it on my back. This is helpful in exfoliating the skin as well as making sure the pores are clear. As mentioned earlier, if you want to deal with the acne scars on back, you will need to also stop the new acne scars from appearing.

Increase cell turnover using Tretinoin

Tretinoin or retinoic acid helps our facial skin to be smoother and brighter post-acne. This is because tretinoin helps to increase skin turnover, hence revealing the skin underneath. Same goes for our back. If you want to get rid of the top layer of the skin faster, you can apply tretinoin on your dark acne scars as well. Make sure you moisturize your back too after you do this as tretinoin can cause peeling.

Acne scars brightening using Vitamin C

Vitamin C serum is super useful to brighten my facial hyperpigmentation. To get rid of dark acne scars on back, I put generous amount of this serum to cover the broad area of my back affected by the acne scars. I put it every night before sleep, and wait until it dries before I put on clothes. You can use any type of vitamin C serum. In my case I use the Mad Hippie Vitamin C serum that I love.

Laser skin rejuvenation treatment for acne scars

If you have extra funds, you can choose to go to a clinic to do laser treatment to get rid of dark acne scars on back. However, this can be quite expensive as normally for laser treatment, they will charge you based on how big is the area that needs to be treated. If your back acne scars cover a large area on your back, this can be very costly. Read more about my experience doing laser acne scar removal treatment in Singapore.

How to get rid acne scars on back effectively?

If you follow the recommendations above, I am pretty sure you will see some improvements with your acne scars on the back. However, do not just treat the acne scars topically, but also from within. Drink enough water. Exercise and get the body moving and the body sweaty. Take vitamins that are high in antioxidant like Vitamin C, that can help with your immune system and also make your skin brighter and glowing from within. I have been religiously putting Vitamin C, tretinoin and BHA on rotation every night; while at the same time taking Vitamin C daily.

See my back acne in December 2021 vs today – the dark acne scars are not completely gone but a least they are fading away, and also I have close to none active back acne.

how to get rid of acne scars on back_back facial December 2021
how to get rid of acne scars on back_back facial May 2022

Acne Before and After: A 12-year Journey

I have shown you my face at one of the worst times along this acne journey. In my older post before, I have shown you how I had red bumps all over my face, and painful pimples on temples and forehead. You might want to see the photos of my acne before and after. 

My struggle with acne throughout the years

2022 - Singapore

acne before and after_2022

This is me this year. Clear skin, only occasional breakouts that are manageable. I have learned to manage my stress better, improve my sleep quality, and maintain a healthy diet. At the same time, I use good quality skincare products that are suitable for my skin and also continue taking zinc supplements and antioxidants.

2017 - Taiwan

acne before and after_2017

Pardon my messy hair, I literally just got out of the shower. Even though my skin right now is still far from my ideals, I always remember when my skin was far worse. This acne before and after photos are reminders to me to be grateful for how far I have come. I arrived at this state of clearer skin mainly through a better understanding of skincare.

2015 - Hong Kong

acne before and after_2015

I was doing a job that I did not like. Moreover, I was so busy with work that I did not have the time and energy to maintain a healthy diet. Also, I often had problems sleeping due to poor stress management. My poor skin condition was due to a few reasons. First, I had some understanding of the sugar acne relationship and a good diet for healthy skin but I did not implement it myself. Second, I did not understand skincare products and did not have a good skincare routine for my skin type. 

2009 - Singapore

infected pimples_2010 skin

I was so under so much stress preparing for my A level. Back then I was leaving alone at a dormitory, away from my parents. And I did not how to take care of myself well. For instance, I did not eat well. Sometimes I skipped dinner to study and at supper instead. I slept really late to study and could not sleep well because of stress. As a result, everything wreaked havoc my hormones. I had horrendous hormonal, cystic acne all over my face. When one acne went away, another few appeared. Consequently, I was even more stressed by my skin condition. My self esteem and confidence plummeted. Moreover, I was depressed and was in a very dark place.

Takeaway from the acne before and after

Hope this post and my acne before and after photos inspire you, whoever out there struggling with the same situation. Remember that you are not alone, there are a lot of people facing similar acne issues. The key is to listen to your own body to understand the source of your acne. I am saying that because there is no dermatologist who can pinpoint the exact root cause of your acne. It is more likely that you figure it out yourself as you know yourself best.

These photos are testament that you can improve your skin with the right knowledge of skincare and a healthy lifestyle and diet. I achieved this current state of clear skin after 12 years of battling acne.You will get there too one day, so do not be discouraged by your acne issue! 

Check out these related posts that can help you in your acne journey:

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!

Sugar Acne Link: How Sugar Causes Acne

Some might not believe that there is a connection between food and acne. Specifically sugar and acne. You might say, “my friend always eat junk food and her skin is super clear. Is diet really important for acne?”, and my answer will be a resounding YES. Some people have genetic predisposition that makes them not prone to acne, and food will not affect the balance of their hormones and their skin health that much. But if you do have acne, you should not adopt the same lifestyle as they do. Previously, I have covered lifestyle changes for acne. In this post, we will discuss sugar acne relationship. There are many questions out there about “acne from sugar consumption” or “breakout from sugar consumption”. You also might wonder “why does sugar cause acne?”. We will discuss them here, so continue reading.

Why does sugar cause acne?

Our body needs sugar to function, however there is a possibility that sugar can cause acne. And some people are more prone to this than others. Let me explain the sugar acne relationship here. 

When you consume sugar or carbohydrates that get converted to sugar eventually, you will have spikes in blood sugar level. Spikes in blood sugar can cause a few things. First, inflammation throughout your body. Second, increased production of sebum/oil in your skin. A combination of inflammation and sebum production can lead to acne. According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AADA), scientists believe that low-glycemic diet can help with acne. 

Glycemic index refers to the ability of carbohydrate-containing food to increase blood sugar. Low glycemic index means the food will increase blood sugar in low amount, vice versa.

sugar acne_sugary food

How to prevent breakout from sugar consumption?

The answer is, limit sugar consumption in the first place! When I went to my nutritionist, she recommended me a diet based on the sugar acne relationship that we discussed above. The gist of the diet is to reduce inflammation in the body and regulate hormones. That can be achieved by avoiding consumption of anything that can cause inflammation and spike the hormones, including carbs/sugar. Other than that alcohol, caffeine, red meat are also in the list of things to avoid.

Diet to Regulate Hormones and Minimize Sugar

Restrictions on (means none or very minimum amount of):

  • Simple carbs including bread, rice, noodle, potato
  • Dairy (lactose is not good for skin and it might contain hormones from the cow as well)
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • High Glycemic Index fruits 
  • Red meat like pork/beef (because they have hormones injected to them by farmers)


  • Romaine salad to replace carbs, with tomato and cucumber as the main companions to the romaine. no mayonnaise for salad dressing
  • Fruits only limited to apple and orange. Half an apple or half an orange a day
  • Fish and chicken as protein source
  • Omega 3 and Vitamin C as every day supplements
  • Basking under the morning (8 am / 9 am) sun for 30 minutes every day

I went through with this diet for almost 2 years because I was so tired of my acne and breakouts. As a result from the diet, I felt very energized and healthy. Moreover, my skin has never been clearer and for the first time, I felt good in my own skin again. What’s better is that it is sustainable. Unlike your visits to dermatologist where they give you topical cream that might stop your acne. However, when you stop using the cream your acne comes back again, and it comes back worse than before.

sugar acne_clear skin

Given the sugar acne relationship, should you change your diet?

If you want to take the sustainable route of fixing your acne problem, this is worth trying. It sounds simple, but it is hard to maintain. However, it was worth it and I learnt a lot from this understanding of sugar acne relationship and from adopting the diet.

This diet taught me how:

  1. To be in control of my acne
  2. Our body works and how food may affect our skin health
  3. Not to rely on skincare products, but instead fix my imbalances from within

In the course of 2 years I did not always follow the restrictions to the T. I played around with recipes on my own. For example, if I craved rice, I substituted rice with quinoa (a better “grain” alternative). You will learn to be creative in this whole journey and it will also open up your horizon to the world of nutrition.

By changing your diet, not only that you can clear your acne, but you will also be healthier in the process. You may not need to adopt the diet too strictly over time, but you can learn what is your acne trigger and minimize its consumption. I shared my experience when I took the route of laser acne treatment, which did not solve the root cause of my acne. It is not only expensive, but also not effective. 

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.

Explore more about skincare and acne with me! 

How to use Mario Badescu Drying Lotion

There are many products for acne out there. Among them, one of the best ones is Mario Badescu Drying Lotion. I covered other products for acne and skin in my other posts. If you are interested in skin barrier repair products or Paula’s Choice products for acne, you can find their dedicated posts. In this post, I will talk about whether the product works and how to use Mario Badescu Drying Lotion. Find out more!

Quick skin update

At the beginning of summer, my skin was pretty good, especially after I came back from the States in July. I did have some pimples but I did see days where my skin can be completely clear. However, October onwards, I started to have breakouts especially near my hairline on my forehead and temples. They started as whiteheads that you can squeeze and evolved into inflamed pimples. It was a nightmare.

I took a picture of my skin right now and you can see in the picture below that my forehead is far from being clear. In fact, there are whiteheads, pigmented spots from my previous pimples, and that one evil dot ready to pop.

how to use mario badescu drying lotion_breakout

Because of this, I used a pimple topical treatment, which so far has the best effect on my whiteheads and small pimples. So far it has been very effective and it never irritates my skin. Reviews from other folks who used this product before have been stellar as well.

Does Mario Badescu Drying Lotion work?

Many on the internet asked, “does Mario Badescu Drying Lotion work?”. My answer is YES! This product does live up to its name. It can dry your pimples very quickly. Therefore, it can be a part of your pimple emergency kit if you need to improve your pimple appearance overnight.

how to use mario badescu drying lotion_ingredients

Ingredients listed here. Potent ingredients to dry your pimple effectively. It is antibacterial too.

How to use Mario Badescu Drying Lotion?

The next question is, how to use Mario Badescu Drying Lotion? I understand why many asked this question. The product is just a bottle, and there is no applicator provided. You can see in the bottle there are 2 parts to the product. First is the solution, and second, the pink sediment at the bottom. Having said that, do not shake the bottle before using. Instead, you can take a cotton swab, and dip it to the bottom. Then, apply the pink sediment on your pimple. You will feel a cooling and stinging sensation.

If you want to dip it again for another pimple, don’t use the same end of the cotton swab to dip into the bottle. You may risk contaminating the product. Use a new swab or use the other end (that you haven’t used yet).

Another aspect of “how to use Mario Badescu Drying Lotion?” is when to use this product in your skincare routine. There are a few points here. First, this is more fitting to be an overnight pimple treatment as you’ll have some sediments on your pimple after the application (unless you don’t mind sporting that during the day). Leave it overnight and rinse it in the morning. Second, you need to make sure your skin is clean and you have applied your other skincare product for the night. Third, do not apply it to an open wound – it will hurt a lot!

Should you purchase Mario Badescu Drying Lotion?

If you are looking to try a new spot treatment for your pimple, you should give this product a try. It is not that expensive in the world of pricey skincare products for acne. In Sephora, you can get it at ~S$36 for the 29ml bottle. I really enjoyed this product when I had a lot of small pimples. I will use it again if I ever need it for my skin (fingers crossed that those days are over for me).

Note: If you have a sensitive skin you would want to be more cautious when using this product as your skin might be irritated more easily. You can use it how often you need to, depending on how your skin reacts to the product. If it sensitizes your skin, reduce the frequency of application. Also, be mindful of your bedding when you are sleeping too as the sediment might stick to the bedding.

Learn more about acne and skincare in my other posts!