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

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!

Japanese Water Therapy: Methods and Review

Water is important in our life. Our body is ~60% water according to a Healthline article. Without enough water, our bodily functions cannot run properly. However, is that the only benefit of water to our body? The Japanese might beg to differ. They consume water in such a way to unlock more water benefits for our bodies. Want to find out more about this? I have talked about lifestyle changes for acne in other post. Now I will talk about Japanese water therapy that I have tried myself, with great results.

My dad suggested I try out this simple, cheap yet effective therapy. It originates from Japan and apparently it is the secret why the Japanese are slim and healthy. This might be a generalization but come on, we often hear people in Japan live past 100 years old – so this should not be far from true!

Japanese Water Therapy: How to Do This Therapy?

The therapy has very simple rules:

  1. Drink 3-4 glasses (160 ml each) of warm water right when you wake up, before brushing your teeth
  2. Avoid eating anything 45 mins after
  3. Do not drink or eat anything after any meal for 2 hours

I find the last one is hard to stick to. After the meal, I would like to have water or tea to rinse the mouth and throat to get rid of the food smell. This is especially after I have food with strong taste/smell/herbs. I would not drink too much after big meals like lunch or dinner, but I will just drink just enough amount to rinse my mouth and then pop some mints to freshen my breath.

japanese water therapy_drink water

Is Japanese Water Therapy effective?

Cleans up digestion first thing in the morning

Within 10-15 mins after drinking the water, I can feel my body warming up, just like when you warm up the car engine after haven’t used it for long. Likewise, after sleeping for 7-8 hours, our body needs to warm up in order to get the ‘engine running’. Within half an hour to one hour, normally I will go to the bathroom to do ‘the business’. It feels good to do it early in the morning and get rid of the waste from the body. Starting the day with a clean colon!

I believe having active digestion with a regular pooping schedule helps me to maintain my figure and weight as well. I am 168 cm tall with 49 kg weight. My figure is tall and slim and I can contribute this not only to genetics but also to my toilet habits. When we eat, we are providing our body with the input of food, and when we poop we are removing those waste post digestion of the food. I eat 3x a day and I poop 1-3x a day normally.

Japanese water therapy_poop

Hydrating the body and clearing up toxins

I used to skip drinking water first thing in the morning before.  When I get to the office, instead of drinking water, I drink coffee first. It was a bad habit, especially our body needs water after 7-8 hours of not having any water intake during our sleep. Water is one of the biggest compositions in our body. Therefore, drinking water is very important to keep our body hydrated, to keep the cells functioning, and also to get the toxins out of the system.

After 2 months of doing Japanese water therapy regularly every morning, I noticed that my skin is hydrated. I have less flaky skin even when I forgot to put on moisturizer on my skin. This proves that hydrating from within is as important as, if not more than, hydrating from outside. Also, I used to have flaky, dry feet – you know, those white clouds on your feet that you feel so tempted to peel? I noticed I don’t have that anymore and I got my baby soft feet back. Not sure about the science behind the disappearance of those ‘white clouds’ but I will contribute it to the Japanese water therapy.

japanese water therapy_hydrated skin

My body feels warmer

People who know me for a long time would tell you that I used to constantly have digestion problems. When I go to the mall or get exposed to very cold air-conditioning in the room, or when I feel nervous about something, my digestion system often reacts badly. I will have the urge to go to the toilet and often have unexplainable diarrhea. This was very inconvenient. After doing Japanese water therapy for a few months, I feel my body is warmer from within. Despite the coldness of the room, my digestion system will be fine. No more sudden cold sensation or the urge to go to the toilet. It is as if the digestion system is calmed down. 

Moreover, in the past, I need to always make sure I have a cardigan or scarf in my bag as I feel cold easily. However, now I don’t need to do that anymore – talk about CAREFREENESS! For this one, I am very certain it is because of the water therapy.

japanese water therapy_carefree

Should you try Japanese water therapy?

Yes, I highly recommend this Japanese water therapy, because it is very simple, cheap, and easy to do. The gist of this therapy is to drink water on empty stomach, and try to follow the portion/size and timing details per instructions stated above. You can reap a lot of benefits from just a small change in your daily habit in the morning. 

If you are wondering whether it clears up my skin, the answer is yes to a certain extent! I still do get occasional pimples even after doing water therapy. Pimples and acne are very complex issues and I didn’t expect this therapy to get rid of them all at once. However, I am not disappointed with this therapy. In fact, I am very satisfied with the major positive effects it has on my body. There are a lot of people who can testify positively about the benefits of Japanese water therapy. You can read an article here that also shows you the benefits of water. When your parents and people tell you to drink more water, listen to them!

Drink more water and cheers!

Update (Feb 2022): My skin is clearer now which can contribute to the detoxifying effect of this water therapy. Also, what I am amazed with is that my premenstrual pain is gone. I used to experience horrible pain before my period came. Also, my period used to last for 3-4 days only. Now I don’t feel any pain at all before my period and my period lasts for 5-6 days. It is as if the outflow of the menstrual blood is improved after doing this therapy.

Skin Barrier Repair: How To & Products

I am a big believer in treating acne sustainably from within and through lifestyle changes. Previously I have covered lifestyle changes for acne, Japanese water therapy, and how exercise can help with acne. This time I will pivot a little bit and talk about products to apply to the skin. The focus will be on products for skin barrier repair. In this post, we will talk about how long to repair the skin barrier, how to repair your skin barrier and the best skin barrier repair products.

The need for skin barrier repair

How can the skin barrier get damaged in the first place? First, you might damage your skin barrier when you use the wrong skincare products. Products that are too harsh on the skin and damage the natural skin mantle can compromise the skin barrier. Second, you might handle your skin in the wrong way. For example, using water that is too hot on the skin or using facial scrub that is too rough. When the skin barrier is compromised, the skin might be dehydrated, sensitized, and more prone to infection.  

How to repair your skin barrier

You can repair your skin barrier by changing the way you handle your skin. Observe how you handle your skin every day. Starting from when you take a shower or wash your face to the products that you use for skincare. Do you use water that is too hot that it dehydrates your skin? Do you use a facial cleanser that is suitable for your skin type? For example, if your skin is dry, you should not use a cleanser meant for oily skin. Do you use a facial scrub that is too harsh on the skin? If your skin is already sensitized, do you continue using your facial scrub for exfoliation? And do you hydrate and moisturize your skin enough, especially given your living condition? For example, if you always stay in an air-conditioned room that can dehydrate the skin, you need to moisturize your skin enough. 

Building an understanding of what kind of skin you have is also important. If your skin tends to be sensitive, when you try acids or serums, try the lower concentration first before amping it up to the higher one. Skincare products that are too strong, especially acids or retinol, can damage your skin instead of improving its condition. 

skin barrier repair_healthy skin

How long to repair skin barrier

Once the skin barrier is damaged, the skin barrier repair process might take time. The skin needs to return to its original optimal condition in its own time. You may need to change the way you tend to your skin. Moreover, you will need to revisit the skincare products that you use, and really assess which one works for you, and which does not. Personally, it takes me a couple of years to get my skin to where I want to be after all my breakout episodes. I have been maintaining my healthy lifestyle and skincare to keep my skin at its optimum level. 

Skin barrier repair: steps to take

Revisit how you wash your face

Use lukewarm water to wash your face. In the morning, if you do not need to use a cleanser, you can opt for micellar water to gently take away your overnight skincare products on your skin. Milk cleanser can be an option too if your skin is easily dehydrated. Do not wash your face too often. This is because every time you wash your face, you are stripping away the natural oil on the skin.

Revisit how you dry your face

After washing your face, pat your skin dry. Do not rub your face too hard with the towel. If you are suffering from acne and worry about germs, you can pat your skin dry with a tissue. This way, you do not need to dry your face with the same towel every time.  

Avoid harsh chemicals

Try to treat your skin more gently. If you have acne, you might want to use all means to get rid of it quickly. Therefore you might use too much of anti-acne products, or overexfoliate your skin. Evaluate your skin reaction to these products. Sometimes these products are too harsh on the skin, especially those with higher concentration. Do not confuse actives concentration with product effectiveness. Products that are too high in actives concentration might damage your skin rather than benefit the skin. Pay attention to how your AHA, BHA or retinol affect your skin condition.

Another chemical that we should look out for is Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS). This is common in any skin cleansers. It is a surfactant that can help to loosen dirt from the skin surface, hence helping in the cleansing process. However, research has shown that it can penetrate the dermal layers and disrupts the natural oil and moisture layer. It can also disrupt the pH level of the skin, which can compromise skin health and immunity. Our skin pH is at 5.5 and SLS is more alkaline at ph 7. Skincare products at lower pH that is closer to our skin natural pH at 5.5 will work better with the skin.

skin barrier repair_applying skincare product

The best skin barrier repair products

Brands that work for different people may differ. However, in essence, gentle skincare products with the right concentration for your skin type, and with the right pH level will be good for your skin barrier. Also, hydration and moisturization of the skin are super important for your skin to function at its optimal level. If you want to add some antioxidants, they can boost resiliency and help your skin to fight free radicals as well. 

These are the best skin barrier repair products in my skincare routine, I will break it down based on morning vs evening routine.

Morning routine

  1. Cleanser – SebaMed Anti Bacterial Cleansing Foam
  2. Serum – Hada Labo Hyaluronic acid, followed by Mad Hippie Vitamin C
  3. SPF – L’oreal UV Perfect Super Aqua Essence SPF 50

The cleanser is good for sensitive, acne-prone skin. It keeps the natural skin pH level at around 5.5. I usually leave the cleanser for 2-3 minutes on my skin before rinsing it off. After cleansing, serums are next. Hyaluronic acid is a humectant (it hydrates the skin) and Vitamin C serum is to boost the function of the SPF. I wrote about how Vitamin C is well combined with SPF in the morning in my other post. For the SPF I use anything that is not greasy and this one does the job. Another favorite is the Biore UV Aqua Rich sunscreen line.


And after all these products I put on my makeup, usually very minimal only revolving around under-eye concealer, concealer (for spot concealing), and setting powder to make my skin not shiny.

Night routine


  1. Cleansing Wipe – Makeup Removing Towelettes by Dr. Morita
  2. Cleanser – SebaMed Anti Bacterial Cleansing Foam
  3. (On alternate days) AHA/BHA – Paula’s Choice 5% AHA or Paula’s Choice 2% BHA OR Paula’s Choice 1% Retinol
  4. Moisturizer – Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream 

Choosing the right cleanser is very important. Harsh surfactants like Sodium Lauryl/Laureth Sulfate (SLS) are alkaline and will disrupt the natural skin pH balance at ~5.5 (slightly acidic). Find a gentler cleanser that is closer to skin natural pH.

AHA and BHA have been the game changer in my skincare routine. AHA makes my skin smoother, softer, more glowing and hydrated. On the other hand, BHA helps to reduce the appearance of blackheads and make my pores smaller. Don’t use AHA/BHA with Retinol at the same time because the combination might be too strong for most people.

Find out what moisturizer works best for your skin. When I use retinol, I wait for around 20 minutes before I put on moisturizer. This is to allow the retinol to sink into the skin before you put another product on top.

How’s my skin barrier repair journey so far?

I am conscious that this skin barrier repair journey cannot be rushed and I would need to allow the skin to restore its optimal condition in its time. After changing my own skincare habits, I have not been breaking out and I am very thankful for that. I believe that a good cleansing habits, proper chemical exfoliation, and generous skin hydration really can do your skin wonders. 

Since I have dry skin, skin hydration is actually super important to give me the clear, supple skin that I have always dreamed of. Hydration does not only come from skincare, but also from water intake. Japanese water therapy works well for me, and at the same time, I make sure that I drink water throughout the day. 

Find out more about acne, skincare and skin health with me!