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.

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!

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. 

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!

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 iherb.com 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!

Does Moisturizer Cause Acne?

Previously I have talked about my struggle with acne. I had red spots all over my face from inflamed acne, which became swollen bumps under my skin. I thought it is caused by internal problem in my body that cannot be fixed by topical products. However, to my surprise, I found a simple fix, which was applying moisturizer to my acne-prone skin. My skin back then was quite dry and irritated from all the anti-acne products I was using. Hence, I tried putting moisturizer on my skin hoping to calm the skin down. And it worked. My relationship with moisturizer changed ever since. This post will tackle this question many of you might have “does moisturizer cause acne?” and a follow up question “does moisturizing oily skin help acne?”. Find out my answer below.

Acne and hydration

does moisturize cause acne_dry acne skin

Growing up, I always associated acne/pimples with oily skin. Despite knowing that my skin is not that oily, I tried out different products that will dry the skin and I was hoping they will dry out the acne too. In contrary, these products hurt my skin real bad and caused my acne to be more inflamed. In fact, my skin needs more hydration and moisture to heal and the last thing I should do is drying the skin further.

Inflammation on the skin might be caused by the dehydration of layers under the skin. I suspect that was what happened to me. I was using an anti-acne lotion that caused severe flaky skin on my face. It was not only unpleasant to see and touch, but also hurts a lot, some parts of my face was bleeding due to driness. Because of this, I applied a rich moisturizer I had at that time, Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream. Not only that my flakiness went away, small pimples that caused bumps on my skin were gone too. It is as if the reason why my skin was so bad for the past many months was because of severe dehydration.

Does moisturizer cause acne?

So, does moisturizer cause acne? The answer is no, it does not cause acne. In fact, it can help acne to heal. However, you need to read the ingredients in any moisturizer products that you buy, or about to buy. Your skin might have acne from a moisturizer not because of the active moisturizing ingredient itself, but because of the fragrance or other chemical additives within the product. Ingredients like perfume and essential oils might be ok for most but if you are acne-prone, your skin might have a reaction to these ingredients.

Does moisturizing oily skin help acne?

does moisturize cause acne_oily skin

Now we know moisturizer does not cause acne. If you have oily skin, “does moisturizing oily skin help acne?” might be your next question. The answer to this is, it depends on the moisturizer. 

If you already have an oily skin and live in a tropical hot weather, it may not help your skin if you slather your skin with thick heavy moisturizer. However you can opt for gel moisturizer that is lighter in texture and will not clog your pores as much. 

Oily skin might be more prone to acne due to the more active oil glands. If you put on moisturizer on the skin, the skin will see that there is enough moisturize on the surface that it does not need to overcompensate with its oil production. Hence, putting the right moisturizer for oily skin can help with acne in the long run by balancing the natural oil production. 

Should you moisturize your acne-prone skin?

Hell yes, science has proved that well-moisturized skin can heal faster. Pick the right moisturizer for your skin, read the ingredients list and make sure there is no irritant on the list. If you have oily skin, you can also put moisturizer to help with acne. Make sure you choose the right texture for your moisturizer, and be aware that heavy moisturizer can clog the skin pores.

Learn more about skin health, acne and healthy lifestyle 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.

Explore more about skincare and acne with me! 

Pimples on Temples: How to Treat

Have you ever had big painful bumps all over your forehead and temples? It’s not the end of the world, but I’m actually crying inside. The pimples on temples are especially painful. For some reason, they prefer my left temple to the right temple (not that I wish they also appear on the other side). In my other post, I have covered sweat pimples/back acne specifically. In this post, I will talk more about pimples on temples and how I get rid of them for good.

Pimples on temples: close up

I will show you what my skin looked like three days ago, right before Christmas Eve. This picture was taken on the 23rd during nighttime right after I took shower.

Painful bumps on my left temple
Persistent pus-filled bumps on my temple. They always appear on that side of my face
Pardon my angry eyes!
My forehead also had these red bumps

It is very frustrating to see my face in the mirror every morning and spot new bumps appearing. Even without spotting it, I can feel the painful bumps on my skin when I run my hands on my face in the morning once I wake up.

The pimples are not satisfied with my face. They also attack my back! My chest was also affected but it is much better now, so i don't see a need to show you guys!
My chest and back had some red bumps too, the chest not as bad as the back

Why Do I Get Pimples on My Temples?

This is the question that I was interested in, and until today, I can’t figure out exactly why. However, I have some hypothesis. I came up with this hypothesis because I had some acne at hairline and some pimples on back of neck near hairline. As we know, there are oil follicles near our hair roots and if you have acne-prone skin, you might have overly active oil glands. And here we are talking not only oil glands on the skin but also oil glands on the scalp.

With more active oil glands on the scalp, you may have pimples on the scalp, acne at hairline, and also pimples on temples. Acne, which is caused by bacterial infection, can spread from one point to the nearby areas. Considering temples and hair are close to each other, pimples on temples can appear due to bacterial infection near the hairline. 

Similarly, pimples on back of neck near hairline might have the same cause. This is even more annoying though, because it is difficult to treat (since you cannot see it).

How did I get rid of the pimples on temples?

Hydrate and Moisturize My Skin

I noticed a big difference when I changed my facial cleanser back then. Facial cleanser can have a big impact on your skin condition, even if we do not really expect it. My facial cleanser back then was not right for my skin type. It was too harsh and too dehydrating for my already sensitive skin.

I thought acne-prone skin equals to oily skin (major misconception!). Consequently, my skin became too sensitive and inflamed and therefore the pimples on temples as you can see on the photos. I changed my facial cleanser to a more gentle, hydrating one. Also, I started slathering my skin with moisturizers – which I never used before. The combination of hydrating cleanser and rich moisturizers really helped to calm down my skin and help it to heal. I also applied the same moisturizer to my back every night after shower. I will wait for it to dry before putting on my pyjamas.

Use Hydrating Shampoo for Sensitive Scalp

Similarly, for acne at hairline and pimples on back of neck near hairline issue, I changed my shampoo. It used to be a harsher shampoo that is a bit drying for my scalp. I thought since I had some pimples on my scalp, I should use shampoos for oily scalp. Little did I know, it made my scalp condition worse and also contributed to the acne at hairline. Once I changed my shampoo to cater to my sensitive scalp condition, my acne at hairline and back of neck issue also calmed down. 

Do I still have pimples on temples?

How’s my skin now? I’m finally free from this angry red spots issue, and no more pimples on temples, acne at hairline, or pimple on back of neck near hairline! The photo below is taken in 2017 (2 years since this blog post was first made), and my skin is only getting better ever since.

Current skin condition
Clear acne-free skin (finally!)

This is my skin in 2022. No makeup, only no-tint sunscreen.

acne before and after_2022

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!