If back acne is a recurring problem, it would be best for you to consult a dermatologist as there may be an underlying cause. However, if you only get an occasional smattering of red bumps on your back, body clarifying products can help.


One of the brands which treats acne effectively from top-to-toe is VMV Hypoallergenics. After all, the brand’s dermatologist founder – Dr Vermen M. Verallo-Rowell – was encouraged to start her own line of products after she effectively treated her husband’s cystic adult acne problem.

The brand’s chief executive and daughter of the founder, Ms Laura Verallo de Bertotto, also suffered from fungal acne as a teenager. It spread to her chest and shoulders, and her mother’s prescriptions helped to clear it up.

The Id Complete Anti-Acne Clarifying Starter Kit ($52, from VMV Hypoallergenics, B3-48 Ion Orchard) comprises six anti-acne products which can be used on the face and body. The star product is the Id Sweat Acne and Overall Anti-bacterial Monolaurin Gel ($32 for 120ml), which has the coconut-derived antibacterial ingredient, monolaurin. The gel also helps to control shine while disinfecting skin.


I also like Peter Thomas Roth’s Blemish Buffing Beads wash ($65, from Sephora stores), which can be used to treat acne on both the face and body. Its jojoba beads exfoliate the skin so that the glycolic and salicylic acids in the formula are better absorbed to deal with the blemishes.

The founder of the eponymous brand had also launched his own products after failing to find anti-acne formulas on the market which could treat his own adult acne problems thoroughly.

Murad, too, has a line of body clarifying products. Try the Clarifying Body Spray ($76, from Sephora stores and BHG Bugis), which is concocted with salicylic acid and retinol to clear pimples and prevent new ones from forming.


The watery formula comes in a spray pump, which makes application in hard-to-reach places a breeze.

Generally, I find that acne products made for the face can treat body acne to a certain extent too. For example, you can use your clarifying facial wash and deep cleansing clay masks on your back.

But for better results, formulas which are made for the body – or and the face – are usually more potent and effective in treating blemishes on the back.

This article was first run in The Straits Times newspaper on February 7, 2014. For similar stories, go to sph.straitstimes.com/premium/singapore. You will not be able to access the Premium section of The Straits Times website unless you are already a subscriber.