Test Drive Diaries: Can This Brand Cure Back Acne in Just Two Weeks?
Better watch your back—literally
My relationship with my skin is comparable to how it looked at one point in my life: relatively bumpy with a few rough patches here and there.
Maybe I don’t have a special someone, but if there’s one relationship I’ve (involuntarily) committed to, it’s with my skin asthma, eczema and rashes—all responses to extreme temperature that will follow me for life. My temperamental skin has given me many things, and acne is one gift—or curse—I am well acquainted with.
Facial acne was definitely an issue for me growing up. It took months’ worth of visits to a specialized derma and many a facial to eventually clear. Even though that stage of my life is long over, I find myself constantly worrying about how the pigmentation on my right cheek looks, and I dread my monthly visitor because she brings a few unwanted guests along with her when I’m not careful. However, I can’t say I put the same effort into my body acne, which I know is just as important.
The appearance of my back is ironically something I put on the back burner. I dress pretty conservatively and I’m known by my close friends to be constantly too lazy to wax her pits, so sleeved tops are always my first and only pick. Knowing that I’ll be covered up anyway, bacne is just that: a thought left in the back of my head.
However, over the course of the quarantine, I started working out almost every day. Sports bras became a part of my daily uniform, and it was only then that I realized just how bad the state of my back had gotten. While I wasn’t breaking out, unwanted guests would camp out on my shoulder blades every few weeks. Scars covered the upper portion of my back and, regardless of how many shampoo switches I made or prayers I offered, they just wouldn’t go away.
It’s difficult to pinpoint an exact cause for my back acne when I’ve had it for so long.
According to dermatologist Dr. Anna Liza Yalung, studies have shown that consumption of food with a high glycemic index—pastries, breads, sugary cereals and basically all the good things in life—increase the incidence of acne. “These kinds of food cause a spike in the body’s blood sugar, which researchers have found to cause inflammation and an increase in sebum production. These, in turn, can lead to acne,” she explains.
Dr. Yalung also explains that acne mechanica, a type of acne triggered by friction or pressure against heavy clothing, could be a cause. “This may occur in individuals without pre-existing acne. These are most commonly seen in very active people such as athletes. They can also be seen in people who wear helmets (motorcycle riders, football players, etc) and carry backpacks frequently. This may also explain why people seem to get acne repeatedly on a certain area.”
And then there’s the scorching heat. Are heat pimples actually real?
“Studies have shown that there is a direct correlation between heat and humidity and the occurrence of acne. Simply, the more humid and hot it is, the more breakouts,” explains Dr. Yalung. Heat and humidity—a year-round constant in our country—also provide the perfect environment for the growth of Propionobacterium acnes, the bacteria that causes pimples. Has my back been the perfect bacne breeding ground all along?
Oxecure is a Thailand-based brand that has a complete acne-combatant skincare line. I didn’t know too much about it, just that it had just been brought into the country, but at that point I was getting pretty desperate. The two products I used were the Sulfur Soap and the Body Acne Spray—supposedly a match made in body acne-battling heaven. One of the products promised results in a week or two, so I decided to try it for half a month and see how it would go.
OXECURE Body Acne Spray, PHP299, and Sulfur Soap, PHP89
Upon receiving the products, I was immediately drawn to the tabs on the packaging. The Body Acne Spray claimed to reduce the amount of acne and visibly fade scars in just a week, while the Sulfur Soap claimed to be good for both the face and body. I’m normally pretty skeptical when it comes to multi-use products and am even more doubtful of brave “see results in just X number of days” advertising but, like I said, the desperation was neck-deep.
Going into it, I was pretty worried as I’d never tried any sulfur-based products out before. My skin has also had a history of reacting to a product with Salicylic Acid, a popular acne-zapping ingredient the spray contained. Going into it, I honestly thought my bacne would just end up worse.
The Test Drive
The Body Acne Spray recommended day and night usage, while the Sulfur Soap only mentioned how and not when to use it. I decided that I would only use the soap in the evening, after a long day, post-exercise or just generally when I felt my back would end up grimy.
It was inconvenient at first, and it honestly still kind of is. Being a bar of soap, I didn’t want to leave it in the shower to dissolve, so I ended up leaving it out of where it could stay dry. My routine now consists of washing my back, stepping out of the shower to lather up the soap and then stepping back in. Not exactly the most efficient way to do things but, hey, at least I know I’m getting more bang out of my 89 bucks. While I used the 30g bar, Oxecure also offers a 100g version priced at P249.
That brings me to my gripe about the Body Acne Spray. It’s convenient: the mist is full-bodied and isn’t one of those sad one-stream spritzes, and it sets quickly enough that I don’t have to wait to put a shirt on, but there’s just so little of it. The bottle says 25ml, and I already knew that using it the way they recommended—twice a day, generously—was not going to leave me with a lot of product. After two weeks of use on just my upper back, I had slightly less than half the bottle left, so I can only imagine how much less a person using it on more than just one body part would have. I was happy with the product overall, but thinking I would have to pay P299 for something that would last me around a month, it makes me second guess my need for it. Even the bigger bottle, which has twice the amount, is priced at P459, and I just don’t know if I can justify the cost.
Within the first week, I didn’t notice any miraculous developments like I’d hoped, but I definitely noticed there weren’t any new spots showing up on my back. Both the spray and soap promised to not just stop the acne but also fade the scars and they both delivered, although the change wasn’t too big halfway through the test drive.
After two weeks, the test was over. I didn’t notice any new breakouts in the time I was using the soap and spray, and the scars did lighten. There wasn’t as much change as I’d hoped but it was a start. Peep the progress in the photo and compare it to the active lesions I had in the first picture.
Do I think Oxecure delivered on their promise? Yes, because I saw the results the products claimed they’d have (but just don’t expect a jaw-dropping miracle product).
I guess my biggest takeaway is that some products take time, and I definitely won’t stop with Oxecure. While I did cast my doubts in the beginning, the Sulfur Soap and Body Acne Spray are worth a shot. While they both have their pros and cons, I won’t say no to a product that works—at least while my wallet allows it.
Discover the rest of Oxecure’s product lineup here.
Words Nina Treñas
Interview and Additional Text Cessi Treñas
Special thanks Dr. Anna Liza Yalung
Art Matthew Ian Fetalver