Having acne on your face is hardly fun, but what about back acne, a.k.a. bacne? At least a good makeup tutorial can help make your skin look more flawless, but you can kiss tank tops and strapless dresses goodbye if you’re sporting bumps from your shoulders to your behind. Luckily, with a few simple modifications to your daily routine, you can make those body pimples a thing of the past.
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1. The products you’re using are clogging your pores.
That’s right: Your conditioner, your sunscreen, your body cream, your massage oils — they all can clog pores, causing you to get zits on your back.
The Cure: When washing and conditioning, flip your hair to the front and rinse forward to avoid leaving shampoo and conditioner residue on your back. And instead of regular sunscreen, choose ones that are labeled “ultra-light” or “quick-dry” like La Roche Posay Anthelios 60 Ultra Light Sunscreen Fluid ($30, amazon.com). It’s also better to use lotions in the summer rather than creams because they have less oil content and rely more on water to hydrate the skin, so they’re less clogging.
Going to the spa soon? Massage oils are fine — just finish your massage off with some steam in a shower or sauna to open up your pores to melt away the oils.
2. Your clothes are irritating.
Unfortunately, while working out is great for your body, it can also lead to acne if you’re not careful. The friction from a tight-fitting sports bra can irritate hair follicles and cause red bumps.
The Cure: “After workouts you must shower,” says Tami Cassis M.D., assistant clinical professor of dermatology at The University of Louisville. “Running around afterward in sports bras or gym shirts is a big no-no,” she adds. It may be a pain to switch clothes, but taking a few extra minutes to air out your body can prevent big skin hassles later.
3. You’re predisposed to acne.
If pimply skin runs in your family, don’t be surprised if you get it, too.
The Cure: Don’t worry, there are ways to get around your genes. Try using an over-the-counter salicylic acid or glycolic acid wash to prevent and cure blemishes — Mario Badescu Glycolic Foaming Face Cleanser ($16, amazon.com) is a good pick. Washes have a tendency to be less irritating than leave-on medications, and because they are usually incorporated into your shower routine, they are more readily available, and therefore more regularly used. If these don’t cut it, a prescription-strength topical medication or oral antibiotic may be recommended by your derm.
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4. You’re not eating the right foods for good skin.
Remember: What’s good for your heart is also good for your skin, so it may be time to put down that milkshake and burger if you want a better complexion.
The Cure: This one’s easy: Eat a well-balanced diet. Interestingly, some studies do show a connection between diets that are high in dairy and acne. Any extreme is not healthy, so many dermatologists just recommend cutting down on excess dairy — multiple glasses of milk or servings of cheese a day — rather than eliminating it all together.
5. You’re not washing your back.
This may seem like a no brainer, but forgetting to wash or exfoliate your back is more common than you think. It’s not easy to reach or see, and it’s not particularly stinky, so who wants to waste their time playing twister in the shower? The reality is that your back needs love, too.
The Cure: Since it’s one of the most acne-prone areas, you need to treat it as if it were your facial skin. This helps to keep the follicles clean and unclogged, making them less prone to pimples. Try a gentle exfoliating cleanser such as Dove Gentle Exfoliating Body Wash ($5, amazon.com), which helps to cleanse, hydrate, exfoliate, and even calm inflamed skin. If done on a daily basis this should help keep bacne at bay.