As temperatures rise (summer is that you?), we find ourselves frolicking through Spring spending more time soaking up the warm, luxurious sun. Whether taking that long-awaited trip to Hawaii, hiking through the epic super bloom of Joshua Tree, or completely immersing yourself in the magical sights and healing sounds of Lightning in a Bottle... The time of year for tube tops, bathing suits, and summer dresses has arrived.
For some, this time of year can be dauting for one reason and one reason only: BACNE (acne that appears on the back shoulders and buttocks). We've all been there: that pesky breakout on your shoulder that leaves you feeling hesitant to throw on that backless sundress or the cluster of red, inflamed bumps between your shoulder blades that itches, burns and ruins your entire outfit.
Although there are many internal and external causes that trigger bacne such as genetics, hormones, and lifestyle, the skin is more exposed to environmental elements and more likely to pick up bacteria during the summer months. Sebum overproduction, bacteria, and dead skin cells clog your pores leading to more bacne and less confidence.
Here are 7 tips to keep your back clear and ready for the summa time:
1. RINSE & REPEAT
Overactive oil glands and excessive sweating can irritate and clog your pores. If sweat is not rinsed off immediately after an intense workout it will dry and becomes a feeding frenzy for acne causing bacteria. Take a shower immediately after your spin or hot yoga class to rid your skin of sweat and oil. Showering will also rinse away any dust, dirt or dead skin that attaches itself to the sweat, eliminating the chances of clogging your pores. If you can't shower right away, use a soft towel and warm water to wipe down your skin, and shower as soon as possible to minimize the chances of breakouts. Or, you can keep HIGHER EDUCATION EASY A® Glycolic Acid Exfoliating Pads in your gym bag for a quick wipe-down.
2. SWITCH UP YOUR SHOWER ROUTINE
Did you know that Bacne can be caused by your hair products? A simple fix is to switch up the order of your shower routine. Washing and exfoliating your body prior to washing your hair can leave your pores open and more vulnerable to pore clogging products. Simply switching the steps in your shower routine to hair wash then body scrub can eliminate any issues. You also want to avoid rising your conditioner down your back; instead, flip your hair over to the front of your body and rinse your pore-clogging conditioner directly down the drain.
3. CLOSE YOUR SHOWER WITH A COOL CLEANSE(R)
Another pro-tip: end your shower with a final cleanse of cool water. Using cool water will close your pores and leave your skin more refreshed, hydrated and moisturized. I know warm showers may feel amazing on our muscles, but they can be irritating on the skin. Cool water is much more soothing and hydrating for your skin in the long run. My go-to end of shower ritual is cleansing with cool water and HIGHER EDUCATION PRE-REQ® Purifying Facial Cleanser, which contains tea tree oil (a natural antiseptic) and leaves my skin feeling extremely refreshed.
4. DON'T LEAVE IT... TREAT IT.
The back tends to be the most neglected area on the skin because, frankly, it's hard to reach. When dealing with bacne, bathing is the most effective strategy. You can do so much good with an old-fashioned sea salt bath! Soaking your skin in sea salt helps to remove excess oil and moisture on the skin with its drying nature, which in turn clears bacteria that causes acne. Pour 2-3 cups of organic sea salt in a warm bath and soak for about 20-30 minutes then dry off thoroughly. Once you hop out of the bath relaxed, you can treat the blemishes with RUSH® Salicylic Acid Complexion Pads, which contain 2% salicylic acid. With the help pf salicylic acid, these exfoliating pads will control oil and clear breakouts while reducing the appearance of pore size in a few easy wipes.
It's also crucial to protect the skin from environmental elements by applying an oil-free moisturizer that won't irritate or cause redness. DOUBLE MAJOR® Hyaluronic Acid Gel Moisturizer is my go-to oil-free hydrator for acne prone clients. I love that it has Ginger Root extract and Niacinamide (Vitamin B3) which are both skin soothing agents. You can continue to use this remedy 2-3x a week until that stubborn acne disappears (trust me, you'll see results.)
5. SCRUB A DUB DUB
A healthy exfoliating regimen 2-3x a week, a daily lightweight hydrator and an oil-free sunscreen is necessary for the overall integrity of your skin. Keep in mind that acne is commonly caused by dead skin cells and oil becoming trapped in your pores. Exfoliation is crucial in the treatment and prevention of bacne because it removes dead skin cells and clears out the pores. HIGHER EDUCATION GRINDING AWAY® Skin Polishing Scrub is a lush exfoliator that doesn't feel too harsh on the skin.
But how does one exfoliate this hard to reach area? Unless you have a partner at home willing to put in the work, it's a good idea to invest in a dry brush with a long handle or a pack of extra-long nylon exfoliating bath cloths. Using these cloths, you can seamlessly exfoliate all the excess build up and leave your skin rejuvenated and refreshed without over extending your arms. The best part about these cloths is you can throw them in the washer and line dry them! This way you are properly exfoliating your body without using bacteria absorbing sponges and loofahs.
6. SLEEP IS MAJOR KEY
Believe it or not you can treat acne by practicing healthy sleeping habits. One of the many tips I give my clients is to get a good night's sleep. A full night of relaxing rest helps rejuvenate skin, increase cell turn over, balance proper oil production, and decrease inflammation. Tossing and turning can lead to a huge increase of stress hormones, worsening swelling acne and breakouts. Create an environment void of allergens and irritants, by washing your sheets and pillow cases on a weekly basis, using hypoallergenic detergent, and clearing your mind before bedtime.
7. BACK FACIALS, SAY WHAT?
Yep! There's a facial for your back. The truth of the matter is that bacne is triggered by the same factors that cause regular face acne. The sebaceous glands on the face and body can become clogged by the overproduction of oil called sebum which in turn can cause acne. If you do your research, you will find plenty of estheticians in your area who offer special treatments for this type of breakout! Estheticians are also highly trained professionals who help guide your skin routine and health habits in the right direction by identifying the pore clogging culprit as well as recommend products for home use. More importantly Back Facials are ah-mazing.
Bacne can range from a small pimple problem, to someone's worst nightmare. No matter how "large" the problem may seem, taking small measures will help to get rid of bacne for good and leave your body ready for summer. The most important thing to remember is: stay consistent. With patience and commitment, you will learn what solutions work best to clear your bacne.