7 ways to combat back acne
While many of us have a relatively good understanding of the various ways we can approach acne breakouts on the face, banishing spots on our neck, shoulders and back is far less talked about. Back acne can be debilitating, leaving sufferers feeling self-conscious and unable to wear the clothes they would like to in an attempt to hide the areas. And, unless you’ve got double-jointed elbows, trying to treat it at home can be a challenge in itself.
Fortunately, a few simple tweaks to our routines can make a huge difference, and you may be surprised by how easy they can be to implement – no contortion skills required.
What causes back acne?
Similar to the breakouts that appear on our faces, back acne is caused by excess sebum production, the build-up of dead skin cells, and bacteria. The skin on our back is extremely thick, so the potential for blocked pores is very high. For those who are prone to spots, the accumulation of oil and dead skin cells in our pores creates an ideal environment for bacteria to thrive. This triggers inflammation in the skin leading to angry red bumps and whiteheads.
As well as this, there are lifestyle factors that can contribute to breakouts, such as hormones and excessive sweating. Bacteria thrives in moist, damp conditions so if you work out regularly and your skin is already acne-prone, you’re a lot more likely to experience a build-up of blocked pores.
Making changes in your daily life
- Cleanse your skin thoroughly in the shower every day.
- Opt for a body wash containing ingredients such as salicylic acid or glycolic acid and use a body brush to gently massage into the affected areas two or three times a week. Glycolic and salicylic acid work to bypass the oil that clogs pores and dissolves the mix of sebum and dead skin cells that lead to acne.
- Apply a moisturiser to soothe and repair the skin barrier, but first, ensure your chosen product is ‘non-comedogenic’, meaning it won’t clog your pores further.
- Wash your bra after each wear.
- Shower as soon as possible after exercise and take a spare outfit to change into if you can’t shower straight away.
- Whilst it may be tempting, don’t pick, squeeze or scratch your spots. This increases inflammation and can lead to scarring.
- Change your bedding and pillowcases regularly as they collect oil, dead skin cells, bacteria and residue from hair, skin and body products if you’re not changing them often.
Key ingredients for treating bacne
Often the same active ingredients that you use on your face to maintain a healthy complexion will work wonders on the rest of your body, and as the skin on your back is much thicker, it can cope with a more frequent application of active ingredients. Salicylic acid and AHAs like glycolic and lactic acids that help to exfoliate and remove dead skin cells as well as zinc and benzoyl peroxide are all excellent go-tos for treating bacne. Here are a few of our favourite products.
Use in the shower to help dissolve dirt, oil and slough away dead skin cells. The Glycolic Renewal cleanser is formulated with a high concentration of glycolic acid to promote skin clarity and brightness and leaves the area feeling thoroughly cleansed and refreshed.
Our absolute swear-by acne solver, Clinisept+ Aftercare is a disinfectant for skin that protects against infection and helps treat conditions like acne. It’s inexpensive and can change your skin for the better quite quickly – spritz onto your back every morning and evening or after exercising to combat any excess bacteria.
Non-comedogenic (which means it won’t clog your pores) this silky, intensive lotion absorbs in seconds and leaves skin feeling insanely smooth and hydrated, and it’s all down to a duo of cell-building ceramides and hydrating PHAs. We love.
When it comes to those all-important acids, Neostrata’s Resurface Peel Pads are pre-soaked in glycolic acid to dissolve dirt and oil while improving skin tone and texture. They contain a 10% concentration of AHAs along with amino acids to exfoliate and hydrate the skin.
Containing vital vitamins and minerals essential for skin health including vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc and magnesium as well as natural anti-inflammatories such as turmeric and green tea extract, Pro Clear helps to reduce sebum production and calm inflammation for a clear complexion.
Disclaimer: Please be aware that results and benefits may vary from patient to patient taking into consideration factors such as age, lifestyle and medical history.