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Back acne (also known as, bacne) is a particular kind of hell. Unlike regular acne, it’s tough to tell if you even have it, and once you glimpse those spots and bumps in the mirror, it’s hard to treat it because it’s a total pain to reach all the way back there. The back area also is typically clothed so the skin can’t breathe as easily and sweating, exercise and not showering after, clogged hair follicles, over oil production, applying lotion that is too heavy and then sweating all add to the breakouts. We sat down with Dermatologist, Dr. Gary Goldfaden MD to learn more about what causes backne and what we can do to treat it.

What is the cause of back acne? Does it differ from facial acne?

You’re more prone to getting zits on your back vs. the face in general because those areas have high concentrations of hair follicles and sebaceous glands (glands that secrete an oily matter called sebum) which when clogged, causes breakouts. The skin located on the back is also very think and endures a different environment all together: back are area is also typically clothed so the skin can’t breath as easily and experiences conditions such as; sweat build up, wearing tight and restrictive clothing when exercising and not showering after which leads to clogged hair follicles, over oil production, and applying lotion that is too heavy and then sweating. 

What remedies do you suggest (both in diet and what you put on your body) to get rid of back acne?

Regularly exfoliating in the form of your products or external brush/loofa can prevent blemishes and keep dead skin build up at bay, using a benzol peroxide treatment to kill off acne-causing bacteria, wear loose-fitting clothing, shower immediately after working out (or use a wipe to clean skin if an immediate shower is not an option), and maintaining a healthy diet (stay away from sugars, alcohol, complex carbs and incorporate leafy greens, fruits, grains and lean protein) is key to a clear back. 

Are there any acids we should use to help clear back acne or any specific ingredients we should look into?

Similar to the skin on your face, the rest of your body also needs regular cleansing and exfoliation to renew its surface and draw out pore-clogging impurities and because the skin on the back is tougher and thicker than the face, more aggressive products can be applied.  This is a good opportunity to use any facial products that contain lactic, salicylic or glycolic acid as these exfoliating acids cleanse deep into your pores and allow the bonds between dead skin cells to break down and let go. 

Are there any body care ingredients we should steer away from? (For example, any extra bath oils or having a bubble bath). 

Stay away from using heavy lotions and oils in products that can lay flat on the skin and promote build up. It’s important to also use fragrance-free detergents too as the skin can get irritated from the detergents on the clothing. 

Anyways to prevent back acne?

Dry brushing or using a loofa regularly is a great way to treat back acne and keep breakouts at bay. By brushing/exfoliating skin, it works to remove dead skin cells and increases circulation overall. Wash and change your sheets often and try working in a probiotic into your diet to regulate your pH levels. 

What

Both AHAs and BHAs chemical exfoliators work by combining with the structural lipids in the stratum corneum (aka skin) and dissolving them so that the dead skin cells break away. This is just a fancy was of explaining their very efficient exfoliation method and why they’re an encouraged addition to any healthy skincare regimen.

Who

Alpha Hydroxy Acid or AHA (which are Lactic acid, Glycolic acid and the Fruit acids) is used as a facial exfoliator and is an excellent choice for people with sun damaged skin, aging skin and normal to dry skin types. AHA does not cause sun sensitivity and comes in many forms. AHA’s come in the form of lactic acid which is derived from milk, glycolic acid which is derived from sugarcane and fruit acids which are derived from fruits (citrus and apples/malic acid). AHA can also aid in thickening the lower layers of the skin thus delivering firmness.

Beta Hydroxy Acid or BHA (also called salicylic acid) comes from acetylsalicylic acid which is the same source as aspirin. In general, beta hydroxy acid is a more effective treatment for acne prone skin. BHA also can cause sun sensitivity and must always be used in conjunction with a sunscreen.

Why

  • They’re both powerhouse ingredients!
  • Both get rid of the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
  • Both make skin appear smoother and tighter
  • Both make skin look more even in texture
  • Improve scarring
  • Improve appearance of photo-aged skin
  • Both hydrate and exfoliate the skin


Well said from Paula’s Choice: “AHAs and BHA are different, and their different properties make one or the other preferred for different skin types”:

  • AHAs are water soluble and are preferred for normal to dry, sun-damaged skin due to their ability to enhance natural moisturizing factors within skin.
  • BHA is oil soluble and preferred for normal to oily, clog-prone and bump-prone skin, and enlarged pores, and can clear pores deeply, even those with hard, tiny, white bumps on the cheeks and face. BHA is even suitable for those prone to milia.
  • AHAs and BHA work on skin’s surface; but BHA also works inside the pore lining, where clogs begin.
  • BHA has natural skin-calming properties, which make it preferred for sensitive, redness-prone skin. It’s great for sensitive skin, even for those with rosacea.”

When

  1. AM/PM: try one in the morning and one at night. If you’re targeting a skin issue then doubling down can be effective. Make sure to always hydrate your skin properly and pay attention to warning signs such as redness or red or dryness.
  2. Alternate days: Try AHA on day and then BHA a few days later. Listen to your skin and you’ll never go wrong!
  3. Spot treat: If you have combo skin, try using BHA only in t-zone or oily areas while using AHA everywhere else.
  4. Know your limits-not everyone needs both and if you’re particularly sensitive and NOT acne prone then stick to AHAs.

Dr. G recommends: (BHA’s) Fresh A Peel + Detox Hydrating Gel, (hybrid of AHA and BHA) Skin Balancing Mask, (AHA) Detox Clarifying Facial Wash.

We all know the common skin culprits when it comes to breakouts what the causes including,  bacteria and oil, hormones, and certain foods or medications. Have you ever thought about where we live to be some of the main contributing factors to some of our skin woe’s?

 

Tropical Climate – The Issues: While tropical humid climates keep the skin hydrated and glowing, high temperatures and intense sun can cause aging, sun damage and premature wrinkles. Humidity causes skin to sweat, purge and may increase redness, irritation and possible breakouts and clogged pores. Sun protection is imperative.

The Solutions:

In tropical or humid climates, look for lightweight, oil free serums and moisturizers that utilize skin hydrating hyaluronic acid to lock in moisture, but not add any additional hydration to the skin so that it stays balanced and plump looking.

Incorporate exfoliation products that also deliver detox benefits and contain anti-aging ingredients that target sun damage and protect against free radicals. When choosing an exfoliation product or cleanser for warm, humid climates, realize the skin can tolerate a good scrub and detox cleanser. Heavy makeup, everyday sweat and some sunscreens can clog pores and cause breakouts. Our Doctor’s Scrub ruby crystal exfoliator will do the trick by ridding pores of bacteria, dirt, makeup and dead skin cells. Hydrating emollients, hyaluronic acid, jojoba oil and apricot oil keep skin supple and dewy!

Reveal your glow and keep your skin looking bright, clear and radiant. Our NEW Detox Cleanser, which delivers a combination of Lactic, Glycolic, Alpha Hydroxy Acids to work to dissolve excess oil and dead skin cells that build up inside pores. Dr. Goldfaden also developed a proprietary technologically advanced Detox ComplexTM, comprised of potent fruit extracts and active plant cells that provide anti-pollution and detoxification benefits. The skin will look and feel fresher, cleaner, smoother and rejuvenated!

One of the most effective ingredients to keep skin looking radiant, bright and free of dark spots is Vitamin C. Vitamin C can be effective whether it comes from a serum or moisturizer, the important thing is to wear it! If you tend to suffer from redness or irritation look for a serum that offers Vitamin C in conjunction with ferulic acid (for irritation + stability) and Vitamin E (for hydration). The newest serum to our collection, Brightening Elixir, delivers both and two forms of Vitamin B! If you’re not already using a lightweight moisturizer during the day, try swapping to an oil-free option, like our Vital Boost moisturizer.

Last but never least do not forget to wear an SPF! Bestseller Sun Visor is a 30 SPF lightweight, dry mist which is a must have for everyone! No more touching your face during sunscreen reapplications! Also works to set makeup!

In the event you do get too much sun and the skin is red, irritated, or inflamed, reach for our antioxidant serum, Radical Difference, which delivers organic red tea and cherry extract to repair, rejuvenate, and reduce redness.

“Ingredients such as organic red tea can be beneficial, as it targets inflammation and irritation.”

 Dr. Goldfaden