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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. 

Stress is a primary trigger for acne flare ups, especially surrounding arguably one of the most important days in your life, your own wedding day! When you stress the body produces excess oft the hormone cortisol which can cause overproduction of sebum, the oil producing glands which can then form pimples and inflammation. Cortisol can also cause unwanted belly fat and bloat.

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Sometimes we can’t help the stress, but here are some tips that can be controlled and help to keep your skin flawless for the BIG DAY!

Tip #1: One month out it would be beneficial to start to focus on exfoliation. Since the skin’s cycle is 28 days this is the perfect opportunity to start to remove dead, dull skin cells to reveal fresh and glowing skin. There are many at home peels and scrubs that can gentlel but effectively get your skin wedding ready! Look for peels with Lactic acid as this targets hyper pigmentation and sun damage while hydrating. Do not get any sun exposure, limit exposure to pollution such as dirty air, smoking, alcohol and drink a ton of water.

If you’re not already on a strict food regimen, start to focus on appropriate diet. Limit salt and sugar intake, increase natural colorful foods and vegetables and get as much sleep as possible. Exercise can also help to alleviate stress and get circulation going, therefore aiding against inflammation and bloat.

It’s imperative to try and not to change your normal routine, so that there are no side effects from anything new (i.e makeup, masks, scrubs etc). Appropriate rest and sleep along with no sun exposure (especially if its a destination wedding-do not be tempted). Try and keep your skin as clean as possible by cleansing appropriately and drink a lot of water.

Tip #2: Eating foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, the most beneficial being salmon, can greatly reduce inflammation, reduce dryness and increase circulation (all leading attributes to clear skin, glowing and youthful-looking skin). Staying clear of high fructose sugar, alcohol,salt and dairy will all help to keep breakouts at bay and inflammation to a minimum. It may also be wise to stay clear of any foods that are allergy causing foods, such as shellfish and nuts. If you tend to be allergy prone just remember that an allergic reaction can happen at any time for the first time. Again, if at a destination wedding do not be tempted to have the shellfish.

Tip #3: The most important thing is to NOT manipulate or squeeze the blemish, this will cause redness, swelling and possible infection. A few DIY things to try are icing the area, egg whites to dry it up, a cool tea bag and a good concealer. If you develop a severe blemish you can goto your Dermatologist and get a cortisone injection.

Tip #4: Be yourself because that is usually when you feel and look your most beautiful. Beauty comes from the inside first.

 

We all know that adopting a healthy diet and skincare regimen is essential for youthful, glowing and a hydrated complexion, but practicing good habits on a daily basis, away from our diet and regimen is essential to keeping our skin breakout-free and youthful-looking. Highlighted below are some of the top leading daily causes of bad skin habits.

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Photo via HealthMix 

Talking on the Phone: All those minutes spent talking on the phone (and built up bacteria) attaches to your skin and can lead to breakouts on the chin and jawline. Make sure to keep antibacterial wipes with you and clean your phone frequently. Or better yet, use a hands-free ear piece when speaking on the phone.

Dehydration: Not drinking enough water (recommended 8 full glasses per day) can lead to build up within your body as your toxins have a harder time flushing out your lymph system. Dehydration also accentuates the wrinkles in your skin (think of a raisin), so make sure to stay hydrated to keep that youthful and glowing complexion.

Hot Showers: We know that this feels so good sometimes (especially in the colder months) but hot water actually strips away all the essential oils and much-needed skin hydration at the top layers of the skin which can lead to extreme dryness, flaky and cracked skin. Turn the temperature down and limit your shower use to avoid extreme dryness.

Sleep: Making sure that you get the recommended 8 hours of sleep not only helps to keep you looking fresh and vibrant (goodbye dark circles), but it also encourages proper replenishment and rehydration of the skin; it’s like one big machine moving things out and keeping nutrients in.

Too Much Salt: Consuming too much sodium in your diet can literally suck your skin dry of all the hydrating nutrients and much-needed oils not to mention it can lead to health problems. Cut back your sodium intake and make sure your using a hydrating moisturizer or oil to replenish all hydration back into your skin.

Exercise: Are you getting enough? Regular exercise (30 min per day), increases your bodies blood flow, encourages the flushing of toxins and prevents fat build up all leading to that youthful glow and positive mood-boosting results.

*Tip: try walking up the stairs instead of taking the elevator or walking home from work instead of opting for a taxi.

Glasses: Oil and bacteria get built up on the rim of your glasses which can lead to clogged pores and blackheads on the brim of your nose. Make sure to keep a cleaning wipe with you and swipe your glasses daily to prevent breakouts.

Alcohol: We all love to celebrate from time to time, but drinking too much alcohol leads to glycation breakdown in your skins collagen – think sagging, wrinkled and dehydrated looking skin. Make sure to drink one glass of water for each alcoholic drink to outweigh the harmful sugar build up in your adult beverage.

Makeup: Try and avoid the daily heavy makeup as it leads to clogged pores and your skin can’t breath properly. It’s best to practice at least one day per week of makeup-free skin to allow for proper oxygen flow to your skin cells.

Cleansing/Exfoliation: Falling asleep at night without properly washing your skin is one of the leading causes of breakouts and dull, lackluster looking skin. Make sure to double cleanse and exfoliate regularly (2-3 times per week) to ensure that you are going to bed with a squeaky clean complexion.