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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. 

After months of frigid temperatures, dry and cold air, spring is finally on the horizon and warmer, balmy weather is starting to sprinkle in. Winter has left the building (well, almost), taking with it our dreary moods and dry, itchy skin. And while we’ve spent the first part of 2019 layering on anything and everything that can provide hydration, the warmer air, and increased humidity mean our skin is about to be in for a shock. How, then, to prep the face for sunnier days ahead? We sat down with Dr. G to get the 411 on how to transition successfully into the dog days of Summer ahead.

Why does skin need renewed attention come spring?

As Springtime temperatures vary between warm and cold both inside and outdoors, skin can be particularly challenged this time of year by dehydration, lackluster-looking skin, and breakouts. Spring also makes way for sunnier and warmer skies, which can increase sun damage, hyperpigmentation, and congested/polluted skin.

Any tips on how to wake up skin for spring?

Exfoliate: Cold temperatures and less exfoliation can leave a thick layer of dead skin cells and built up oil post-winter months. Exfoliation whether physical or enzymatic is the best way to jump-start your spring regimen, rid your skin of any excess dry and flaky skin and achieve that  dewy fresh glowing skin.”

Any ingredients we should be looking out for in particular?

“Lighten up and swap out heavy creams for lighter, oil-free moisturizer or serums Look for immune boosting and hydrating ingredients like Vitamin D and Hyaluronic Acid. Hyaluronic Acid is a miracle ingredient to use this time of year because it binds and locks in moisture to prevent dehydration while being lightweight (has been proven to hold up to 100 x the weight of water). Vitamin D delivers immunity without having to get it from the Sun.”

Pack on the antioxidants: Load up on power-packed anti-oxidant rich serums to protect skin from free radical damage and pre-mature aging. Look for Vitamin C, Organic Red Tea, Ferulic acid and resveratrol-rich ingredients.”

How often should we change up our skincare routine?

“There is no rule about when or even if you must switch up your regimen. If your products are working and you are seeing results, there is no reason to change. However, be smart about the climate you live in as this can indicate the need for more hydration and or less aggressive products. “

Travel. Air travel, specifically. Every time you board a plane, you’re exposed to stale, crazy-dry, recirculated air, so even if you’re only taking an hour-long flight (lucky!), you end up with a significantly moisture-sapped, duller complexion when you land. And that’s not accounting for what happens on your actual vacation: using strange hotel beauty products, skin experiencing different water, forgetting your favorite sunscreen, and eating different foods.

We sat down with Dr. G to understand just exactly what happens to our skin and how to combat Jet leg from sinking in while we travel.

Does skin get ‘jet lagged’? How does it manifest?

Jet lag manifests itself in many different ways, both physical and mental. Think fatigue, bloating, insomnia, irritability, digestive issues, breakouts and general stress.

Jet lag, or desynchronosis, is a temporary circadian rhythm disorder that often occurs when a person travels across time zones. The body’s internal clock is disrupted, and major symptoms include insomnia, fatigue, bloating, anxiety, malaise, and emotional disturbances. 

When a traveler crosses a few time zones, the body uses natural cues like sunlight and an eating schedule to try and acclimate to the appropriate time. But because travel is disorienting for the physical body, it can take a few days before all the natural processes even out and become normalized. 

Jet lag is usually worse when moving from west to east because travelers lose hours of their day.

Why does skin suffer? Is the increased cortisol combined with reduced hydration for example?

Stressful security checks, unhealthy airport food options, omnipresent air conditioning, cabin pressure and dry air can wreak havoc on the most resilient complexions. Dehydration and bacteria are major factors here. If you’re prone to breakouts, touching bathroom doors and tray tables (full of germs) and then touching or rubbing your face can exacerbate acne, let alone make you sick. Always a good idea to pack antibacterial wipes and wipe down the areas you will be touching. If you feel ill before travel you may want to wear a mask to protect yourself and those around you.  

If you choose to sleep on a flight (or in the airport) it’s likely not high quality zzz’s. Rest is incredibly important for cell turnover and skin recovery—in fact, regeneration happens three times as fast while asleep.

Are there any ways we can prevent it before hand? Or lessen its impact during flight or afterwards?

Pre-flight:

A pre-trip plan is crucial when it comes to preventing jetlag. If time permits you can start the week before travel by starting to wake up a few hours earlier every day to get your body used to another time zone. This is probably best for time zones, which will be many hours ahead. If you choose to do this, use a light to stimulate your brain/melatonin levels when waking (as the sun will not be up yet).  Being hydrated before your flight is crucial. Try drinking a hydration multiplier powder to increase internal hydration. Going makeup free on the flight is also a good idea but make sure you are wearing an antipollution serum (Brightening Elixir) and heavy moisturizer or nourishing oil (Fleuressence Botanical Oil) to lock in moisture. 

Inflight:

Drink plenty of fluids (no alcohol or caffeine as they dehydrate the body and skin).  Try and rest and or sleep. Pack earplugs and a sleep mask to create a relaxing sleep environment. 

Post Flight: 

Wash your face very well and try a gentle peel. Our Fresh A Peel (lactic acid peel) will obliterate any dry skin or bacteria that may have happened as a result of air travel. Follow with a hydrating oil or rich night cream. 

If possible, try to book a flight that lands later in the evening at your final destination. Your goal is to basically get to sleep, as this is the best way to acclimate to a new time zone. If you arrive during the day, a light workout or walk outside in the sunlight will help set your internal clock on the time zone.