It’s date night and you are all dolled up, ready for a good time with your partner. You put on that new backless dress you bought, in a lovely shade of pink that brings out a rosy glow on your cheeks. As you twirl in front of the mirror, watching how the cut flatters your body, you discover, to your horror, a smattering of red across your back!
Back acne — an unreachable pain on the back.
Back Acne? What’s that?
Back acne or ‘bacne’ is truly a pain in the back — no pun intended. You know they are there, you can feel them there, but without twisting and turning yourself like a contortionist, you just cannot reach them.
Your face isn’t the only place where acne will appear. Acne affects any part of the skin that has oil-secreting glands and hair follicles. And this includes your back, chest and shoulders.
Your skin has numerous sebaceous glands that secrete sebum, an oily substance. Sebum, along with dead skin cells and bacteria, can build up in the hair follicles on your back and clog them. A clogged follicle eventually breaks down, becomes inflamed and causes pimples to appear on the skin surface.
Types of Back Acne
- Whiteheads are closed comedones that develop when clogged follicles form underneath your skin, resulting in white bumps.
- Blackheads appear when the clogged follicles are located at the surface of your skin and are open. The ‘black’ appearance is due to a reaction between the sebum and air.
- Papules are small pink bumps that are sometimes tender to the touch.
- Pustules are white or yellow pus-filled papules with a reddened base.
- Nodules are formed when acne lesions develop deep below the surface of your skin. They harden to form large, painful nodules.
- Cysts are larger, pus-filled acne lesions that are very painful and can cause scarring on the skin.
Factors that may Worsen Acne
There is no ‘acne gene’. However, genetics plays a role in how easily your pores clog. For instance, you may have a hereditary tendency to overproduce dead skin cells, which contribute to clogging pores. And we know that clogged pores lead to breakouts.
Acne can develop as a side effect from the medications you are taking for other conditions.
For adult women, breakouts can be linked to hormonal changes that happen during menstruation and pregnancy.
Keeping ‘Bacne’ at Bay
Pulling your hair out over your ‘bacne’? Do not worry, as ‘bacne’ is preventable and treatable. The following tips can help you achieve a clear, smooth and flawless back.
1. Have A Consistent Skincare Routine, Even for Your Back.
There is nothing more important when treating acne than a consistent skincare routine. Follow a daily cleansing regimen: Wash your back twice a day — once in the morning and once in the evening with a gentle, but effective acne treatment wash that will help fight existing pimples and prevent future breakouts.
2. Always Shower after Working out.
Exercise is good, right? Think again. ‘Bacne’ is a result of friction and sweat that rev up inflammation. Tight-fitting exercise attire, like your sports bra, traps sweat, which when mixed with bacteria, dirt and oil on your skin, can trigger an outbreak. Friction from sports gear rubbing against the skin may also aggravate back acne. Jump right into the shower as soon as your workout is completed to prevent clogged pores from forming.
3. Limit Use of Oil-Based Skincare Products.
Products with thicker consistency, like cream, are likely to clog your pores, so look out for products with a gel or liquid consistency, or ones that are water-based and extremely light. These products are less likely to cause acne or worsen your breakouts. Greasy ingredients, like jojoba, olive and avocado oils and shea or cocoa butter, should be avoided. Instead, try to look out for fragrance-free products that contain glycolic acid, retinol, hyaluronic acid, benzoyl peroxide and witch hazel.
4. Eat Healthier to Reduce Acne.
Studies have shown that certain dietary choices, like refined carbohydrates and dairy products, may trigger acne breakouts. Foods rich in these nutrients are linked to fewer occurrences of acne: Complex carbohydrates, zinc, vitamins A and E, omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants. Consider incorporating some of these ‘skin-friendly’ food choices to help improve your skin:
- Brown rice, quinoa and whole-wheat bread
- Salmon, mackerel and other kinds of fatty fish
- Carrots, apricots, sweet potatoes, tomatoes and blueberries
- Spinach and other dark green, leafy vegetables
- Pumpkin seeds and nuts
- Beans, peas and lentils
5. Seek A Dermatologist.
You have tried over-the-counter topical creams and yet, you are still battling with acne issues.The next recourse may be to consider visiting a dermatologist for alternative solutions, like acne treatments administered by specialists. There is no doubt that being plagued by acne is incredibly frustrating and stressful. But with the right treatment, plus the patience and perseverance to keep trying, you can control your acne. Do not give up! Clear and flawless skin may just be right around the corner.