Cast your mind back to the hormonal teenage years and the dreaded facial acne. Huge volcanos of red hot molten lava would emerge from previously unblemished skin, take over and destroy your social life. No amount of Clearasil would clear the fire and brimstone contained within Satan’s wrath.
It was all rather dramatic and thankfully, for most people, it was short-lived too. However, a question I regularly get asked quite often is about back acne or ‘Bacne’. As your back isn’t in your natural line of sight, it’s out of mind. It’s only when you see a picture of your exposed back or shoulders do you see the annoying little pustules. Where did they come from and why are they there?
The causes of Bacne
The causes of Bacne aren’t so dissimilar to facial acne. Increased levels of sebum production, dead skin cell and blocked pores all contribute to back acne. The cyclical hormonal fluctuations influence excessive sebum production. A buildup of a skin bacteria called Propionibacterium Acnes which then thrives in the sebum and dead skin cells cause the inflammation of the spots. Warmth and moisture allow the bacterium to thrive and multiply. Some studies have shown that sugars and carbohydrate intake especially potatoes and bread are linked to excess sebum production.
Prevention of Bacne
Keeping the skin exfoliated from dead skin cells and allowing the pores to remain clear should reduce the opportunity for breakouts. Use a loofah or bath pouf with a mild exfoliating body wash two to three times a week to keep the skin and pores clear. The Body Shop currently has a Wild Argan Oil exfoliating body scrub. Argan oil is fantastic for nourishing the skin too so doesn’t leave it feeling dry like some soaps can. If you want something with a little more luxury, try the Gommage Corps Nude by Anne Semonin which uses sea salt to detoxify the skin leaving it feeling polished, shimmery and promotes cell regeneration.
An unbalanced gut can cause breakouts. Taking a good probiotic from Optibac regularly will keep your tummy and your skin happy. There is some evidence that taking Omega-3 fatty acid supplements help to keep acne at bay. Omega-3 fatty acids are naturally found in oily fish like Mackerel and sardines.
Wearing breathable clothing that keeps the skin cool and dry will help prevent skin irritation and spots developing. Remember to shower after work outs as perspiration will lead to blocked pores too.
Treatment of Bacne
Salicylic acid containing products are available to exfoliate and reduce the inflammation of the spots. I would avoid Benzoyl peroxide as it is available in many spot creams but can severely dry out the skin leading to unsightly flaking. A range of cosmetics on my radar is Paula’s Choice skincare. They have a Clear 2% BHA body spray that makes application on the back easy whilst penetrating the pores to expel spots and black heads on acne susceptible skin although do not use salicylic acid containing products if you have an aspirin sensitivity. Skin peels are very useful on the back or other spot prone areas of the face and body. Regular skin peels will keep acne at bay whilst giving your skin a nice healthy glow. The Glow peel from Alumier is my current favorite and am seeing impressive results and very happy clients.
This should help get ready for the summer holidays and have the confidence to expose your shoulders and back without those pesky spots photobombing your perfect vacation snaps.
Written By: Bhavash Padhiar