Is having 'bacne' holding you back from being able to wear anything, including those weather-appropriate backless tops during the sweltering months of summer? Covering up on the beach not because you're modest, but because you're afraid your friends will engage in an impromptu game of connect-the-dots when you reveal your back?
Bacne is a term for back acne, and as the name suggests appears on the back, upper arms and the buttocks. As with facial acne, bacne tends to occur around puberty when the production of hormones in the body increases and the sebaceous glands start producing sebum (oil).
When too much sebum is produced, pores and hair follicles can become clogged, attracting bacteria and leading to acne. Although all types of acne are more common during teenage years, the condition can persist into adulthood.
There are many factors thought to contribute to both facial and back acne. These include heredity or genetics. It is thought that the tendency to develop acne, especially severe acne, can be inherited from your parents. Another cause can be environmental stimulus such as stress. But there are some other factors which are specific to bacne. Tight fitting, synthetic clothing is one of the main culprits of bacne. Collars, helmet straps or caps can cause perspiration to become trapped against your skin, leading to irritation, and synthetic fabrics of any type will trap heat and moisture against your skin increasing the presence of bacteria that causes acne.
So how do you get bacne off your back?
1. Wear lightweight, loose-fitting clothing made of cotton or other natural fabrics when working out. These allow your skin to breathe and are less likely to cause friction, another factor in acne creation.
2. Change out of your workout clothes and shower immediately after exercise, otherwise all the good effects from exercising—flushing the toxins out of your pores and controlling the hormones which lead to acne—will be lost.
3. For women, try to wear a clean bra every day and make sure the bra straps are not causing any undue irritation on the back or shoulder blades. Carrying a backpack can also cause irritation in the areas where the strap presses against the back and shoulders.
4. Change your bed sheets regularly and try different washing powders to see if there is any improvement in body acne.
5. For skincare products, look for those that are "non-comedogenic", which means they won't clog pores. Benzoyl peroxide solution kills the bacteria that worsen acne, unplugs oil ducts, and helps to heal spots. It can be found in many over-the-counter acne medications. Start with a five per cent gel or lotion once a day, and apply after washing. Gentle washing with a deep cleanser is also important to help remove dirt that ordinary soap and water can't do; but too much washing, and excessive scrubbing can cause irritation.
6. If you have long hair, shampoo and conditioner may be irritating the pores on your back when you wash it, so make sure you rinse your hair and back well when bathing.
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