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Combine sweat, hormones and pore0-clogging beauty products, and you’ve got a recipe for breakouts and blemishes on the face and beyond. According to Dr. Sejal Shah, founder of New York City’s SmarterSkin Dermatology, “The factors that cause acne are the same regardless of location. Oil and dead skin cells block the pore and lead to P. acnes bacterial overgrowth, which causes inflammation.”
In addition to main contributors like diet and pore-clogging hair and skincare products, pressure and friction caused by tight-fitting workout gear can make matters worse by trapping dirt and sweat. Blemishes on the back are particularly bothersome come summer thanks to bathing suits, tank tops and more revealing clothing—so what is one to do?
Dr. Shah recommends a few simple steps that can banish backne for good and help you enjoy clear skin from head to toe.
- Cleanse your back before and after exercising.
- Try a medicated body wash with benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid.
- Make sure all products that come in contact with your back (including shampoo, conditioner and other hair-styling products) are non-comedogenic.
- Avoid harsh ingredients, scrubbing, over-exfoliating and don’t squeeze or pick!
- After a workout, change out of sweaty clothes ASAP.
Now that you know what you should and shouldn’t do to minimize backne, check out these hero products and treatments to help keep body breakouts at bay.
Skin Laundry Purifying Cleansing Cloths
If you have a hard enough time finding the time for a workout, odds are a pre-exercise shower isn’t happening. Fret not, because these super-soft wipes feature pore-clearing salicylic acid along with soothing chamomile and cucumber extracts to leave skin fresh and clean in just a few seconds.
Murad Acne Control Body Wash
Combining physical exfoliation courtesy of date seed powder and chemical exfoliation with a blend of glycolic and salicylic acids, this body wash helps clear up and prevent breakouts by eliminating pore-clogging oil, dirt and debris. As an added bonus, it also delivers a dose of skin-soothing green tea and licorice root extracts to quell inflammation and irritation.
Replenix Acne Solutions Gly/Sal 10-2 Spray
Acne treatments can be tricky when it comes to application on hard-to-reach spots like the back, but this spray eliminates the stretching and straining. Packed with 10% glycolic acid and 2% salicylic acid, this mist promotes exfoliation to prevent clogged pores as it hydrates and smooths skin texture. (It can be used on the face and chest as well.)
Sciton Forever Clear BBL
Office-based acne treatments aren’t just for the face. This state-of-the-art light-based technology uses a triple-header of light to treat breakouts; blue wavelengths of light to destroy the P. acnes bacteria responsible for acne, yellow light to reduce the redness and inflammation associated with breakouts, and red light to promote the skin’s natural healing process. BBL is a preferred tool of Los Gatos, CA Dermatologist Dr. Steven Swengel of Refined Dermatology, “BBL can be personalized specifically for every patient’s skin and areas of concern. This powerful light technology can help take your results to the next level,” he says.
A series of eight 30-minute treatments is recommended for optimal results, and although skin may be slightly pink for a day or two after treatment you can get back to your usual activities immediately afterwards. Most patients see visible improvement in active breakouts within a few days after the first treatment, and results are long-lasting (although periodic maintenance treatments may be needed).
Note: Murad and Skin Laundry were purchased or sampled in-store. Replenix product was sent for review and trial. All opinions are my own.