Many people assume that acne only affects the skin on your face. But just as many people have a problem with back acne, (sometimes known as backne).
Although acne on your back is obviously easier to cover up, it can be just as painful, irritating, and embarrassing as when it’s on your face. And you may find that the reason you’re experiencing acne on your back isn’t because you have naturally acne-prone skin, but may be one or more factors that may be contributing to your symptoms
We’ve collated a few back acne dos and don’ts to help you understand the causes of back acne, shine a light on the best back acne treatment, learn some of our top tips for clear skin on your whole body and how to get rid of back acne naturally.
1. Avoid products that irritate your skin
Everyday household, personal, cleaning, skin care and beauty products can cause skin reactions, dermatitis, as well as triggering acne breakouts. Check our post for a long list of the ingredients in products that can trigger acne.
You should be looking to avoid products with ingredients that are comedogenic (meaning they can block pores) and are likely to irritate.
2. Stay away from foods high in fat
Although experts aren’t 100 percent sure what kind of foods cause acne, many people find that certain food can lead to skin problems. And back acne is no exception. Nutritionist Dr. Frank Lipman believes that one of the reasons that acne becomes so severe and we notice problems with our skin is due to inflammation – and when fatty foods clog arteries they can cause much more inflammation than usual.
Pioneer Thinking suggests the issues are more to do with the kinds of fats that our foods are fried in. Foods cooked in trans-fats encourage your body to create a different kind of sebum containing oleic acid which is likely to cause whiteheads.
3. Drink more water
Drink more water throughout the day to flush out the toxins from your body and keep your skin hydrated, which means less breakouts and less reason for your body to produce excess oils. If you find it hard to consume enough water, try setting an alarm on your phone throughout the day to remind you to drink up, or just fill a large bottle of water and ensure it’s all gone before you leave work in the evening.
4. Eat more vegetables
Pack as many vitamins and minerals into your diet as possible. Stock up on a mix of vegetables – from leafy greens, brassicas like broccoli and cauliflower, root vegetables and fruiting veggies like courgette, squash, and cucumber. Aim for around at least five helpings of fruit and veggies per day, ideally more – and try to get a good mix of different coloured veggies – the greater the variety of shapes, types, and colours – the better the variety of nutrients you will consume.
Fruit is also a great choice for providing your body with much-needed vitamins, but it’s also a great alternative to food containing refined sugars. Always carry a banana or apple with you to avoid reaching for chocolate, fizzy drinks or other handy, but processed snacks.
5. Eat more ‘good’ fats
Add more ‘good fats’ into each day. It’s thought that omega-3 fatty acids can control the production of sebum on the surface of your skin. Try and pack some of these fats into your new diet by eating more avocados, oily fish or walnuts – these all contain high levels of omega-3.
6. Cut down on your alcohol consumption
Too much alcohol can build up the toxins in your body and lower your immune system. To avoid making your acne worse, limit your alcohol intake to 2 or 3 glasses per week.
7. Reduce your caffeine intake
A small hit of caffeine may give you a boost, but too much and your body becomes overloaded and can’t get rid of it properly. Only have one coffee or caffeinated drink per day to avoid caffeine overload.
8. Eat less sugar & refined carbohydrates
A diet high in sugar and refined carbohydrates is a significant factor likely to cause acne. In moderate amounts, sugar and carbs going to cause you a problem – however, the western diet gets around 50% of its energy from carbohydrates and sugar is hiding away (often in large quantities) in nearly 70% of food products.
Diets high in sugars and refined carbohydrates are associated with increased levels of insulin in the body, which in turn increases the levels of certain hormones that trigger the overproduction of sebum oil, an increase in the production of skin cells (causing a build-up of dead skin cells) and a decreased ability to handle inflammation. This results in the perfect conditions for clogging your pores and for acne to develop.
9. Don’t rely on prescription spot treatment medication
There are people out there who are prescribed medication for their acne and they find it works well for them. But the risk with prescription medication is that there can be a number of unpleasant and distressing side effects. So we would suggest this acne solution is very much a last resort.
10. Don’t wear synthetic or scratchy materials
When you have acne on your face the obvious advice is not to keep touching your spots. When it comes to back acne it’s a little different.
You need to think carefully about what you wear because any synthetic materials or cloth that is likely to scratch your blemishes will only lead to irritation and possibly even more spots. We recommend choosing clothes that are made from softer, natural materials. So they’ll be much kinder to your skin.
11. Keep your bedding and clothes clean
Not only should you be careful about the materials that you wear, and use for your bedding – but also make sure they are always kept clean.
Bacteria trapped on your clothing or in your bedding can get into skin cells and lead to acne, especially if you often feel hot and sweaty. If you’re guilty of leaving it too long between washing that favourite hoodie, or maybe the bedsheets dont get changed as often as you should, try to get in the habit of washing these items at least every two weeks.
If you suffer with sensitive skin, be sure to use detergents and conditioners that are hypoallergenic, free of dyes and fragrances, and formulated for sensitive skin.
12. Exercise regularly
Although sweat and bacteria on your clothes can lead to acne, it’s a myth that you should avoid exercise if you have, or are trying to prevent acne.
It’s good for your body and your mind as exercise and other activities that get you moving help to release serotonin – the hormone responsible for the “feel good” mood you get after exercising – and this, in turn, relieves stress and tension. A reduction in stress can help prevent spots and reduce acne.
Remember to wear loose-fitting clothing, preferably cotton to allow the skin to breathe. Check out our post ‘Can sweating in the gym cause acne?
13. Shower after exercise
Make sure your skin is clean following any exercise, washing away any bacteria that are collected during your workout and to open skin pores. Also, wash your workout clothes after every session.
14. Don’t pop, pick or squeeze
For similar reasons it’s bad to touch your face, picking, popping and squeezing spots on your back is not going to get rid of pimples. It could result in the acne on your back spreading and make body acne scarring worse.
15. Spend time researching your best treatment for spots
There are no overnight solutions to clearing acne. Spend your time researching new products and trying natural alternatives you may not have previously considered – like taking a natural skin supplement rather than opting for topical treatments like benzoyl peroxide.
16. Invest in a natural acne treatment
Before opting for prescription medication we always suggest looking for an acne treatment that doesn’t involve putting your mood and hormones at risk, such as the contraceptive pill, or cause skin burning and irritation, like topical products that contain salicylic acid.
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