Help! I have acne on my back
Dear Bacne: You suck. We finally manage to discard (a.k.a. burn) every pimply-faced picture from when we were younger, and now you have to come along and rain on our parade.
You're poo-pooing all over our favorite statement pieces. And our off-the-shoulder tops and backless dresses. You're even making us cringe over our workout gear (and not because wearing it means we have to exercise). We're onto you, and we're not going down without a fight.
Just because it's a time of year when we can hide bacne with bulky sweaters, turtlenecks and a ton of layers doesn't give it the right to hang around like a clingy neighbor. Before you know it, spring will be right around the corner — and wearing a turtleneck to the beach isn't exactly practical.
Get up close and personal
Stand as close to your bathroom or full-length mirror as possible. With a cosmetic mirror in hand, bust out your inner Nancy Drew to investigate the situation. You're most likely breaking out in certain areas, which will narrow down the list of suspects causing your bacne.
If your breakouts are on your neck and shoulders, it's likely because of your hair products. If they're closer to your bra strap area or where your sports bra sits, either wash your bras more thoroughly or chuck them and buy new ones (Like you needed another excuse to shop, but you're welcome). If, like your last boyfriend, your breakouts aren't committing to anywhere in particular, this means war.
Here's what you'll need for combat:
A shower regimen
Your bathroom is a 24/7 germ orgy. Change your loofah, shower sponge or face cloths often — these are their favorite places to party. Shower in warm water, not third-degree burn water. Use a body wash that specifically combats breakouts, such as Neutrogena's Body Clear Body Wash (drugstore.com, $7), and thoroughly wash hard-to-reach places with a handled loofah or brush. FYI: The Body Shop's Cactus Body Brush kicks some serious… back. (thebodyshop-usa.com, $15)
It's also important that you wash your back last, especially if your hair products are to blame. After washing your hair, pull your hair over your shoulder and go to town — this will ensure there's no leftover shampoo or conditioner clogging your pores. After you're out of the shower, pin your wet hair up with a clip (otherwise, you've essentially washed your back for nothing). Another uber-easy tip: Use one towel for your hair, and a separate one for your body.
A clothing regimen
Wear breathable, light fabrics like cotton and linen. I also recommend using a facial sunscreen on your body instead of your regular sunscreen, since they tend not to have the same level of breakout protection (if any at all). After spending a ton of time in the sun or working out, shower immediately and change — walking around in your stank any longer than you have to will lead to (surprise!) more back acne.
A bedtime regimen
Wash your sheets and pillowcases regularly, and try switching to a laundry detergent that's all-natural and fragrance-free. Wear comfy pajamas that don't irritate your skin or cause you to sweat (burning up in bed is the worst, and trust me, your back agrees). Before putting on your PJs, treat your problem areas with an acne formula that contains benzoyl peroxide, like Clinique Acne Solutions Emergency Gel-Lotion. It will help heal your current breakouts while preventing future ones. (sephora.com, $17)
The key is consistency: You won't see results overnight, but once you stick to it (you know, for longer than a day), you'll find yourself backsercising your tuckus off to get ready for backless everything this summer.
Dear Bacne: Bring. It. On.