Back breakouts feel straight-up not fair. Why do some suffer frequent back blemishes and others have effortlessly clear skin back there? After worrying so much about the clarity and perfection of our faces, we now have to stress about a much larger area that we can hardly reach?
Before we go slathering on all our favorite (and expensive) skincare products meant for the face and décolletage, the first step is prevention. We’ve run down a list of the best ways to treat pesky back pimples and prevent them from forming in the first place:
While this should maybe go without saying, it’s no secret that many of us stretch a little too long in between bra washings. Try to wash after every two wears, and if severe breakouts persist, wash after every wear. Wash cold in a lingerie bag and hang to dry to preserve the life of your best bras, and of course, never wear a sports bra more than once before retiring to the hamper.
Carry witch hazel pads with you
If sweat or excess oil tends to be the issue, keep a pack of witch hazel toner pads near you at all times. A quick swipe under the bra strap, backpack strap (on a hike or traveling), or just under a tight-fitting tank top can prevent a rogue pimple from forming from heat and friction mixed with oil and sweat.
Shower post-workout, ASAP
Congrats, you worked out! But don’t hang out for long in your tight workout gear post-sweat; it’s a breeding ground for breakouts. Rinse off as soon as you possibly can, taking extra care to suds your back and areas that rubbed against straps—for example, if your gym has a shower, wash there instead of waiting to drive home.
Wash your back AFTER rinsing conditioner
When you do hit the shower, the order of how you cleanse counts. Make sure that your back is the last thing to get scrubbed clean, because the chemicals and oils in our conditioner can clog pores and linger, post-rinse.
Choose sunscreen carefully
It’s hard to get sunscreen on our backs, and we typically need the help of a friend. Make sure it’s someone you trust to have clean hands, and choose clean, natural ingredients when it comes to SPF of choice. Super emollient, thick formulations can cause immediate buildup, which mingles with the dirt, grime, and sweat that is sure to come into play during your time outdoors. Opt for a light, mineral formula with skin-loving ingredients.
It’s tempting to scrub the living sh*t out of your back, but resist the urge! Being too rough or abrasive can actually make matters much, much worse with the large surface area and type of skin on our backs. Scrub gently in circular motions with a gentle, oil-free soap or body cleanser. Try an exfoliating peel pad once a week.
Avoid heavy bags on your back
If you’re not backpacking or hiking, avoid extra pressure from wide-strapped bags. The friction of rubbing deeply into the pores makes issues exponentially worse. Lighten your load for errands and day trips, and carry larger things in a bag by hand.
Shower filters are great for the scalp and hair, but also for our skin! Eliminating as many toxins and irritants as we can from the water we cleanse with is a great step to cleaning up our routines as a whole. Filters can remove large amounts of chlorine and other particulates from our tap and can prevent skin from over-drying, which causes excess sebum production.
We grind our bodies into our bedding for 6-8 hours every night, and we can only imagine the kind of scum our oily bodies leave behind. Sorry to paint that image, but, ew. Wash sheets every 7-10 days, leaning toward the former if you’re super breakout prone.
Lastly, the golden rule: never pick. It’s so tempting to pop as many back pimples as possible, but that can spread the bacteria and accelerate the problem. Just cleanse, exfoliate, and let it all breathe.