Acne: Everybody gets them. They're annoying, they're unsightly and sometimes they just. Won't. Go. The odd pimple popping up on your face is no big drama. We're lucky enough to be surrounded by a never-ending supply of blemish-busting formulas, so when one does arrive—we're armed, and we're ready.
Most, if not all treatments are targeted to facial blemishes, but what's a gal (or guy) to do when they're cropping up elsewhere? Bacne, as it's most commonly called, is the term to describe breakouts occurring on your back and shoulders.
Though some people would probably argue that it's not as stressful as having acne on your face, it can still make you feel incredibly self-conscious.
Interestingly, you can have bacne without any facial acne. I, for one, can confirm this statement. I'm generally very lucky with my skin, rarely getting breakouts, but as soon as summer strikes, I find myself at war with pesky pimples on the top of my back. Granted, they're never particularly bad, and it could be a lot worse, but sometimes it's still enough to stop me wearing off the shoulder stuff.
The main thing I've found is that, compared to spots on your face, the ones on your back seem to be MUCH harder to get rid of. I've also noticed that they're often a whole lot angrier, too.
So, I reached out to leading dermatologist Dr. Anjali Mahto, to get the low down on the causes and cures of the dreaded, outfit dictating breakouts.
So, what causes bacne?
Noticed that your spots flare up on holiday, or when you're working out? Sweat and heat are often the biggest culprits, as Dr. Mahto explains.
"First and foremost, back acne is caused by the same factors as normal acne: hormones and genetics. However, the skin on our back is particularly thick, and just like our face, has a high density of oil-producing glands, which can easily cause blocked pores and break outs. It is also commonly triggered by heat, sweat and tight clothing."
What should you avoid?
Aside from the obvious offender—wave goodbye to oils and thick, pore clogging body butters—there are steps you can take to help stop the reoccurrences of blemishes, and break the frustrating cycle.
Lazy girls, listen up. We hate to break it to you, but staying in your gear post spin class is one of the worst things you can do. Getting any sweat off your bod ASAP should be your main priority.
"Post-gym session, make sure you shower as quickly as possible," stresses Mahto. "Doing this will definitely reduce the number of spots you get on your chest and back. If you're in a rush and don't have time to shower straight away, wipe down the skin with cleaning pads, preferably ones containing salicylic acid."
Prone to picking? Stop. You're more likely to cause scarring, which is even harder to treat.
What ingredients should you look for?
If you're battling breakouts on your face, you should be familiar with some of these spot stoppers already.
"Switch to shower gels and body washes containing salicylic acid, glycolic acid, and tea tree oil. I also recommend using a clay mask once a week, as face masks are extremely effective when it comes to drawing impurities out of the skin and reducing oil production."
What are the best products for bacne?
As Mahto mentioned, products containing AHAs are key: "the Mario Badescu AHA Botanical Body Soap (P650 at Rustan's The Beauty Source) is a great product to start with." It's also important to incorporate a gentle exfoliating scrub into your body care routine to prevent the build up of excess dead skin cells, which can block pores. Check out our list of locally available bacne-fighting products here.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com/uk. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.