This particular topic seems like the pink elephant in the realms of beauty. It has never come up in any conversation I’ve had with fellow beauty enthusiasts, yet when I bring it up I will find at least one person in the vicinity that suffers from it.
So here is my official statement: I have back acne.
I have mentioned that I have acne prone skin, which I have managed to control through my skincare routine (See Part 1, Part 2). But unlike my face, which actually was perfectly blemish-free all through my teens and early twenties, I have had acne on my back since the age of 19.
My back acne was at its worst in my very early twenties, but on the off chance that one of my aunties worked for a pharmacist in the U.S., she brought with her and gave me, some Akne-Mycin ointment when she came to Oz to visit us. I applied Akne-Mycin thickly over my entire back every night, and after a couple of months, all the acne from my back miraculously disappeared, and I praised the Lord like all the Sister Marys in Sister Act.
Unfortunately my back acne returned in my 30′s, with a vengeance. It extended all the way down to my lower back, some on my shoulders and chest, and even on my upper arms. Akne-Mycin no longer worked, and the ill advice I took on using a mesh back scrubber made the condition even worse. I was devastated, and became desperate as my wedding was approaching late 2009.
Through my experience in clearing up my face, I learnt that the only thing that clears up acne for me is 10% glycolic acid lotion. Benzoyl Peroxide worked too but it completely dehydrates my skin and leaves bleach spots on my favourite (read: expensive) bed linen and towels. In the months leading up to my wedding I turned to my trusty Alpha-H Balancing Moisturiser and Exfoliant, which cleared my back up by 90%, and I applied foundation on my back on the big day.
Post wedding, I wasn’t prepared to carry on using Alpha-H on my back simply as it would be too expensive, and thus began my search for a cheaper alternative. Luckily, I have found it: Acne.org Back/Body Kit, and I will be eternally grateful.
Unfortunately as this is a U.S. based company, you do need to pay a fair amount for shipping to Australia. But, it still works out much cheaper than using any AHA products that is available in Australia, and with our strong dollar at the moment, makes it extremely worthwhile.
The cleanser is an ultra gentle formula that is pH balanced, but unlike other gentle creme wash, this one still lathers well. Acne.org recommends using this without loofah or shower balonge, as that will only further aggravate the oil glands – and I completely agree.
I can control my back acne to a non-painful stage with just using the cleanser. But the hero in this kit, is the AHA+ Lotion, which contains 10% glycolic acid (hallelujah) and licochalcone. The glycolic acid clears the acne, and licochalcone further controls oil production and soothes acne-prone skin
I apply a generous amount on my back after patting dry my body after shower, and leave to absorb dry before I get dressed. Being the lazy person that I am I have to admit, because of the absorption time (which is really only 3 minutes, but I hate dawdling in the bathroom), I don’t always do this. But when I am consistent with it – I notice a huge improvement in my back acne, and once I have finally made this step a routine, I have no doubt that the acne will clear up completely.
My clear back rules are:
1. Take care of the skin on your body as you would your face. Seek help from a dermatologist if need be.
2. Do not aggravate your skin with mesh washers, loofahs are okay but only sparingly.
3. Wear breathable, natural fibre clothing.
4. Use natural fibre bed linen and bath towels, and launder them regularly.
5. Do not pick or scratch your back.
6. If you are washing your hair as well, do that first THEN wash your body so you don’t leave any residue of shampoo/conditioner on your body.
Back acne is probably something I’ll have to battle with for quite some time yet. It is really an embarrassing condition but I hope this will help some fellow sufferers – you are not alone and it can be alleviated!
If you also suffer from back acne, please share your tips in controlling it.
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