To make matters worse, the pores on your back (and your neck, shoulders, arms) are larger than the pores on your face, which means they're producing more oil, look more inflamed and are often painful and itchy. We talked to dermatologist and acne expert Dr. Joshua Zeichner who revealed the main causes of bacne and how you can defeat them just in time for the sunny season.
1. Your Bikini-Bod Workout. Kudos for hitting the gym! But while you're pumping iron to look your best in that new bikini, your adrenal glands are pumping out testosterone, the lovely hormone that stimulates the creation of sebum. The end result: your skin gets a boost of pore-clogging oil.
Fix It: After each workout, shower ASAP. If you can't shower right after, Zeichner recommends investing in cleansing towelettes.
2. Your Sexy, Skin-Tight Outfits. Curve-hugging anything can be super flattering, but the minimal personal space between the fabric and your skin traps sweat. And while it's stuck under all that Lycra and polyester (the main offenders), sweat starts to make friends with all the other fun things on your skin like oil, dirt and bacteria. Before you know it, you've created the perfect breeding ground for inflammation under your LBD or sports bra.
Fix It: Instead of replacing a portion of your closet, Zeichner recommends swiping your skin with medicated wipes before getting dressed to minimize the bacteria.
3. Your Trusty Conditioner. Great for your hair, not so great for your skin. According to Zeichner, many conditioners contain silicone-based polymers that are designed to cling to your hair. The only problem? They also cling to your skin, clogging pores that have opened in the shower's warm steam.
Fix It: You can avoid this by shampooing, conditioning and rinsing your hair first. Then, move on to lathering up your bod to get rid of any lingering residue.
4. Your Bad Borrowing Habits. OK, this is less a cause of body acne than it is a habit that's not helping the situation: You notice a breakout so you reach for your acne-fighting face wash or lotion. Makes sense, right? Unfortunately, the active ingredient in your facial products is tailored to the more sensitive skin (and smaller pores) on your face. Rubbing these weaker concentrations on you body won't do much -- you're just blowing through your face product more quickly.
Fix It: Pick up acne-fighting products that are specifically formulated for the body.
5. Your Post-Shower Routine. Steamy hot showers feel amazing, but they're zapping your skin of moisture. Factor in the vigorous towel-scrubbing ritual that happens once you step out and you're left with parched pores that overcompensate by producing more oil than usual.
Fix It: To keep everything balanced and your sebum levels in check, give your showering routine a makeover. Lower the temperature from scorching to tepid and resist the urge to scrub with your towel. Once you step out, slather on a non-comedogenic lotion.
6. Those Delicious Smelling Dryer Sheets. If you have sensitive skin, your fresh load of laundry could be at the root of your body blemishes. Many fabric softeners and dryer sheets contain a waxy softening agent that coats your clothing (similar to how your conditioner coats your hair). While your clothes may be smooth and soft, your clogged pores will leave your skin bumpy and inflamed.
Fix It: Start by skipping the dryer sheets and ditching fabric softener. Many laundry detergents these days already have fabric softener added to their formula, so doubling up could be too much for your skin. If the breakouts persist, consider looking into more natural, fragrance-free options.
7. Your Sheets and Your Skivvies. By now, it's engrained in your head that your dirty pillowcase is causing your face to break out in pimples. But Zeichner points out your sheets are guilty of the same crime, especially if you sleep in the nude. Every night, you roll around in the previous day's sweat, oil and debris, and proceed to lie on it for a good seven to eight hours.
Fix It: Wash your sheets once a week with a mild detergent and skip the fabric softeners and dryer sheets. If you're slacking on laundry, slip on some cotton or silk pajamas before you jump into bed.
8. Your Long, Rapunzel-like Hair. You know how sweaty, oily bangs give you those annoying little breakouts along your hairline? In the summertime, your long hair plays the same game. The styling products and oil in your hair sit on your chest, back and shoulders all day long, clogging pores and encouraging breakouts.
Fix It: Try a pretty updo to keep you cool and your back clear. Then, Zeichner recommends using a salicylic acid wash to remove excess dirt and oil. If you notice big, red breakouts, try a benzoyl peroxide cleanser instead.