Nothing ruins that first trip out to the Hamptons or Long Beach more than an bad case of backne. (Okay, maybe assne.)
“There are many oil glands on the back, and they tend to run very deep,” explains New York City dermatologist Dennis Gross, M.D. Once those glands are clogged with sweat or less-natural icky substances, bacteria can get trapped and pimples form.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. Here are three tips from Dr. Gross to put into practice now before tank-top season arrives in full-force. Keep them up over the summer to help keep pimples and spots at bay:
1. Don’t stay sweaty. “Shower and change your clothes immediately after an exercise session,” says Dr. Gross. You could be giving yourself a breakout while running those post-workout errands in your damp tank and jog bra. In the shower, don’t just let the water rinse your back—use a good body cleanser, exfoliant, or back scrubber to really get the skin clean.
2. Keep your hair products off your back.”The oil can transfer from the hair to the pores on your back,” says Dr. Gross. A tip from Well+Good’s resident beauty brain, Melisse Gelula: Wash your back after rinsing out your hair conditioner. Otherwise, the conditioner may cling to your back and clog your pores.
3. Make sure it’s really backne. Whiteheads and red pustules are a backne giveaway, but finer, grainy-like bumps could be dry skin or another skin condition, warns Dr. Gross, and you could make it worse by too much scrubbing. If it’s a serious case, head to a dermatologist for a consultation. —Lisa Elaine Held