The Easy In-Shower Trick Dermatologists Say Can Prevent Back Acne

Photo: Stocksy / Tatiana Timofeeva
We know there are certain not-so-hygienic practices that can cause back acne—aka "bacne." For example, hanging out in a tight, sweaty sports bra creates a breeding ground for those pesky pimples on your back. But believe it or not, there's also something you may be doing while you're trying to get clean that can make your bacne worse: leaving your hair down while your conditioner soaks in. When you do this, your conditioner (and all of the oils it's made from) has the chance to drip freely down onto your skin. And if your hair is long enough to drape down your back, it's essentially sitting on your skin, which gives the conditioner ample opportunity to sink into your pores.

Experts In This Article

"We see hair-care products clogging the pores and creating acne-like lesions," says Ivy Lee, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in Pasadena, California. While she sees this happening often with leave-on products, she also sees it happening with shampoo and conditioners with oils which "can have more comedogenic effects where they plug the pores and can lead to acne-like lesions along the hairline, on the back of the neck, shoulders, or upper back," she says.

The fix? Keep your hair off your back while your conditioner sits. A simple way to do this is to use a clip ($12) to put your hair up instead of leaving it down. For even more protection and a deeper condition, apply a conditioning cap ($12). Trapping heat in with a cap helps your conditioner penetrate deeper into your hair and prevents that drippage.

When you're ready to rinse out your conditioner, embrace "upside-down hair washing," and face the water as you flip your head forward. This method will prevent the conditioner from running down your back. Now, you're ready to whip out your body wash and clean from the neck down. "It’s important to rinse not only your hair but the body as well after conditioning to ensure there isn’t any product residue on the back," says Michelle Blaisure, certified trichologist and product and former technical specialist for Bosley Professional Strength. Now, you can head into your next shower confident that you'll step out of it with clean hair and no clogged pores.

Get more tips to optimize your shower from a dermatologist:

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