How to Banish Bacneâ€"for Good!

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Backless outfits are in these days—but who wants to show off their backside if it’s covered in zits? This is one area on the body (like the face and chest) that has a hefty amount of oil glands. The friction forces a combo of surface sweat, dirt, and oils back into the pores, which clogs them and spurs those inflamed pesky bumps (known as bacne) that would make anyone want to cover up. Fortunately, there are a few ways to prevent pimples from erupting and to zap them goodbye if they do. Keep reading to find out just how to clear things up. 

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Watch What You Wear

When you work out, opt for loose, white, 100 percent cotton T-shirts. Cotton will soak up all the sweat and oil produced on the back, trapping it in your clothes instead of your pores, says dermatologist David Bank, M.D., director of the Center for Dermatology, Cosmetic, and Laser Surgery in Mount Kisco, New York. Plus, the loose fit lets your skin breathe, while sticking to white reduces the risk of irritation from artificial dyes.

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Ditch the Dryer Sheets

Throwing fabric softener sheets into the dryer seems like a harmless way to freshen up a load of laundry, but these sheets can also leave behind chemicals that aggravate the skin. “The fibers [from the sheet] come off in the dryer,” says Bank. “Those microscopic little strands can stay in the clothing that’s been dried and then get re-deposited in the skin, especially if you’re sweating. They’ll be leeched out even more and clog the pores.” Go for a liquid fabric softener instead, and be sure to use an extra rinse cycle to minimize any chemical residue that could be left behind.

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Scope Out Your Scalp

Although scalp breakouts aren't super common, "it can still have an overgrowth microscopically of yeast and bacteria,” says Bank. If you’re sweating, all the bacteria can then travel down your neck and onto the upper back, one of the most common spots for bacne breakouts. Use an anti-dandruff shampoo, which also has bacteria-fighting properties that will leave your scalp squeaky clean.

RELATED: How to Get Rid of Those Annoying Zits on Your Scalp

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Rock a Ponytail

Styling products like mousse, gel, and hairspray can actually betray you if you’re not careful. So consider this your chance to show off your face in a pretty updo. “Getting the hair up and off the back so it’s not resting against the skin depositing those chemicals in that area is optimal,” says Bank. 

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Rinse Off Sooner

The shorter the time between exercising and showering, the better for your skin.  “Even if you don’t have the opportunity to shower right away, just changing from the wet sports bra into a dry bra or dry loose fitting T-shirt will decrease your chances of breaking out,” says Whitney Bowe, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist in New York City and Briarcliff Manor, New York. So get out of sweat-soaked clothing as soon as possible to minimize bacteria-to-skin contact.

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Curb Your Carb Intake

“Diet can affect all forms of acne,” says Bowe. You may want to consider avoiding carbs like white bread, pretzels, and potato chips, which all have a high glycemic index (or a high impact on your blood sugar). Studies have linked low-glycemic diets with reduced inflammation and activity of sebaceous (a.k.a. oil) glands, which can help minimize breakouts, says Bowe. Low-glycemic foods include beans, most fruits, sweet potatoes, and 100 percent whole wheat bread.

RELATED: 8 Things That Happen When You Stop Eating Bread

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Give Your Back a Gentle Scrub

If you want to prepare your skin for a good cleanse, start with gentle exfoliation to help open your pores and remove dead skin—but be careful not to over do it. Oily skin can take gentle exfoliation daily, but if you’re sensitive, stick to a light scrub once a week, says Bank. 

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Clean up Thoroughly

Switching to an antibacterial body wash in the shower is a simple way to make sure you’re keeping your back clean. Concentrate on the upper back and shoulders, where breakouts tend to occur more frequently. Bank suggests Cetaphil Gentle Cleansing Antibacterial Bar, ($6, cetaphil.com). It’s strong enough to kill off bacne-triggering gunk in your pores but gentle enough to use on sensitive skin.

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Use Acne-Fighting Ingredients

If an antibacterial wash isn’t cutting it, a cleanser with salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide, commonly used to treat different types of acne, may yield better results. If you’re using benzoyl peroxide, test a patch of skin first to make sure an allergic reaction doesn’t occur, as it can be more irritating on sensitive skin. Topical solutions containing these active ingredients can also be applied to the back before bed, says Bank.

RELATED: 4 Reasons You’re Still Struggling with Acne

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Visit the Derm

Everyone’s skin type is different, so if preventative techniques and common treatments don’t work, it may be time to set up a one-on-one with a derm. If your doc thinks your breakouts are severe enough, she can prescribe oral antibiotics or even suggest chemical peels, which are effective for treating severe bacne, says Bowe. 

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