Thursday, March 19, 2015

Can You Bare Your Back in Warmer Weather? (Don't Fear The Backne)

With warmer temps on the horizon, I've seen several posts in different on-line forums inquiring about causes and remedies for the dreaded back acne (backne). Suggestions for solutions range from doing elimination diets to the application of pricy oils, and a host of things in between. Many women suffer from this malady, but it causes most concern during warm weather when we can't hide beneath layers and layers of clothing. While it sounds like a superficial condition to garner much attention, the effects of this can be tough to live with - affecting what you wear, where you go, and the activities you engage in. For many - especially teens - the hindrance to self-confidence can become isolating and debilitating.

As an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, I totally recognize and acknowledge the connection to what we eat and how our bodies respond, but I have been surprised at how little attention is directed toward what we put ON our bodies. 

When back acne strikes, I recommend looking at your showering routine - particularly when it comes to the order that you shampoo and condition your hair in relation to when you soap the rest of your body. 

Sounds too simple but honestly, it can be pivotal.

Conditioner is designed to leave a coating on your hair after rinsing (while it is super-important to know what is IN these residues, that is for another article). This residue will also stay on your back (which is already more oily than much of the skin on the rest of your body). When it lingers on your back, this residue clogs the pours on your back, trapping oil and bacteria, and ultimately causing breakouts.

An almost fail-safe way to deal with this is to wash your back AFTER rinsing conditioner from your hair. If you are experiencing a breakout, use an acne or oil-prone face wash for a week or two to get the acne under control before switching to regular soap (I recommend Desert Essence face wash for oily skin or Dr. Bronner's liquid peppermint soap - diluted 50/50 with water). Use a back scrubber, an extra set of hands, or whatever means necessary to thoroughly clean your back at the end of your shower. People with longer hair should secure it with a clip to make sure it stays out of your way and away form your back for the rest of your shower until you can wrap it in a towel.

Seriously, every person who has tried this method to clear up nagging backne has experienced good results from doing this. Yes, your diet is important (in fact, you should simultaneously cut back on your sugar consumption), but before you drop a chunk of money on expensive oils, dietary supplements, or prescriptions give this a shot and see what happens.

Elly Haddad is a certified Integrative Nutrition Coach and healthy life-style coordinator. She's the owner of Elemental Fit and founder of The NashWell Group, both based in Nashville, TN. She helps individuals and groups understand the important influence that diet & lifestyle have on health, happiness, & overall wellbeing. Elly is also a yoga teacher, writer and public speaker, conducting workshops and seminars throughout the midwest and southeastern US. She can be contacted directly via email here

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