As if breakouts on our faces aren’t bad enough, spare a thought for those of us who are plagued with it on our backs (or bums) too. Bacne, a combination of “back” and “acne,” is almost as common as it is annoying, and unlike that pimple on your face it can’t just be hidden with a quick application of foundation and dealt with later. But there’s simple things you can do that will make your whole body look clear, clean and back to normal again, leaving you to bare your skin and love every inch of it.
BSA reader, Luche Gomes Balanco asked if her bacne was due to her high protein diet and her gym lifestyle. Our Health Renewal expert Dr. Allem replied.
Is it in your gut?
Believe it or not, most cases of acne are as a result of a combination of gut issues (imbalances in the stomach acid and gut bacteria) and hormones. If you are training excessively and taking a lot of muscle growth supplements, there may be a link. But if the extent of your training is simply to keep fit and healthy, it’s likely that there are other reasons.
Bacne and Diet
Diet can affect the level of acne on your back, so it’s important to stick to a well-balanced diet. Here are some tips on skin-friendly eating
Try sticking to a low-GI (Glycemic Index) diet. Stay away from foods that quickly change into fatty sugars, hiking your blood sugar levels. Protein high in animal fats are high on this index, along with sugars, wheat and especially dairy.
Growth supplements like whey are very high in dairy and can affect your hormones, boosting your oil-producing glands, so try and stay away from them.
Stick to lean proteins like grilled chicken and eggs instead of a burger or a T-bone steak; what’s good for your heart is usually good for your skin too. As always, make sure you fill up on good carbs like fruits and veggies and drink at least two litres of water a day.
Keep it clean
- Keep your body and bed clean: right after hitting the gym or sleeping, get rid of that harmful sweat, dead skin and excess oil. Also, clean your sheets and comforter at least twice a week.
- Wash your tops and bras after every wear, and keep to a detergent that is gentle and has a soft scent. Wear strapless bras to reduce irritation.
- Wear loose, cotton tops that can breathe so you don’t cause friction or trap in dead skin cells and oiliness.
- Keep hair-conditioner and product under control. Conditioners that contain Panthenol – a common ingredient in hair conditioner – could increase the likelihood of breakouts. You can rinse it off with pore-closing cold water, or wash your back last. Wash your hair often.
- Keep your hands off! If you pop or scratch the pimples, this increases the chance of infection, or the chance of spreading it.
- Use a body wash and moisteriser that is medicated and oil-free: Look for this ingredient: 2% salicylic acid, it’s an acne-fighting ingredient. Use it every day for best results.
- Spot clean with medicated products that have benzynol, as little as 2% for sensitive skin. Be careful, as this can bleach fabrics. You can also try a 10% sulfur solution.
- Exfoliate with gentle products like retinol cream, getting rid of pore-blocking dead skin. You can use a slightly textured sponge or cloth but be gentle or else you will irritate your skin. Make sure to keep it clean and replace it often.
Lastly Dr Allem says that self-medicating is tricky. It’s always best to see a specialist for a short-cut to fixing the problem. They can do a stomach acid test, a zinc tally test to see whether the issue is gut related, and then it’s simply a case of restoring your gut health should this be where the problem lies. If not, the doctor may need to do a hormone profile to see where there are any imbalances and then correct these.
You can find your nearest Health Renewal Doctor on our website www.healthrenewal.co.za
What salicylic acid body wash is there to buy in south africa??
Something easy that should be a tip is to pat your back dry and not to rub it. This irritates the skin and can cause acne.
It’s no surprise, acne is always related to diet, hormones and stress levels… a healthy body on the inside reflects on the outside!
Very helpful article, thanks.
Who knew that tummy issues can cause bacne. Interesting read.
This article couldn’t have come at a better time. I thought maybe if I was to scrub it hard it would vanish.
Thanks for the article.
Well said DR, noted.