Back acne, also known as backne, is a pesky problem that is hard to get rid of once it starts - especially when you live in a country as humid as Singapore. But don’t despair, because there’s hope yet for those who wish to banish those unsightly pimples on your back and shoulders once and for all.
The key to fixing any issue is to first identify the root of the problem. Unbeknownst to many, there are many daily lifestyle habits that can contribute to the formation and spread of acne on your back. Here are 12 habits you probably never realised are causing back pimples and preventing you from wearing your favourite low-backed and sleeveless clothes.
P.S.: Read our previous article on ways to get rid of back acne.
Read on to find out about the habits that may be causing pimples on your back!
- Beauty habits that cause back acne -
#1: Using regular shower gel on your back instead of acne cleanser
Regular shower gel may work just fine if you have a spotless back, but once you have persistent back acne, you’ll want to skip that for acne cleanser instead. You don’t have to slather your entire body in acne cleanser when showering - just on your back and any other problem areas will do.
Cleansers for acne-prone skin are usually formulated to regulate sebum production and slough away impurities. We recommend the Control-T Cleansing Foam ($36) from Real Barrier, which does all that while strengthening the natural barrier of your skin so it will be less prone to irritation.
#2: Skipping the toner and scrub
Simply using acne cleanser and calling it a day may not be enough - you’ll also want to treat your pimple-ridden back with other topical products. As a rule of thumb, your backne regime should be similar to your face regime, with toner and a weekly exfoliating scrub as part of the mix.
If you are afraid of drying out the skin on your back, opt for a milder formula. The Keep Cool and Soothe Toner ($24.70) infused with pure bamboo water is such a product that refreshes and hydrates inflamed skin, while balancing oil production and pH levels.
While you're at it, it would also definitely help to apply pimple cream to affected areas. Check out our article on the best pimple creams and gels in Singapore to banish acne and dissolve blackheads.
#3: Letting conditioner on your hair touch your back
Those with long hair need to be careful when using conditioner or hair masks, as these creamy products can leave a film on your skin which can clog pores. If you’ve got a lion’s mane that’s tough to handle when wet, we suggest loosely putting your conditioned hair up in a shower cap while waiting for your products to work their magic - all without coming into direct contact with your back or shoulders.
To add on, you might also want to avoid rinsing out your conditioner and body wash at the same time. When washing off your hair treatments, try bending your head towards the side such that any water - and product that comes with it - falls straight onto the floor instead of on your body. This, again, prevents it from touching your back.
#4: Missing hard-to-reach spots when showering
No matter how thorough we are, sometimes it’s inevitable that we miss out on certain spots when showering - especially for those with short arms that cannot reach around our backs properly! Get all bases covered with a long-handled bath sponge or loofah, which will help kill two birds with one stone by aiding in exfoliation at the same time.
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#5: Scratching out pimples yourself instead of getting proper treatment
It’s hard to resist, we know. While popping and scratching out your backne will get rid of those bumps and lumps, you’re only getting short-term relief as more healing time will be needed, with worse scarring. To make matters worse, the oil and pus excreted from the prematurely-popped pimples will flow down and contaminate the rest of your skin.
Instead of DIY-ing, go for a proper back facial, aka backcial - here’s a list of affordable back facials in Singapore to rid you of backne without emptying your wallet.
#6: Having just one bath towel for your face and body
Here’s an analogy: When cooking, different utensils are used for different food items to prevent cross-contamination. In the same way, separate towels should be used for your face and body - especially if your face is acne-prone.
Even though you’re largely clean and fresh after a shower, there will always be some leftover bacteria and oil that can get transferred from one area to another. Prevent your facial sebum and acne from spreading to your body and vice versa by using 2 different towels. For good measure, you might also want to have a third towel for your hair.
#7: Using overly thick and fragranced body cream
Body creams and butters may smell heavenly, and do a great job in keeping the skin on your body well-moisturised. You might want to skip your back though, as overly thick body lotions - especially those packed with fragrances - can clog your pores, aggravate your skin, and worsen your backne problem.
- Lifestyle habits that cause back acne -
#8: Wearing overly tight, synthetic gym clothes
Tight sports bras, butt-hugging gym tights, and compression wear may look sexy, but can also contribute to your not-so-sexy back acne problem. Skin-pinching, synthetic fabrics trap moisture, leading to a build-up of grime that will result in clogging of pores.
Where possible, opt for looser, lighter fabrics with moisture-wicking properties so you’ll stay cool when working up that sweat.
#9: Not changing out or showering immediately after exercise
Sometimes, procrastination gets the better of us, and we end up sitting in our dirty gym clothes, scrolling away on our phones for hours post-exercise. This is a big no-no, as the build-up of sweat on your damp clothes can cause not just irritation and back pimples, but fungal infections as well. It’s thus best to shower immediately after a workout.
If you are unable to shower right away for whatever reason (supper, perhaps?), you could wipe yourself off with a clean towel or unscented body wipes, and change into dry clothes first.
#10: Leaning against walls in public places
When you’ve had a long day and there are no seats left in the MRT, it’s most tempting to lean up against a door or glass partition at the end of a row of seats. But remember that the MRT sees thousands and thousands of commuters per day, and you don’t know how many dirty hands have touched those surfaces. Sure you want that touching your back?
It probably won’t be an issue if you’re wearing a covered top that you’ll throw in the wash right after you get home, but take note if your clothes for the day expose your back and shoulders in some way, even if it’s just a small cut-out.
#11: Leaving bedsheets unwashed for weeks
Similar to how a dirty pillowcase can cause acne breakouts on your face, unchanged sheets can also do the same to the skin on your body - especially if you’re the sort of person who tends to sleep naked or sit around in back-baring lingerie and loungewear. Make sure you schedule laundry day for your bedclothes once every two weeks so you won’t be rolling around in nasty dead skin cells!
Check out our article on Uniqlo’s AIRism bedsheets and pillowcases which are sweat-wicking and cool to the touch. Yes, they’re available in Singapore!
#12: Re-wearing your tops even if they don’t smell
Re-wearing clothes may help you save on your water bill, since you won’t be doing the laundry so often. But you won’t be doing your skin any favours by pinching pennies this way. Even if your clothes don’t smell after being worn for a couple of hours, they still collect sweat, dead skin cells, and germs as you’re out and about. This will then transfer onto your clean skin during the next time you don the same unwashed outfit, and possibly cause breakouts on your back.
Read our other acne-related articles:
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Text by: GirlStyle SG