Published on August 4th, 2015 | by Yashodhara Ghosh
GET PREACHY: Back, to back
So what’s holding you back? Your back? We’ve been there too!
You’ve worked hard to sculpt yourself a body that you finally feel comfortable flaunting in that strappy summer number, that risqué evening dress, or that daring backless choli. But alas, your scarred, pockmarked back has forced you to hide behind that Chinese collar, and take a rain-check on that hard-earned date with vanity. It’s not just vanity that takes a beating with back skin problems. Emerging in a dizzying range of forms – papules, nodules, pustules, cysts – these painful breakouts leave permanent skin damage in the form of lesions and scars. So if your crusty, spotty oozing back is out of your sight but never out of your mind, here are some things you could try to bring ‘sexy back’.
- There is a reason why our backs are so prone to skin damage. They hold us up all day – and in the process, they are always rubbing up against some surface or the other, causing friction. This makes the skin susceptible to inflammation.
- The back is also the part of the body that sweats the most, thanks to the fact that it is almost always swathed in piles of fabric. Add to that the profusion of sebaceous, or sweat glands on your back.
- The constant friction against clothes, chairs, walls and other surfaces often rubs these oil and sweat glands the wrong way. And before you know it, they go on overdrive, producing excess oil, which in turn mixes with the tiny hair, accumulated dirt and residual dead skin cells to create a heady concoction that that acne-causing bacteria find irresistible.
It’s obvious from this (watered down) science lesson that the one key trick to tricking bacteria is to keep your back squeaky clean. In fact, a large percentage of ‘bacne’ is caused by lack of cleanliness (we reserve judgment: the back is, after all, invisible to us and difficult to reach). So it’s a good idea to invest in a scrubber or loofah with a long handle, which you can manoeuvre in the shower to scrub off all the excess oil and grime. This will also improve circulation in your skin: the more blood flow, the lesser the chances of things clogging up your pores. Ask your dermatologist for a good anti-bacterial soap that prevents the organisms from colonising your back and spawning a contagion that you just can’t shake off. Make sure he prescribes you products that are non-comedogenic, like Cetaphil.
Over the counter
If the breakouts are inevitable in your case, there are few chemicals that offer relief. Creams with Benzoyl peroxide need to be applied topically to keep back breakouts at bay. Of course you can’t reach back their yourself: rope in a friend or a relative to dab it on. Triclosan is also a good anti-bacterial substance. Among more natural bug-fighters, tea-tree oil is hailed as a champion. More old-fashioned treatments include application of Potassium permanganate, which is known for its antiseptic and astringent properties. But it’s an elaborate process – boil the solution, filter it to get rid of impurities and then slather on. You can buy little tubes of this from the chemist.
Drink tons of water (by which we mean at least 2-3 litres a day). This may seem irrelevant, but water promotes circulation in your body, and regulates the release of sebum. That’s half your problem solved.
If the breakouts get exceedingly messy and painful, it’s a good idea to give the dermatologist a visit, before infection sets in. Chances are he will put you on a 5-day regimen of systemic antibiotics (Amoxicillin), combined with a miracle worker called serratiopeptidase, which helps dissolve the fibrin walls and drains the accumulated fluids. A word of caution: If back boils are a way of life for you, it could be more than just the heat or the humidity. Talk about the problem to your physician; acne is often caused by hormonal imbalances or conditions like hyper-androgenism, which signify deeper, underlying physical problems. Get to the root of it.
FAB BAG PICKS for smooth sexy back
This cleansing lotion is a non-soap and liquid free lotion that allows gentle and through cleansing without the irritation associated with harsh soaps and cleansers. Also it is fragrance free and non comedogenic. CLICK to view product.
This body lotion strengthens and fortifies depleted cells, helping them to resist damage caused by environmental stress. Highly emollient shea butter heals and protects skin, leaving it touchably soft and resilient. CLICK to view product.
Tvam Body Lotion is made of natural ingredients that smoothens and softens the skin, protecting it against harmful influences of climate, leaving the skin vibrant and radiant. CLICK to view product.