Ew! Beauty: Bacne

Brought to you by summertime sweat

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Let’s face it: Along with summer’s heat, humidity, and other sweat-inducing qualities comes a ton of gross beauty problems. From dry, cracked feet to ingrown hairs and chafing, there’s a lot that can hold you back from living the confident poolside life you’re destined to lead. But don’t worry—we’re talking to experts about how to fix them. Welcome to Ew! Beauty.

Oh, the last weeks of summer. The air hangs heavy and hot as we race to squeeze in last-minute warm-weather adventures. At this point in August, we've pretty much given up on makeup, as it'll just slide off our faces anyway. In fact, we've kind of entered a permanent state of sweatiness; a dampness that won't quit. Might that be the reason that our open-back sun dresses have started to reveal what can only be described as a topographic map of inflammation and pus around our shoulder blades? 

The short answer: Yes. The follow-up answer: We don't have to live like this. 

Read on for everything you've ever wanted to know about bacne: causes, treatments, and prevention. 

There's a reason why bacne feels like a different sort of hell than your monthly crew of hormonal face pimples. Dr. David Lortscher, CEO and Founder of Curology, explains, "Part of acne development involves excess oil—sebum—secreted by sebaceous glands into the pores of the skin. These sebaceous glands are more prominent on our chests and backs, which can explain the prevalence of body acne in these areas." Not only is your back a prime location for acne thanks to sebaceous glands but turns out, the microorganisms that hang out on your skin love the vibe back there: "Microorganisms contribute to the inflammatory component of acne. They love the oily environment, and our immune system works hard to fight against them via inflammation. They also love a warm, moist environment, such as the one found on a sweaty back," he tells us. 

But, that said, there's usually not one thing that causes back acne. "Acne is very much multi-factorial," Dr. Lortscher clarifies. "With hormones, genetics, lifestyle, diet, fabric choices, exercise, sweating, choice of skin-care products, and more all possibly influencing the different stages of acne development."