Acne in all forms is truly awful. You think your last cluster of pimples has finally cleared up, then you feel another hard lump forming underneath, and the cycle goes on. For those who have had acne, and I have, you know it’s not just the skin condition that is so frustrating, you feel you want to hide yourself away. Acne on your back can at least be hidden in winter, but it’s uncomfortable and you are always conscious of it.
Acne is the result of skin follicles being blocked by our natural oil called sebum. Sebum usually finds its way out of the pores, yet when hormones increase the sebum increases, and pores can become blocked. Once blocked, bacteria and yeasts begin to grow under the skin, developing into a skin infection. This is why teenagers with a surge of hormones are more acne-prone.
While acne on our face is linked to stress and hormones, acne on your back is more likely caused by external triggers. This is good news, as it means that treating your condition may be easier than treating hormone related face-acne. But, there are many things you can do and success might mean the implementation of a few different suggestions.
Mia shares many different ideas to treat and prevent ‘bacne’, including good hygiene practices and dietary tips from a Chinese perspective:
‘Bacne’ treatment and prevention
- Shower or bathe once a day, especially after you exercise, and change out of sweaty shirts and into clean clothes straight away.
- Wash the affected area with a clean washer or gentle loofa and a medicated face wash that contains salicylic acid. This ingredient is a very effective treatment for acne, as it not only cleanses and unclogs pores, it reduces redness and inflammation that comes with the skin infection.
- Change bed clothes and sheets regularly, as well as tie your hair up and away from your back. This keeps the area dry and sterile, which prevents flare-ups during the treatment phase.
- Drink plenty of water to flush away your body’s waste. A hydrated body is more able to fight infections.
- Include cooling, cleansing foods into your diet such as fresh fruit and vegetables. Celery, carrot, beetroot, melons, papaya and greens are very helpful. Juicing some of these are a great way to accelerate your cleansing, especially carrot juice, celery, and beet juice. Did I mention coconut juice? Try this too; it’s full of electrolytes making it very refreshing and hydrating.
- Make some nutritious vegetable soups from chicken or fish broth, that include cooling mung beans, lentils, and split peas.
- Drink dandelion tea to purify your blood and liver, helping the skin to also clear. “Dandy” tea was favored by Chinese women for giving them beautiful, glowing complexions, and to reduce redness and swelling during infections.
- Eat Guilingao, a traditional Chinese herbal jelly that has powerful anti-inflammatory properties and is a well known medicinal food for acne. Traditional Guilingao is made using turtle eggs, but in modern times, rice flour is used instead; so no need to feel guilty. Ask your local Chinese grocer where you might purchase some.
- Take a daily supplement of zinc, vitamin A, vitamin B6, and vitamin C.
- Exercise for 10-20 minutes a day; a light walk or swim is all that’s needed most days. Exercise helps your body to drain heat, sweat, and stagnant energy, improving circulation.
- Although you feel like hiding your ‘bacne’, try to get a little sun on your skin where the infection is. The sun’s rays helps you make vitamin D, which boosts your immune system and has an antimicrobial action-killing pathogenic bacteria and fungi.
- Meditation, and QiGong exercises are also beneficial when observing a holistic approach to health. Both these ancient practices lower stress levels, improve your immune system, help to promote feelings of inner peace, wellness, and self-esteem; all of which are essential for total health. With lowered levels of stress, your body has extra energy to win the war on pathogens and bounce back.
Avoid, or limit
- Alcohol, cigarettes, and junk food.
- Cool the body down by minimizing the amount of refined sugar in your diet. This includes sugary cereals, soft drink, confectionery, pastries, and processed foods.
- Coffee, which can exacerbate acne. Alternatively, drink black tea, green tea, or chrysanthemum tea, until the redness subsides.
- Another food to avoid is hot chilli peppers. In Chinese medicine, red, hot inflammation anywhere in the body means excessive heat. Therefore cooling foods are needed to support healing.
- Check that your birth-control medication is not related to your acne; ask yourself, did this acne flare up when I started on the pill? Don’t go off your pills just yet, revisit your doctor and explore other options if this is the case.
Avoid scaring and kick your ‘bacne’
There are so many things you can do to treat and prevent ‘bacne’, when you adopt a few of these practices into you daily life, you’ll be able to get over the hump and begin to win the war. It may take a couple of weeks, so stick with it.
If your ‘bacne’ does not subside, don’t put up with it, go see your health practitioner. Left untreated, acne will cause scaring. It’s also a low grade infection, which is taxing on your body’s energy levels.