can you believe it’s almost may already?! that means more sunshine, sun tea, shorts, and overall happiness… at least in my book.
for me, the oncoming warm weather also used to make me nervous. why? as you know, i had really bad acne. it was on my face and all over my back!
bacne has got to be the worst. i don’t know about you, but it was the difference between me buying a pretty spring dress, and then actually wearing it in public.
back in the day, i even tried using proactiv on my back (since i was using it on my face), but nothing really helped. it never completely went away. once i went all-natural and started eating better (butter, kale, clay… lol) i noticed it mostly went away on its own. i still had upper-back problems, so i turned to some hippie methods to ward off bacne once and for all!
just as with facial acne, you need to heal from the inside out. here are some things to think about before targeting your acne on the surface:
- do you have a hormonal imbalance?
- are you drinking enough water?
- are you eating real foods & staying away from processed junk?
- are you smoking and/or drinking often?
- do you eat a lot of dairy/sugar/grains?
- are you ingesting all the vitamins/minerals you need?
- are you overly stressed or stressed often?
- are you getting enough sleep?
- are you not using a natural laundry detergent?
no one’s perfect, people. but taking the time to assess what may be causing your acne and then taking the steps needed to improve it will leave you with healthier skin (and for me at least, more confidence!). try to be as patient as your skin heals!
water – an average, healthy adult living in a temperate climate needs roughly 3 liters (about 13 cups) of it a day, and women need 2.2 liters (about 9 cups). keep in mind there is indeed a such thing as being over-hydrated. include other fluids/fruits/soups/etc., you’re intaking into your water consumption amount. it all counts.
zinc – if you eat lots of grains, you’re lookin at a risk for zinc deficiency. whole grain foods contain phytates that bind up minerals (like zinc) and prevent you from absorbing them. if you’re a vegetarian or vegan, you have a greater risk for zinc deficiency because zinc from plant foods is four times more difficult to absorb than zinc from meat. i found out my acne was partially caused by a zinc deficiency. i took a half a zinc pill supplement in the morning AFTER breakfast (otherwise i’d get violently nauseous) every day, and it really helped clear up my skin. do NOT take more than what the bottle says. you can get zinc poisoning and a whole slew of unpleasant side effects. i only needed to take half! as soon as my skin cleared, i stopped taking it. i also started eating wayyy healthier. just please, please be careful to not get too much zinc! watch how much you’re consuming in your foods before you decide to supplement! if you talk to your health care professional and do decide to supplement, give it a few weeks try to see improvements. also, make sure to get zinc picolinate. it’s the most easily absorbed.
bentonite clay – when taken internally, bentonite clay flushes the body of toxins without releasing them back into the body (no sickness feelings with this detox!). say hello to a happy gut, internally balanced pH with this clay. to ingest, mix 1 teaspoon of BC into a glass filtered water (or else it’ll pull the heavy minerals out of your tap water instead of pulling the toxins out of your body). let it sit for 30-60 minutes, stirring occasionally, until you get a slightly milky-watery mix. i drink mine on an empty stomach. it tastes just like watered down dirt, but you’ll get used to it. there are BC capsules you can take, but be sure to drink a full glass of water with every dose or the clay will pull moisture from your body to rehydrate. note: do Not let your BC touch metal… this means no metal spoons to mix your clay water! use wood preferably.
probiotics – poor intestinal health can make skin problems such as psoriasis, eczema and acne worse. by internally balancing your flora, these can get better! so drink up some yummy kefir with your breakfast or as a snack, or find a suitable probiotic supplement.
shower head filter – look into buying a shower head filter that filters out chlorine and sediments. your skin will thank you! you can find them at any home improvement store, usually for $15-$40, depending on the brand and how long the filter can be used. amazon also has them (sometimes for cheaper).
apple cider vinegar (with the “mother”) – when this is diluted with water (1:4) and applied with a cotton ball, it balances the ph of your skin and keeps it in perfect balance, as well as heals breakouts and prevents new breakouts.
raw honey – apply raw honey to damp skin and let it sit for 10-20 minutes. rinse in cool water. the antibac properties will kick your body acne’s butt.
witch hazel (alcohol-free) – natural witch hazel is a great astringent. it gently cleans the skin without drying it out, and also has anti-inflammatory properties. use it undiluted on dry skin with a cotton ball or washcloth. let air dry. no need to rinse! bye bye bacne.
antibacterial body cloths – these cloths (like these awesome Norwex ones) will prevent new breakouts due to their antibacterial properties, and will help clear current breakouts without completely stripping your body’s natural skin oils. best of all, all you need is water!
bentonite clay – this clay will draw out impurities in your skin (as well as detox your body from the inside-out). mix equal parts BC and ACV to form a paste. slather on damp skin and let air dry. because of the sheer amount of clay you’ll have to use to cover your back, get the dried clay clumps off of your skin before you shower and into the trash, leaving little to wash down the drain after. if that’s too difficult, use paper towels to wipe the majority of the clay off, then rinse well in cool water. note: this method can be drying on skin. feel free to use raw honey or a skin-friendly oil afterwards (like jojoba or argan oil. NOT coconut oil!)
sea salt scrub – on damp skin, gently rub all over with plain ol salt. this will help dry up current breakouts without destroying your skin’s protective acid mantle (like alcohol, acids, and soaps do). if you can’t reach your back alone, make some salt water and use a brush/dedicated loofah/etc., to rub the salt water on your back. leave on for 5-10 mins and rinse in cool water.
tea tree oil – mix a few drops of TTO into a spoonful of your favorite carrier oil (jojoba, grapeseed, argan, etc.) and apply it to the problem areas. the TTO will clear up existing blemishes with its antibac properties.
ditch the soap – even if it’s all natural, keep the soap off your back for a couple weeks. this will allow your skin’s oils to rebalance and your acid mantle to stay intact.
cold shower rinses – hot water can dry out your skin, causing it to overproduce oil later, causing acne. turn it down a bit, and even try doing a final rinse in cold water. it’ll give your circulation a little boost and improve your skin’s condition.
so WHICH APPROACH do you take?
my first piece of advice would be to please keep in mind that these methods are to be used with the goal of getting your skin back in balance. your routine WILL change over time. your skin will improve and your routine will have to cater to those changes :)
no matter what external method/s you choose to try, you HAVE to heal your body from the inside out. be kind to your insides and your outsides will reflect it.
as far as external methods, if you can, first try out the norwex cloth, and only wash your body with that cloth and some warm water. you’ll more than likely see improvements in bacne in a few days. what’s better than only using water to cure bacne, right?!
if you decide to use the clay with acv, plain acv, or salt scrub, try to limit those to every couple days (stretching the time between uses as your skin improves).
if you use raw honey, you can use it every day. it won’t dry your skin out or anything like that.
what have been your go-to methods to heal body acne?